Graeme Souness recreates infamous Galatasaray moment as he waves giant flag during title party

Graeme Souness recreates his famous Galatasaray moment as he waves a giant flag during his former club’s title celebrations… 27 years after planting one in the middle of bitter rivals Fenerbahce’s pitch

  • Souness returned to Galatasaray to watch them lift the Turkish Super Lig title
  • Before the trophy lift took place, he walked out onto the pitch waving a giant flag
  • The Scot infamously planted a flag on Fenerbahce’s pitch back in April 1996

Graeme Souness is best remembered in Turkey as the manager who controversially planted a Galatasaray flag in the centre of Fenerbahce’s pitch – and on Sunday night he rolled back the years to recreate the infamous moment.

Souness, who enjoyed a year as Galatasaray boss in the mid-1990s, returned to his former club to watch them lift the Turkish Super Lig title after their 3-0 win over Fenerbahce.

After clinching their first championship in four years, the celebrations were in full swing at Galatasaray’s NEF Stadium as they swept aside their bitter rivals, and they even invited their old manager back to join the party.

While the stage was being set up for the trophy lift, Souness walked out onto the pitch waving a giant flag almost identical to the one he planted on Fenerbahce’s pitch 27 years ago.

During his stint as manager, the Scot infamously stormed onto the pitch and stuck a Galatasaray flag on Fenerbahce’s centre circle after the second leg of the 1996 Turkish Cup final at their Sukru Saracoglu Stadium.

The former boss recreated his iconic flag moment

Graeme Souness recreated his iconic moment as Galatasaray manager by waving a giant flag at their title party on Sunday night

Souness’ side had just claimed the trophy thanks to Dean Saunders’ winner in extra-time, and he celebrated it with a controversial gesture which almost sparked a riot in Istanbul.

The flag only remained in place for a couple of seconds before being ripped out by a Fenerbahce fan, though that was more than enough to spark furious scenes as objects rained down while he sprinted down the tunnel shielded by police.

The moment went down in Galatasaray folklore and fans paid tribute to Souness with an enormous tifo of the flag incident in 2014.

His actions were likened to those of the Ottoman general Ulubatli Hasan, who raised the flag of victory at the Siege of Constantinople in 1453. Galatasaray fans still refer to their former manager as ‘Ulubatli Souness.’

While he didn’t stick it in the turf on this occasion, Souness was brought out onto the pitch to wave the same flag after their win over Fenerbahce on Sunday night in a clear reference to the incident.

Looking back on his iconic moment as Galatasaray boss, he said on Sky Sports’ The Football Show in 2020:¬†‘When I first went there nine months earlier, one of their [Fenerbahce’s] vice-presidents questioned Galatasaray’s wisdom in signing a “cripple”, referring to me with the heart operation I’d had.

‘A year later, we won the trophy in their stadium and we go over to where our supporters are and a big flag is handed over the wire fence.

‘All the players take a few waves of the flag, it’s handed to me and I have a few waves and look to hand it to someone. But there was no one to hand it on to as all the players had gone back to the halfway line to get the cup. So I’m jogging to the halfway line with this great big flag in my hand.

The former Liverpool midfielder spent a year in charge of Galatasaray in the mid-1990s

The former Liverpool midfielder spent a year in charge of Galatasaray in the mid-1990s

His controversial move to plant a flag in the middle of Fenerbahce's pitch nearly sparked riots

His controversial move to plant a flag in the middle of Fenerbahce’s pitch nearly sparked riots

Souness emulated the iconic moment after Galatasaray's win over Fenerbahce on Sunday

Souness emulated the iconic moment after Galatasaray’s win over Fenerbahce on Sunday

‘I’m looking into the stands that are emptying, I’m looking into the director’s box and saw this guy’s face. He was standing up.

‘I thought, ‘I’ll show you who’s a cripple”, which was not the smartest thing I’ve ever done in my life. I managed to get the flag in after about the third attempt into the centre circle and turned around to see supporters now climbing the fences to get onto the pitch.

‘So I found a bit of pace from somewhere, sprinted into the tunnel and got away with it. I’m sitting in the dressing room afterwards thinking “that’s me, I’ll be finished, I’ll have a plane ticket and be off tomorrow.”

‘Our board came in 10 minutes later with tears in their eyes, saying “this is the greatest thing that’s ever happened to the football club.” I’ve never kissed so many moustachioed men in my life.

‘It wasn’t a thing directed at Fenerbahce, it was directed at this guy who said unkind things about me.’



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