In the week leading up to Turkey's fiery Istanbul derby, Galatasaray president Adnan Polat found himself hunting a new manager after terminating the contract of under-fire Dutchman Frank Rijkaard who orchestrated a less than impressive start to the season. Polat turned to two familiar faces in Romanian legend Gheorghe Hagi, voted the greatest ever foreign player for Galatasaray, and ex-player Tugay Kermioglu to turn around the club's dire domestic fortunes.
Rijkaard's stuttering start in the Galatasaray hot seat has left Cim Bom in 9th position with just 4 wins from 8 games and left the Galatasaray President no choice but terminate his contract after over a year in the position.
Just 48 hours before the crunch derby which brings Istanbul to a stand-still, the legendary Romanian Gheorghe Hagi signed a 2-and-a-half year deal with the club he made 150 appearances for. It's a sensible approach considering Hagi played in a number of Istanbul derbies over 5 years and that he has already managed the club in 2004-2005 in which he led Cim Bom to the Turkish Cup with a stunning 5-1 win over Fenerbahce.
Hagi, who also had spells at Barcelona and Real Madrid, was introduced to the media on Friday and said: “Galatasaray’s philosophy is always about winning. So, when Galatasaray is playing against Fenerbahçe, it will play for nothing less than a win. That is what Galatasaray’s history and Galatasaray’s philosophy is all about.” His appointment gives him just 2 days to prepare for Cim Bom's trip to Fenerbahce - a venue they have not won in since 2000.
The new coach also added: "I know a lot of problems here. My philosophy is straight forward. It is a collective good will try to create harmony. The players confidence is endless. But they always want to play for the team. A true team, the team exits the field, will play the champion. Organized, disciplined, I want to build a team. I want to set up a number of field work in the best way. All you have to go to win the match. I always believe that we will be successful together."
Hagi and Tugay's appointment might just galvanise Cim Bom against a Fenerbahce side who have not been doing too well themselves. Both Istanbul sides saw early European elimination and Fenerbahce are in 4th with just 5 wins from 8 games but the tightness and unpredictability of the Turkish SuperLig sees Trabzonspor - one of the 4 SuperLig winners in history, Kayserispor - led by Shota Arveladze and reigning Turkish champions Bursaspor leading the way on 17 points with the 'Yellow Canaries' a point behind.