We’ve tried to take you around the world in the last few months to luxuriate in some of the great football rivalries present in other countries. We told you Greeks were pretty feisty on occasion, and that Argentinians were passionate to say the least, but for my money, nothing comes close to the Instanbul derby between Fenerbahce and Galatasaray. Now a quick geography/history lesson kids. The Bosphorus sea strait separates the city into a European side and an Asian side; Galatasaray was founded by students of the Galatasaray lycee, and is on the European side; Fenerbahce meanwhile is on the Asian side, and has a largely working class following. The original distinction was that Fenerbahce used to be the so-called ‘people's club,’ while Galatasaray was only supported by the rich and famous. Obviously this rivalry goes back generations (the first recorded riot between the sets of fans was 1934), and over the years there have been many flashpoints worthy of comment, but as far as dedication to a club goes, it doesn’t get much better than the following tale.
Graeme Sounness was obviously a great player, but ever since he retired he’s become both a shit manager and also one of the most objectionable men currently involved in the game. Anyway, in 1996 he decided to take a nice cushty little job in Turkey, as head coach of Galatasaray, and upon beating local rivals Fenerbahce in his first derby at their Sukru Saracoglu ground he did something a touch stupid. He failed to realise just how much the fans of these two clubs hate each other, and thought that simply putting an enormous Galatasaray flag in the middle of the Fenerbahce pitch to celebrate would go down ok :
Apparently the Fenerbahce fans didn’t quite see the funny side of it, and instead saw it as a declaration of war. Sounness had to be escorted off quickly by armed police, and a full-scale riot ensued in the stadium as Fenebahce fans hurled themselves at the wire meshing separating them from the baying Galatasaray fans. To this day, Sounness basically cannot set foot in
The great thing about proper hardcore football rivalries though is that no-one ever forgets, no matter how long it’s been since you were insulted. The Fenerbahce firm, charmingly known as Kill For You, waited two full years for proper revenge for this slight on their pride. At the first game of the new season, an intrepid fan nicknamed Rambo ran onto the pitch in Galatasaray's Ali Sami Yen Stadium at kick-off, brandishing only a kebab knife and a Fenerbahce flag. He planted the flag in front of 30,000 screaming Galatasaray fans, and then used the knife to keep players and security from removing it for several minutes. You can see the closing moments of this stand here:
The Galatasaray stadium security manager told the press the full details though of this incredible show of bravado: “We got information from the police that Okan Guler, nicknamed Rambo Okan, entered the stadium one night before the game. He slept in the stadium inside the advertising boards and just before the game started he cut off the ad board with his knife and got out.” For my money, this guy is an absolute hero. Can you just imagine having the level of commitment required to dwell for two years plotting the perfect middle finger, not to mention actually carrying it through and staying entombed in an ad board for probably the best part of 12 hours?
Here then is the infamous Rambo giving you some of his manifesto, and without wanting to racially profile, he literally could not look more like a rapist. Now my Turkish is a little bit rusty but I’m pretty he’s saying something to the effect of “Galatasaray have a shit ground and no fans.” Obviously being part of a firm called Kill For You signals some serious intent, but this guy genuinely bleeds yellow and blue according to our source in Instanbul. Would you call his mum a slag? Hmm, probably not.