Galatasaray was founded in 1481 as one of the Sultani schools in order to educate futurestatesmen and diplomats of the Ottomans. In 1868, theschool, with a strong European influence, started education in French and turned into a modern lycee. At the begining of the 20th century, manysports had started for the first time in the Empire at Galatasaray. Gymnastics, forexample, was definetely becoming more popular amongstudents.
A young Galatasaray student, Ali Sami Yen, watched his first football game, held among the British community who lived in Istanbul. When he shared his experience with his friends at Galatasaray, Turkish students began to play football for the first time.
His passion for the sport, led him to begin thinking about establishing a club in 1903. Ali Sami Yen leading the way, Galatasaray students, in the back rows of a literature class, founded a non-official foot ball club. Two years later, in 1905 the club was officially founded and Galatasaray played its first match against the French Faure School on November 26th, 1905.
Galatasaray was also the pioneer in others sports, such as waterpolo, icehockey, fieldhockey, boxing, etc. in Turkey. Obviously, traditional sports had their roots before the turn of the century in Turkey, but modern sports started to develop at Galatasaray when a sports teacher, Prof. Moiroux, arrived from France. His students followed in his footsteps and became the pioneers of modern sports in Turkishhistory.
With the foundation of theTurkish Republic in 1923, a brand new era started in Turkey’shistory. However, little had changed for the Galatasaray School. Galatasaray produced prime ministers, ministers, diplomats, business men, scientists, with a solid back ground in literature, foreign languages, natural sciences and philosophy, as well as sportsmen for the club that competed in several sports.
Football, with the establishment of the Istanbul League and later theTurkish Professional League, was always in the spotlight, but Galatasaray continued to compete for the championship in all other sports as the club of the school.
Hundreds of cups and medals are show cased at the Galatasaray Museum with in the school today, as a shining example of some hundred successfuly ears in Turkish sports.
Galatasaray Football Team’swill and passion to succeed in Europe started in the 1956-57 season, when Galatasaray competed in the European Champion Clubs Cup for the first time. Inthe 1988-89 season, Galatasaray played in the semi finals of the tournament. In the Cup Winners Cup, Galatasaray reached the quarter-finals in the 1991-92 season.
Galatasaray’s most successful spell was in the 1999-2000 season, when the team wonthe UEFA Cup, as the undefeated champion through out the tournament, and won the Super Cup, beating The Champions’ League winners Real Madrid.