Posts Tagged ‘Hagi Galatasaray’

The King’s speech. Starring a certain Gheorghe Hagi…

February 5, 2014 Leave a comment

hagiGoing to Turkey once, years ago, I was stopped at the security check on Ataturk airport and asked to go inside a booth for a body search. It never took place, as I’ve spent a couple of minutes talking about Hagi. And the officer there wasn’t even a Galatasaray fan…

They love him. They really do. And those who don’t sing their love for him, because they support Fener of Besiktas, respect him.  I sometimes wonder if it’s the same in Romania. At times, I’m convinced we don’t. Experts in mocking those doing better than us, we’ve found Hagi’s weakness: his speech. Aware that a man so good on the ball can’t be that good with words, we laugh at his interviews. We’ve reduced his fantastic personality to some phrases. We’ve decided to ignore all his  ideas and projects and have a good long look (and laugh) at his words. I admit, he can be funny. Hell, I even use one of his funniest expressions every once in a while, for a good laugh…

The question is: if I will ever have the chance to meet him, will I be able to find my words? Will I be able to avoid embarrassment and put together a few words? I hope so. At least three of them are necessary. Because I do love him for the fantastic player he was. And for the honest and humble person he is. And for blessing a nation with his skill and for the way he keeps forgiving us for laughing at his continuous attempts to keep on doing some good to Romanian football…

Today, the great man turns 49. La multi ani, Gica! We do love you, it’s just that, for some reason, we either don’t know or don’t want to show it…

Hagi will go away. Galatasaray’s problems won’t!

March 23, 2011 4 comments

It’s an excellent moment for the Turkish and Romanian media, with daily news on what goes on at the Istanbul club. Every media channel has inside information, reliable sources and knows not just what went on, but especially everything that it’s going to happen.

Hagi has been sacked in the papers a dozen times so far (and counting) and is held responsible for Galatasaray’s terrible season. I’m not saying that he isn’t. I’m not thinking that he should stay either! And that’s because I care for him and I think that, with more time and experience, he could turn into a good coach, while staying in the current madness that surrounds and torments Cim-Bom will do him more harm than go. Will undermine his authority at the next club and could even force him to take another step back and think again if he should pass on his outstanding knowledge and passion for the game or not.

Hagi’s mistakes, in my opinion: has abandoned his principle of not taking over a club after the start of the season; has exposed himself by signing in a very short period three players from Romania; has showed the usual guts in promoting young players, even when he badly needed to deliver results; has forced very good players to take up unconfortable roles (Neill, Stancu) and has rotated others too much, failing to let the team gel.

What everyone who sincerely cares about Galatasaray should ask himself is (and I’m leaving out the very loud press, as well as the board members who are in a continuous struggle for power): will Galatasaray’s problems go away, if Hagi is replaced?

I think not. The buys made by the club are absurd, in most cases. There’s a lack of balance within the team that speaks of a lack of strategy in the transfer market. There’s a lack of discipline in the squad that won’t be solved unless the coach has the full backing of the board. My feeling is  – I don’t have all the data, obviously – that some “superstars” are protected by the board members who insisted for their purchase and the situation resembles so much to what happened in recent years with one of Romania’s big clubs, Dinamo.

Hagi was, and the guys that will follow him will be, caught in the middle. Unlike others, he was also the shield that now takes all the bullets. He’ll return home hurt by the fans and the club he loved so much, with the label of a poor coach, on top of the one that read “LEGEND”. And he won’t feel any joy in the near future, when the bullets will find the right targets, while it would be too late for the shooters to realize who was of one of the collateral victims in Galatasaray’s endless struggle for power. Which didn’t took place in the league, not even among Istanbul’s giants, but only in the soul and the mind of a club that has felt the sweet taste of success, but completely forgot the recipe…


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