Saturday, February 2, 2013

2 February 1936 - The Uncrowned King Is Born

On 2 February 1936, Metin Oktay, Galatasaray's all-time leading scorer, was born in Izmir, Turkey.

Nicknamed "Taçsız Kral" (the Uncrowned King), Oktay first joined the club in 1955 at the age of 19 after three seasons in the lower leagues, including one at his hometown club, İzmirspor. Although Galatasaray were already successful, winning their thirteenth national title in 1955, he gave them a boost with a club-best 19 goals in his first season to help them repeat as champions. It was the first of five league titles he would win with the club (the first three with the Istanbul League and the other two with the Süper Lig).

It was also the first of thirteen seasons in which he was their leading scorer, including each of his first seven seasons with the club. He remained with the club until 1969, broken only by a short spell with Palermo for the 1961-62 season. In all, he scored a total of 538 goals for Galatasaray in 497 appearances across all competitions (the next-highest tally belongs to Hakan Şükür, who scored a relatively meager 241 times in 545 appearances between 1992 and 2008).

Oktay also earned 36 caps for Turkey from 1955 to 1968 and scored 19 goals, but most of those were in friendlies as Turkey either withdrew from or did not qualify for any major tournament during his time with the team. He did score three times during qualification for the 1962 World Cup, but Turkey finished second to the Soviet Union in their group and did not advance.

After his retirement, he remained involved with the club, briefly managing them in the 1969-70 season and later serving on the board of directors. He died in 1991 at the age of 55 after a car accident.

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