Wednesday 19 February 2014 - Istanbul BB 0 Orduspor 1, Turkish Division One, Ataturk Olympic Stadium - Istanbul
A trip to Istanbul has to include football in what is a football crazy city but you might be surprised that in the biggest stadium in the city the team who play there can only attract a few hundred fans and always seem to be outnumbered by the opposition fans. Welcome to the Ataturk Olympic Stadium home of Istanbul BB (or BBKS) but simply the Istanbul Corporations works team!
A number of groundhoppers and casual fans have been put off taking the trip to this ground because of the lack of public transport and the ground being situated miles outside the city - but ignore the reports- for less than £2 you can get all the way to the ground via the new metro system.
The ground is still in the middle of nowhere, and you do wonder why the ground was chosen for the famous Milan - Liverpool Champions League final and there is still a lack of facilities but that void is quickly taken by local traders, selling scarfs, kebaps, Turkish bagels and water.
But the strange thing still is the lack of a home crowd, you have to remember it is like supporting your local councils works team, they get the ground as it is owned by the council but people still support one of the three Istanbul teams, but BB have now attracted a small Ultra crowd who have been disillusioned by the violence that seems to go with supporting the three big Istanbul teams.
But they are still small in number and are easy to spot amongst a home support of just a few hundred but surprisingly all the executive boxes are full!
Even with the small crowds there is a heavy police presence, plus plainclothes police and two types of stewards – after the game I saw 4 buses of riot police – for a crowd of a few thousand!
But the lack of crowd was made up for by the Orduspor fans, who were there in quite large numbers and enjoying their day out from their home on the Black Sea. They were even happy to pose for pictures with the BB mascot – an owl.
A win would see them leapfrog Istanbul BB and move into second place and they spent the whole game singing and chanting and were rewarded with a late winner, the last few minutes were tense as no one could see the other end of the ground due to arrival of fog.
The final whistle was greeted as if it was the end of the season with players throwing their shirts into the crowd and fans throwing scarves the other way.
So if in Istanbul take the trip out to this impressive ground, £2 to get there and £4 to get in can’t be bad but do not be surprised to see the away fans outnumber the home support.