MOST LOVED FOREIGN PLAYER: SHOTA ARVELADZE

HE WAS TURKEY’S ALL-TIME SECOND TOP FOREIGN GOAL-SCORER, NOW PUSHES THE DOOR TO EUROPE IN CHARGE OF KASIMPAŞA. GEORGIAN ARE PROUD OF HIM, HE IS THE PUPIL OF TRABZON PEOPLE, LOCOMOTIVE OF KASIMPAŞA, ALL OF THESE TELL ABOUT HIM…

There is a school fugitive on the field!
Your mother and your father are doctors. Haven’t you ever admired them as a child?
I never wanted to be a doctor, but fortunately they both were doctors. “On the papers my mother used for prescription to her patients, I used to write down ‘Shota will be unable to attend the last lesson today, ‘Shota will be unable to come to school tomorrow’. My teachers always used to believe in all these. I would write down higgledy-piggledy like doctors, and seal underneath with my mother’s stamp. Thanks to those papers, I used to escape from the school no matter when I got bored. Of course, most of the time I was bored!

How did you decide to become a footballer? Didn’t your family oppose to this?
At that time, you could not decide and you are just playing. At least, my mom and dad knew that I would not be a doctor.

Can you say the same things for your twin brother Arcil?
We are the same in every sense anyway. Every day we are talking to each other. He is now the sporting director of the national teams in Georgia. He has got a football school foundation. Taking donations from wealthy people, he tries to train footballers being in a bad financial situation.

During the Russia-Georgia war,  you were worried about Arcil. How did you survive those days?
When the war started in Batum, Arcil was on vacation with his family. He didn’t take his passport with him because he was not out of the country. Bombs began to fall over Tbilis. I do not want to count what I lost. When the war broke out, Arcil became miserable and anxious with his kids, fled to Turkey from Batum. At that time, Turkey did not even ask for passports from Georgians. I will never forget this kindness. I was camping in the Netherlands. I was frantic. I am praying so that no one will experience things like that .

“Georgians and Turks are alike”

“Georgians and Turks are very much alike. If the Georgians give an appointment for 2 o’clock, they habitually arrive 10 minutes late. Heavy traffic on the roads, someone gets sick, etc. My children are still not sleeping at 9 o’clock at night. But Germans do sleep early. Georgian people are even worse than Turkish people! When my son was 3 months old, my wife and I decided not to go to his room while he was crying at the middle of the night and we siad to him ‘Never mind, he will keep crying and stop anyway’. Then my mother came along and said ‘Are you sick, have I raised you in this way?’. It is not like that in Europe. You can not explain this to my mom ! Customarily, we don’t have a baby sleeping on his or own . Five people are feeding and washing the baby. After that , ‘what happened to this kid? ‘Even Don Quixote can not change this.

No longer great team – small team in Turkey
When you were transferred to Trabzonspor how was the atmosphere? What are your experiences for those days?
It was really nice. I liked Trabzon a lot. People really love football there. Everyone is interested in football. For example, during the period in which I played, most of the matches were not televised. The fans couldn’t watch the match. Not long before we return to Trabzon, our news would come to those fans in advance. If the newspaper reads ‘Shota played well’, then everybody says ‘you are great’, if it reads something bad, ‘they say what a bad player?’.

As far as we watch you, you were a brave player. You would put your head underneath the other player’s shoes. How would you feel during the game?
While playing, I could not realize what I was doing. After the match, I could not remember how I got all bruises on all over my body. I am going like ‘What is this blood!’   I was very surprised at times. After going to the dressing room, I would sit down, drink a glass of water and say to myself ‘I am dead’. I could not even feel my head popped up.

You have a goal kingdom without a single penalty. Which one was the most beautiful goal?

I do not want to boast but I kicked very nice goals (laughs). I have two goals, I can not distinguish between the two. They are my children! I regret that I could not do hat-trick.

You had bad days, besides the good days in Trabzon. When you lost the championship against Fenerbahçe in 1996, the whole town seemed like a funeral house. What’s left in your mind about that day?

Damn it you, Aykut Kocaman! ‘That’s it! You can’t forget it. I will never forget it throughout my life. Whenever I remember, my ears still wails. Now you are laughing, but then it was really bad. I did see the Black Sea real black on that day.

You were one of those who made great efforts to make Trabzonspor the fourth biggest team in our country. How do you see such a ‘big club – little club’ issue?
In my time, football in Anatolia was deplorable. It would be an event if a club built a facility. There were teams going from one end to the other end of Turkey by bus. We had a physiotherapist; he used to come once a week and examined us. Now in Turkey you can not see such things but just ‘the big teams or small team’!

Shota’s first Turkish test
“One day in Trabzon Arcil and a journalist came to me and began to ask me a couple of questions. At that time, we had just arrived in Turkey, so we could not speak Turkish very well. We had a family-friend with us. He wanted to help us in every  respect. He knew Turkish. Therefore, he wanted to help us.You must have understood it if you had already seen the video which is still circulating on the Internet even today. He was very helpful in an interview. I said ‘Yes,’ , then he says”.

It will not be a team going to Europe, but a club

What is  the chance of Kasımpaşa’s championship?
I have seen many championships everywhere I had been before and I’ll try to do so here. If you ask about the championship for this year, it seems to be difficult for the time being. There are many things we need to do. The support of the fans is quite important in this issue.

Do not you get the response you expect from the supporters? How is your relationship with them?
If they come to support us, we can get along well. The team, Kasımpasa has never experienced such good things before. Fans are friends and you can’t have them in one day. We want to make friends and  I think it has begun to be so. In order to be a good club, this is a must.

Since the day you took over Kasımpaşa, you have been talking about being a club rather than being a team. What does it mean to you to be a club?
If you build a good team, you will be champion one day. But being a club is very important. If you are strong enough, you are not contented with only one championship. You see Beşiktaş and Fenerbahçe, which are Turkey’s among the top four clubs. They faced many obstacles, but they are still big because they are clubs.

How helpful are long-term plans of the club and works done to be able to be a good team for you?
If your brain say no, your hands and legs can’t do it. So is ours. Your brain knows what it wants to do. It is very sturdy, and the rest of this follows it. They take into consideration every possibility in order that we can work smoothly. We have a very nice facility.

Does it lead the team to complacency to be near the top of the league continuously? It is more difficult to stay firmly at the top than chasing from behind…
While eating, you attack to meal instantly and your motions start to slow down after a while. We are human beings. If you were a machine, you would do the same things all the time. But you are not so. We always stick to our plana but we do not always get the same thing. We are always working according to a schedule. Even now next year’s plan is ready. Otherwise, whoever comes to take over the club, he will do things on his own way. If you don’t keep players’ statistics, he will say ‘who the hell is that’ and fire him. Everybody brings somebody else. After that, you speak extravagantly.

“We will do mentally moves as well”
“At the beginning of the season, I have never heard anybody say ‘We had a bad camp, what is this!’ On the contrary, everybody starts to say ‘oh, referee, my chance. During the interval of the season, we will review what we have done well or badly. ‘We will make our moves according to this. To make the move does not really mean transferring somebody but we will make mental moves. We are constantly sharing ideas with my co-workers. My assistant, Jean Nederburgh is older than me and when he sometimes expresses his ideas, I say no. But we listen to each other later on.

Top scorer in the subway
Do you like traveling and seeing new places?
I love it but you can not go whenever or wherever you want. Occasionally, maybe…

Which cities in Turkey and in the world do you like the most?
Of course Tbilis is my indispensable. Even a part of my life… and İstanbul  comes after that. I used to come to Istanbul while I was playing football in Turkey and even after I had left Istanbul at every opportunity, I dreamed of living here. I went to the most popular cities in the world; even so, my mind has not changed. I am very happy here.

What  belongings do you get with you when you go on a long journey?
I do not like taking too much stuff with me while traveling. I hate waiting for luggage. Of course, when you go together with the family suitcases, you get lined up on your sides like a sheep herd. My wife would say, ‘Will you carry! ‘As to her, suitcases should be given to the baggage service and five at a time. She always excuses of children’s  belongings.

How many children have you got? Are they in Turkey as well?
I have a son and a daughter. They are attending high school here. We got married when we were at the age of 19. We had a happy life and so here, too. As in Georgia, people do not get in straight line, they round up and wait. When I see  people lined up, I start to pray lest someone can recognize me!

Do you listen to music, read a book or sleep while traveling ?
I used to read books before, but now I am reading messages from my handy set. In fact, technology is sometimes not a good thing.

Do you have any other skills apart from coaching? Anything else that you are good at?  At backgammon, tennis, cooking…
Once I have cooked, the food is inedible. Don’t ask about it, please! I play tennis, basketball but I am not good at both of them. Water-skiing and snow-skiing are very enjoyable as well. You know I am an advertising star! I had felt myself like a star but probably they did not like. However, I was saying very nice ‘mmmhh’.

Have you ever travelled in Turkey by train?
I took the subway in Istanbul. I also want to take Marmaray but I haven’t made much preparation yet. I’ll take my wetsuit and scuba with me.

Are you scared or what?
I’m kidding, man. I did not have time for this. Or I am very curious, I am sure that I will take the Marmaray soon.

“Train journey is awesome
“When I was 14, I had my first train journey. I did not like it much because it was one of the former Soviet trains but it was a different experience. As the train was maneuvering, our suitcases were falling down over us. On the other hand, today’s trains are not like that. Train journeys in Europe are really very comfortable… Because I’m a restless man when traveling I like standing up and walking around in the course of the journey. The train journey is awesome.”