Welcome to... Turkey
My name is John, and I will be blogging for FourFourTwo on the wonderful world of Turkish football.
Why? I lived in Ankara for a while, during which time I developed a soft spot for Turkish football in general and the AnkaragÃÂ¼cÃÂ¼ in particular.
I think it was the name that did it (translated, it means Ã¢ÂÂAnkara PowerÃ¢ÂÂ) Ã¢ÂÂ although a snazzy yellow and blue strip that puts Sweden to shame and the presence of Darius Vassell also helped.
Hopefully I'll be able to help disprove the silly notion that Turkish football is all 'Welcome To Hell' signs and violence.
Did you know, for instance, that Turkey had a team whose fans use their club's stadium for socialist protests (BeÃ ÂiktaÃ Â)?
One sign, 16 years ago...
Or that Galatasaray are in fact the team of the Turkish aristocracy? Or that every other team's name has to end in Ã¢ÂÂsporÃ¢ÂÂ?
If you did, please still read on, as that's not all I will talk about.
Indeed, the main reason I held FourFourTwo to ransom, demanding somewhere to scrawl about Turkish football, is that the Premier League (super lig) is just so damn interesting at the moment.
There's Frank Rijkaard at Galatasaray, who started the season with a bang but seems to be going through a sticky spell of late, Roberto Carlos at Fenerbahce (yes, before I went to Turkey I thought he had given up too) pinging in those monstrous left-footed free kicks, not to mention BeÃ ÂiktaÃ Â, the mighty slayers of Manchester United's creche team.
But it's not just about the 'Big Three'. Oh no.
In fact there's probably more interesting stuff going on elsewhere.
Take Sivasspor. for example. They finished second last year and almost qualified for the group stage of the Champions League.
This season? They're second bottom.
Sivasspor, January: "What could possibly go wrong?"
Ankaraspor have been relegated for mysterious Ã¢ÂÂenigmaticÃ¢ÂÂ dealings with AnkaragÃÂ¼cÃÂ¼ and, as of 11pm on Monday December 7, the leaders of the super lig are none of the 'Big Three' but little-known (rather underrated) Kayserispor.
I'll try to tease out the interesting parts for your reading pleasure.
If I veer into snoozing territory, there is a comment facility, so please feel free to suggest alternative topics or remind me (politely) that Denizlispor against Manisaspor on a Friday night isn't everyone's idea of fun.
Right, that's the introduction out the way with. Next time I'll get down to action.
Until then, gÃÂ¶rÃÂ¼Ã ÂÃÂ¼rÃÂ¼z!* (see you!)
*The wonders of Turkish means the umlaut will get a good run out in this blog Ã¢ÂÂ don't worry, it needs the exercise...
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