Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium
|Former names||Silahtar Ağa Sahası
Union Club Field
İttihat Spor Field
|Location||Kızıltoprak, Kadıköy, Istanbul|
|Renovated||1929–1932, 1965–1982, 1999 – 2006|
|Construction cost||$85 million
($99.8 million in 2016 dollars)
|Architect||Zehra Aksu, Adnan Aksu|
The Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium (Turkish pronunciation: [ˈʃycɾy saɾaˈdʒoːɫu] ( listen)), also officially known as Ülker Stadium Fenerbahçe Şükrü Saracoğlu Sports Complex or simply Ülker Stadium due to sponsorship reasons, is a football stadium in Kadıköy, Istanbul, Turkey, and is the home venue of Fenerbahçe S.K. It was inaugurated in 1908 and renovated between 1929 and 1932, 1965 and 1982, and 1999 and 2006. On October 4, 2006, after numerous inspections by UEFA, Fenerbahçe Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium was selected to host the 2009 UEFA Cup Final that went down to history as the last Final of the UEFA Cup football tournament, which was replaced by the UEFA Europa League starting from the 2009–2010 season.
The stadium has gone through a complete rebuilding process which involved each stand being demolished and rebuilt in turn. Each stand has been built closer to the pitch, getting the fans closer to the action on the field. This style of stadium has never previously existed in Turkey, as the stands are usually separated from the pitch by a running track.
The "Maraton" stand can hold up to 14,500 supporters. The stand includes "Boxes" (or Lodges) which are rented out from the club on a yearly basis. These boxes are fully equipped with TV screens, Internet, working and meeting areas, dining facilities and many other luxuries; as the first and most luxurious of their kind in Turkey. Facing the Maraton stand, at the opposite side, is the "Fenerium" stand (named after the official chain of Fenerbahçe merchandise stores) with an all-seated capacity of 15,000 and the luxurious "1907" zone. There are also equally luxurious boxes and lodges here. Apart from the boxes section of this stand, every single seat has an LCD monitor behind the chair, for every supporter to follow the game from the live coverage and catch the replays. Including the two remaining stands behind the goal areas, namely the "Migros" and "Telsim" stands (named after the sponsors of each tribune's construction projects), which both have a seating capacity of 10,500, the total official capacity of the stadium is 50,509.
Before Fenerbahçe Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium was built, the field was known as Papazın Çayırı (The field of the priest). The field, however, became the very first football pitch of Turkey, where the first league games of the Istanbul Football League were all held consecutively. In 1908, the local teams in the league needed a regular football field, so this land was leased from the Ottoman Sultan Abdülhamid II for 30 Ottoman gold pounds a year. The total construction cost was 3,000 Ottoman gold pounds. The name was changed to the Union Club Field after the club which made the highest donation for construction of the ground.
The Union Club Field was used by many teams in İstanbul, including the owner, Union Club (which changed its name to İttihatspor after World War I), Fenerbahçe, Galatasaray and Beşiktaş. However, it lost its importance when a bigger venue, the Taksim Stadium, was built in 1922, inside the courtyard of the historic Taksim Topçu Kışlası (Taksim Artillery Barracks), which was located at the present-day Taksim Gezi Parkı (Taksim Park).
İttihatspor (which had close relations with the political İttihat ve Terakki), was forced to sell it to the state, in which Şükrü Saracoğlu was a member of the CHP government. Thus, the ownership of the stadium passed to the state, but the field was immediately leased to Fenerbahçe. Later, on May 27, 1933, Fenerbahçe purchased the stadium from the government when Şükrü Saracoğlu was the President of Fenerbahçe, for either the symbolic amount of 1 TL or the worth of the stadium which was 9000 TL.
The name of the field was changed to Fenerbahçe Stadium, and this made Fenerbahçe SK the first football club in Turkey to own its stadium, with the help of the Şükrü Saracoğlu government. In the following years, Fenerbahçe SK renovated the stadium and increased its seating capacity. By the year 1949, Fenerbahçe Stadium was the largest football venue in Turkey, with a seating capacity of 25,000.
The name of the stadium was changed once more in 1998, becoming Fenerbahçe Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium, named after Fenerbahçe's legendary chairman and Turkey's 6th Prime Minister Şükrü Saracoğlu. In 1999, the latest round of renovations and capacity increasing projects started. The stands on the four sides of the stadium were torn down one at a time, as the Turkish Super League seasons progressed, and the entire renewal and construction project was finalised in 2006, as a result of the immense efforts of the Fenerbahçe president Aziz Yıldırım and the team's board of directors.
- Şükrü Saracoğlu'nun kapasitesi arttırılıyor
- Turkish Football Federation
- Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Community Development Project. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved November 10, 2015.
- Fenerbahce Official Web Site
- Fenerbahçe Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium selected for 2009 UEFA Cup Final
- "Uefa Cup gets new name in revamp". bbc.co.uk. 2008-09-26. Retrieved 2008-09-26.
- "UEFA Cup to become UEFA Europa League". uefa.com. Archived from the original on September 29, 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-26.
- TFF Stadium Statistics
- Fenerbahçe Official Web Site – Club History
- Fenerbahçe Şükrü Saraçoğlu Stadium Official Web Site – History
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Fenerbahçe Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadyumu.|
- Fenerbahçe Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium
- Fenerbahçe Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium Official Website
- Fenerbahçe Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium's interior view from all seats
- Fenerbahçe Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium
- Venue Information
- Atmosphere at Şükrü Saracoğlu
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