Ali Sami Yen is a football stadium located in Istanbul (Turkey), home ground of Turkish side Galatasaray Sports Club until 2010.
Having a capacity of only 22,800 seats, Ali Sami Yen is the 11th largest arena in Turkey, which has been one of the reasons that led to Galatasaray’ s decision of moving to a new stadium, Turk Telekom Arena, which has a capacity of 52,695 seats. The construction of Ali Sami Yen Stadium began in 1943, but because of the difficulties faced during the World War II, the arena could only be entirely completed in 1964. As a result the inauguration took place in December 1964, when a international friendly was played between Turkey and Bulgaria. But it was not a successful opening, as during the game in one of the stands many people fell onto the first floor, which led to several injuries, but fortunately no fatal accidents. One year later spotlights were added to the arena and the system was later renovated in 1993.
The arena, which is named in honour of the founder of the club, Ali Sami Yen, has been nicknamed “Hell” by Galatasaray’s fans who tried to intimidate and put pressure on the opposing team by creating an enthusiastic atmosphere through the use of torches, smoke, drums, flags and giant banners in order to create visual grandeur. In January 2011 Galatasaray played their last official game at the traditional arena in an important 3-1 victory over Beypazari Sekerspor in the Turkish Cup. Numerous fans would have liked the team continue to play the home games on a new and modern Ali Sami Yen, but the stadium’s structure and design made it impossible. As a result the demolition of this arena will take place in February 2011, while Galatasaray have already settled into their new and luxurious home which is also the largest private stadium owned by a club in Turkey.