It’s an old adage but “football is a world language”. How often have I referred to this, with a comment on football being just the ice-breaker to remove any barriers in conversations or warm up a new acquaintance in commerce. I recall my times in Aarhus and Copenhagen (Denmark) when amongst MDs I discovered the ‘Wembley Club’. My own book has this as a recurring theme.
My last encounter was the Owner/Designer at Loka jewellery. On learning that I was married to a Turk, support Kocaelispor in Turkey (obviously to a lesser degree than County!) and had bought my Son, a cim bom shirt for Christmas – he emphasised that even Barcelona would be defeated by his home team in Mardin. The explanation that followed suggested such a slope on their home pitch (Mardinspor) and on the edge of a ‘mountain’ that the fear and vertigo would undermine even the best team. Must look into this Ground in more detail – but a nice story anyway.
A festive anecdote – though associated this time with a less joyous occasion. I had to ‘bite my lip’ today, when listening to a talkSPORT phone-in on the radio. It surrounded the events last night, when Besiktas defeated Stoke City in Istanbul.
An over reaction and inappropriate characterisation of all Turks as hooligans was apparent, by supporters claiming to be knowledgeable, and others fuelled by media coverage and/or here say. Was it racist that items were hurled onto the pitch around certain players? Or was it merely that these players were in proximity of the opposition’s fans when celebrating – thus enticement? My experiences are that racism is not prevalent and indeed certain players like Amokachi and Nouma have been worshipped. The one thing I will say is though, that such activities, which can be construed as hooliganism – are more easily witnessed through the divisions by the respective Turkish followers than their English counterparts. Once again, Turkey has to get its footballing house in order. But what can we expect when one of its leading football clubs still encourages merchandise welcoming teams to ‘hell’!
I heard on the ‘grapevine’ that Doncaster Rovers is adopting an unusual transfer policy of signing players with an immediate plan to ‘shop window’ them. Apparently, the philosophy is to (a) make money on any transfer and (b) perhaps inject a bit of ‘premier class’ to the on the field performances? I can’t find this policy documented and haven’t worked with this Club for about ten years.
So what about the methodology? Be interested in the fans view. Better players, maybe, but where’s the consistency or building of a team-spirit? Could work commercially, but let’s keep an eye on progress. From a quick trawl on google – all I can see is incoming players talked about: Marc-Antoine Fortune (West Brom), Herold Goulon (Blackburn), Carl Ikeme (Wolves), Pascal Chimbonda (QPR), El Hadji Diouf (West Ham) etc?
Manager, Dean Saunders defends ‘this inflow’ of talent, claiming it does nothing but help ‘Rovers’ try to climb away from the foot of the Championship table.