Football hooligans

Izmir Travel Blog

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Necip, Julia and Matej in Konak Square

People i met here who contributed to, and improved my trip: Julia (Russia), Necip, Emir and Gunes (Turkey), William and Camille (USA), Matej (Slovakia)

Located on the Aegean coast, Izmir is Turkey's third largest City, with a population of 2.6 million people. In honesty there aren't any star attractions to see, but the metropolis is renowned for having some of the countries most happy go lucky citizens, so this seemed as good a reason as any to pay it a visit.

We would be staying in the student district of Bornova for the next four evenings, and a medical pupil called Necip would be our couchsurfing host. On arrival it was a pleasant shock to find the kitchen packed with other couchsurfers; Matias from Austria, William and Camille from USA, Matej from Slovakia, Necip from Turkey and then Julia (Russia) and I (England).

Biggest Doner ever!
It was like a mini League of Nations, with six nationalities sat around a small table. Matias left soon after, but the rest of us stayed up late into the night chatting over a bottle of vodka.

On Saturday Matej, Necip, Julia and I went to walk around Kordon, which is the central district of the City. Our journey began at Konak Meydani (Konak Square) where we saw the Ottoman clock tower and mosque, but as it was drizzling, we opted to go and have a poke around the bazaar. It seemed like a good chance to sample some of Turkey's traditional cuisine, so we bought mussels, blackberry juice and Turkish coffee from various stalls.

Thankfully the weather cleared up somewhat as the day progressed and this gave us the opportunity to have a walk along the Bay of Izmir. Located on the waterfront is Ataturk Evi, which is a free museum displaying Ataturk paraphernalia in a stately house.
Necip, Matej, Julia and I enjoying Turkish coffee
Of particular interest were the quotes from World leaders of yesteryear, who were all championing the Father of the Turks.

After eating a delicious Kumpir �" Baked potato with four fillings �" we went and sat in a cafe and drank a beer and played Tavla for a couple of hours. Julia gave me a really good game which ended 5-4, as i threw double five with the last roll of the game, when it had looked like i was going to get beaten. For once she was gracious in defeat - i guess the Valentines Day spirit had put her in a good mood :) At 19.00 we went to a different bar where Matej had organised to meet a number of other couchsurfers. About 25 people showed up in the end and it turned into a fun evening, which didn't finish until 02.00.

On Sunday everyone was a little tired, so we didn't surface until lunch time.
Boats in the Bay of Izmir
Necip made us some food and after this i gave Julia a Tavla re-match. I won't mention who won as i don't want to bring back too many unhappy memories for her. In the evening i assisted Julia with Dinner, which was a delicious chicken with mashed potatoes, aubergines, carrots, tomato and onion. She did all the hard stuff, but my potato peeling skills are second to none! With food out of the way, I managed to take Necip's scalp at Tavla and then we had a bottle of wine before turning in for bed.

The only reason for staying an extra day in Izmir was to fulfill my final desire of what i wanted to experience in Turkey - a live football game. The kick off wasn't until 20.00, so we spent the day at Kordon, walking around the bazaar, visiting the Roman Agora and then having another Tavla marathon in a cafe.
Me, Emir and Güneş on our CS night out


At 19.00 we met up with Emir, a friendly couchsurfer who we had met on Saturday evening, and the Texan couple William and Camille. The five of us headed down to the Ataturk Olympic Stadium, to watch Emir's team Karsiyaka take on a team from Istanbul called Kasimpasa. Although it was a second division clash, there was a reasonable turn out as it was 3rdvs 2ndand the fans made a lot of noise from start to finish.

There wasn't too much to write about the game in the first 89 minutes, as the match was deadlocked at 0-0. Thus i will write about the supporters, who certainly livened up proceedings. It all began good natured, with each fan having their arms around their neighbours neck and jumping up and down whilst singing.
Ottoman Clock Tower in Konak Square
Great fun. At half time though a fight broke out just a few metres from where we were stood, with the police happy to just stand and watch. We couldn't figure out why the fans were fighting with each other, as there were only home fans in the stadium! In the second half we saw a drunk guy run up to a seat and destroy it with a hefty kick. The policeman stood next to the seat once again just stood and watched, not daring to say a word.

So with the game entering the final few seconds, a deflected free kick wrong footed the Kasimpasa goalkeeper and sent the home fans into jubilant scenes of celebration. In fact, they were so happy that they began breaking seats, throwing seats at the police, fighting with the police and other fans and just doing anything that sprung into their mind. A stretcher had to come into the stands and an ambulance was required to carry one fan around the running track next to the pitch, and off to hospital.
Roman Agora
The game ended 1-0, but the fans were still not happy, blocking traffic on the road and having countless run ins with the police. To crown it all off there was another brawl on the Metro station!

I have probably seen over 700 live matches all around the World in my life, but these fans are probably the most idiotic i have come across - and i am told that they are quite placid compared to fans at the Istanbul derbies, where people are often killed. Emir told me that a few weeks ago one of their fans had been blown away with a shotgun, by an opposition fan at a petrol station, nice. The thing that frustrates me is that people still say England has bad football hooligans, but compared to this we are pussy cats!

We said our goodbyes to Necip on Monday night when we got back from the game, as he had to be at University early the next day.
Camille and William with the Crazy Karşiyaka fans
We left on Tuesday morning aboard the 11.00 bus to Ankara (8.5 hours, 33YTL), a bit confused how the wonderfully laid back Izmiris had turned into such monsters the previous night! Still, it was a great experience and an insight into my religion (i.e. football) in another country.

Deats says:
Sadly ı only had a few photos left on my memory card so took 2 short vıdeos of sıngıng - ı wıll try and upload them later!
Posted on: Feb 22, 2009
Chokk says:
The worst I have seen was in Prague when they played against Ostrava - it was totally wild, but this sounds worse!
Posted on: Feb 22, 2009
Deats says:
Yeah it was really dumb!
Posted on: Feb 18, 2009
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Necip, Julia and Matej in Konak Sq…
Necip, Julia and Matej in Konak S…
Biggest Doner ever!
Biggest Doner ever!
Necip, Matej, Julia and I enjoying…
Necip, Matej, Julia and I enjoyin…
Boats in the Bay of Izmir
Boats in the Bay of Izmir
Me, Emir and Güneş on our CS nig…
Me, Emir and Güneş on our CS ni…
Ottoman Clock Tower in Konak Square
Ottoman Clock Tower in Konak Square
Roman Agora
Roman Agora
Camille and William with the Crazy…
Camille and William with the Craz…
Pigeons in Konak Square
Pigeons in Konak Square
Konak Camii at Konak Square
Konak Camii at Konak Square
Ottoman Clock Tower in Konak Square
Ottoman Clock Tower in Konak Square
Anyone feeling hungry?
Anyone feeling hungry?
Nuts on sale in the bazaar
Nuts on sale in the bazaar
Road running beside the Bay of Izm…
Road running beside the Bay of Iz…
Statue near the Bay of Izmir
Statue near the Bay of Izmir
Inside Ataturk Evi
Inside Ataturk Evi
Inside Ataturk Evi
Inside Ataturk Evi
Busy shopping street in Central Iz…
Busy shopping street in Central I…
Kumpir - Baked Potato with differe…
Kumpir - Baked Potato with differ…
CS meet up
CS meet up
CS meet up
CS meet up
Matej and Necip at the CS meet up
Matej and Necip at the CS meet up
Roman Agora at Izmir
Roman Agora at Izmir
Roman Agora at Izmir
Roman Agora at Izmir
Roman Agora at Izmir
Roman Agora at Izmir
Crazy Karşiyaka fans
Crazy Karşiyaka fans
Karşiyaka vs Kasımpaşa
Karşiyaka vs Kasımpaşa
Crazy Karşiyaka fans
Crazy Karşiyaka fans
Crazy Karşiyaka fans
Crazy Karşiyaka fans
Karşiyaka vs Kasımpaşa
Karşiyaka vs Kasımpaşa
Crazy Karşiyaka fans
Crazy Karşiyaka fans
Izmir
photo by: Deehu