Quite literally and figuratively. Last night, Galatasaray capped off a 47 year run at their famed stadium, one of my all-time favorites, with a 3-1 win over third-tier club Beypazarı Şekerspor in the Turkish Cup.
A fire marshal’s nightmare, the Ali Sami Yen became notable through the years for it’s inferno – a combination of smoke, flares, fireworks, firecrackers, and anything else resembling a flammable or explosive device. This was not just a product of the passionate supporters, but rather a tactic employed by the stadium officials to intimidate and strike fear into the hearts of any visiting team. Modest in size (only seating about 24,000), the united voices and theatrics of those in attendance created a nightmare for any team coming to play in their house. To this day, Galatasaray hold the record for most consecutive home wins at 25, tied with Boca Juniors.
European nights were the ultimate display of Galatasaray’s home field advantage. Some of the more famous Champions League victories included a 3-2 win in 2001 over then defending champions Real Madrid, as well as a 2-0 defeat of AC Milan during the same campaign. The past decade saw the Turkish club win twice more than they lost in Champions League matches at home.
Galatasaray will now move to the modern spaceship that is the Türk Telekom Arena, with a capacity of 52,000. Whether or not the inferno will follow the team is yet to be seen, but you can bet “I Will Survive” will continue to blast through the sound system after every goal scored.
More videos and utter madness after the jump: