Bakircioglu in 2013
|Full name||Kennedy Bakircioglu|
|Date of birth||2 November 1980|
|Place of birth||Södertälje, Sweden|
|Height||1.81 m (5 ft 11 in)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
He spent the most of his career with Hammarby IF, first joining in 1999 then returning for a second spell in 2012. He also competed professionally in Greece, the Netherlands (with both Twente and Ajax) and Spain.
Bakircioglu was a Swedish international for seven years.
Born in Södertälje, Bakircioglu was named after the former United States president John F. Kennedy. His father Benjamin was one of the first to play for newly founded Assyriska FF, a club established by the Assyrian diaspora, going on to become its record goal scorer.
Bakircioglu started his professional career with Assyriska, making his senior debut in 1996 at age 15. He would soon establish himself as a regular starter in Division 1, by then the Swedish second tier, despite of his young age.
In 1998, Bakircioglu saw a major breakthrough in his senior career and scored nine goals whilst also providing eight assists, in 25 league games. He had a trial with Manchester United during the winter of that year, but did not impress enough to secure a contract with the English team.
Before the start of 1999, Bakircioglu transferred to Hammarby IF in Allsvenskan. He scored his first competitive goal for the Stockholm-based side on 1 July the same year, in a 3–0 home win against IFK Norrköping; he quickly became a fan favourite at his new club, and ended the season playing 25 league matches, scoring twice.
On 4 July 1999, Bakircioglu made his continental debut in the second round of the UEFA Intertoto Cup, a 4–0 home victory over FC Gomel. In the away leg, he scored a brace to help to a 2–2 draw and subsequent qualification; at the end of the year, he was voted "Allsvenskan newcomer of the year".
During the 2000 campaign, Bakircioglu was a key player in manager Sören Cratz's squad, playing as attacking midfielder behind the strikers. He made 26 league appearances and netted five times, but Hammarby finished eighth.
In 2001, Bakircioglu scored eight goals in 26 games to lead the team to their first-ever national championship. He also provided seven assists throughout the domestic tournament, and was praised by pundits as player of the season at Hammarby; he scored in the title-deciding fixture against Örgryte IS on 21 October, a 3–2 triumph at Söderstadion.
Bakircioglu continued 2002 in similar fashion, and netted 11 goals from 26 appearances. His team, however, suffered a tough year in the table and failed to produce any sort of challenge, eventually ending in ninth position. As reigning Swedish champions, they took part in the second qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League where they faced the Serbian SuperLiga's FK Partizan, with the player being featured in both legs of the 1–5 aggregate loss; he reportedly attracted interest from Beşiktaş J.K. from Turkey during the season, but the deal fell through in the last minute.
In the 2003 campaign, Bakircioglu scored six goals in the league's first seven rounds – in an eventual total of 12– as Hammarby went on an unbeaten streak. In September, the club's board of directors suspended both him and Mikael Andersson because the parties could not agree to extend their outgoing contracts. The decision was, however, revoked after only a few days, roughly at the same time as the team was surpassed by city rivals Djurgårdens IF at the top of table and eventually finished second.
On 12 January 2004, Bakircioglu moved to the Superleague Greece with Iraklis 1908 Thessaloniki FC. He signed a two-and-a-half-year contract, linking up with compatriot Mats Jingblad who held the managerial position at his new club.
Bakircioglu was sparingly used in his only full campaign.
Bakircioglu moved teams and countries again in the 2005 off-season, joining FC Twente in the Netherlands and impressing manager Fred Rutten straight away to become a first-team regular. In 2006–07, he scored 15 goals in the Eredivisie as the Enschede side finished fourth and qualified to the UEFA Cup.
On 5 May 2007, newspaper De Telegraaf announced that Bakircioglu had reached an agreement with fellow league club AFC Ajax. He was officially signed ten days later, and scored on his official debut, an 8–1 away routing of De Graafschap.
In August 2008, new Ajax manager Marco van Basten deemed Bakircioglu surplus to requirements, but the latter decided to stay, being restricted to only 17 league games in two seasons combined. He did manage, however, a crucial goal for the Amsterdam team, in the 2008–09 UEFA Cup, in a 1–0 away win against ACF Fiorentina in the round of 32 (2–1 aggregate success).
Bakircioglu left Ajax in June 2010, signing for Spain's Racing de Santander early in the following month. He started in all but two matches he appeared in his first season, as the Cantabrians retained their La Liga status; three of his league goals came in the last month of competition, against RCD Mallorca (2–0 home win), Atlético Madrid (2–1, home) and Athletic Bilbao (1–2 loss also at the Campos de Sport de El Sardinero).
Return to Hammarby
At the end of August 2012, Bakircioglu returned to Hammarby as the club was now in the Superettan. In the 2014 season, whilst also acting as captain, he led all scorers with 17 goals and contributed with seven decisive passes, helping to a return to the top division.
A regular in both the 2015 and 2016 campaigns, with the team finishing 11th on both occasions, 36-year-old Bakircioglu signed a new one year-contract with Hammarby in December 2016. In his later years he repositioned himself as a central midfielder, dictating the game as a playmaker.
On 1 October 2018, during his last season, Bakircioglu scored from a spectacular free kick to make it 3–0 in the league fixture against IFK Göteborg, and proceeded to celebrate the goal in front of the home fans by catching and drinking from a cup of beer that was thrown towards him from the stands.
In popular culture
Bakircioglu gained fame and cult status early in his career thanks to the computer game Championship Manager: Season 01/02, where he was considered one of the greatest "hidden gem" players of all time.
|Assyriska||1996||Division 2 Västra Svealand||1||0||–||–||1||0|
|1997||Division 1 Norra||8||1||–||–||8||1|
|1998||Division 1 Norra||25||9||–||–||25||9|
|Racing Santander||2010–11||La Liga||32||6||2||1||–||–||34||7|
- "Bakırcıoğlu pronunciation in Turkish". Forvo. 21 June 2013. Retrieved 2 January 2016.
- "Zweedse Assyriër in Twente" [Swedish-Assyrian in Twente]. De Pers (in Dutch). 9 March 2007. Retrieved 9 February 2013.
- "Kennedy om karriären och framtiden" [Kennedy about his career and the future]. Länstidningen (in Swedish). 18 December 2015. Retrieved 25 October 2017.
- "Mittfältare: Kennedy Bakircioglü – karriär" [Midfielder: Kennedy Bakircioglü – career] (in Swedish). Sveriges Radio. 28 August 2012. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
- "Kennedy Bakırcıoğlu'dan cevap geldi" [Kennedy Bakırcıoğlu replied] (in Turkish). Fenerbahçe S.K. 13 January 2004. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 24 July 2007.
- "Assyriska FF 40 år med Benjamin "Muller" Bakircioglu" [Assyriska FF 40 years with Benjamin "Muller" Bakircioglu] (in Swedish). Assyriska FF. 23 May 2014. Retrieved 25 October 2017.
- "Svensk 18-åring till Manchester United" [18-year-old Swede to Manchester United]. Aftonbladet (in Swedish). 8 December 1998. Retrieved 25 October 2017.
- "År 1999" [Year 1999] (in Swedish). Hammarby IF. Retrieved 25 October 2017.
- "Flickornas favorit" [The girls' favourite]. Aftonbladet (in Swedish). 2 April 2001. Retrieved 30 October 2017.
- "Kennedy Bakircioglü". UEFA. Retrieved 30 October 2017.
- ""Jag spelar"" ["I will play"]. Aftonbladet (in Swedish). 7 April 2000. Retrieved 30 October 2017.
- "År 2000" [Year 2000] (in Swedish). Hammarby IF. Retrieved 30 October 2017.
- "År 2001" [Year 2001] (in Swedish). Hammarby IF. Retrieved 30 October 2017.
- "Kennedy Bakircioglu" (in Swedish). Swedish Football Association. Retrieved 30 October 2017.
- "Fakta: Svenska mästare på 2000-talet" [Facts: Swedish champions during the 2000s] (in Swedish). Hammarby IF. 30 October 2015. Retrieved 30 October 2017.
- "Guldmatchen minut för minut" [The title-winning match minute by minute]. Aftonbladet (in Swedish). 21 October 2001. Retrieved 30 October 2017.
- "År 2002" [Year 2002] (in Swedish). Hammarby IF. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
- "Partizan hammer Hammarby". UEFA. 7 August 2002. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
- "Kennedy: "Det har känts förnedrande"" [Kennedy: "It felt degrading"]. Expressen (in Swedish). 7 January 2004. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
- "President Kennedy". Aftonbladet (in Swedish). 20 May 2003. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
- "Kennedy och Mikael Andersson får spela" [Kennedy and Mikael Andersson are allowed to play]. Aftonbladet (in Swedish). 19 September 2003. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
- "År 2003" [Year 2003] (in Swedish). Hammarby IF. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
- "Kennedy Bakircioglü till Grekland" [Kennedy Bakircioglü to Greece]. Svenska Dagbladet (in Swedish). 12 January 2004. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
- "Historik" [History] (in Swedish). Hammarby IF. Archived from the original on 26 March 2011. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
- "Ajax legt Bakircioglu vast" [Ajax capture Bakircioglu] (in Dutch). NU.nl. 15 May 2007. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
- "Bakircioglu kiest Ajax" [Bakircioglu chooses Ajax]. De Telegraaf (in Dutch). 5 May 2007. Archived from the original on 13 September 2007. Retrieved 9 February 2013.
- "De Graafschap 1–8 Ajax Amsterdam". ESPN Soccernet. 19 August 2011. Retrieved 9 February 2013.
- "De Graafschap 1–8 Ajax" (in Dutch). De Graafschap Doetinchem. 19 August 2011. Archived from the original on 13 January 2016. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "Bakirçioglu ziet geen toekomst meer bij Ajax" [Bakirçioglu sees no future at Ajax] (in Dutch). Goal. 31 October 2008. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "Van Basten verrast met Bakircioglu" [Van Basten surprised at Bakircioglu]. De Telegraaf (in Dutch). 15 February 2009. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "Bakircioglü wins it for Ajax in Florence". UEFA. 19 February 2009. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "Mythe Van Basten leeft voort in Italië" [Van Basten myth lives on in Italy]. NRC Handelsblad (in Dutch). 20 February 2009. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "Bakircioglü naar Racing Santander" [Bakircioglü to Racing Santander] (in Dutch). Nederlandse Omroep Stichting. 6 July 2010. Retrieved 9 February 2013.
- "El internacional sueco Kennedy Bakircioglü, tercer fichaje del Racing 2010/11" [Swedish international Kennedy Bakircioglü, third Racing signing for 2010/11] (in Spanish). Racing Santander. 5 July 2010. Retrieved 9 February 2013.
- "Santander bank on safety". ESPN Soccernet. 1 May 2011. Retrieved 9 February 2013.
- "Racing secure survival". ESPN Soccernet. 10 May 2011. Retrieved 9 February 2013.
- "Bilbao end on a high". ESPN Soccernet. 21 May 2011. Retrieved 9 February 2013.
- Fernández, Pedro (20 October 2011). "Kennedy pone fin a los rumores sobre su lesión" [Kennedy ends rumours about his injury]. Marca (in Spanish). Retrieved 9 February 2013.
- "Den som inte spelat här vet inte vad det innebär" [Those who haven't played here do not know what it means]. Aftonbladet (in Swedish). 28 August 2012. Retrieved 9 February 2013.
- "Kennedy sköt upp Bajen till allsvenskan" [A Kennedy strike promoted Bajen to Allsvenskan]. Aftonbladet (in Swedish). 2 November 2014. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "Kennedy förlänger kontraktet – "Längtar till nästa säsong"" [Kennedy extends contract – "Looking forward to the next season"] (in Swedish). Hammarby IF. 14 December 2016. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
- "Kennedy drar sig tillbaka – på planen" [Kennedy retracts – on the field]. Dagens Nyheter (in Swedish). 4 April 2016. Retrieved 31 January 2017.
- "Han kastade in ölen till Kennedy – av misstag: "Blev ännu mer hysterisk"" [He threw the beer to Kennedy – by mistake: "Got even more hysterical"]. Fotbollskanalen (in Swedish). 1 October 2018. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
- "Kennedy Bakircioglu – Football Manager cult players XI". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
- "K. Bakircioglu". Soccerway. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "Kennedy Bakircioglü". Footballdatabase. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- Kennedy Bakircioglu at SvFF (in Swedish)
- Racing Santander official profile at the Wayback Machine (archived 2011-09-22) (in Spanish)
- Stats at Voetbal International (in Dutch)
- Kennedy Bakircioglu at BDFutbol
- Kennedy Bakircioglu at National-Football-Teams.com
- Kennedy Bakircioglu – FIFA competition record
- Kennedy Bakircioglu – UEFA competition record
- Sweden stats at Eu-Football