Creative Soccer Culture

Framed #84 | Galatasaray vs Yeni Malatyaspor

One hand on the trophy, the other proudly clenching a pyro. The Super Lig title was in touching distance for Galatasaray ahead of hosting Yeni Malatyaspor in their final home game of the season last weekend. You could almost smell the silverware through the rare gaps in the smoke as we walked down Taksim Nevizade.

Football in Istanbul is so intensely powerful that it defines lifestyles, divides families, and unites in rivalry. Cross-city, cross-continent derbies like no other city on this planet. When the top four of the Super Lig table all reside from the same city with just two league games remaining, everything means more. The intensity becomes a turbulent marriage of pride and anxiety.


With Galatasaray in the league driving seat we headed down to Taksim Nevizade, 20 minutes from the Turk Telecom Stadium, but just a few meters from the university where this powerhouse of a club was formed. This is unmistakably Gala town, and on match day it comes alive.

No simple pre-match pint here. Match day means match day. The whole day. Hours before the first whistle at the stadium and a sea of red and yellow gushes through the winding streets, filling every seat in the restaurants that provide this pre-match party with atmosphere. Balconies providing a top tiered lid to this avenue of acoustics, the noise amplifies and rises as courses are consumed and bottles of Raki empty.


A blanket of red and yellow smoke submerges the home faithful and every chant honours the colours of this famed club, or takes fire at one of their many rivals, Fenerbahçe taking the brunt of it. As kick off approaches the noise marches towards the subway for the headline gig at the Turk Telecom stadium. Ticketless fans hold the Taksim Nevizade fort before the Gala tide rushes back in with three points, a taste for the title, and a job so nearly complete. The champagne may be on ice, but the Raki flows long into the night.

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Galatasaray will be crowned Super Lig champions if they avoid defeat to Göztepe S.K. on Saturday. You know where the party's at.


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