With Beşiktaş edging towards the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals after putting in some thrilling European performances this season, UEFA.com picks through the Black Eagles’ feathers.
Nicknames: The Black Eagles
UEFA club competition honours
Domestic honours (most recent triumph in brackets)
• League title: 14 (2016)
• Turkish Cup: 9 (2011)
• Not everyone calls them the Black Eagles. Snarky rivals call them the Coachmen. Why? The multi-sport club’s founder members in the early 1900s were often the children of high-ranking pashas – officials in the Ottoman Empire – and were well-heeled enough to be taken to their training sessions by (horse-drawn) coach.
• They have a fortress. The Black Eagles are unbeaten in the league and in Europe at the Beşiktaş Arena, which staged its first game on 11 April 2016, a 3-2 Süper Lig victory against Bursaspor. Their record would have been entirely flawless but for a 1-0 Turkish Cup loss to arch-rivals Fenerbahçe in February: as it is W16 D7 L1 is not bad.
• They have a home to be proud of. The suburb of Besiktas is an affluent one and offers superb views from the north bank of the Bosphorus. Beşiktaş Arena, meanwhile, was voted the second best stadium in the world by a jury of architects in a recent survey.
• They are the only side to have won the Turkish league unbeaten since its foundation in 1959. The campaign was 1991/92, when – under English coach Gordon Milne, a former Liverpool midfielder – they ended with the record P30 W23 D7 L0.
• They were huge in the early 1990s. That sensational 1991/92 season was the second in a run of three straight title successes under Milne, their eighth, ninth and tenth in total. His six-and-a-half-year tenure (from 1987 to 1994) remains the longest single spell in charge for any Süper Lig coach.
• Beşiktaş still boast the Turkish league’s longest unbeaten sequence and longest winning streak. That 1991/92 triumph came in the midst of a 48-game undefeated run, while none of their rivals have been able to match their 13 consecutive victories in the 1959/60 campaign.
• They secured the biggest win in the history of Turkey’s professional league. In the 10-0 mauling of Adana Demirspor in October 1989, homegrown heroes Metin Tekin (3), Ali Gültiken (4) and Feyyaz Uçar (3) all scored hat-tricks. The cult surrounding the Metin-Ali-Feyyaz (aka MAF) triumvirate began there, fans singing songs in their honour from then on. Interestingly, Beşiktaş also share with Galatasaray the record for the league’s biggest away win, having prevailed 9-1 at Hacettepe in 1959/60.
• They were watched by the biggest attendance in Süper Lig history. Unfortunately, they were the away team and lost 2-1 in front of a 76,127 crowd at Galatasaray’s Ali Sami Yen Stadium on 22 September 2013.
• They claim to have the world’s noisiest supporters. Beşiktaş lag behind Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe in terms of number of fans, (their capital rivals are backed by 33% and 29% respectively of the Turkish population), but their faithful are regarded as the most fervent. Notably, a cheer of 132db was recorded in the wake of their 2-1 UEFA Champions League win against Liverpool on 24 October 2007 – approximately equivalent to the sound of a military jet taking off.
• Their passion can get the better of them. Beşiktaş remain the only team in Süper Lig history to have had five players sent off in a game, the dismissals of Antônio Carlos Zago, İbrahim Üzülmez, Ahmet Yıldırım, Daniel Pancu and İlhan Mansız forcing their home fixture against Samsunspor on 24 January 2004 to be abandoned after 84 minutes with the visitors leading 4-1. Samsunspor were given a 4-0 forfeit win afterwards.