General Harington Cup

The General Harington Cup was a single football match between the Turkish multi-sport club Fenerbahçe SK and a team put together by General Charles Harington composed of soldiers and professional players. It took place at the conclusion of the British invasion of Turkey, with the local team beating the British team 2-1.

The trophy on display in the Fenerbahçe Museum


At the end of World War I, the Ottoman Empire's lands had been invaded by Italian, French, Greek and British troops. On 13 November 1918, British troops entered Istanbul and the invasion was official. During the course of invasion, British troops arranged football matches with local teams. Fenerbahçe participated in many such games, winning 41, losing 5, and reaching a tie in 4 games.[1]

Fenerbahçe was secretly moving guns to Anatolia from its club building near Kurbağalıdere ("Froggy Creek") by small boats. The club's players were also going to fronts, fighting against the invading troops, and returning to Istanbul to play games and move more guns and ammo. The British forces discovered the activities, so they raided the club building. Club members got early information about the raid and moved the guns and ammo, hiding them in club members' houses or warehouses. The invasion forces were not able to find anything but they stayed in the club building for days to prevent further action.[2]

The head commander of British troops was General Charles Harington, and he was upset about the clandestine activities. He was looking for victory on both the pitch and the battlefield. The Turkish resistance was pushing back the invasion, with victories on multiple fronts. The invasion started to fade, the Treaty of Lausanne was on the horizon, and the British were getting ready to leave Istanbul.[3]

The final gameEdit

General Harington wanted to leave the Turks with a memory of a heavy defeat whilst the British left, so he called in the best players of the Irish Guards, Grenadier Guards and Coldstream Guards along with four professional players called in from the homeland. The team was collected under the name Coldstream Guards and the British General issued an announcement in the newspapers: "Gardler Muhteliti Türk kulüplerine meydan okuyor. Galibine, Başkumandanın adını taşıyan büyük bir kupa verilecek bu maça Türk kulüpleri diledikleri gibi takviye de alabilirler." ("Guards Joint is challenging the Turkish clubs. The Turkish clubs can gather any reinforcements to their clubs for this game whose winner will be awarded a trophy which will be named after the Head Commander.") Fenerbahçe replied briefly, with another announcement which was printed in the newspapers the following days: "Fenerbahçe Kulübü yalnız kendi kadrosuyla bu maçı şartsız olarak kabul eder." ("Fenerbahçe Club accepts this proposal with only its own squad, unconditionally.")[4]

Match performanceEdit

The game took place in the Taksim Stadium on 29 June 1923.[5] The Governor of Malta, Lord Herbert Plumer watched the game from the VIP area with General Harington.

The game was close, with the Guards Joint taking the lead in the first half. Fenerbahçe SK took control of the game in the second half, beginning with Zeki Rıza's game-tying goal in the 61st minute.

Zeki Rıza scored the go-ahead goal in the 74th minute. Fenerbahçe SK won 2–1 and was awarded the trophy.[6]


GK 1   Şekip Kulaksızoğlu
DF   Hasan Kamil Sporel (c)
DF   Cafer Çağatay
DF   Kadri Göktulga
MF   İsmet Uluğ
MF   Fahir Yeniçay
MF   Sabih Arca
MF   Alaattin Baydar
FW 10   Zeki Rıza Sporel
FW   Ömer Tanyeri
FW   Bedri Gürsoy
Head coach:
  Mustafa Elkatipzade
GK 1  
MF   Willie Ferguson
Head coach:

The trophyEdit

The huge trophy is considered an important trophy that Fenerbahçe won against the occupying forces. It is made of silver and is one meter tall (approximately 3 feet, 4 inches).[7]

External linksEdit