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Fenerbahce Wins the Turkish Title as Democratic Society Loses

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A few weeks ago I wrote about Turkey’s social malaise presenting itself as a clear and present danger on—and off—the pitch. Sadly, on the night Fenerbahce were crowned champions of Turkey, it seems that nothing has changed. The violence remains, the hate remains, the anger remains. This is not healthy for any democracy, whether in Turkey or in the West. One fundamental requirement of democracy is empathy—that, in it of itself, requires respect of any opposing points of view—even if one disagrees. Fenerbahçe’s celebrations—and the responses to it—show that such respect does not yet exist in Turkey.

Thirteen people were arrested after vandalizing an official Galatasaray store on Istanbul’s Baghdad Street (Bağdat Caddesi), the main thoroughfare on the Asian side of Istanbul and the heart of Fenerbahçe territory. Many shirts, jerseys, flags, bags, and other merchandise were found to be damaged after the raids. After the store was damaged a group of 50-60 Galatasaray fans arrrived to—in vigilante fashion—guard the store. After these fans began to throw sound bombs and chant against Fenerbahçe is when riot police stepped in, so as to prevent more widespread violence.

The fact that a store selling the opposition’s gear should be a target of ire is in itself appalling—maybe that’s because I was raised in the capitalist “paradise” of the United States, wearing Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots gear from a young age. Or maybe it is because I know that winning a sporting event does not mean that you should destroy the symbols of your rivals—especially when they are from your own country! The worst part about these events, to me at least, is that the unity between football fans born out of the Gezi protests almost one year ago may have been proved to be short lived. A year ago Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe fans were arm in arm against the kind of repression that truly matters—government repression. Now, these same fans are fighting one another over football.

These events go to show that democracy in Turkey has a long way to go. As a Galatasaray fan I’m personally appalled. If you can’t accept your rivals winning a sports championship, how can you accept your rivals winning an election? It just goes to show that personal support of anything in Turkey—especially a soccer team—does not yet mean the acceptance of those that don’t share your support. And it does not bode well for a cohesive democratic society in the long term.

Levski Sofia 1996-98 Home Shirt, 19

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Another classic Levski shirt and another classic Adidas design. This one is from the 1996-1998 seasons, when Levski thrashed “eternal” rivals CSKA Sofia in the 1998 cup final 5-0. The pictures below are from the cup final. I’m not very sure about the authenticity of this shirt, but I don’t care too much since—in my mind—it is one of Adidas’ best templates, one that was used across Europe in the mid to late 1990s. On the front is the sponsor, BKC-2, screen printed along with the club’s classic badge, also screen printed. On the back is the number 19, screen printed, in the classic three dimensional style. This shirt is sized extra large and definitely runs large in terms of fit, as shirts from the era traditionally did. For more Levski shirts please see the 1993-94 home version here and the 2006-07 home version here.

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Cup Triumphs are Sweeter Against City Rivals:

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Courtesy Of: http://www.oocities.org/colosseum/loge/3177/kupa-98.html

Levski Sofia 1993-94 Home Shirt, 13 Matchworn

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This is one of the Levski shirts I acquired by way of the internet. By comparing it to other match worn Adidas pieces from the era I am confident in calling this one match worn, due to the shirt’s fabric. While the outside is the shiny fabric standard to Adidas shirts from the era, the inside is a thicker, almost felt like fabric. On the back is a player-sized number 13, heat pressed in felt material. On the front is the classic Balkanbank sponsor heat pressed in felt material along with the club’s badge—the Cryllic letter “L”—in the same material. This shirt also sports the classic three stripes of Adidas which are sewn on, descending to the chest from the left shoulder. Many big club teams of the era used this classic design, including Liverpool, Bayern Munich, and Sparta Prague. Many football associations chose this design as well—Ireland, Sweden, and even the United States are among them. This is definitely one of my favorite shirts, since I’m a sucker for Adidas’ classic designs. And yes, Levski were crowned champions of Bulgaria in this shirt. For other Levski shirts the 2006-07 version can be seen here, the 1996-1998 version here.

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Team Pic:

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Courtesy Of: http://levskifanclub.ovo.bg/photo/sstava_prez_godinite/1993/4-0-464

 

Levski Sofia in action against Glasgow Rangers in the European Cup, a 2-1 victory over the Scottish giants in Sofia—note the large sized Cryllic “L”, the club’s classic badge. This detail leads me to believe that this shirt may have been used in European Competition.

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Courtesy Of: http://www.levski.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=9438

Levski Sofia 2006-07 Home Shirt

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I got this Levski Sofia shirt at the Georgi Aspurahov Stadium after a lengthy adventure following the derby against Lokomotiv Sofia. Unfortunately, the shirt is not nearly as spectacular as the adventure to acquire it was. It is an uninspiring design in Levski’s classic blue, manufactured by Uhlsport in a standard fabric, with heat pressed sponsor MTel and badge applied in felt. This is the design Levski used in their first (and to date only) adventure in the Champions League Group Stages, one that saw giants Barcelona and Chelsea travel to Sofia. That said, there are not many other redeeming qualities for this shirt. Due to my disappointment with this shirt I had to scour the internet, where I was able to find two more impressive Levski shirt from the 1990s, both of which sport classic Adidas designs. The 1993-94 Levski home shirt can be seen here, while the 1996-98 home shirt can be seen here.

 

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Lokomotiv Sofia 2006-08, Home Shirt, Antunovic 14 UEFA Cup Match Worn

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This is a favorite among my Bulgarian shirts due to the memories attached to it. I got it on a visit to the Lokomotiv Stadium from one of the employees at the café through the assistance of my friend Yana Raycheva’s expert translations. At the time it carried with it a putrid odor—nothing a good wash couldn’t fix. As for the shirt itself, it is a standard fabric made by the Italian manufacturer Asics. Asics was a big producer of Bulgarian shirts during these years; Slavia Sofia’s shirt from the era is also made by the Italian brand. It is size Extra Large. Also, the design used by Asics is to be commended–the curvature of the stripes around the neck line add a lot to this shirt, a little detail that makes it more than just another striped kit.

What makes this shirt especially rare is that it was worn in the UEFA cup by Serbian striker Sasa Antunovic—he made 78 appearances for Lokomotiv between 2004 and 2009 netting 30 goals. In the 2007-08 edition of the UEFA cup—when this shirt was worn—Lokomotiv faced French side Rennes, losing 4-3 on aggregate over two legs. Antunovic himself even scored a brace in Lokomotiv’s surprise 2-1 first leg victory in France. The hallmarks of a player shirt include screen printed name and number in player spec size, as well as the UEFA cup patch applied in felt to the right arm and a sewn on club badge.

For video of one of the matches please see here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysN8iDok3Nc

 

My Thanks to Yana Raycheva Whose Translations Were Invaluable in Acquiring This Shirt.

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Sasa Antunovic himself in the shirt:

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Courtesy of: http://www.footballdatabase.eu/football.joueurs.sasa.antunovic.23041.en.html

 

Two images of this model of shirt being worn in a match. The first is from domestic league action, the second from the 2006-07 UEFA Cup in a tie with Feyenoord of Holland:

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Courtesy Of: http://www.segabg.com/article.php?id=290343

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Courtesy Of: http://www.footmanager.net/forum/lokomotiv-sofia-t1955.html

PFC Cherno More Varna, 2007-2008 Away Shirt

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This shirt was acquired by way of a female accountant at PFC Cherno More Varna’s Ticha stadium during my visit. The shirt is made by Bulgarian manufacturer Tomy Sport, and while this may not be a household name in the West the material is still suitable for a football shirt. While the fabric is similar to the “Puma” Lokomotiv Plovdiv shirt I have, this material is softer and with a matte finish–similar in many ways to Adidas shirts produced in Turkey under the Adidas license in the late 1990s. The badge and sponsor are sewn into the white and blue fabric, making it a one of a kind piece produced specifically for Cherno More Varna. The accountant in question also had a match worn piece available which I eschewed due to its prohibitive price–its material was the same, which leads me to believe that Tomy Sport replicas are the same quality as player shirts.

 

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CSKA Sofia, 2007-08 Home L/S Shirt, Lanzaat 27 UEFA Cup Matchworn

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A great CSKA Sofia home shirt by Uhlsport of the team’s classic red kit, with all the markings of a match worn UEFA cup piece. The number 27 and name Lanzaat (For Dutch defender Quido Lanzaat) are both player size and screen printed on, while the UEFA cup badge is applied to the right sleeve. Also, the Uhlsport logo on the right sleeve is wearing off a bit. The shirt’s fabric is of standard quality.

CSKA were eliminated from the UEFA cup by Toulouse FC in a heartbreaking first round tie in the 2007-08 competition as a stoppage time goal sealed the victory on away goals for the French side–below is an image of Denny Lanzaat in a short-sleeved version of this shirt, as well as one of a CSKA player wearing an example of this shirt in action. It was purchased at the CSKA club shop for a modest price while on a visit to the team’s Balgarska Armia Stadium during the summer–I suppose they were selling off excess shirts in a bid for extra revenue.

 

 

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Image Courtesy of: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lanzaat.jpg

 

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Image Courtesy of: http://www.goal.com/en/match/48420/cska-sofia-vs-cliftonville/report

 

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