Avrasya Üniversitesi

Sport in Trabzon and Trabzonspor

Trabzon, with its cultural wealth, specific social structure and historical development, was one of the first provinces to set up a sports club after Galatasaray, Beşiktaş and Fenerbahçe in Istanbul, which are the oldest sports clubs in Turkey.

Intellectuals grasped the fact that sport is one of the most important factors in the education of the young, who form the majority of the population.Both intellectuals and the young, who always greet any innovation with enthusiasm, have been taking part in a wide range of sporting activities in Trabzon since 1929 and many successes have been achieved by them.

Sport has never aroused as much interest in any part of Anatolia as it has in Trabzon, and in no other province have youths raced after a ball with such alacrity as they do in Trabzon. Up to 1921 sport had been more of an individual activity, but in 1921a club known as İdmanocağı was formed, to be followed by Necmiati in 1923, İdmangücü and Sebat Gençlik in 1925, leading to the rapid growth of sport. As early as 1925, five branches of sport were being practised in Trabzon; football, athletics, wrestling, cycling and swimming.

Long before professional clubs had been set up in the provinces amateur clubs such as İdmangücü (1938), Trabzon Bölge Karması (1956), İdmanocağı (1964- 1966), Sebat Gençlik (1969) and Gençlerbirliği (1972) had become amateur football champions of Turkey.

According to Trabzon historian Mahmut Goloğlu’s account of the traveller Xenofon, the latter refers to sporting activities in the Boztepe area of Trabzon 2500 years ago; these included boxing, wrestling, athletics and equestrian events. After Trabzon had been conquered by Mehmet the Conqueror (Fatih), the area known as Kavakmeydan was used for sport.The Avni Aker Stadium, where league matches are played in Trabzon, and the l9th May Sports Hall are located in this part of the city.

At the time Yavuz Sultan Selim (Selim the Grim) was in Trabzon as Crown Prince, Kavakmeydan was used for archery. The Crown Prince would display his archery skills in this place, thus contributing to the training of other archers.

When the eminent traveller Evliya Çelebi arrived in Trabzon in 1640 he described mounted javelin games at Kavakmeydan.Historian Mahmut Goloğlu describes tennis courts in what is now Kale (castle) Park and refers to games of volleyball and even baseball.

Football, which is Trabzon’s leading sport, was first played during the Balkan War, in spite of the prohibitions of that period. It is known that members of the Sultani İdman Birliği team played matches against the pupils of Muallim Mektebi.The matches were suspended for a time due to the Russian invasiono Trabzon and the mass migration that took place at that time.

Football in the modern sense started in Trabzon in 1901.The first official club to be set up was İdmanocağı, whose colours were red and yellow. This took place on 20 January 1921. İdman Grubu was founded on 10 February 1921, and Trabzon’s first official football match took place between these two clubs. Subsequently the pupils of Muallim Mektebi and Sanayi Mektebi took part in these matches.

In 1921 a book (Association Football) translated from French by Rıza Kuğu served as a guide for the training of young sportsmen in Trabzon, together with football and other sporting actitivies.

The first athletics event in Trabzon took place on 17 March 1922 in the garden of Sanayi Mektebi and prizes were awarded to the participants.

Turkey was represented at the 1924 Paris Olympics by Süleyman Kuğu, wearing İdmanocağı colours. This achievement was talked about inTurkey for many years.

Many of the young people trained by Trabzon İdmanocağı later played for clubs in Istanbul, among them Hasan Polat, Salim Satıroğlu and Naci, all of whom were chairmen of the Turkish Football Federation.

However, it was Trabzonspor, in spite of its relatively short history, that made the name of the city famous all over Turkey. On 2 August 1967 İdmanocağı, İdmangücü, Karadeniz Gücü and Martıspor joined forces to from Trabzonspor. This Anatolian team soon made its presence felt in the Turkish league. At the end of the 1973-1974 football season Trabzonspor became Second Division Champion, and was thus prometed to the First Division. Trabzonspor has been League Champion 6 times, has won the President’s Cup 7 times, the Prime Minister’s Cup twice and the Turkish Cup 4 times.

Together with its successes in the Turkish league, Trabzonspor has also achieved a great deal in European Cup matches, making its name heard all over the world with victories over such famous teams as Liverpool, Inter, Lynn, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid in the Avni Aker Stadium.