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’!