Behind The Play: Bulut happy for you to discover the real him

Kerem Bulut says that if you really want to get to know him, come up and say hello.


Kerem Bulut in action for the Western Sydney Wanderers Source: Getty Images

The Western Sydney Wanderers striker's background, with the off-field dramas and run-ins with the law, have been well documented, but it has been a while since he has found trouble and now he would just liked to be judged on his football. That is fair enough.

"If people want to get to know me, come and meet me, I'm just a normal bloke," he told The World Game.

"You know, sometimes people get caught up in stuff, but I'm just a normal human being just trying to live a football career.

"Sometimes people might judge me because I'm a passionate player and I'm a bit aggressive, but that's my game, you know, that's my personality. You can't really judge me on that."

Wanderers fans love his passion - and Bulut loves their support in return. He is about to start his second stint with the club and what better way than in a pulsating derby game against Sydney FC in front of an anticipated A-League record crowd of 60,000-plus at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night.

"Yeah, mate, I love the derby," he said. "I love the atmosphere, it gets me going. That's what football's all about, you know."

It got him going well enough to score two goals in a 4-3 loss to the Sky Blues in the only derby he has played, during his nine-game stint for Wanderers in the second half of the 2014-2015 season.

"Yeah, of course, it's a massive game for our fans and the club and we've had a very good pre-season and I feel very fit and well and I'm expecting to have a good game," he said.

"I'm really looking forward to this one because it's going to be massive. What are we expecting, at least 60,000? This is going to blow the other derbies away - 100 per cent.

"We have the best fans in the league by far, the most passionate fans in the league, and hopefully we can give them something back. We just want them to turn out in numbers and be very loud and get behind us for the whole game."

Wanderers CEO John Tsatsimas said he was convinced Bulut would be a great signing for the club - on and off the field.

"Kerem has been unbelievable since his return," Tsatsimas said. "He's a professional, a lovely lad with a very big heart, a very kind heart, and we're very glad he's with us. We're excited about what he's about to exhibit on the field this year.

"I think there have been some misconceptions about what Kerem represents, but let me tell you I can lay all those fears to rest. He's a lovely fellow and the things he does outside the scope of the actual football for some people is not mentioned enough and he's an outstanding person."

Fellow Wanderers striker Brendon Santalab, who at 34 is 10 years older than Bulut, sees it as partly his job to help ensure Bulut becomes the best footballer he can be.

"I'm excited to play with Kerem this year and he has got the world at his feet, he's a great footballer, so there's no reason why he can't have a great season.
"He's doing really well, Kerem," Santalab said. "He's a great footballer and it's about us older players helping the younger guys and my job this season is to guide Kerem and help him along the way and be a great role model for him as well.

"He's had his ups and downs, but he's on the right track now. He's in a good place and around good people and he has the best coach in Australia to guide him as well, so he's definitely in good hands."

Bulut agrees that being back at Wanderers, under the club's care and Tony Popovic's coaching, is the best thing for him - personally and professionally.

"One hundred per cent, football-wise it's the best place to be because the team is fantastic, it's the best club in Australia, it has the best fan base, I feel loved at the club, I've got a great relationship with the coaching staff and it just feels like home," he said.

"I feel very happy at the moment. I probably haven't felt this good for a long time in my football career, so it's a massive boost for me.

"I had some great times here before, but the last time I came unfit. Now I've got a pre-season behind me. The Wanderers, it's more professional, it's a fantastic environment and I feel 10 out of 10 at the moment, so it's really satisfying leading into the season.

"The past is all behind me and I'm just looking at my football. I'm just going to let my football do the talking this year and that's it. Put my head down, work hard and just look at the football.

"I think I can achieve big things this year, because as long as I'm fit and well I know I've got the confidence and I've got the team.

"I'm going with a big bang this year - that's my plan."

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5 min read
Published 7 October 2016 at 12:05pm
By Greg Prichard