As a big club full of achievements, Manchester United certainly has a long history in the world soccer stage. No exception in the Champions League. In addition to the achievements that have been made, touching moments and even tense events have been experienced by Manchester United.
One of the unforgettable moments of the Red Devils fans was the events of the 1993/94 Champions League, which became the second season of the most prestigious club events in Europe after the format change.
On November 3, 1993, Man United traveled to the headquarters of the Turkish club, Galatasaray to undergo a second leg match of the second round of the Champions League. Something was surprising when the red devil team first set foot in the city of Istanbul.
Shortly after landing at Istanbul Ataturk Airport, MU saw many Galatasaray supporters cheering and taunting him. Galatasaray supporters also unfurled banners that intimidated the Man United team.
Some host supporters say it will be their last 48 hours (MU) of life. Then there are also the words “Manchester RIP”. And the most famous one states: “Welcome to Hell” or “Welcome to Hell”.
Galatasaray supporters are famously ferocious. Galatasaray’s malignancies outnumber hooligans in England or even ultras in Italy. And Manchester United is one of the many victims of the ferocity of Galatasaray supporters.
In that match, Man United was eliminated from the Champions League; lost aggressiveness away goals in aggregate 3-3 from Galatasaray. The first leg at Old Trafford ended 3-3 while the second leg at Ali Sami Yen Stadium or what is now Turk Telecom Arena ended 0-0.
In that match, everything happened. Has fallen down the stairs, that’s the right sentence to describe the condition of Sir Alex Ferguson’s foster children at the time. In addition to being eliminated from the Champions League, Ferguson and his players and staff received unpleasant treatment from the host supporters.
Before the match, the Man United Squad stayed at the hotel located on the Bosporus which is a beautiful place with views of the waters and magnificent bridges. However, the treatment they get at the hotel is not as beautiful as the scenery.
As if everything was left by the authorities. While at the hotel, the MU players get disturbances from the host fans in the form of cries of intimidation. The red devil players including goalkeeper Peter Scheimechel were also terrorized by phone calls many times so that disturbed him to sleep.
“One of the servants stood near the door and I smiled at him. He rubbed his finger on his neck (gesture of murder) and I kept walking. Then I thought that we were not safe at this hotel, “said MU defender at the time, Gary Pallister (Quoted from the Independent page)
One hour before the match began, Sir Alex Ferguson ordered his players to warm up on the field. Like in hell, the atmosphere inside the stadium is really hot.
“I must say that inside the stadium, the atmosphere was extraordinary, extraordinary. It was just the ‘insult word’ that surrounded the match and that made it very unpleasant, “said Pallister (Quoted from The Guardian)
“There were so much flare and so much smoke, it seemed the whole stadium was on fire,” Gary Neville added. (The Guardian)
Steve Curry, a journalist at the match, revealed what it was like to be inside the stadium that night for neutral people.
“The Turks have a reputation for creating hostility within their stadiums and tonight is the most frightening of my 45-year career,” he said. (Quoted from ESPN)
After the Kick-Off begins the game immediately runs hot. MU midfielder at the time, Roy Keane explained how high the match tension was. According to him, Galatasaray did everything he could to get rid of Manchester United on the away goals rule. There are many violations, diving, wasting time and urging referees. All messed up.
At the end of the game, Manchester United striker Eric Cantona lost his temper. Shortly after Denis Irwin’s violation of Reinhard Stumpf, Cantona clashed with Galatasaray players. Cantona was upset because Stumpf seemed to be slacking off by lingering on the ground.
Not only that, but Cantona also insulted the referee, Kurt Rothlisberger. At that moment the referee sent a red card against Cantona and he was sent off. Then, the final whistle sounds.
Some police officers protect MU players from the ferocity of Galatasaray supporters as they walk towards the locker room. However, Cantona felt a blow sent to him from behind. Then, Bryan Robson returned the blow but was blocked by a shield. Robson felt that a policeman had hit Cantona in the back.
Cantona was crazy, she was looking for the police who intended to hurt her. Roy Keane explained how angry Cantona was at the time.
“In the dressing room, Eric went crazy. While the others just wanted to get out of there, he was determined to go back outside to look for the rogue policeman who was holding his club. Eric is a big and strong person. He was serious, he insisted he would kill the apparatus, “said Roy Keane (Quoted from Independent)
Furthermore, Keane also explained that it needed more effort to quell Cantona’s anger. “It takes the combined efforts of the manager, Brian Kidd, and several players to hold him back. Normally I wouldn’t back down from a fight, but even I’m not ready for this one. There are lots of Turks out there! “(Quoted by the guardian)
The Galatasaray Supporting Violence was not only inside the stadium but also extended to the late-night call to the MU players’ hotel rooms, they smashed the windows on the team bus and even attacks on MU players by Turkish police.
Cantona opened her voice over the incident in the interview segment. In the interview segment named Unfiltered, Cantona mentioned that the police who beat her were weak people. Cantona revealed that she was very angry over what happened to her.
In addition to being experienced by the red demon squad, MU supporters also became the target of Galatasaray supporters’ tantrums. Hundreds of fans were battered around the city the night before the match. Around 164 fans were thrown into prison without being given food and drink. One group of supporters did not go home for a month. Their experience was inevitable, sad, covered up by the authorities.
The dark events in the match are something that leaves an impression in memory, both for Cantona, other players, Ferguson and all supporters of Man United around the world.