(Credit: Colin O'Donoghue)
Turkish club Trabzonspor will travel to Ireland to play Drogheda United in a friendly match in March, the Drogheda board has announced.
‘Karadeniz Firtinasi’ which translates into English as ‘the Black Sea Storm’ are one of the Premier clubs in the Turkish Süper Lig, finished 3rd in 2011/12.
The two clubs share a tenuous link that has lasted a number of years, which stems from the fact that the two clubs share the colours of claret and blue, and that the Drogs crest features the star and crescent which is also depicted on the Turkish national flag.
Their relationship does not just reach football circles however. County Louth has a history with Turkey that extends way back to the Irish famine in the mid-1800s, when the Turkish Emperor sent aid to Ireland on ships that arrived into Drogheda port.
Drogheda United chairman Jim Agnew is very pleased that a friendly has been organised, and is looking forward to welcoming the Turks to Louth.
“We have been in contact with Trabzonspor for some time in relation to a friendly between our two teams.
“Mr. Cengizer (the Turkish ambassador in Ireland) has been a fantastic help in communicating our wishes to Turkey and in trying to achieve this outcome. We are extremely grateful to him for his assistance.
“I know that both sets of fans will be over the moon to finally see our efforts come to fruition. Of course this also further strengthens the bonds between Drogheda and Turkey in general."
Trabzonspor are one of the best-supported clubs in the whole of Turkey, and their fans are well known as some of the most fanatical in European football.
They are said to have over 12 million fans drawn from the Trazbon province of Turkey, who are also scattered across Germany, the UK and other parts of Europe.
The real question is though, just how many of those 12 million will make their way to Hunky Dory’s Park come March 2013!
Alan is a freelance sports journalist based in Cork. He joined the ExtraTime team back in the summer of 2012, and covers all things football-related from the Rebel County - whether it be at Turner's Cross or St. Colman's Park. Follow him on Twitter @AlanFeehely