By Gareth James
Cardiff City’s players shouldn’t have any worries about whether or not their new boss Erol Bulut can lead them out of the disaster that was last season.
The Turk has already proved how cool, calm and reliable he can be in a crisis, helping out his former players after the 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck southern Turkey and Syria on Monday, 6 February.
Even though he had ripped up his contract with Turkish Super League club Gaziantep 10 days earlier he was still living in the city when disaster struck.
“I was with my family in Antep when the earthquake struck. It was 4am in the morning and we were sleeping,” said Bulut.
New Cardiff manager Erol Bulut has signed a one-year contract with the option of two more should things go well.
Bulut 🗣 “Vincent (Tan) has already got promoted two times to the Premier League. Why not three?” pic.twitter.com/RPI5v23xba
— Phil Blanche 🏴 (@philblanche) June 5, 2023
“Not many buildings were destroyed in the centre of Antep, but we were all shaken. The small villages a little bit outside Antep were totally destroyed, so we couldn’t get out of the city.
“We couldn’t drive to Istanbul, which is what I wanted to do, because the streets were destroyed. Some of my squad were living on the 12th floor of a building and they were shocked more than we were.
“I was in a house, so I was OK, although my kids still have a think about the shaking. I called my squad together and we slept together in my house for one night.
“We made a plan to get out of there and thank God I was able to arrange a private jet in Antep. We left the next day.
“We were lucky whereas many others weren’t. An ex-Fenerbahce teammate of mine died, as did a coach who worked with me.
“It wasn’t easy and if I think about this, I don’t feel well. It was not easy for my country – 13.5m people were affected.”
🗣 “Vincent has already had two promotions to the Premier League… why not a third time?”
— BBC Sport Wales (@BBCSportWales) June 5, 2023
In fact, more than 50,000 people in Turkey were killed in one of the worst natural disasters of the century. Now the German-born Bulut is heading to new ground in the Welsh capital to try to forge a new career in the Championship.
He will be the first Turkish manager in the Premiership and EFL and intends to transfer his 60% winning record from his six years of management in Turkey to his new job in charge of the Bluebirds.
Cardiff finished one place above the relegation zone last season and would have gone down had Reading not been docked six points. They were the second lowest goalscoring team in the division and lost 23 of their 46 league games for the second season in a row.
Bluebirds fans may have considered his appointment to have been a bit of a gamble, but club chairman Mehmet Dalman, was adamant that hiring Bulut “was not the cheap option”. “This isn’t an exercise in just getting a football manager in and this is not a cheap hire.
🗣️ “At home we have to be much stronger, with the fans behind us. We need them, everywhere. They will be the 12th person on the field, to support us.”
— Cardiff City FC (@CardiffCityFC) June 5, 2023
We have targets, strategy and a vision, and Erol will be a key in that strategy,” said Dalman, who celebrates 10 years in the hot seat at Cardiff City Stadium this summer.
“I don’t want a season like last season – it was horrible. I’m not sure we have chosen the best managers in the past, and you have to get the manager right.
“I don’t like the word gamble, but is it a risk bringing in Erol? Any manager you bring in is a risk – even taking Sir Alex Ferguson out of retirement would be a risk – but it has to be a calculated risk.
We tried to get Erol two years ago, but he went to Fenerbahce instead. Now he will be part of an exciting and a new direction for the club.
“You don’t have to be a genius to do better than what we did last year! We do have a game plan.”
Bulut won the Turkish Super League as a player with Fenerbahce before returning to the club as a manager for one season. His playing style was always described in Turkey as being typically British and now he is looking forward to breaking new ground as the first Turkish manager in English football.
“If I’m successful here I hope other Turkish coaches can also make the move. I have always believed in myself and proved that in Turkey – now I want to prove myself here,” said Bulut.
Cardiff City Football Club is delighted to announce the appointment of Erol Bulut as First Team Manager.#CityAsOne
— Cardiff City FC (@CardiffCityFC) June 3, 2023