Roman Abramovichs potential new club Goztepe and riots that plague its rival

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Roman Abramovich is rumoured to be buying a new football club after the Russian oligarch's ousting from Chelsea.

The new club is reported to have experienced 'bloody riots' in recent years, amid a difficult period for the team.

Abramovich bought Chelsea in 2003, helping the then-occasional Champions League spot challengers turn into one of football's superpowers, becoming the most successful English club in the period he took over.

After the war in Ukraine broke out, Abramovich was sanctioned by the UK government over his ties to President Vladimir Putin, who US President Joe Biden says is a 'war criminal'.

The sanctions meant that all of Ambramovich's UK assets were seized, including Chelsea, who are currently only allowed to sell tickets for certain matches.

The money that went into the West London team allowed such a period of success that fans of any other club the oligarch may purchase could become very excited.

So what is the club Abramovich could buy, and could it turn into a European giant?

Which club will Roman Abramovich buy?

  • Insane costs of Russian oligarchs' mega-yachts as 'Putin's yacht' discovered off Italy

According to reports, Abramovich is looking to buy the Turkish club Goztepe, based in the city of İzmir.

The reports come from Turkish publication Fanatik and could be a good opportunity for Abramovich to stay involved in football as Turkey continues to resist calls for sanctions on Russia.

It argues that such moves won't help in stopping Putin's war in Ukraine, so oligarchs like Abramovich may feel Turkey is a safe place to invest.

Both of his luxury yachts, Solaris and Eclipse – worth £1.3 billion – have docked in the country and were met with protests from a group of Ukrainians who attempted to prevent the boat from docking.

Who are Goztepe?

Goztepe is far from one of Turkey's most successful clubs, only winning one top tier title in 1950.

They have had brief flirtations with Europe, knocking Cardiff City of the 1969-70 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in the second round.

Like with many European clubs, 'Göz Göz' have a fierce set of ultras with a bitter rivalry with fellow Izmir club Karsiyaka.

Izmir is supposedly a 'progressive city', but this hasn't stopped tough clashes between small sections of the support that have ended in violence.

A fan is reported to have said to Hurriyet Daily News: "I don’t think you can be a true Göztepe supporter without being involved in a fight with a Karsiyaka fan."

Izmir resident Nazlan Ertan explained in 2015: "The fierce rivalry between the two… is caused by geography, history and identity, while also feeding on modern clichés.

"The supporters of the two, Goztepe’s Yali and Karsiyaka’s Carsi, have a record of violent clashes, including [in 2012] when it took 2,500 security guards to calm them down. This is no small thing for a self-declared progressive city that boasts of solving its problems with rakı and ice rather than clubs and stones."

In 2015, both sets of supporters committed to burying the hatchet in order for away fans to be able to attend derby matches once again. Violence in stadiums had led to a ban from the Turkish football authorities.

Such is the ferocity of the rivalry that the club is believed to have the highest ever match attendance for a second-tier game in world football, with 80,000 attending the match between the rivals in 1981.

The Passion: Football And The Story Of Modern Turkey, by author Patrick Keddie, said: "When Goztepe were relegated four times and ended up playing in the amateur league in 2007, their attendances were still higher than most Super League clubs."

Why could Roman Abramovich buy Goztepe?

Roman Abramovich may buy Goztepe as they are reportedly considered a club with big potential, due to their relatively high attendances, despite frequent poor form.

There may also be an opportunity as club president Mehmet Sepil, a self-made oil tycoon, has stepped away from the club.

Currently in the relegation places and 18th in the Turkish Super League, the club has still managed to have the seventh-highest average attendance for the season, with around 12,839 fans regularly attending their 20,000-seater stadium

They are currently a top tier club but, as late as 2015, the club founded in 1925 was suffering in the third tier of Turkish football.

Between 2000 and 2017, the club bounced around the leagues and even ended up in amateur football for the 2007-08 season.

Turkey's unwillingness to sanction Russia also means that the investment from an oligarch like Abramovich should be fairly straightforward, without the complications this ownership of Chelsea has now caused him.

Their most famous current player is arguably striker Franco Di Santo, formerly of Chelsea and Wigan Athletic.

  • Champions League
  • Vladimir Putin
  • Money
  • Russia
  • Roman Abramovich
  • Chelsea FC

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