Marcus Braddock preview the big game
Hello and welcome to our first match preview since the season finished against Portsmouth at the end of April. This is our first pre-season game in preparation for the coming season and WOW it's a biggie! This weekend, the Champions League stars of Turkish club Galatasaray descend on the Greenhous Meadow sending a tingle of anticipation through the spines of interested Salopian. Huge names like ex-Chelsea player Didier Drogba, ex-Real Madrid and Ajax player Wesley Sneijder and ex-Arsenal player Emmanuel Eboue look likely to feature in what has to be the biggest pre-season game Shropshire has ever seen.
Put simply, Galatasaray are the biggest football club in Turkey, having won the Turkish Süper Lig a record 19 times. But Galatasaray are not just a mere football club, they are a sporting club that are part of the greater Galatasaray community alongside the Galatasaray junior and high school and also the Galatasaray University. Nicknamed Cimbom in Turkey and Gala everywhere else, Gala were formed in 1905 and take their name from the high school at which they were originally formed. In those days, Gala were the only Turkish football team so they joined the Istanbul league that was made up of teams of English ex-patriots and Greek teams. Gala won the title of that league 11 times over the years it took for Turkey to form a professional league. In 1959 Gala joined the new national Turkish league and have won the title 19 times since then, a Turkish record. Their most successful period is arguably the late 1990's when Cimbom became the first Turkish team to win a European trophy by winning the UEFA cup in 1999-2000. Since then, Gala have become a regular fixture in the Champions League whilst still being the dominant force in Turkish football.
Fatih Terim is a manager with more than just 1 connection with Galatasaray. He played well over 300 games as a defender for the Istanbul club and has also managed them on no less than 3 occasions. When Gala won the UEFA cup in 1999/2000 it was Terim in charge, when Turkey qualified for the European Championship, it was Terim in charge. Put simply he is the best manager that Turkey have ever produced.
Ones to watch
Is there a football fan who hasn't heard of Didier Drogba? Born in the Ivory Coast, he was sent to France at the age of 5 to live with his uncle Michel Goba who was a footballer. Young Didier got homesick though and after 3 years he went back to live with his parents but he and them ended up in France in the end. His football career started with Levallois, a semi professional football club in France, but when he left school and wanted to study accountancy he changed to League 2 club Le Mans. After 4 years at Le Mans he moved to Guingamp but only spent a season there, moving to Marseilles for £3.3 million after scoring an impressive 20 goals in 45 appearances which helped them avoid relegation. Drogba only spent a season at Marseilles but it was a great one. He scored 19 goals in 35 games in the league and added 5 goals in the Champions League and 6 in the UEFA Cup with Marseilles reaching the final.
The following season Drogba moved to Chelsea for £24 million and the rest is well known by us all. 3 Premiership titles, 4 F.A. Cup final wins, 2 League Cups and a Champions league win in his final game. He scored 100 goals in 226 games in his 8 years in London and is considered one of the best foreign players in the Premiership. Since then he has played a handful of games for Shanghai Shenhua but moved to Gala after problems with wages in Shanghai. With Galatasaray, Drogba scored 5 goals in 10 games helping them to another Super Lig title.
Born in Utrecht, Sneijder is a Dutch attacking midfielder who started his career with Ajax in their academy. He went on to make 129 appearances, scoring 43 goals and winning 1 Eredivisie league title, 2 KNVB Cup and 4 Johan Cruijff-schaal (similar to the Charity Shield). After 5 years in the Ajax first team, Sneijder was sold to Real Madrid for a rumoured 27 million Euros. Fellow Dutchmen Royston Drenthe and Arjen Robben joined Sneijder at Real that season with Sneijder donning the number 23 shirt vacated by David Beckham. He spent 2 seasons with the Spanish giants, but his appearances were diminished by an injury sustained in a friendly match at Arsenal, so he finished his 2 seasons having made 55 appearances and scoring 10.
In 2009 Sneijder was transferred to Inter Milan for 15 million Euros and spent 4 successful years there as Inter won Serie A title in 09/10, Coppa Italian in 09/10 and 10/11, the Champions League in 09/10 and the World Club in 10/11. After falling out of favour at Inter, Sneijder moved to Gala for a rumoured 7.5 million Euros. Since then he's made 16 appearances and scored 4 goals.
Is there really any point in trying to predict the score for a friendly game like this? Galatasaray could score a hatful if they put their mind to it, but we've been known to do quite well against bigger clubs. To a degree the score is immaterial with the important factor being that we're going to see some footballing super-stars at our club. We'll also get to see our new players for the first time, Tamika Mkandawire, Dave Winfield and Alex McQuade have all signed this close season and will all be hopeful of making a decent start against good opposition. We'll also be seeing a couple of unknown trialists too, so there's a good chance of seeing players we have yet to sign. There's also the opportunity to have a first look at this seasons new kit made by Surridge sports, it will be available from the club shop on 28th of July during the annual open day. Just for the hell of it I will make a prediction, I don’t tend to predict a town loss so I'll go for a 2-2 draw and plenty of entertainment.
Graham Turner’s thoughts on the big game
Normally with a game like this we would try and reach a peak for the Saturday but like all the pre-season games we're going to continue with the hard work right up to the game time. It's vital that we get our fitness work done and that is using every day to good effect.
We're still short of players; there are still players to come in before the big kick off. We haven't started working yet on the team shape, as I say it's still very much into the fitness programme at the moment and it will be a big test for us against Galatasaray.
I think it's inevitable that there will be 1 or 2 trialists involved, I think the bulk of the side starting will be our own players and possibly the trialists will get on at some point during the game.
On the transfer situation....
We're still waiting on clubs, on players, on agents. There are players who are out of work to all intents and purposes, their contracts are finished and yet we can’t get answers from them. There are experienced players who have never experienced something like this before, their out of work and there are no clubs interested in them apart from ourselves and yet they still won’t give us an answer. What we haven't got to do, and I've got to make sure of this, is that we don’t rush in desperate and just take players. I think we'll regret that for months to come. So it is still making sure we bring the right in. I don’t want to panic; I don’t want to bring people in just for the sake of it. It could be that 3 new signings perhaps will be loan players; it's the best quality players that we can get, that are the obvious aim. If it's got to be loan players, and that's several we're working on at the moment, we're waiting for answers early next week on at least 3 of the players we've been talking to. A lot of the teams are away in training camps and so it's not always easy to get a definitive answer from managers and chief executives at the moment.