Insanity of the Istanbul Derby includes raining beer, stadium on fire
Tue Nov 24,2009 4:00 PM ET By Rick Chandler
There's a video bouncing around the Internets today of a soccer player trying to execute a corner kick amidst a deluge of beer, from cups being launched from the stands nearby. Eventually police form a barrier with their riot shields and the game is resumed. Video follows the jump, but the poster had no real details.
So I did a little checking, and it turns out it's from the October 25 edition of the Istanbul Derby, the matchup between fierce rivals Fenerbahce and Galatasaray in the Turkish Super League, which turned 100 years old this year. Some say it's the most out-of-control soccer rivalry in the world, which is saying something indeed.
Checked out some YouTube goodness of that match, and as it turns out, the beer shower was pretty much the tamest thing that happened -- although admittedly pretty hilarious. The beer just rains in, and doesn't seem to stop; I'm guessing it couldn't have been more than the equivalent of $1.50 for 20 ounces at the rate full cups were being launched. No one's throwing that much beer at $8 a clip.
But that was nothing compared to the bonfires in the stands and ripped-up seats thrown onto the pitch. MLS, you have a long way to go.
Video following the jump.
The two teams are both from Istanbul, a city separated by the the Bosphorus Sea; half of it located in Europe, and half in Asia. Galatasaray is based on the European side, and is generally considered the more affluent of the two. Fenerbahce, on the Asian side, is known more as a working class community. When they say these teams don't like each other, well, they really don't.
Apparently visiting fans have to be sneaked in through the back entrances of the respective host stadiums, and can't wear team colors until actually inside, for fear of being injured or killed. It's a real healthy situation.
Here's a link to a portion of an excellent documentary
on the rivalry, which includes shots of Sukru Saraccogu Stadium actually on fire in several locations while the match is going on
. And the teams do their best to foment the unrest by becoming involved in a big scuffle during warmups
Fenerbahce won this one, 3-1
. But this type of atmosphere must be so commonplace in this rivalry that the beer shower and the burning stadium seats didn't even warrant a mention in the story.