Why I Support Beşiktaş

Turkey is a football crazy country – it dominates the daily life of men (and not a few women) to the exclusion of almost everything else. Flick through the myriad of Turkish tv channels and every other one will be showing groups of men discussing some aspect or other of the game. Every Turkish male knows how to run their favourite club or the national team better than anyone else. There is even a national daily newspaper dedicated to football – I ask you, Fukushima has melted down and is the greatest disaster ever to hit the planet since a meteorite wiped out the dinosaurs! Not that you’d know it from the media here where every rotation of every football from every match is dissected and analysed ad nauseam.

Beşiktaş is also home to the famous/notorious Çarşı anarchist group which was at the forefront of the battle to protect Gezi Park. They were also instrumental in establishing the community forums that sprang up in the aftermath of the police brutality

Anyway, I’m happy to admit that I know nothing and care less about the so-called ‘Beautiful Game’. Watching a bunch of over-paid drama queens prancing about has about as much appeal as an evening in the company of Karl Pilkington. That said, these days, whenever I’m asked the inevitable question ‘What is your team?’ I always reply ‘Beşiktaş – Kara Kartal’ – the Black Eagles! I usually try to escape before the howls of laughter and derision from the Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray supporters dies down because, in truth, I couldn’t name a single player nor where they play.

So, why do I tell ‘porky pies’? Because Anne, my Turkish ‘mother’, is a life-long Black Eagle fan. She is a village lady of unknown age with a big heart that’s filled with love. Whenever we meet she sheds tears, hugs me mightily and calls me ‘Kuzum, kuzum!’ (My lamb, my lamb!) and it is inconceivable that I would deny being a Beşiktaş supporter. There is no danger of being found out because she doesn’t know the names of player since the 1930s anyway.

By way of recognition of her great age and life-long support for the Black Eagles, J and I had Gülay paint her portrait and here she is . .

probably the longest serving Eagles fan in the world

Gülay’s wonderful portrait of Anne

Alan Fenn, Okçular Köyü

20 thoughts on “Why I Support Beşiktaş

  1. Aww, of course you have no choice in the matter Alan. 🙂 I ‘supported’ Everton when I was very young just because my dad did. No other reason. Then we discovered Wigan Rugby League and went to every match, home and away, for years and I detested football…enter Fethiyespor. What’s going on there? Addicted! 🙂

  2. Almost got into a snit that I was going to have to read about sports today… Gülay’s portrait makes it worthwhile.

  3. Alan, I think it’s Anne’s superior taste in color. Can’t imagine her in orange and red or yellow and blue. What a wonderful idea to have her portrait painted. It’s smashing.

    1. I have to confess that it was hard to let it go – quite fancied it myself. Also quite excited j’s plane has just landed at Ataturk 😀

  4. Loved Gulay’s anne portrait, what a talent she is – hope she did well at the fair – and my husband applauds her choice, he is a Besiktas supporter too, for his Turkish team : ) Lovely post Alan!

  5. Love her portrait! I can say I’m a Besiktas fan because that’s the neighborhood we lived in in Istanbul. Oh, and speaking of football crazy, you should see the Nebraska college football fans where I grew up! 😉

    1. never understood much outside of a MotoGP rider with knee and elbow sliders sparking off the tarmac! Pure adrenalin!

  6. Anne looks like a lovely person and I would love to meet her some day. Let me tell you I know a thing or two about crazed football fans living here in Italy. When I first moved to Italy all the TV channels would run shows every night with a bunch of men in suits and one scantily clad woman all discussing every possible kick, call, move of every game. Yawn. It has gotten slightly better — the women cover up a bit more– but there are still just as many shows. My husband yells so loud during games he scares our dog. And, I am somewhat embarrassed to say, that my Italian -American son — who has taken after his father in his football passion, got kicked out of a Roman family-style Pizzeria the other night during the AS Roma game because the score was tied and in the last minute an AS Roma player kicked the ball and it bounced off the goal post. Apparently my son yelled out “Porco Dio” — which is something you do not yell outl oud in a Pizzeria in this very Catholic country. (I am hoping my Italian mother-in-law doesn’t read the comments on your blog post or she would be very upset with her sweet-little grandson too).
    I am with you though — couldn’t care less about a bunch of over-paid prima donnas on the football pitch –I much prefer the wise old lady in the portrait.

    1. . . our house is quieter than yours because J has no time/interest either – World Cups, like christmas, come and go without comment. MotoGP is another matter entirely with both of us ‘Oooh’ing and ‘Aaah’ing and leaping about. Now motorbike racing is something Italians do especially well (along with Spaniards). As for Anne (pron. an-neh), she looked astonished when I tried to explain that people raced those two-wheeled things!

  7. Brilliant – there are times when there is nothing wrong with a little fib 🙂 If I gave a stuff about football, I would support Besiktas as the area is my Istanbul home and I love it – As it stands, I am a lifetime West Ham fan as its the nearest team to were I’m from, my Grandad supported them all his life, the rest of the relatives support them and finally, my Grandad’s brother used to sweep the grounds!

  8. football surely is a largest of world’s game. So, I may question it if it doesn’t in Turkey 🙂
    I also not a big fan of football, but at least I know some of team and club, just to join any conversation related the game just like you Alan. So, if you don’t like to watch them, you can read on news in internet or newspaper you know…

    1. what you say is true, but the post was really about this lovely old lady and the delight that having her portrait done gave to her.

Comments are closed.