The Bravest Thing A Manager Has Ever Done?

14 October 2012 11:29
Former Toon boss Graeme Souness talks about THAT day in Istanbul.

In April 1996 - the second leg of the Turkish Cup final. This tournament is showcasing Galatasaray and Fenerbahce, whose city rivalry is unknown elsewhere in world football.

Not only derby teams from the same city, but the river parts them and they are on different CONTINENTS!

One of the Fenerbahce vice-chairmen dismissed him as an "invalid", but Galatasaray had won the first leg 1-0. So, they go into the cauldron that is their neighbours' backyard.

Graeme Souness: "We lost 1-0 after 90 minutes and it went to extra time.

"Right in the last two or three minutes, Dean Saunders scores a great goal and we win the cup.

"We're all down at the end celebrating with our supporters. They hand over a great, big flag over this barbed wire fence. Everybody takes a turn of waving it. Then it's handed to me.

"I wave it a few times and turn round to hand it over, but they've all buggered off back up to the halfway line. Now I've got this flag, so I'm running back to join the rest of the players. I look into the emptying stands and I can see this guy who has called me a cripple.

"I say to myself: 'I'll show you'. So I veer off and go to the centre of the pitch and plant this flag. And, as I turn away, I think: 'That might not be the smartest thing you've ever done.' 'Cos they're [the fans] now all climbing over the fences to get on to the pitch.

"The policeman have their shields up at the entrance to the tunnel – I get in there and I'm thinking: 'That's a near miss!' Just as I'm walking, I get smacked on the side of the head.

"A supporter has got into the tunnel. I end up having a fight with him. Who wins? I did all right – let's put it like that. And then, two policemen, batons raised, come running down the tunnel. They're screaming. I run into the dressing room. I'm not that brave."