Hours after Birmingham City announced that they would be retiring shirt number 22 in respect of their teenage prospect Jude Bellingham, the internet was awash by mostly trolls and reactions of disappointment from football fans from all corners of the world.
Jude Bellingham featured 44 times for the West Midlands side in which he was involved in 4, and most notably a 25 million Euros move to the Signal Iduna Park. Although fans were not pleased with the decision, the club defended their decision that it was done to remember one of their own and also inspire more young players rising through the ranks.
However, this is not the biggest catastrophe in the history of football shirt number retirements. The biggest shocker comes from the Turkish Super League.
First-time Turkish Champions (2019/20) Istanbul Basaksehir retired their shirt no. 12 in honour of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the President of Turkey. This club is reported to have close ties with the Turkish Head of State.
Apart from the club’s president Goksel Gumusdag is being a relative to the head of state, the club is it’s located in the Basaksehir region of Istanbul, a place where Erdogan and his AKP party enjoy a lot of support. The club’s main sponsors Medipol is an establishment of one of Erdogan’s close allies and health minister Fahrettin Koca.
The retirement of shirt no. 12 by the Istanbul Basaksehir club is considered as one of the biggest embarrassments when it comes shirt number retirements
In 2014, Istanbul Basaksehir moved into their new 17,1516 capacity Fatih Terim stadium and in the due process, they organised an exhibition match to commemorate their grand entry to the new stadium. The then Turkish Prime Minister, Erdogan featured in the game.
Erdogan came onto the pitch clad in the Basaksehir jersey which has the same colours as his AKP party with number 12 on the back. All this was amidst wild cheers from the fans while his team was down by three to nil. In 15 minutes, the Number 12 had scored or was let to score a hat trick to bring his side back into the game and later win.
After such an “enormous” contribution, the shirt number 12 at Istanbul Basaksehir was retired (who would say no anyway?). Today, a portrait of Recep Tayyip Erdogan hangs on the team’s training ground lobby.
More from Sports: 4 Times Teams Had Two First Choice Goalkeepers that Fought for Dominance
Author: Katende Basajjabaka
Katende writes about sports and occasionally technology.