Sheffield United: Fenerbahçe look forward to “memorable” Lane visit

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Sheffield United versus Fenerbahçe could become regular a fixture on Bramall Lane’s pre-season calendar, a senior figure at the Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium has told The Star, after paying tribute to the special relationship which exists between the two clubs, writes James Shield.

Fenerbahçe, the 19 time Turkish champions, visit Bramall Lane tomorrow for a match designed to celebrate the hosts’ 125th anniversary celebrations and help prepare their respective squads for the forthcoming League One and Super Lig campaigns.

Altug Acar, Fenerbahçe’s chief marketing officer, said: “After this friendly game both teams and their fans will track each other closely and I don’t see any reason for not taking place again.

“Prince Abdullah and some executive board members of Fenerbahçe have met before. But last season, when Sheffield United directors met some of our executive board members before we played Galatasaray, we established warmer relations.

“That was very short visit and we only had the opportunity to talk generally. We could not focus on specific areas.

“But I am sure there are lots of things shared between the most famous Turkish football club and one of the oldest and deep rooted football clubs of England.”

Director Selahattin Baki, an associate of United’s co-owner Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad and long-standing Fenerbahçe supporter, has been instrumental in arranging a game which is also designed to raise money for victims of the Soma mining disaster.

Referring to South Yorkshire’s mining heritage, Acar said: “People from different countries but the same occupation always help each other because they are the only one who can easily understand difficulties of their job.

“It’s a great honour for us to be at Bramall Lane in order to celebrate Sheffield United’s anniversary. It will be a great meeting between two proud and historic clubs and I really hope that will be very memorable day.”

Fenerbahçe, managed by Ersun Yanal, lifted the Super Lig title for the 19th time last season following a draw with Çaykur Rizespor in April.

Acar said: “We would like to retain our title very much indeed because we will have reached 20th championship and that means we will deserve to gain a 4th star on our shirts.

“Let me elaborate. Since 1959 every five championships indicates one star. So if we are successful, we will be able to add another to our emblem an will have the most championships in Turkey.

“Next season is very important for us. This is our first friendly game against Sheffield United and I really hope that will bring us good luck. If that happens, we will start every season with Sheffield United!”

*Twitter: @JamesShield1