Nearly 45 days ago, I wrote a piece named “Can Turkey Have a Football Ecole?”. I stated that people in Turkey would laugh in your face if you ask people “Is there an Ecole in Turkish football?” You can reach my piece here.
Today, I am going to look from different point of view. Thanks to David Winner and his amazing book “Those Feet: An Intimate History of English Football”, I got inspired to look at a different perspective. This piece has connections between culture and football, history and football etc. Let’s get it started.
In the book, there is a part which defines English football well. “What we cannot do by sleight we eke out by strength. No more concise definition of English football exists”. No matter who we ask, people will describe English football as a hard and physical game. The reason is hidden under the English culture, Victorian age and conservative perspective. What about Turkish football?
The Grey Wolf
Every nation is identified with an animal. For example, Russia identifies with the bear. When we look at Turkic mythology, we see grey wolf connected with Turks. I am going to make a list what the similarities between Turks and grey wolfs.
Grey wolfs live together. They walk around together rather than being alone. They have a leader, and the group members follow him by the end.
Turkish people live together. The level of individualism is low. There is a gemeinschaft tradition. Traditional Turkish family includes father, mother, grandfather, grandmother, uncle, aunt, kids etc. rather than nuclear family. Because of patriarchal structure, the members support the leader blindly.
On the football pitch, Turkish teams look for a leader who directs other players and has influence over the players. That’s why Emre Belozoglu is still liked and wanted.
Grey wolfs don’t like hand-to-hand fighting. “Hit And Run” is their tactic. Thus, they can debilitate their enemies. If they have to fight hand-to-hand, a group of wolfs attack directly and then they would retreat. In this way, the enemies suppose the wolfs was defeated and they are running away. The enemies follow them, and the other wolfs encircle the enemies on right and left flanks. This is called as turan tactic or pincer movement. In the Turkish history, there were a lot of battles where Turks implemented this tactic and won.
We can integrate this into the football pitches. Let the opponent come, counter football, exploiting the left and right flanks, higher or much higher tempo, wide play and pass into space. This type of football is played by lots of teams, but nobody would say this is traditional Turkish football.