Futbol! Football with London's Turkish fans

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Tonight, I went to the Fenerbahce Social Club to watch Turkey play Germany. Situated on Stoke Newington High Street, it is surrounded by Turkish barbers, Turkish restaurants, Turkish travel agencies, Turkish cafés and Turkish football social clubs.

Oddly, however there weren't so many Turkish fans to be seen...

Turkish football fans, London

A large MEMBERS ONLY sign sits atop the social club's doorway, but happily nobody batted an eyelid as I walked in.

Lots of blokes sat around looking at two TV in two areas - one facing the door, one facing away. Nobody was dressed in Turkish colours (only me and a 4 year old boy wore red), and there were no flags. Call me camp, but I do like a bit of pomp and paraphenalia.

The fans watched the match in relative quietness, save for excitement with the Turkish goals - a bit like the Turkish team really... a bit boring except for some exciting bits.

Football ennui has kicked in (10 matches in 3 weeks), so I didn't pay much attention to the game. Instead, I saw:
  • a man ordering raki, which looks quite like milk
  • a trolley being wheeled around to firstly collect empty bottles, and to sell new ones. The bar was only a few feet away, so this was very generous service.
  • the place all but emptying on half-time for a fag break
  • a veritable cloud of smoke settling outside at half-time
So, that's one in the final. Next up: Spain -v- Russia, and I'm supporting with the Russians (although I secretly want Spain to win).