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    History of Galatasaray S.K.

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    Istanbul League champions, Galatasaray, 1908.

    On foot: Adnan, Milo Bakiş, Ali Sami (founder), Ahmet Robenson, Asım Tevfik, Emin Bülent, Hamit, Fuat.
    Seated: Celal İbrahim (martyr, 1917), Sabri Mahir, Tevfik Fikret (headmaster), Hasan, Bekir.
    Sitting on ground: Horace Armitage (coach and captain), İdris (martyr, 1911)

    The history of Galatasaray S.K. covers over 100 years of the sports from the club based in Istanbul, Turkey. Established in 1905, the club would eventually become the most successful club in the history of Turkish football.[1]


    The crest used in 1920s.

    On October 1905, in a classroom of a noble Istanbul high school, events were taking place which eventually changed Turkish sports forever.

    The seed for the foundation of the Galatasaray Sports Club was planted inside the Galatasaray Lisesi by its own pupils. In addition to Ali Sami Yen, who was the driving force behind the clubs foundation, Asim Tevfik, Emin Bulent, Bekir Sitki, Resat Sirvani, Celal Ibrahim, Tahsin Nihat, Abidin Daver and Refik Cevdet were involved in the decision to organize such a club. Their first match was against Kadıköy Faure School and they won this match 2–0.[2] There were discussions about the clubs name, in which some suggested Gloria (victory) and others Audace (courage), but it was decided that its name would be Galatasaray.[3]

    According to researcher Cem Atabeyoğlu, Galatasaray took its name from one of its first matches. In that match, Galatasaray won 2–0 over Rûm club and the spectators called them “Galata Sarayı efendileri” (in English: Gentlemen of Galata Palace), and, after this event, they adopted that name and started to call their club “Galata Sarayı”. In 1905, during the era of the Ottoman Empire, there were no laws for associations so the club could not be registered officially, but, after the 1912 Law of Association, the club registered legally.[4]

    This was how the first Turkish football club was founded. Among with the founder Ali Sami Yen, the co-founders were the ones who were keen to do this sport, such as Asim Tevfik Sonumut, Reşat Şirvani, Cevdet Kalpakçıoğlu, Abidin Daver and Kamil.

    At first, the colors of the Galatasaray Sports Club were red and white. These are the colors in the modern Turkish flag. However, the Turkish Republic was not founded at that time. Therefore, this decision caused the repressive administration of the day to feel uncomfortable and the administration subsequently pressured the footballers. For this reason, the colors were changed.

    New colors were chosen as red and yellow. Ali Sami Yen stated, “We were imagining brightness of yellow – red fire over our team and thinking that it would carry us from one victory to another.”[4]

    In this era mainly English coaches were taken in to work around the clubs sport facilities.

    [edit] Pre-professional period

    [edit] Ali Sami Yen Era

    Our aim is to play together like Englishmen, to have a color and a name and to beat the non – Turkish teams. –Ali Sami Yen

    Ali Sami Yen is the founder of the club, and the first president of club that served until 1920s. Since the Turkish republic founded in 1923, Ali Sami Yen did great job, both founding and developing the first Turkish football club and protecting it against the strict rules of the former state on command in Istanbul, the Ottoman Empire.

    Since there were not any Turkish teams, Galatasaray joined the Istanbul League that was consisting of English and Greek teams in the season of 19051906. With their first championship title they won in 19071908, they heralded the beginning of Turkish football history.[5]

    Ali Sami Yen, the founder of Galatasaray Sports Club, was also the first League President of “Turkiye Futbol Birligi (1911).

    [edit] Republican Era

    While the football in Turkey began to fully develop, Galatasaray won ten more Istanbul League titles, six Sunday League titles and three Friday League titles until 1952. Upon recognition of professional football in 1952, the first professional but nonnational league of Turkey, Istanbul Professional League played between 1952 and 1959. Galatasaray won three of these seven titles.

    In the pre-professional history, although Turkish Football Federation exist, most of the competitions were organised by the local communities and clubs. Therefore, the competitions included few teams, roughly easy because there wasn’t any competition that gather most powerful sides among country. Most of the competitions ended without winners, or ended before the planned period.

    Galatasaray played its first years in different fields, since there were not any stadiums in Istanbul. In 1921, the first stadium, Taksim Stadium opened.[6] Galatasaray played there until 1940. When historic Taksim Stadium was demolished, Galatasaray decided to build a large, modern stadium. Due to difficulties stemming from World War II, construction was delayed for over two decades. In this period, they played in İnönü Stadium.

    Actual Ripped Net

    Gündüz Kılıç was the legendary manager in this era leading the club to many trophies, he is the longest serving manager of Galatasaray.

    Metin Oktay was the legendary Turkish footballer, that played for Galatasaray in the last few years of pre-professional period and first decade of Turkish national professional league.

    In his career, Metin Oktay played for 17 seasons, becoming the top scorer in 11 of them. Metin Oktay wore the uniform of Galatasaray between 1955 and 1969, with the exception of a short spell in 1961-1962, when he played for Palermo, Italy. Nicknamed the Taçsız Kral (King without a crown), he was a particularly strong goal scorer in derby matches. During a derby against Galatasaray’s hated rivals Fenerbahçe in 1959, he shot the ball so hard that it tore a hole through the back of the opponents’ net. Galatasaray’s sports complex and training facility, located in Florya, Istanbul, is named after him.

    [edit] Professional period

    [edit] Into the National Legaue: 1959

    Türkiye Profesyonel 1. Ligi (today it is organized with the name Turkcell Super League) formed in 1959, just after the foundation of UEFA in 1954. This is the top-flight professional league in Turkish nationwide football, and the most popular sporting competition in the country. Galatasaray joined all seasons and won 16 league titles since then.[7]

    The Turkish Football Federation starts to organize “Turkish Cup” (today it is organized with the name Fortis Turkey Cup) in the 196263 season for Turkish clubs to qualify for the UEFA competitions. This is the only national cup competition in Turkey. Galatasaray joined all seasons and won 14 trophies since then.[8]

    Probably the greatest record that club holds is winning national championships in 15 different sport branches in 198687 season.[9]

    [edit] Derwall and Denizli Era: 1984-1992

    Jupp Derwall congratulating Mustafa Denizli (left), Denizli won the 1987–88 Turkish League with Galatasaray.

    German coach Jupp Derwall (1927-2007), shocked observers by turning down several job offers in the Bundesliga in favour of accepting the manager’s position at Turkish club Galatasaray. At the time, Turkish football was not well regarded in Europe, and Turkish clubs had never made any real impression on the international scene. The arrival of Derwall, an internationally-respected and experienced coach, changed this perception, and his tenure at Galatasaray is often credited with having helped spark the revival in the fortunes of Turkish football. As well as winning one national championship and one Turkish Cup, Derwall’s time in Istanbul also involved his introducing modern Western European training techniques and tactical ideas to the Turkish game. Therefore he’s regarded as the revolutionizer of Turkish football.[10]. Two of Turkey’s most respected coaches, Fatih Terim and Mustafa Denizli, both trained under Derwall during his time in Turkey, have been quick to praise Derwall’s influence.

    Derwall retired from coaching with Galatasaray in 1987; despite speculation that he might take over as manager of the Turkey national football team, he chose instead to return to Germany and enjoy his retirement.

    Derwall’s assistant coach Mustafa Denizli took his position after Derwall left. Denizli kept Galatasaray on the road to progress with success. It was not luck, nor coincidence, but the outcome of the years of hard work, when Galatasaray made a historic run for Turkish football and achieved semi-finals in the Champions League of 1989.

    [edit] Alp Yalman Era: 1990-1996

    Alp Yalman elected as the president in 1990, a position he held for six years. Galatasaray S.K. won two league titles, two national cups, and two national super cups, while Alp Yalman was the president. He usually worked with German coaches, Karl-Heinz Feldkamp, Reiner Hollmann and Reinhard Saftig. Besides domestic success, Galatasaray drew the attention of observers after eliminating Manchester United at UEFA Champions League knockout stage in 1993. Development in Turkish football continues and led by Galatasaray under Alp Yalman’s presidency.

    [edit] Terim and Süren Era: 1996-2001

    UEFA Cup Final match line-up against Arsenal F.C., 17 May 2000

    Super Cup match line-up against Real Madrid, 25 August 2000

    Galatasaray’s most successful era came in late 1990s, when the club won the UEFA Cup and European Super Cup and becoming the first Turkish football club ever to win a European trophy. They were aided in this by one of Turkey’s best generation of home grown footballers who went on to finish third in the 2002 FIFA World Cup and played quarter finals of UEFA Euro 2000.

    Between 1996–2000, Galatasaray won four consecutive Turkish league titles which is the record club still holds. This stability of success crowned when the club had won the Turkish League title, the Turkish Cup, the UEFA Cup and the UEFA Super Cup in the same season, 2000.

    All of these success came under the coaching of Fatih Terim and the visionary club president Faruk Süren.

    Fatih Terim is known as the most successful manager of Galatasaray. The club then played in quarter finals of the Champions League in 2001, but since then there isn’t any notable appearance in high levels of European cups.

    [edit] Canaydin Era: 2002-2008

    Galatasaray entered new millennium as one of the elite football clubs in Europe. However, as the team of 1996-2000 gets older, football section was unable to replace the team with young stars. As the success delayed, club struggle against economic problems and Galatasaray Chairman Özhan Canaydın, who elected in 2002 and still serving, is widely criticized for this failure.

    In this period, club worked on and established projects like Galatasaray Store, Galatasaray Magazine, Galatasaray EUROPA and Galatasaray TV in order to improve club-fan relationship and increase incomes. But the most complex project is building a new stadium, which was planned since 1990s, and finally the construction began on December 2007.

    Once completed in 2009, Aslantepe will be used mostly for football matches and will host the home matches of Galatasaray. The stadium will have a capacity of 52,000 people. It replaces their current stadium Ali Sami Yen Stadium.

    Recently, Galatasaray became champions for the 2007-2008 season. Cevat Güler the champion manager of the squad said that this championship was no miracle but months of hard work after an season with many downfall.

    [edit] Players

    There are many successful footballers played for Galatasaray and made their mark on Turkish football history. Few examples may be 1930s national hero Eşfak Aykaç,[11] Boduri who died at the age of 21,[12] Mehmet Leblebi who scored a domestic record of 14 goals in single match,[13] Gündüz Kılıç nicknamed Baba (father) who was the coach but also the player of his team in 1950s with great success on both,[14] Bülent-Reha Eken brothers, Suat Mamat who made a hat-trick in 1954 FIFA World Cup,[15] Coşkun Özarı a life devoted to Galatasaray,[16] Turgay Şeren the heroic goalkeeper that called “the Panther of Berlin”,[17] Fatih Terim the team captain of Galatasaray and Turkish National Football team for years and the current coach,[18] Metin Oktay the legendary six time top scorer of Turkish league,[19] Zoran Simović another skilled goalkeeper known for his penalty saves,[20] Cüneyt Tanman who played a record of 342 games for Galatasaray,[21] Tanju Çolak an extraordinary goalscorer and European Golden Boot 1988 winner with Galatasaray,[22] Cevad Prekazi an Albanian teammate of Tanju specializing in free kicks,[23] Taffarel the world cup winner goalkeeper of Brazil,[24] Gheorghe Hagi Romanian football hero that still described as the best foreign player ever to play in Turkey,[25] and last but not least, Hakan Şükür,who scored most goals in top flight Turkish Football with 249 goals spent the majority of his career, 14 years, at Galatasaray and is also the clubs most scoring player with 228 goals.