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The Spirit of Istanbul is a mystical spectral entity, which when invoked, will allow the invoker to overturn any predicament that they find themselves in.

The Miracle of Istanbul[]


In 2005, Liverpool and AC Milan reached the final of the Champions League, to be staged in the Atatürk Olympic Stadium, Istanbul. AC had a formidable team containing world class talents such as Nesta, Cafu, Maldini, Jaap Stam, Pirlo, Gattuso, Seedorf, Kaka, Shevchenko and Crespo. Liverpool had a team consisting of Steven Gerrard.

The evening had already broken records before kick-off, when more than 30 people tuned into ITV on a weeknight for the first time since that episode of The Bill where the two WPCs got off with each other.

Predictably, Milan took a 3-0 lead before half-time. The Liverpool fans were understandably downhearted and spent most of the interval singing a show tune from the 1945 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, Carousel. The horrid sound of 10,000 Scouse voices singing a lament for Billy Bigelow must've reached the changing rooms and inspired the Reds, because in the second half, Liverpool actually began to play.

Stevie 'Saviour of Liverpool' Gerard scored a header, Vladimír Šmicer scored and then promptly disappeared from the Earth, and finally Xabi Alonso had a penalty saved but managed to bungle in the rebound. Kaka then wasted a golden chance to win the game, meaning the game would go through the drudgery of extra-time. Inevitably, no one scored in 30 minutes of tedious cagey football. In the penalty shoot-out that followed, a combination of Andriy Shevchenko bottling it and Jerzy Dudek doing something ridiculous with his legs, gave Liverpool a 5th Champions League trophy.

Other Notable Miracles[]

The fact Liverpool were able to overturn a 3 goal deficit in one half of a football match against AC Milan is fairly impressive, but not miraculous. The fact that a team consisting of such average players as Smicer, Baros and Kewell and such downright awful players as Jimmy Traore were able to win the Champions League is clearly more miraculous than:

  • The Pyramids
  • Child-birth
  • The Resurrection of Christ
  • Roger Milla

Invoking The Spirit of Istanbul[]

The innvocation of the Spirit of Istanbul is invariably suggested by pundits and managers alike as solution whenever:

  • An English club is behind in a European match by a seemingly insurmountable margin
  • Liverpool trail a match at half-time
  • The UK only have 7 points at the half-way stage of the Eurovision Song Contest.

The Spirit is invoked by:

  • Singing "You'll Never Walk Alone"
  • Pulling ones scarf taut above ones head and swaying in a semi-rhythmic fashion
  • Steven Gerrard actually starting to give a shit

Notable Innvocations of the Spirit[]

  • Liverpool went into the quarter final second leg of the 2009 Champions League having lost the first leg 3-1 at home to bitter rivals Chelsea. Just about everyone suggested that Liverpool invoke the Spirit of Istanbul in the second leg. The usually biased media went to unbelievable new lengths in the build-up to and duration of the game, shouting infuriating demi-prophecies like "Do you believe in Miracles?" and "Is lightning about the strike twice?" every time Liverpool won a thrown-in. Despite the best efforts of the Spirit and some unusually careless play by Chelsea, the match finished 7-5 to Chelsea on aggregate.
  • Grim north-eastern outfit Middlesbrough invoked the Spirit of Istanbul successfully in the quarter final second leg of the 2006 Uefa Cup. The Spirit helped them overturn a 4 goal deficit in the second half against Swiss chancers FC Basel.
  • Middlesbrough invoked the Sprit successfully again in the semi final second leg. The Spirit helped them overturn a 4 goal deficit in the second half against Steaua Bucharest.
  • Middlesbrough attempted to invoke the Spirit again when a goal down at half time in the final itself. By this point, however, the Spirit was knackered and decided to stop dragging the small town club through Europe's shittier club competition. Boro lost the game 4-0 in the end, leaving them having only ever won the League Cup and the Anglo-Scottish Cup. When combined what a horrid place Middlesbrough actually is, it's a miracle (almost equal to one that occurred one special night in Turkey) that the whole town hasn't committed mass suicide.
  • Most recently the amateur cyclist and renowned bon-vivant Marc Davies cycled 2,633 miles to Istanbul from London completing his journey on 15 April 2010. This solo effort of endurance and sheer bravura must surely rank high among incidences of the fabled Spirit of Istanbul.