Genclerbirligi Spor Kulubu (pronounced Turkish pronunciation: [ɟentʃˈlaɾbiɾli.i]), commonly known as Genclerbirligi, is a Turkish sports club based in Ankara. Formed in 1923, Genclerbirligi are nicknamed Ankara Ruzgari (The Wind of Ankara) or simply Gencler (The Youth). The club colours are black and red. The football team currently plays its home matches at Eryaman Stadium, following the closure of the Ankara 19 Mayis.
Domestically, the club have won the Turkish Cup twice, in 1987 and 2001. They have also won the former Turkish Football Championship twice and the regional Ankara Football League a record nine times. In Europe, Genclerbirligi's greatest success came in 2004. The club reached the fourth round of the UEFA Cup before losing to eventual champions Valencia.
Genclerbirligi were founded in a slightly different way compared to many other football clubs, having been established by students from a high school, Ankara Erkek Lisesi (Sultani Mektebi). The students in question (Ramiz Eren, Mennan Iz, Mazhar Atacanli, Sait, Kenan, Nuri, Namik Katoglu, Namik Ambarcioglu, Ridvan Kirmaci, Hafi Arac, Ruhi, Sari Ziya and Hakki) had failed to be selected for their own school team, and asked one of their student friends, Asim, to talk with his father about setting up a football team for them to show how well they could play.
On 14 March 1923, Asim's father, the member of parliament from Mus Province, established the team for his son and his friends. Since all the members of the team were students he chose the name 'Youth Union' (Turkish: Genclerbirligi). They elected Sari Ziya's father Faik Bey as their first chairman.
Subsequently, these young students wanted to play against the school team which had not selected them. Genclerbirligi won the game, played at "Hamit tarlasi", 3–0. According to these young rebellious players this victory forged the identity of their new team.
They won the regional Ankara Football League a record nine times between 1923 and 1959, when the league had first level status before the introduction of a nationwide league. Their greatest success domestically were the victories in the former Turkish Football Championship, when they became Turkish champions in 1941 and 1946. Gencler entered the Turkish National League in 1959 and played 12 seasons until relegation in the 1969–70 season. They played in the second level until relegation to third level in the 1978–79 season. The club came back to second level after the merger of the third level with second level, at the end of the 1979–80 season. They finished second from last in Group A of the Second League, and had to relegate to the regional league. But, since the number of teams in the second division was increased, Genclerbirligi were readmitted. The club won Group D in the 1982–83 season and finally returned to the top-flight after 13 years. They relegated again in 1987–88 season. Finally, Genclerbirligi returned to the top-flight in the 1988–89 season, in their first return attempt. Genclerbirligi's most successful seasons in the Super Lig are 1965–66 and 2002–03, when they reached the third place. At the end of the 2017–18 season Gencler only reached the 17th place and as a result the club relegated to the second tier TFF First League.
This page also has a version in other languages: Генчлербирлиги (русский)