First Years

First Years

In the October 1905, Galatasaray High School student Ali Sami Yen and his friends decided to found a football club during the lesson of Tutor Mehmet Ata Bey.

Everybody gathered after that lesson in Grand Cour during recess to play football. However, under Abdülhamid II’s rule, it was illegal for young people to get together, let alone founding sports clubs.

These conditions brought together the core of Galatasaray football team.

In Ali Sami Yen’s words, the bond between the kids in these teams was akin to bond between Three Musketeers. Sometimes they were insulted, sometimes they were forced to fight to defend themselves, sometimes they were arrested, sometimes they were suspended from the school. But they discovered the force being committed and loyal to one another.

In the school, the headmaster Abdurrahman Şeref Bey forbade playing football to protect the windows of the school. Because of false and negative intelligence given to Abdülhamid II about the school and students, football was also forbidden outside the school. Ali Sami Yen and his friends risked incarceration and even exile and kept playing football secretly every week in a different field of İstanbul.

This routine kept on until the foundation of the club and caused trouble constantly: According to Yen, the headmaster called “the football lovers” of the club every time they were back from a match and interrogated them about the game and matches. But receiving no answer from his students, he would slap every one of them in the face to deter from the game they love. To no avail.

Law enforcement officers of the time were also chasing these successful students. They were constantly followed and reported to the authorities.

Ali Sami Yen and his friends played their first game against a Greek club as an anonymous team. After winning the game 2-0, they were named by the spectators of the match: “The Gentlemen of Galata Palace.”

Slaps of the headmaster, suspensions by the school, being stalked by agents, the danger of incarceration… None of these could stop or beat the love of football inside the “Gentlemen of Galata Palace.” None of these pressures could stop the birth of Galatasaray Spor Kulübü with these young men.

Right around these days, Galatasaray received a stroke of luck and Tevfik Fikret was appointed as the headmaster of Galatasaray High School

Contrary to the former headmaster, Tevfik Fikret did not pressure football players to avoid the game. In contrast, he helped them as much as he can to facilitate them to create a team and finally, a club. His backing contributed immensely to both the club and the school. Fikret’s revolutionary spirit and Galatasaray’s committed attitude to the game came together and in short time, Galatasaray’s true identity was built. That’s why Fikret was not only one of the former headmasters of the high school but also the one and only Tutelar chairman of Galatasaray.