My friend Stephen Glennon wrote this excellent piece about the match between Türkiyemspor and BFC Dynamo that took place on Friday night. I wasn’t at the game. But it was one of a litany of articles that have cropped up over the last few weeks about the Kreuzbergers, as the financial chaos swirling around them is spiralling out of control, threatening to finally finish this club.
The football boss, Marco Gebhardt, was sacked along with his captain and two other players a fortnight ago when the cash apparently ran out. He must have been made certain promises when he took over at the start of the year, and was obviously a bit pissed off about the fact that they were unfulfilled.
“For four weeks, it’s been pure theatre” he said to BZ, “I am very disappointed the way things have gone.”
But despite the shoddy way in which a good man has been treated, it has also reminded me how much I like Türkiyem’. Sometimes one needs a kick. They are a club that genuinely care about the community. They are a club that still try to help – and that counts for a lot.
The first time I came into contact with them was when they arranged for over a thousand people to go to a school in SO36 on a Saturday for blood testing: some poor little sod was dying and needed a match, quickly. Türkiyem was right in there at the front, doing all it could.
At the time they were struggling financially, but still afloat in the Regionalliga. They would last another full season there, before last year’s catastrophic run of form which saw them relegated with a meagre two points. Now they are screwed. On Friday we will know what is to happen to the first club to win the feted DFB Integration Prize, but even if a solution can be found temporarily it is likely to be only a case of holding back the tide until they can move back to Kreuzberg and their home of the Katzbachstadion.
Sponsors Betfair may come in to save the day, but that seems unlikely. Even their arrival on the front of the shirts turned into a farce as the club had to immediately drop the “t“ to get around the rules, leaving the legend “Be Fair“. Betting companies aren’t allowed to advertise on the kits in German football.
So what else did I read yesterday? A self-pitying, Bono-esque, whiny cash grab, with all their lofty achievements listed as the reason why they need your money? No, not Türkiyemspor. The lead article on their website was immediately about fund-raising for the victims of the recent earthquake in Turkey. The Earth had barely stilled itself and the club were beating the drums, raising money for others who, in fairness, do need it more than a football club, but integrity and awareness of others in football is still something that can bring a shock.
But this is also why the club needs it, and we need clubs like Türkiyemspor in Berlin. If they are allowed to fold there will be a massive hole that needs filling.