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Found out again? Crisis as Advocaat & Lens find their Turkish dream unraveling

Crisis at Fenerbahçe as the club who have either been crowned champions or runners-up in the Turkish league on fourteen occasions in the last sixteen years find themselves currently languishing in fourth place and facing exit from the Europa League. Dick Advocaat, fresh from being dubbed the 'worst coach' the Istanbul outfit has had this century, is on the attack claiming none of this is his fault and that he might walk away. Familiar noises perhaps for Sunderland fans as Advocaat and Jeremain Lens' Turkish delight is rapidly turning sour.

Fenerbahce SK v Manchester United FC - UEFA Europa League Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images

It's now a year and a half since Dick Advocaat walked out on Sunderland. The 4th of October 2015 was the date the veteran Dutch coach departed after overseeing six defeats and two draws in the opening eight fixtures of last season.

Manchester United v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

It feels like longer - so much has happened at the Stadium of Light since. But, is it fair to say that Sunderland supporters would be unlikely to feel much sympathy for the veteran coach as he now finds himself under pressure in his latest job and threatening to walk away as history threatens to repeat itself? Perhaps.

Most Sunderland fans have warm memories of the managers who have overseen our great escapes in recent years. Despite their failings or the way things turned out at the Stadium of Light, Gus Poyet, Sam Allardyce and even Paolo Di Canio are remembered with fondness just for their part in lifting Sunderland sufficiently for a few weeks to engineer an adrenaline-busting survival bid. And, Dick Advocaat joins the list too of course, but something doesn't feel quite the same in the Dutchman's case.

There's just a hint of bad taste about the way he wandered off from Sunderland - muttering about money and retirement only to land himself back in a job minutes after he left. Advocaat took up a coaching role with the Netherlands national side before taking the position of Technical Director with Fenerbahçe after he left Wearside.

Not that anyone associated with Sunderland holds an awful lot against Dick Advocaat - it just didn't work out. And it wasn't his fault that he was begged into coming back after his initial escapology act. Then once here he spent his few weeks in the Stadium of Light hot-seat telling the club they hadn't furnished him with sufficient resources to build a team that would be capable of pulling itself clear of the perpetual relegation battle at Sunderland. And he was proved right. Just.

That said, it was his fault that Sunderland played with an astonishing tactical naivety under him and were thumped most weeks during his brief tenure. And then of course Sam Allardyce arrived and managed to fashion a sequence of mid-table form to turn Advocaat's hopeless bottom of the league squad into one that survived last season.

Manchester United v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

And since he left, it all just leaves a little bit more bad taste. Advocaat has been the most vocal of Ellis Short's appointments to criticise the club after his departure. But none of it has been constructive or helpful.

It's hard not to agree with elements of what the Dutchman has said of course - that Sunderland don't invest sufficiently in the transfer market to do anything other than struggle. The evidence is laid bare in the league table each season for that one. But Advocaat's use of whatever funds he did have in his one transfer window was lamentable. Jeremain Lens, Adam Matthews and Sebastian Coates saw fees of up to £15m for the trio completely wasted whilst Fabio Borini and Younes Kaboul admittedly fared rather better.

Manchester City v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

But it's the other stuff which rankles. In November Advocaat claimed it would be better if Sunderland were relegated only for his Fenerbahçe recruit Jeremain Lens to echo his manager's words a couple of months later.

And don't get us started on that one. Jeremain Lens is, as David Moyes put it, a 'disgrace'. The 29-year-old winger at times almost refused to play for Sunderland and was chastised and fined by Sam Allardyce for refusing to take part in a warm-down after one game. Then last month Lens claimed it would be better for him if Sunderland were relegated to make the prospect of him permanently transferring away from the Stadium of Light easier. Charming.

Sunderland v Manchester City - Premier League Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Well, now both men are under some pressure in Turkey. Just last week Dick Advocaat was talking up his prospects of signing a new deal with Fenerbahçe beyond his current season-long contract. But that was before his side were beaten in the Europa League by Russian club Krasnador and extended their poor form in the Turkish domestic league to three games without a win and add to pressure growing from only winning three games in 2017 so far.

One Turkish website has even worked out that Advocaat has endured the worst season so far of any manager at Fenerbahçe this century.

Mind, it's a good indication of the success that the Istanbul club's supporters expect when they're rankled that their team are currently fourth in the Süper Lig table and just six points off top spot of course. But such is life in Turkey - this is a club which has won the domestic title six times in the 21st Century and been runners-up on eight further occasions - so sitting outside the top three is unheard of.

Manchester United FC v Fenerbahce SK - UEFA Europa League Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Some Fenerbahçe fans are even plotting demonstrations against their club - a move which has prompted Advocaat to vigorously defend himself. Over the weekend, the veteran coach argued he was not responsible for players Fenerbahçe have signed and that targets he and the club had identified were unaffordable or didn't want to join.

The 69-year-old has even hinted he will walk away from the Turkish giant despite their offer of a new deal and has suggested that if the club can find a better coach than him, they should "bring him on".

As for Jeremain Lens, he was last seen issuing a rallying cry, asking fans thinking of staying away to return to the stadium in support of their team. Whether he would stay on in Turkey if Advocaat leaves may be unlikely judging by his long history of following his fellow Dutchman from club to club.

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