1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. You may have to login or register before you can post and view our exclusive members only forums.
    To start viewing messages, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.
    Dismiss Notice
Why Not Register?

It only takes a few minutes to register on SixCrazyMinutes

Click Here

In memory of @gkMacca

Discussion in 'The Football Forum' started by the count, Sep 6, 2021.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. the count

    the count SCM's least favourite muppet Honorary Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2007
    Messages:
    20,590
    Likes Received:
    13,477
    Trophy Points:
    1,575
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    in the other S.S.
    @gkmacca

    Samed Yesil should be entering his prime.
    He was one of the biggest talents of his generation in Germany. He made his Bundesliga debut for Bayer Leverkusen when he was just 17.
    His prolific goalscoring at youth level for club and country earned him the nickname ‘Gerd’, after legendary striker Gerd Muller.
    Liverpool paid Leverkusen £1 million to sign him at age 18 in the summer of 2012 and he was soon rubbing shoulders with Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez at Melwood.
    He had the world at his feet.
    Now 27, Yesil’s life is far removed from the bright lights of the Premier League.
    Living in the city of Krefeld, north west of Dusseldorf, with wife Gonca and their young son Ilyas, he plays for DJK Teutonia St Tonis in the Oberliga Niederrhein, a regional league in the fifth tier of German football who train three times a week. From 7am until 3:30pm Monday to Friday, he works in a factory, building air filters.
    “It’s an amateur league, but it’s still a good league to improve yourself and get fit,” Yesil tells The Athletic.
    “We’ve taken four points out of six so far this season and I’ve got a few assists, so I want to build on that. It depends who we are facing but usually we get crowds of around 200 to 300. I’m sure if I can play 30 games this season and score 15 to 20 goals then I will move back up the leagues again.
    “The president of the club gave me a job in his company. I need to try ways into life post-football, in case I don’t get back into a professional league.”
    To say that Yesil has been dealt a bad hand would be an understatement.
    Devastating injury setbacks wrecked his time at Liverpool and since his contract there expired in 2016 he’s led a nomadic existence. However, despite all the adversity he’s been faced with, his spirit hasn’t been broken. He is engaging company as he relives a journey that cruelly veered off track after such a promising start.
    “Growing up, it was always my dream to become a footballer,” says Yesil, as he perches on the edge of his sofa.
    “I played for a small team in Dusseldorf before Leverkusen spotted me when I was 11 or 12. I signed my first professional contract with them when I was 16. That was the age when I first started playing for Germany.
    “Emre Can, a good friend of mine, was in my age group. So too was Kaan Ayhan, who now plays for (Serie A side) Sassuolo and (has over 40 caps for) the Turkey national team, and Odysseas Vlachodimos, who now plays for Benfica and Greece.”
    Yesil scored an impressive 20 goals in 22 appearances for Germany Under-17s. He was joint top-scorer at the Under-17 European Championship in 2011 as Germany lost the final to a Netherlands team including Memphis Depay, now starring for the Dutch senior side and Barcelona, and Manchester City’s Nathan Ake.
    He was second-leading goalscorer in the Under-17 World Cup later that same summer after finding the net on six occasions. He scored twice in a quarter-final win over an England side featuring Raheem Sterling and Jordan Pickford before Germany succumbed to hosts Mexico in the last four.
    “When people started calling me ‘Gerd’, I’ve got to be honest, I didn’t even know who Gerd Muller was. He played before I was born,” he says.
    “But I started to Google him and I watched all his goals. I realised then what a big honour it was. I could see that we were similar strikers in that all his goals were scored from inside the box — in my career, I think I’ve only ever scored one goal from outside the box.
    “I never felt pressure because of that comparison. I only took it as a compliment when they said I was like him.”
    [​IMG]

    Samed Yesil was prolific for Germany’s youth teams (Photo: Oliver Hardt/Bongarts/GettyImages)
    Former Liverpool defender Sami Hyypia was the manager who gave Yesil his senior bow for Leverkusen against Hertha Berlin in April 2012. He had forced his way into the first-team squad by scoring 58 goals in 74 games for the club’s under-17 and under-19 teams.
    “There was a lot of attention on me but I was just really happy to be involved at such a young age,” he says. “I’d been on the bench a few times before I got on. When I heard my name called out, I was so pleased. Sami was a good coach. In every training game, he played as a centre-back. Even though he was quite old (Hyypia was 39!) you could still see what a great defender he was.”
    That summer, Liverpool came calling. Brendan Rodgers had just taken over as manager. Yesil had recently turned 18.
    “I’d always wanted to play in England one day, but I didn’t think it would happen to me when I was so young,” he admits.
    “I was thinking more like when I was 25 or 26 but I was also happy that it happened. At the time, I didn’t know Liverpool were watching me and I was thinking of a transfer to maybe another club in the Bundesliga.
    “I only found out I was signing for Liverpool when I went to the airport and my agent showed me the flight tickets. It was a big surprise that they wanted me.
    “I never thought about clubs watching me when I did well at those international tournaments with Germany. Sometimes I’d read in the newspapers, ‘Arsene Wenger is trying to sign Samed Yesil for Arsenal’. But I never asked my agent if it was true. I just continued to play.
    “As soon as my agent told me that Liverpool wanted me, I just wasn’t interested in any other clubs. It was an easy decision to make. It was Liverpool. My mind was made up.
    “I moved over with my cousin. His English was much better than mine, so he helped me a lot with all the paperwork for things. At first, I lived in the Sefton Park area and then I moved to an apartment in the city. Everyone was so friendly. Liverpool was a nice place to live.”
    Yesil was initially based with the under-21s squad at the Kirkby academy but during the September international break he returned home and played in an under-19s friendly against an England team featuring Pickford, Sterling, Eric Dier, John Stones and James Ward-Prowse. He scored two goals and created the other in a 3-1 win.
    [​IMG]

    Yesil celebrates scoring past England’s Jordan Pickford in the 2011 Under-17 World Cup (Photo: Francisco Estrada/LatinContent via Getty Images)
    “Adam Morgan and Raheem, who were both already part of the first-team squad at Liverpool, played in that game,” he recalls.
    “When I flew back to Liverpool, I got a message from one of the coaching staff to say that, from the following day onwards, I would be training with the first team at Melwood rather than going to Kirkby.
    “It was like a dream. I only knew these players from the PlayStation and from watching games on TV. Now I was sharing a dressing room with Suarez, Gerrard and Jamie Carragher. I needed a few weeks to realise that it was really happening.
    “Brendan was so good. He always wanted to play football. Never long balls, always to play it short from the goalkeeper forwards and build attacks. I liked that.
    “I remember he said to me that when I’d learned good enough English he would give me a chance in the first team. So I got myself an English teacher who came to my apartment three times a week. After about four weeks, my English was good. I went to Brendan and said, ‘Coach, my English is much better now.’ He said, ‘OK, you will start in the League Cup against West Brom.’”
    On September 26, Yesil led the line for a team including Carragher and Jordan Henderson in front of 21,000 at The Hawthorns. Nuri Şahin scored twice and holders Liverpool advanced with a 2-1 win.
    “It was my first game in a full stadium and we were up against Romelu Lukaku, who is now one of the best strikers in the world,” he says. “It was a really good moment for me and one I will never forget. The shirt from that game is on the wall in my parents’ house.”
    A month later, he started the next round as Swansea City, the eventual winners, beat Liverpool 3-1 at Anfield. It proved to be his second and final senior appearance for the club.
    [​IMG]

    Yesil stretching next to Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher at Melwood (Photo: John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)
    “I know we lost but that night was something really special for me. It was amazing to play in front of the Kop. It’s difficult to find the right words for what it was like. You have to be on that pitch to feel it like that.
    “As the coach started to trust me more, I felt more comfortable. I started to know my team-mates better and I spoke to more of them. I felt like I had become part of the squad.
    “I knew I still had a lot to improve but I wanted to learn and get more minutes. In Suarez, I was learning from one of the best strikers in the world. How he trained, how he finished, it was incredible.”
    Yesil’s problems began the following February.
    He was playing for Germany Under-19s in a friendly away to their Italy counterparts when he tore the ACL in his right knee.
    “The game wasn’t played on grass. It was on an artificial pitch and as I went to change direction, my leg stopped and my knee turned,” he says. “There was some pain but I didn’t think it was serious. I actually played on. After the game, I went to see the doctor. He did all the tests and said it was probably just a bit painful because of the pitch.
    “When I got back to Liverpool I went out to train but, after about 20 minutes, I had to stop because the pain was so bad. They sent me for an MRI scan and that showed my ACL was badly damaged. I went to London for an operation.”
    After eight months out, Yesil made his comeback for Liverpool Under-21s against Tottenham in the October. He was desperate to make up for lost time and force his way back into Rodgers’ plans. However, just three months later, his world came crashing down once again.
    “During a training session at Liverpool, I went to run back and my knee twisted. I heard a big ‘boom’ noise,” he says. “I knew it was the same injury. Same ACL, same knee. It swelled up so much.
    “Everyone has a different opinion about why it happened again. Some say it happened because my rehab wasn’t so good and maybe I started back too early. Others say maybe the operation didn’t go so well.
    “The second time, I decided to have the surgery done in Germany by the specialist who operates on all the national-team players. I have to say a big thank you to Liverpool for respecting my wishes on that. They also let me do my rehab in Germany, which was fantastic of them.”
    Yesil was sidelined for another 10 months. Mentally, that second rehab stint was much tougher.
    “Before the first ACL injury, I’d never even suffered a twisted ankle,” he says. “I went from never getting injured to doing my ACL twice.
    [​IMG]

    Yesil’s promising Liverpool career was wrecked by successive ACL injuries in the same knee (Photo: Paul Ellis/AFP via Getty Images)
    “The first time I thought, ‘OK, I can use this time to work on my body and get stronger.’ But the second time I really thought about quitting playing football completely. I knew I’d be out for so long. I was lucky I had great friends and family who stayed always behind me. They kept pushing me and gave me the strength to come back again.”
    Yesil returned to action for Liverpool Under-21s against Sunderland in August 2014. By then, fellow striker Suarez had left for Barcelona, with Rickie Lambert and Mario Balotelli being signed to compete with Fabio Borini and Daniel Sturridge for places up front.
    Rodgers wasn’t exactly blessed with firepower but Yesil struggled to regain both form and fitness. He made 11 appearances under Michael Beale — now Gerrard’s assistant at Rangers — in Premier League 2 that season, scoring three times.
    “When I’d been in Germany for the rehab I’d started to eat not so healthy things and I put on some kilos, so I needed to lose some weight. Plus, in my head, when I went into a tackle, I just wasn’t 100 per cent. I was thinking, ‘What if it happens again?’ I was scared. I knew if my ACL went for a third time, I’d never be able to play again.”
    In the summer of 2015, as he began the final year of his contract, Yesil jumped at the chance to join Luzern on a season-long loan. The Swiss club were managed by former Liverpool full-back Markus Babbel.
    “At first, I was thinking I could do well there and still have a future at Liverpool. I knew the coach at Luzern from my national team. He knew what kind of footballer I was. The first game I started for them, we won 1-0 (against FC Zurich) and I scored the goal. I was thinking, ‘I’m back’.
    “But then there were some issues between the coach and the president. Two new strikers came in and I became number three or four. It was really difficult. Long balls, strikers who are two metres tall winning headers, I’m not the striker to play that kind of football.”
    Having scored just that one goal in 14 Swiss Super League games, Yesil faced an uncertain future after being released by Liverpool at the end of his contract the following summer. He was without a club for six months before joining Panionios in Greece in January 2017.
    His first full season with the Athens side was promising, as he scored eight goals in 31 appearances in all competitions in 2017-18. The problems he encountered came off the field rather than on it.
    “The only reason I left was because payments were either late or they ‘forgot’ to pay me completely,” Yesil says. “They would pay you in January and then there would be nothing until October or November. It was not easy to live with no money. I had to change clubs again.”
    Panionios’s failure to settle their debts with the Greek government as well as with players and staff led to the club being demoted from the professional leagues to the amateur ranks. Now they are back in the second tier under new ownership, Yesil is on the verge of reaching a financial settlement with them.
    After a spell with third-tier Uerdingen in his home city of Krefeld, Yesil headed to Turkey to sign for second division Ankara Demir in January of last year. But he played just 141 minutes of football for them in seven appearances either side of the pandemic shutdown before joining Homberg, a fourth-tier side in Duisburg, just a few miles north of Krefeld, last October.
    “It’s not easy when you are having to move all the time,” he admits. “I’m someone who likes to travel but I was married by then and for my wife it was difficult. You bring your stuff and then a few months later you have to pack everything up and go somewhere else. You reach a point where you just want to be settled.”
    This summer, after 22 games and two goals for Homberg, Yesil dropped down a division to sign for Teutonia St Tonis.
    When he’s not on a shift at the KSI Filtertechnik factory or training, he’s spending time with six-month-old son Ilyas. Becoming a father has provided perspective to the anguish he has faced professionally. His faith has also helped during some tough times.
    Does his mind ever wander back to those days at Liverpool? Does he think about what might have been?
    “I used to, but I’m a Muslim and I believe now that everything happens for a reason. I’m not angry or upset,” he says.
    “I just wanted to be a footballer. I didn’t dream of being the next Messi or Ronaldo. I wasn’t in it to earn many millions. I just wanted to get good money to help my family. I have a house with my wife and child. And my parents have a house, so I’ve been able to achieve that.
    “The first three months with our son were really hard because he had some problems with his stomach and cried a lot but now everything is going well. Everyone is healthy and happy, and that’s the most important thing to me.
    “Krefeld is a small city but it’s a nice, quiet place to live. I’m still a big Liverpool supporter and I watch all the games. I love Jurgen Klopp. He’s the perfect manager for Liverpool. I can’t wait to come back to Anfield as a fan one day.
    “But I’m not finished with football myself yet. I haven’t given up. I’m still only 27. My target is to get back up there again. If I can stay fit, I know I will do it.”
     
  2. dmishra

    dmishra Very Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2009
    Messages:
    9,488
    Likes Received:
    3,814
    Trophy Points:
    750
    Poor chap. Just shows you how devastating injuries can to be a young player's career, and how so many simply don't have it in them to come back from them.
     
    Tinto likes this.
  3. Modo

    Modo A contentious scando Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2006
    Messages:
    49,237
    Likes Received:
    10,503
    Trophy Points:
    1,950
    Gender:
    Male
    Poor guy.
     
    Red rose and Tinto like this.
  4. The Nomad

    The Nomad Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2006
    Messages:
    13,079
    Likes Received:
    2,352
    Trophy Points:
    625
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    UK
    Gkmacca is dead? Or Yesil?

    I need a TLDR version.
     
    Bradley likes this.
  5. Brizzle

    Brizzle Very Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2006
    Messages:
    13,702
    Likes Received:
    3,773
    Trophy Points:
    840
    Location:
    London
    My heart stopped opening this thread... but hopefully @gkmacca is still thriving!
     
  6. Modo

    Modo A contentious scando Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2006
    Messages:
    49,237
    Likes Received:
    10,503
    Trophy Points:
    1,950
    Gender:
    Male
    Would have been pointless to "@" him then...
     
  7. Brizzle

    Brizzle Very Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2006
    Messages:
    13,702
    Likes Received:
    3,773
    Trophy Points:
    840
    Location:
    London
    Valid point!
     
  8. 6TimesaRed

    6TimesaRed Not a Bot.... Administrator

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2006
    Messages:
    19,553
    Likes Received:
    6,125
    Trophy Points:
    970
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Right Behind You!!!
    Depends.. many posters have come back from the dead here..
     
    Red rose likes this.
  9. Woland

    Woland Part of the Furniture Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2010
    Messages:
    26,657
    Likes Received:
    34,248
    Trophy Points:
    1,575
    Interesting Krefeld fact: in 2007 my mate in Dusseldorf fell down the stairs and banged his head and ended up being looked after in the neuro bit of a hospital in Krefeld, a few miles north. Anyways I went over quite a bit to visit and a mad thing was all the cars in the streets looked like they'd been banged on the roof and bonnet with a hammer, so I asked the nurse about it and the year before they'd had a freak hailstorm with stones the size of golf balls, knackered all the cars, but the insurance companies said it was an act of God so everyone was stuck with these bust up cars.
     
    mark1975, Tinto, the count and 3 others like this.
  10. rurikbird

    rurikbird Part of the Furniture Honorary Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2006
    Messages:
    14,610
    Likes Received:
    12,842
    Trophy Points:
    1,365
    Location:
    New York, NY
    Sounds like a decent level-headed lad… and he definitely had a “gift” for finishing - a shame about I’m the injuries. The artificial pitches are evil and dangerous.
     
  11. peekay

    peekay Very Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2007
    Messages:
    5,754
    Likes Received:
    4,247
    Trophy Points:
    750
    Location:
    Oregon
    I am wondering how well our academy or other footballing academies do in terms of helping these talents in life if they don't make it in the premier league. I was at one point reading about Adam Morgan and how he was doing deliveries now. Yesil is working in a factory.

    If you sign a professional contract with Liverpool, you make atleast 5 to 10K per week for about 3 to 4 years. That is an enormous sum of money compared to most upper middle class folks. If you save and make even basic level of investment like mutual funds or rental properties or something, you shouldn't go from there to deliveries or working in a factory in 4 to 5 years time. Not just the money, the contacts you develop at Liverpool should help open doors in other careers like coaching, physical education, starting a business, etc.
     
  12. Woland

    Woland Part of the Furniture Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2010
    Messages:
    26,657
    Likes Received:
    34,248
    Trophy Points:
    1,575
    I've always had a problem with this. They go through thousands of kids who stake their whole life on being a professional football player and release 99% of them after ten years at the academy, with little other skills picked up.
     
  13. binomial

    binomial Very Active Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2016
    Messages:
    8,687
    Likes Received:
    976
    Trophy Points:
    370
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    UK
    Sometimes if you’re not good enough you’re not good enough, gotta find a way to accept it and find something else to do. It’s not always about injury setbacks…the kid was clearly pushed beyond his capabilities.
     
  14. Raz

    Raz Very Active Member

    Joined:
    May 4, 2008
    Messages:
    3,520
    Likes Received:
    360
    Trophy Points:
    290
    Don’t suppose you were around that area in the mid 90’s? I used to know a few scousers in my time living there! And many squaddies!!
     
  15. Beamrider

    Beamrider Very Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2016
    Messages:
    426
    Likes Received:
    704
    Trophy Points:
    320
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Wirral
    Before they turn 17 and can sign pro deals, the kids will only be on a few £100 per week (there are salary caps for these age groups). Usually when a kid signs a deal at age 16 (when the club can "officially" start paying them - as opposed to paying an agent or some spurious "expenses" to their parents) there'll be a guaranteed pro contract on turning 17, but it won't be big money in footballing terms (maybe £50k per annum). They would need to be knocking on the first-team door to get a six-figure annual sum, and the lads who are brought in as youth prospects will typically get more than the locals as the kids who've come up through the academy system from a really young age will be tied in to a progression path that is fairly mean with the money.
    So someone like Yesil could conceivably have been on that kind of money, but Trent wouldn't have been, at least not until he broke into the first team and was given a new deal.
     
    peekay likes this.
  16. Woland

    Woland Part of the Furniture Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2010
    Messages:
    26,657
    Likes Received:
    34,248
    Trophy Points:
    1,575
    No, but it was really handy at the time that Ryanair were flying into their version of Dusseldorf airport, which was really an old army one that was about an hour away on from Duss on the train, but Krefeld was on the way. Really like Dusseldorf, got dead chill vibes from the place. The fact that the flights were about ten quid return was useful too.

    The first night after he got injured I got over there and the surgeon was all like, I assume you know he was carrying his E111 card (the thing that got you full free treatment before brexit) and I said oh yeah I'm sure, and he said good, have a look through his pockets, you've got a week! He knew he didn't have it, just gave us breathing space to trash his flat looking for it.
     
    SummerOnions likes this.
  17. Beamrider

    Beamrider Very Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2016
    Messages:
    426
    Likes Received:
    704
    Trophy Points:
    320
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Wirral
    To be fair, the clubs put processes in place to let the kids get a decent education, but too many of them are too busy chasing the dream to take advantage of the opportunity. You're right, it stinks, but I don't think it's a problem that's easily solved.
    The other issue I have is that when they wash up in their late teens a lot of them haven't really had a proper childhood either as they've been under huge pressure to succeed for a decade or more.
     
    SummerOnions, SaRed and peekay like this.
  18. peekay

    peekay Very Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2007
    Messages:
    5,754
    Likes Received:
    4,247
    Trophy Points:
    750
    Location:
    Oregon
    I was talking specifically about players who signed a professional deal like Yesil and Adam Morgan - not the kids who were signed on "scholarship type" deals till they were 17 and let go. We paid 1 million pounds for Yesil when he was 18. Fairly confident he would have gotten 3 to 10K per week salary as he was a highly rated German youth national team prospect. He also started a few cup games for us.
     
    Beamrider likes this.
  19. Woland

    Woland Part of the Furniture Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2010
    Messages:
    26,657
    Likes Received:
    34,248
    Trophy Points:
    1,575
    Yeah my mates nephew was in the academy from six to sixteen and when he got released he said it was a relief, he was bored shitless of playing footy all the time, and for years and years he'd just had being a left back drilled into him. I think the Sunday League system was better, at least until they're about 13/14
     
    peekay and Beamrider like this.
  20. Beamrider

    Beamrider Very Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2016
    Messages:
    426
    Likes Received:
    704
    Trophy Points:
    320
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Wirral
    Yes, I think Yesil would have done, not so sure about Morgan though. The kids who spend years in academies tend to get shafted.
    More recently, the likes of Curtis Jones and Trent have been given several new contracts since their academy days - there'd have been a step up in money each time. Jones's two contracts were less than a year apart.
     
    peekay likes this.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page