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13th Jul 2015

Is there any player, ever, who Turkish fans WOULDN’T mob upon arrival at the airport?

They know how to make you feel welcome.

Will Slattery

They love a name, any name.

Whenever a Turkish club sign an outsider, their fans go crazy. Flares at the airport, countless chants, lots of hair-tussling and backslaps – the Turks certainly know how to welcome a new player.

Robin van Persie was the latest foreigner to receive the Ultra-treatment. Even his uncool vest didn’t put the Fenerbahce fans from celebrating the Dutchman.

It got us talking in the office though – Is there any player in the history of football who Turkey fans WOULDN’T mob upon arrival at the airport?

After all, Kenny Miller (!) was given a hero’s welcome at the airport when he signed for Bursaspor in 2011. You might need to read that sentence again to let it properly sink in. Kenny Miller. Hero’s welcome.

The Besiktas supporters were so enamored with Les Ferdinand upon his arrival on loan that they sacrificed a goat in his honour. And Dutch midfielder Wesley Sneijder was greeted by flares outside the airport after being bought by Galatasaray.

Meanwhile in England, Glen Johnson’s unveiling as a Stoke player over the weekend was certainly more low-key.

But to answer the question initially posed in this piece, until Sean St Ledger signs with a Turkish club, we won’t truly know the depths their fans will go to before they fail to turn up on the runway of an airport dressed for battle.

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