The current season is developing extremely unsuccessfully for one of the giants of Turkish football and the most titled club of the local Super League (22 championships) – Galatasaray. This led to the fact that in early January, the management dismissed the legendary Fatih Terim from the post of team coach, who was replaced by Josep Guardiola’s ex-assistant at Barcelona, Bayern and Manchester City, Domenech Torren. However, in the first three matches under the leadership of the Spaniard, the “lions” did not get a single point in the championship, and subsequently they could not make a significant leap up, now occupying only an extremely modest 13th place in the standings …
Torren, who signed a contract until the summer of 2023, according to many Turkish observers, is unlikely to hold on to his position for more than six months, as a result of which many in Turkey do not exclude that the same Fatih Terim, who will have time to “reload the batteries” a little during this time.
Terim is truly a legendary figure in the history of Galatasaray. He spent eleven years as a player at Ali Sami Yen from 1974 to 1985. During this period, Fatih never became the champion of the country, but won the Cup three times and once in the Turkish Super Cup. Consistently good performances in the camp of the “lions” led to regular calls to Terim in the national team, in the shirt of which he played 54 matches.
According to the recollections of the late Yugoslav ex-coach Abdul Gecic, who spent a significant part of his career in Turkish teams and crossed paths with Terim at Adana Demirspor, Fatih was very similar in style to the famous German Franz Beckenbauer. Both of them played the so-called libero (free defender) and achieved excellent results, since even the strongest forwards of that time were afraid to resist them.
When Terim hung up his boots, no one in Turkey had any doubts that he would definitely try his hand at coaching. In 1987, Fatih accepted Ankaragucu, where he spent only two years, after which he worked with Goztepe for a season without much success, and then received an offer to lead the Turkish youth team, at the same time becoming an assistant to the German coach Sepp Piontek in the country’s national team. Three years later, Terim replaced Piontek at the helm of the Turkish national team, having managed to bring this team to the final part of Euro 1996.
At that continental championship, the Turks lost three out of three matches, but Fatih Terim received an offer from his almost native Galatasaray, leading the Lions for the first time in his career. Under him, the Istanbulites made a serious breakthrough in the quality of performances and results. Terim replaced Scot Graeme Souness at Galatasaray and immediately carried out a large-scale reconstruction of the squad. By decision of the newly minted coach, legionnaires Dean Saunders, Ulrich Van Gobbel and Brad Friedel left Istanbul. Instead, Galatasaray signed Romanian Gheorghe Hadji from Barcelona, his compatriots Adrian Ilie and Iulian Filipescu from Steaua, as well as Turkish performers Hakan Shukur and Umit Davalu, who, along with Bulent Korkmaz, became one of the main symbols of the then success of the Lions. .
Terim understood that his renewed team also needed experienced players from abroad, who would add variety to the game, increasing its quality and stability of results. Thanks to this strategy, Gheorghe Popescu, Claudio Taffarel and Mario Zhardel became Galatasaray players in the following years.
As a result, Galatasaray won four league titles in a row from 1996 to 2000, and the first of them was taken with only two defeats in 34 matches, when the team was eight points ahead of Besiktas at the finish line and nine points ahead of Fenerbahce “. The finale of Fatih Terim’s magnificent adventure at Galatasaray was a 1999/2000 UEFA Cup triumph, which the Lions sensationally beat Arsenal on penalties.
Then Terim was called to Italy, where he worked for a relatively short time with Fiorentina and Milan. It cannot be said that the Turkish “Emperor” failed in the Apennines, but obviously, he counted on more when he left for Serie A. In the summer of 2002, Terim accepted an offer to return to Galatasaray, which at that time was experiencing serious financial problems.
Although Terim managed to bring the likes of Abel Xavier, Chaim Revivo, Elvir Balic and Frank de Boer into the team, the results began to noticeably worsen compared to Fatih’s first cadence in Istanbul. In the 2002/03 season, Galatasaray finished second, and a year later it ended up in a catastrophic sixth place, leaving not only Fenerbahce, Trabzonspor and Besiktas behind, but also the much more modest Gaziantepspor with Denizlispor “.
Fatih Terim could not look indifferently at how his offspring fell, and resigned back in March 2004. He remained unemployed for more than a year, after which for the second time he received an offer to take the helm of the Turkish national team, work with which again “resurrected” the coaching career of the “Emperor”. Terim again led the Turks to the finals of the European Championship, but in 2008 his team managed to shoot loudly, reaching the semi-finals of the tournament, where they lost to Germany (2:3) minimally.
Soon Terim was called to Galatasaray again – for the third time. He immediately won two championships, and also attracted many famous personalities to the team: such as Emmanuel Eboue, Fernando Muslera, Johan Elmander, Tomas Uyfalushi, Albert Riera, Felipe Melo, Didier Drogba, Wesley Sneijder and Hamit Altintop. At the end of the 2012/13 season, Galatasaray was immediately ahead of Fenerbahce by 10 points, but already at the beginning of the next championship, Fatih was fired, as he refused to renew the contract with the club, because since August he began to combine work in it with a similar position in Turkish national team.
The last (so far?) – the fourth – the arrival of Fatih Terim to the coaching bridge of Galatasaray took place in December 2017. The team, which was then led by Igor Tudor, suddenly rolled back to third place in the course of the competitive process, as a result of which the bosses decided to again turn to the “Emperor” for help. And Terim again immediately set everything up in the best way, thanks to which Galatasaray became the champion in the next two years. Alas, then a kind of retreat from the previously occupied positions happened again – the sixth and second places, and in the middle of the 2021/22 season, the Imperator in Istanbul was again shown the door. It is symbolic that after that he left two photos on the social network, which captured the moments of his first and last visit to the club …
My first and last signature in Galatasaray… pic.twitter.com/Iqf4FUOxRP
— Fatih Terim (@fatihterim) January 13, 2022
In 584 matches that Terim played as a coach of Galatasaray, his team won 335 victories. During this time, the “lions” became the champions of Turkey eight times, won the country’s Super Cup four times and the Cup three times. The victory of Galatasaray in the UEFA Cup in 2000, which made Fatih Terim a great coach not only by the standards of Turkey, but also for the whole of Europe, stands apart.
It is not surprising that Terim in Galatasaray is firmly entrenched in the nickname “Emperor”, because he is the most successful coach in the history of the club. What will happen in the career of a 68-year-old specialist next? This is a very interesting question asked by many observers in Turkey. Someone believes that in a year and a half Fatih will return to his native Galatasaray again, but most still think that the photo posted on social networks by Terim has more practical significance than just a moment of sentimentality. If the “Emperor” never returns to the coaching chair of Galatasaray, then it will probably be the best solution for everyone if it is Fatih who becomes the winner in the next presidential elections at the club. Otherwise, even despite the age of Terim, it would be extremely stupid to end the long-term cooperation that brought success to each of the parties for so long …