Ali Sami Yen Stadium
Ali Sami Yen Stadium ( Turkish: Ali Sami Yen Stadı) was the home of the football club Galatasaray SK in Istanbul, Turkey, from 1964 to 2010. It is named after the founder of the club, Ali Sami Yen. The stadium has a capacity of 22,800 (all-seater) and is situated in the Mecidiyeköy quarter of the Åžişli district, at the center of the European side of the city. Between 1921 and 1939, Galatasaray and the two other major football clubs of Istanbul, Beşiktaş JK and Fenerbahçe SK, played their matches at the historic Taksim Stadium on Taksim Square, which was located inside the courtyard of the Ottoman era Taksim Artillery Barracks ( Taksim Topçu Kışlası) built by Sultan Abdülmecid I in the 1840s; the surrounding walls of which were transformed into tribunes. Taksim Stadium was demolished in 1939 and was replaced with the present-day Taksim Park ( Taksim Gezi Parkı) in the 1940s and 1950s. As a result, the major football teams of Istanbul had to find a new stadium to play their matches. Galatasaray Sports Club decided to build a large, modern stadium, and construction works began in 1943. Due to the difficulties faced during the World War II years, only a small stadium could initially be built, which was opened in 1945. However, construction works continued on the site and the current stadium was completed in 1964. Ali Sami Yen Stadium was inaugurated on December 14, 1964, with a friendly game between Turkey and Bulgaria. Unfortunately, tragedy struck during the opening match: in one of the stands many people fell onto the first floor, which caused numerous injuries, but luckily none of them were fatal. Spotlights were added to the stadium in 1965, and night games began to be played (the lighting system was renovated in 1993). The stadium is made up of 2 identical lateral stands which are covered by a roof: the Numaralı (Numbered) stand, where the TV cameras are located; and the Kapalı (Covered) stand, where the most fanatical team supporters usually view the games. The two other stands, behind the goal gates, are the Yeni Açık (New Open), with 2 tiers, and the Eski Açık (Old Open), with the electronic scoreboard. In the past, games were played in front of more than 35,000 spectators in this stadium, which is nicknamed "Hell" by Galatasaray's supporters because of its intimidating atmosphere and the enthusiastic support of the fans who often make mass use of torches, smoke, drums, flags and giant posters to create visual grandeur and apply psychological pressure on visiting teams. Ali Sami Yen is important for Galatasaray because it has seen many victories against renowned European football clubs, such as FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Milan, Manchester United and many others. The stadium is located in Mecidiyeköy, one of the most crowded quarters of central Istanbul, surrounded by dense urban development. In recent years, numerous proposals have been put forward to demolish the current stadium and build a larger one on the same location, but this was impossible due to the lack of space. The new home ground of Galatasaray is the newly built Türk Telekom Arena in the Seyrantepe quarter near Maslak financial district in Åžişli. The new stadium, which was opened 15 January 2011, has a capacity of 52,695 seats, making it the largest private stadium owned by a club in Turkey.

Games and tickets
A portion of the stadium, covering around 7,000 to 8,000 seats, is sold annually in the form of seasonal tickets. Average number of fans per game is around 19,000, while the stadium has a capacity of 23,000.

Stands
The best atmosphere in the stadium is in the Kapalı (Covered) stand, where the most fanatical fans congregate. For more comfort, the Numaralı (Numbered) stand is the best, but this is also the most expensive one. The stadium's most modern section is the recently rebuilt Eski Açık (Old Open) stand.

Access
Access to Ali Sami Yen is very easy, as the stadium is not far from popular tourist locations such as Taksim Square. There is a subway station near the stadium, as well as a bus stop for several lines of the Metropolitan Municipality's bus network. The subway station's name is "Åžişli/Mecidiyeköy".

Milestones
  • 1933 Galatasaray SK buys the plot in Mecidiyeköy
  • 1 December 1936 Groundbreaking
  • 1940 - 1944 Construction
  • 3 September 1944 Stadium opened as "Mecidiyeköy Stadı" and first match: Elektrik SK vs. Emniyet SK
  • 24 September 1944 First Galatasaray SK match vs. Süleymaniye SK (7-0)
  • 1945 Construction of a single 15,000 concrete stand
  • 1945-1964 Galatasaray SK used it as a training field
  • 1954 Brazl's National Football team used it as training field
  • 20 December 1964 Stadium opened as "Ali Sami Yen Stadı" and first match: Turkey vs Bulgaria
  • 29 September 1965 First Galatasaray match in the expanded and new called "Ali Sami Yen Stadi" vs. FC Sion (2-1)
  • 1972-1980 Because of the bad pitch stadium is closed
  • 1980-1984 Galatasaray plays again @ Ali Sami Yen Stadi
  • 1984-1986 Because of the new Highway bridge just behind the Yeni Açik stand stadium is closed
  • 1996 All-seater
  • 12 January 2011 Last match: Galatasaray SK 3-1 Åžeker SK (Türkiye Kupasi)


Records

3D Virtual Tour
Ali Sami Yen Stadium 3D Virtual Tour

The Closure
Galatasaray's final game at the stadium was their Turkish Cup match on 11 Jan 2011 against Beypazarı Åžekerspor. The team badly wanted to win in order to enter the new Stadium, Turk Telekom Arena respectfully. Having been 1-0 behind, goals from captain Arda Turan, defender Servet Çetin and Colin Kazim Richards made the final score 3-1. The Demolition of this stadium will begin ahead of the construction of a new shopping center in Feb 2011.

The new stadium
The new home ground of Galatasaray is the newly built Türk Telekom Arena in the Seyrantepe quarter near Maslak financial district in Åžişli. The plans for the stadium were introduced to the Turkish press on May 11 2007. The new stadium, which was opened 15 January 2011, has a fully retractable roof and a seating capacity of 52,695 seats, making it the largest private stadium owned by a club in Turkey. The stadium will also have its own metro station.

Attendance Records Rank Attendance Date Game 1 48,600 20 December 1964 Turkey ”“ Bulgaria 2 35,845 07 June 1987 Galatasaray SK ”“ Eskişehirspor 3 35,664 02 April 1967 Galatasaray SK ”“ Fenerbahçe SK 4 35,503 05 June 1983 Galatasaray SK ”“ Fenerbahçe SK 5 35,119 09 November 1988 Galatasaray SK ”“ Neuchâtel Xamax 6 34,311 19 May 1982 Galatasaray SK ”“ MKE Ankaragücü 7 34,240 13 November 1966 Galatasaray SK ”“ Fenerbahçe SK 8 32,615 20 July 1997 Galatasaray SK ”“ Fenerbahçe SK 9 32,071 16 August 1988 Galatasaray SK ”“ Fenerbahçe SK 10 31,998 14 May 1994 Galatasaray SK ”“ Bursaspor 11 31,611 29 November 1970 Galatasaray SK ”“ Fenerbahçe SK 13 30,910 16 August 1970 Galatasaray SK ”“ Fenerbahçe SK 14 30,490 08 April 1984 Galatasaray SK ”“ Fenerbahçe SK

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