The Analysis of the Opinions of Supporters of a Football Team in the Turkish Super League; Before and After the Same Game

ABSTRACT

This study has been conducted in Turkey by asking a 15-question-lichert type of survey in order to obtain the before and after opinions of 45 Besiktas Gymnastics Sports Club’s football fans from Ankara who went to Besiktas Gymnastics Sports Club’s ( BJK) UEFA second semi-final match versus S.S. Lazio Club that took place in Istanbul on the 20th of March 2003 and returned from the match together on the same bus. Besiktas lost this game. The score was 2-0.

The survey questions the effects of players’, referee’s, spectators’, coach’s individual success and errors, the players’ being unable to play because of injury or penalty and weather conditions on the final score of the game. The survey was prepared by consulting experts’ opinions.

At the end of the research, the below results on the differences of opinion before and after the game were obtained in order of importance:

Before the game, it was thought that the game was to be won by Besiktas (most likely 82%, least likely 82%). The players are to blame for losing the game (most likely 60%, likely 40%).

The coach is unsuccessful, he couldn’t direct the game well and he couldn’t interfere at the right time (most likely 58%, very unlikely 51%). The host team did not have any advantages or could not use this advantage (most likely 56%).

The negative weather conditions did not affect the team’s failure or in other words there were no negative weather conditions during the game (not likely 53%). The players had individual failures (least likely 51%). The goal and problem we aimed to achieve at the end of this research have been achieved. Except for the sub-problem that is the player’s being unable to play because of injury or penalty affecting the game, all the other sub problem’s statistics have been defined as important. Supporters think that their team will definitely win before the game without accepting any excuses but after the defeat, they list all the causes of defeat one by one. Before the game, these causes are not even thought as a probability.

INTRODUCTION

Today supporting a football team is in such a position that it eliminates cultural differences. Intellectual, educated, uneducated, employed, unemployed people are all supporters of their team in the grandstand. What separates these people from each other is not the dosage of fanatics but their response to it. The supporters in the grandstand always want their team to win. The colors in the grandstand have a meaning only when they belong to their team. The supporters can give up everything for the sake of their team. When they have intensive worry or reaction, supporters even commit suicide in Turkey. Although supporters give more than they should for their team, they might receive the least in return. Supporters can change their love in moments of desperation but not their team; they would never go to another team. For the supporter, supporting his team and defending it is as natural a passion as eating or drinking. The game football is not simply a symbol of colors that reflect the social system but it is a social action that unites all the colors. In Turkey, the supporters are all actively involved in this action. The emotional responsibility or reaction towards one’s team sometimes obstructs being objective and thus supporters always want their team to win. Below are the short headlines of the explanation of some of the factors that affect the result of football match in Turkey.

Supporter and Spectator:

“Spectator is the person who watches the game, show, performance or sports competitions in its exact place. According to a study of social psychology, spectators are considered as a group. The approach that defines spectators as “A group made up of individuals that come together in order to meet certain needs” is in accordance with football spectators (Acet, 2001).On the other hand, “A football supporter/fan is a person who is emotionally devoted to a sports event”. As it is understood from these definitions, a football supporter and a football spectator are different concepts. Being a spectator is a superior state that includes football fanaticism; every spectator may not be a football supporter (Kayaoglu, 2000). Most of the spectators are not just spectators. Moreover, just like religious fanatics participating in religious ceremonies, these spectators are real fanatics that can remember previous games very well and plan for future games very well and are extremely devoted to their football team giving it more importance than their colleagues, their friends, their family or important days for them (Sloan, 1979). According to Meri (1999), football supporters are a kind of group that represents the popular Turkish football culture in a micro economic social standpoint and its revival. “There are four elements of football which engrosses millions of people’s attention. These are: the sportsman (footballer), technical staff and director (football coach), spectators and media. Among these, the most honest and sincere is the crowd of spectators. A supporter of a football club is a part of the team whether it wins or loses” (Talimciler, 2003).

Social Identity and Supporter:

The emotional responsibility that comes with supporting a team consciously or unconsciously becomes a part of person’s life. “People find the support they have been looking for at times in religion at times in the team they support. This means by supporting a team, a lot of people change their status from crowd that has unlimited opportunities to a group that has a lot in common” (Imamoglu, 1991). “Football is the most collective among all the social sense of belongings and cultural forms” (Meri, 1999). The widespread of shared fanaticism makes an individual feel stronger. In other words, an individual feels stronger by relying on the protection of a strong and crowded group of people. In Turkey, “people in the society feel themselves under pressure when they can’t fulfill their economic and social needs. By identifying themselves with their team, they try to satisfy their own feelings of pride and confidence when their team succeeds” (nlcan, 1998). Whatever the conditions or circumstances are, the supporter always feels that he can contribute to his team physically and spiritually and that his team needs his support. According to Fin (1994), supporters see themselves as the morale guards of their team even though they don’t participate in the decision making process and they perceive themselves as deflated or diminished. Supporters’ belief that the team belongs to them seems to mislead the financial truth. But the claim that the team belongs to them should not be taken as a financial one, it should be seen as a manifest of the belief that the team is a part of them because of the intensive devotion they feel towards their team.

Supporter and the Referee:

Generally and briefly, a referee is responsible for directing the team. In other words, “a referee is the most designated person of the game; he is the symbol of the rules, limitations and honesty” (Ycel, 1998). As referees draw the line between the rights of one team and the other, it is a difficult job. To finish this job with the least number of errors is only possible with the harmony of experience, knowledge and wisdom. A referee is “out of sight and out of mind as much as he accomplishes to put forward these qualifications properly. A word is enough to describe him and his job. However, he is in the foreground as much as he deviates from the rules (Ycel, 1998). “There is no such thing as defeat for supporters. Therefore, most often referees are not appreciated by either the winning or the losing team” (Kilcigil, 2002).

Supporter and the Footballer:

Some footballers are remembered by some names. Nicknames such as “Brain” and “Professor” describe their styles “in the football field”. Just like everything that addresses to the big masses, footballers’ behaviors in and out of the field may affect some people. For example, a footballer with a high excitement level has the opportunity to direct the society that are there for the same purpose, shares similar feelings and gets their power from their unity. To be in front of the societies naturally brings some responsibilities. The first responsibility of a footballer is to his club, but there is an important point here to consider; “the club’s supporters”. Because they themselves are the team’s spiritual owners and they watch every step of the footballer very carefully. They want a share of the footballer, that is, when they go to a football game, the footballer should play very well and win. At this point, the footballer’s responsibility is conveyed to the supporters; the masses. Today, we can say that what makes football so important is “the supporter”. Therefore, the footballer’s most important duty, according to the supporters, is to make them happy. According to the supporters that say “we created you; we made you who you are”, the footballer should get on well with the supporters and should be able to live up to their expectations. Otherwise, he will be unwanted and the supporters will cheer against him in every game. The cheer “The best in Turkey are the spectators, footballers are impostors” were made up after a game that was expected to be won was lost.

Supporters and Technical Director:

“As he is experienced in football, as there are a lot of people training the team; and as there can be more than one coach or trainers in a team; the person with the most authority is called the “technical director” (Ycel, 1998). Technical Directors, along with their responsibility to train the footballers and the team the best way for the games, also have individual social, cultural duties and responsibilities. With his responsibility towards the supporters of his team or to public opinion of the sports society, his speech before and after the game, his behavior, and his reactions, he should be able to set example and not do these for the sake of winning the game. Reactions that might lead to violence in the football supporters who hide all sorts of their identity and sense of belonging in their fanaticism in Turkey should not be given. The supporter although wanting his expectations to be met firstly by the footballer conveys this expectation indirectly to the technical director. The technical director is responsible to the supporter for all the team members whereas the footballer is only responsible for himself. “Therefore a technical director is often likened to a “commander” or an “orchestra conductor”; he is said to direct the game well or bad; use his baton well or bad” (Ycel, 1998). As it can be understood from above, the technical director of a team is not only the person that directs the game, the team technically but he is also the person that directs the pulse of the supporters’ and lays the groundwork for the positive and negative events with his behavior towards the footballers and the referee.

MATERIAL AND METHODS

This study has been conducted in Turkey by asking a 15-question-lichert type of survey in order to obtain the before and after opinions of 45 Besiktas Sports Club’s football fans from Ankara who went to Besiktas Gymnastics Sports Club’s ( BJK) UEFA second semi-final match versus S.S. Lazio Club that took place in Istanbul on the 20th of March 2003 and returned from the match together on the same bus. It is difficult to ask the same questions after the game that had been answered by the same people before the game in terms of research technique (just like gathering the same group whose upset after the game that was lost 2-0 and asking them to answer the survey questions). This means that although the study group consists of 45 people; there are 90 answer sheets. It is assumed that football players, referees, spectators, coach’s individual success and errors, the players’ being unable to play because of injury or penalty, the team’s being the host team or not and weather conditions are all factors that can affect the final score of the game. The first stage of the study was conducted before the game on the bus from Ankara to Istanbul. The study group was asked to put a code or sign on the survey they have answered so that the same survey could be given to them after the game. After the game, the same people answered the questions at the back of the survey whose first page they had already answered before the game. The data that was obtained after the game has been analyzed according to Z test method by comparing the ratio and percentage distribution. The difference of the views has been evaluated in the range between p < 0.01 and p < 0.05. That there is a difference between the views of football supporters before and after their team’s game, that this difference is an important one and that this research is the first on its subject in Turkey are all factors that contribute to the growing importance of this research.

FINDINGS

Table 1

The data concerning the views of the football supporters before and after the game in terms of the effect of winning this game on the final score of the game

Alternatives Before the game After the game The results of the Z Test in comparing the ratios Interpretation level
n % n % Difference
Not likely 0 0.00 37 82.22 -0.82 Important (p<0.01)
Least likely 2 0.00 5 11.11 -0.11 Important (p<0.01)
Likely 7 15.56 2 4.44 0.11 Not important
Most likely 38 84.44 1 2.22 0.82 Important (p<0.01)

Table 2

The data concerning the views of the football supporters before and after the game in terms of the effect of losing this game on the final score of the game

Alternatives Before the game After the game The results of the Z Test in comparing the ratios Interpretation level
n % n % Difference
Not likely 34 75.56 1 2.22 0.73 Important (p<0.01)
Least likely 9 20.00 0 0.00 0.20 Important (p<0.01)
Likely 2 4.44 7 15.56 -0.11 Not important
Most likely 0 0.00 37 82.22 -0.82 Important (p<0.01)

Table 3

The data concerning the views of football supporters before and after the game in terms of the effects of individual errors of the footballers on the final score of the game

Alternatives Before the game After the game The results of the Z Test in comparing the ratios Interpretation level
n % n % Difference
Not likely 0 0.00 0 0.00 0.00 Not important
Least likely 9 20 4 8.89 0.11 Not important
Likely 33 73.33 11 24.44 0.49 Important (p<0.01)
Most likely 3 6.67 30 66.67 -0.60 Important(p<0.01)

Table 4

The data concerning the views of the football supporters before and after the game in terms of the effects of the tactical success of the technical director(directing the game well, interfering at the right time) on the final score of the game

Alternatives Before the game After the game The results of the Z Test in comparing the ratios Interpretation level
n % n % Difference
Not likely 0 0.00 14 31.11 -0.31 Important (p<0.01)
Least likely 0 0.00 23 51.11 -0.51 Important (p<0.01)
Likely 16 35.56 5 11.11 0.24 Important (p<0.01
Most likely 29 64.44 3 6.67 0.58 Important (p<0.01)

Table 5

The data concerning the views of the football supporters before and after the game in terms of the effect of being the host team on the final score of the game

Alternatives Before the game After the game The results of the Z Test in comparing the ratios Interpretation level
n % n % Difference
Not likely 0 0.00 15 33.33 -0.33 Important (p<0.01)
Least likely 1 2.22 19 42.22 -0.40 Important (p<0.01)
Likely 14 31.11 6 13.33 0.18 Important (p<0.01)
Most likely 30 66.67 5 11.11 0.56 Important (p<0.01)

Table 6

The data concernng the views of the football supporters before and after the game in terms of the effects of negative weather conditions or the field’s having a bad ground on the final score of the game

Alternatives Before the game After the game The results of the Z Test in comparing the ratios Interpretation level
n % n % Difference
Not likely 11 24.4 35 77.78 -0.53 Important (p<0.01)
Least likely 17 37.78 7 15.56 0.22 Important (p<0.01)
Likely 15 33.33 1 2.22 0.31 Important (p<0.01
Most likely 2 4.44 2 4.44 0.00 Not important

Table 7

The data concerning the views of the football supporters before and after the game in terms of the effects of individual success of the footballers on the final score of the game

Alternatives Before the game After the game The results of the Z Test in comparing the ratios Interpretation level
n % n % Difference
Not likely 0 0.00 15 33.33 -0.33 Important (p<0.01)
Least likely 1 2.22 24 53.33 -0.51 Important (p<0.01)
Likely 24 53.33 4 8.89 0.44 Important (p<0.01)
Most likely 20 44.44 2 4.44 0.40 Important(p<0.01)

CONCLUSION AND DISCUSSION

During this study conducted on the March 20, 2003 Besiktas Gymnastics Sports Club’s football team (BJK) lost the football match against S.S Lazio Club’s football team 2-0. The data findings refer to the answers of the views’ of the supporters before and after the game. The evaluation is based on the statistical level of interpretation of the difference in the views before and after the game.

Table 1: As it was not considered that the team would lose before the game, the alternatives “not likely” and “least likely” (both zero %), these alternatives increased as the game was lost in the end: “not likely” (82.22% and “least likely” (11.11%). The difference between before and after the game for the alternative “not likely” (82%) is at a statistically important level p < 0.01and the alternative “least likely” (difference is 11%) is at a statistically important level p< 0.05.

The probability of winning the game seen as “likely” (15.56%) before the game decreased to 4.44% after the game. But the difference is not important.

Before the game the team was thought as “most likely” to win before the game (84.44%). But as the game was lost, this percentage declined to 2.22%; the difference being 82% is at a statistically important level p< 0.01.

Table 2: As the team was considered “not likely” to lose the game before the match (75.56%), this percentage decreased to 2.22% with the loss of the game. The difference is 73% and is at a statistically important level p<0.01.

As the team was thought “least likely” to lose the game before the match (20%); this alternative was not ticked at all after the game (zero %). The reason is that with the loss of the game, most of the people answered the alternative “most likely”. The difference is 20% and is at a statistically important level p< 0.01.

When we look at the alternative “likely” before and after the game (4.44%, 15.56%); the difference between them (11%) is statistically not important.

The alternative “most likely to lose” is given no chance (0%) as the team was thought to win; with the loss of the game this percentage increased greatly (82.22%). The difference is 82% and is at a statistically important level p<0.01.

Table 3: The study group considered the loss of the game due to individual errors of the footballers as “not likely” and “least likely” (not important). But although the same group that said the individual errors of the footballers were “likely” (73.33%) to affect the game before the game changed their views to “likely” (24.44%) (The difference is 49%); from the statistical point (p< 0.01), it was observed that the footballer’s individual errors were “likely” to affect the loss of the game. The supporters that said that the footballers were not going to make individual errors (6.67%) before the game revealed after the game the footballers made mistakes during the game (66.67%) and that these “most likely” (66.67%) affected the loss of the game (difference 60%) (Important: p< 0.01).>

Table 4: Although before the game the technical director’s success was seen as “likely” and “most likely” ( 35.56% and 64.44%) before the game; no chance was given to the alternatives “not likely” and “least likely” (0%).

After the game, “not likely” and “least likely”( 31.11% and 51.11%) differed than those before the game (0%) creating a 31% and 51% difference and became important p< 0.01.

When we combine this result we obtained from table 7 that technical director’s errors were different looking at the percentages of the alternatives “least likely” “most likely” before and after the game and that this was at a statistically important level, with the result from table 8; the expectation that the technical director was to succeed can be interpreted as certifying his failure in the end.

There has been a decrease in the percentages which reflected that technical director’s success would “likely” affect the final score of the game before the game (35.56) and after the game (11.11%). The difference is 24% and is important p< 0.01.

The percentages of those who expected a “most likely” success from the technical director before the game (64.44%) decreased (6.67%) making the difference between these (58%) important p< 0.01.

Table 5: As being the host team was seen as an advantageous thing before the game: the alternatives “not likely” (zero %) and “least likely” (2.22%); these opinions changed after the game; “not likely” (33.33%) and “least likely” (42.22%) and increased (the difference 33% and 40%). These are at a statistically important level p< 0.01.

Before the game as being the host team was thought to be advantageous the alternative “likely” was 31.11% before the game; this is seen as not advantageous after the game. The difference between the percentages of after and before the game are 18% and are at a statistically important level p< 0.05.

The most important alternative that being the host team “most likely” affects the outcome of the game before the game (66.67%) changed their opinions completely making this alternative have the least percentage (11.11%) after the game. The difference is 56% and is at a statistically important level p< 0.01.

As this is seen as one of the most important reasons of losing the game; it is thought that the advantage of being the host team was not used by the team itself.

Table 6: Although before the game the percentages reflecting that it was “not likely” “least likely” and “likely” that the weather conditions might affect the success of the team were high before the game, the percentage stating it was “least likely” before the game was statistically not important. Although the alternative “not likely” was kept in mind before the game (24.44%), it increased greatly after the game (77.78%). This most important difference for this question made it to be more likely than the other alternatives and it made this statistically important p< 0.01. The negative weather conditions did not affect the team’s failure. During the game, the weather conditions were not unfavorable. The “least likely” probability before the game (37.78%) declined after the game (15.56%). The difference between these (22%) is at a statistically important level p< 0.01.

The answer “likely” which was an important alternative before the game (33.33%) became unimportant after the game (2.22%). The difference is 22% and at a statistically important level p< 0.01. There were no unfavorable or negative weather conditions during the game and the weather conditions during the game did not affect the team’s failure.

The alternative “most likely” before and after the game is more or less the same (4.44%); it is statistically not important as well as it shows that no unfavorable weather condition took place during the game and the weather conditions did not affect the team negatively and did not contribute to the team’s failure.

Table 7: The alternative: “not likely” was not chosen before the game; this proved that the team’s success was expected rather than the individual success of the footballers before the game. But after the game the same alternative increased to (33.33%) and the footballers were considered as unsuccessful (33.33 %) (Important: p< 0.01).

By choosing the “least likely” alternative again team success was expected rather than individual success of the footballers’ (2.22%), but after the game it was said that the game was lost due to the footballer’s individual failures (53.33%). (the difference is 51%; important: p< 0.01).

It was observed that there was a decrease in the alternative “Likely” (53.33%) referring to supporters that expected individual success of the footballers after the game (difference 0.44%; important: p< 0.01). Those who viewed success as certain by choosing “most likely” (44.44%) before the game evaluated the footballers as unsuccessful after the game (difference 40%, important: p< 0.01).

In conclusion, when all the tables are considered in view of their importance (The important percentages of the Z test results in the tables are bold and underlined):

  1. The thought of winning the game is first (least likely 82%; most likely 82%; Tables 1-2).
  2. The players are to blame for losing the game (most likely 60%, likely 49%; Table 3).
  3. Technical director is unsuccessful, he could not direct the game well and he did not interfere well-timed and appropriately (most likely 58%, least likely 51%; Table 4).
  4. Being the host team had no advantages or this advantage has not been used (most likely 56%; Table 5).
  5. The unfavorable weather conditions did not have any effect in the game’s failure or in other words there has not been any unfavorable weather condition during the game (not likely 53%; Table 6).
  6. The footballers have individual errors and failures (least likely 51%; Table 7).

At the end of the research, the aim and problem has been achieved; all the problems except for the sub-problem “the players’ being unable to play due to injury or penalty” proved themselves statistically important. In Turkey, supporters believe that their team will definitely win no matter what happens before the game but start listing reasons for losing the game after the defeat. These reasons are not viewed even as likelihood before the game or considered little as they have unimportant percentages

REFERENCES

1. Acet, M., (2001), “Factors that Steer Football Spectators Towards Fanaticism and Violence”, Marmara University Institute of Medical Sciences Department of Physical Education and Sports PhD. Thesis, pages 16,20-21,23,29-30,36-37,115-117,119-122,126, Istanbul

2. Finn, G., (1994), Football Violence: A Social Psychological Perspective, in “Football Violance and Social Identity”, (ed. R, Gulianotti, N. Bonney, and H., Hepwort), London: Routledge

3. Imamoglu, O., (1991), “Sportsmen’s and Spectators’ Health”, Marmara University Institute of Medical Sciences Department of Physical Education and Sports, PhD Thesis, page 333, Istanbul

4. Kayaoglu, A. G.(2000), “Football Fanaticism, Social Identity and Violence, A study conducted on football supporter”, Ankara University Institute of Social Sciences Department of (Social) Psychology. PhD Thesis, pages 12-15,54-57, Ankara

5. Kilcigil, E., (2002), “Preferring to go to the stadiums instead of watching the matches on television on a soccer team fans in super league” Performance, volume:8, Number 1-2, 10-29

6. Meri, ., ( 1999) “Towards a Conscious Society” Ayyildiz Magazine, page 28

7. Sloan, L.R., (1979), The Function and Impact of Sport for Fans: A Review of Theory and Contemporary Research in H.J., Goldstein, (ed), Sports, Games and Play, (Ed: H., J., Goldstein) Social and Psychological Viewpoints, Hillsdale, Laurence, Erlbaum Associates, New Jersey

8. Talimciler, A., (2003), Football Fanaticism in Turkey and its relation with Media, Baglam Publishing, pages 21,29,33, Istanbul

9. nlcan, ., (1998), “Types of Violence in Turkish Football Spectators”, Marmara University Institute of Medical Sciences Department of Physical Education and Sports, M.A Thesis, pages 14,18, Istanbul

10. Ycel, T., (1998), From the Discourses, Yapi Kredi Publishing, pages 36-37, 43, Istanbul


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