The Cup final was the last act of the scandalous events. Why not the championship? Political events were the reason: lead by General Kenan Evren, the Army ousted Prime Minister Suleyman Demirel, and abolished the Parliament, the Senate, and the Constitution in 1980. Football was hardly the most important issue at that time, but 1981, when the Cup final was played was another matter – 1981 rounded 100 years from the birth of Kemal Ataturk, and General Evren had deep respect for the founder of modern Turkey. Ataturk also made Ankara the capital of the secular modern state he created – it was convenient occasion for popular celebration, since Ankaragucu reached the Cup final. May be with little ‘help’, may be not. There opponent was Boluspor. Under normal circumstances it would have been an interesting final between underdogs – Boluspor barely escaped relegation and Ankaragucu was in the second division and not a winner even there, thus unlikely Cup finalist without a precedent in Turkey. Ankaragucu prevailed minimally in the first leg 2-1. In the second they kept a scoreless tie to the end and triumphed. A rigged final, but winners are winners.
The joy was boundless after the final whistle – a moment fit for rock concert is captured here: Ankaragucu’s captain risking injury by diving in the sea of supporters.
He survived to receive the Cup.
Makina Kimya Endüstrisi Ankaragücü, as is the full name, was founded not in Ankara, but in the Zeytinburnu district of Istanbul. Back in 1904 the club was named Altin Örs Idman Yurdu and for unclear reasons some players, lead by Şükrü Abbas moved to Ankara and found Turan Sanatkaragücü in 1910. But another group, following Agah Orhan apparently also relocated to Ankara, keeping the original name. In 1938 the two clubs merged into AS-FA Gücü and in 1948 changed the name to Ankaragucu. To complete the confusion, Ankaragucu officially gives 1910 as the founding year. In 1959 they were admitted to the newly organized First Division, but their performance was nothing to brag about and included relegation in 1967-68. Until 1981 they were successful only twice – winning the national championship in 1949 and the Cup in 1972 – now they had a grand total of three trophies.
Of course, it was a moment of great triumph, worth first page at least in the Ankara newspapers, but even with high support the bitter truth was inescapable: ‘armagan’ means ‘gift’ and the winners got one more armagan as well – both General Kemal Evren and the Ankara governor Mustafa Gonul wanted a team from the capital in Division One and it was decreed that Cup winners should play in the top league, so Ankaragucu was suddenly promoted and the league increased for the next year.