Fenerbahçe S.K. Football Club, Turkish Süper Lig Champions 1996
This selection of photographs was commissioned by photoARTS 2000 and the European Commission’s Regional Challenge Award to photograph the end of season celebrations of the Turkish Süper Lig Championship football cup winners in Istanbul, the resulting exhibition would publicise Turkey’s first tournament entry into the Euro ’96’ football championships. The underlying purpose of this assignment was to build bridges of common interest between the UK and Turkey, namely the love of football.
In order to proceed with this commission I made a three day recce to Istanbul to make contacts and plan a schedule for photography. On arrival I contacted one of the many newspapers in Istanbul and with help from journalists from the sports desk, I was put in touch with Hasan Cemalí one of their regular freelance sports writers.
I returned several weeks later to follow and photograph the final week of the Turkish Süper Lig season in Istanbul. Hasan recommended I follow the fortunes of Fenerbahçe S.K which together with Galatasaray and Istanbulspor make up the three Turkish Süper Lig football teams in Istanbul. Hasan’s help was invaluable and thanks to his considerable knowledge and contacts he obtained a pitch side photographers pass for me at Fenerbahçe’s Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium in Kadıköy, Istanbul.
Fenerbahçe beat rivals Istanbulspor 2:0 on the 15th May 1996 making them Turkish Süper Lig Champions, their first championship victory in seven years.
Throughout my time in Istanbul I was impressed by the help offered, passion and enthusiasm shown to me by Fenerbahçe football supporters. Many gave me scarves, wristbands, caps and other football momentous as souvenirs, my thanks to them.
The resulting exhibition was shown at various venues throughout the UK, finally returning to Istanbul for the International Photo Biennial in October 1996.