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Fans Around The World! An interview with Sunderland fan Mehmet in Instanbul, Turkey

In a new series, we speak to Sunderland supporters from around the world who have little or no connection to the club or the area. Yes, they CHOSE to be Sunderland supporters! Meet 17-year-old Mehmet from Istanbul, Turkey, who became infatuated with the club due to the Netflix series...

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

RR: First of all – please tell us a bit about yourself. What is your name, how old are you, and where do you come from?

My name is Mehmet Eren Savaşcı!

I am 17 years old. I live in Istanbul, Turkey.

I am currently preparing for my university exam.

RR: I must admit that your story interests me greatly. Just how does someone from Turkey end up supporting a third division team on the North East Coast of England?

I love football very much - I’ve played it for many years. Of course, I was following the Premier League, the best league in the world, and I still follow it. I have loved Sunderland ever since. Love flared up with the Netflix series. I have been following everything since the day I opened my Twitter account.

My love for the club continues to grow exponentially every day.

RR: Turkey is a country that I’ve visited on many occasions, and whilst I’ve never met a Turkish Sunderland supporter, almost everybody that you meet out there is massively passionate about football. Why is it, do you think, that the Turkish people are so in love with the beautiful game?

Turkish fans are passionate about whatever team they support. You can see this when the national team plays matches. This is a passion for them. They love football.

Police presence around the stadium
The Turkish national side took on England at the Stadium of Light back in 2003
Photo by Ben Radford/Getty Images

RR: Who is your favourite Turkish team?

The team I support is Beşiktaş. Since it was the team my father supported, I would go to the stadium to watch the matches, so I naturally I became attached to them.

RR: Sunderland are a club like no other, but I guess that fans of all clubs feel this way about the teams that they support. What do you love the most about following this club?

The biggest reason I support this club is because of the fans. Although I am far away, I feel them close to myself.

I wanted to set up such a page (on Twitter) because I wanted to be with them.

RR: How was it when Sunderland had a Turkish player in the side - Alim Ozturk? I always liked him...

I have always been proud of Alim Öztürk. His defensive game has always contributed to the team. He loved the fans. I would have liked it very much if he had stayed, but it didn’t happen.

RR: Have you ever visited the Stadium of Light?

I have never visited Stadium of Light. It is one of my biggest dreams. Watching on TV is also enjoyable, but being with the fans is a completely different situation.

RR: Is following the club from afar difficult?

It is not difficult to follow the team. I collect information from pages that follow Sunderland closely. I do not have any difficulties!

Sunderland v Wycombe Wanderers - Sky Bet League One Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

RR: Have you managed to convince any of your friends to become Sunderland supporters too?

Yes, I managed to make many of my friends Sunderland fans!

They also follow the matches like me.

RR: What is your one wish for the football club?

My only wish for the club is to reach a decent level. For example, going to the Premier League and being a club there that always competes in European competitions.

RR: And finally – a tough question! Let’s dream a bit here… if Sunderland faced off against Besiktas in the final of the Europa League (let’s be a little realistic, eh!) which team would you want to win the game and lift the trophy?!

Frankly, I would like Besiktas to win, because it is a bit difficult for our teams to reach those levels. Only Galatasaray has the European Cup and Super Cup championship. But Sunderland can play the final every year if they are at that level!

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