Monday, January 16, 2012

May be the Swiss were thinking of crisis as well, for they were bound to reform their football. !975-76 season was the last with traditional league – it was to be decreased from 14 to 12 teams for the next year and the whole format was to be changed, but details will be given later. For the moment – the last three clubs were relegated and only the winner of the Second Division promoted. At the top everything was familiar – FC Zurich was once again confident champion, 5 points ahead of the nearest rival Servette (Geneva). Once again FC Zurich finished with only one loss - 19 wins and 6 ties proved how supreme they were, just like in 1974 and 1975. They also scored a lot – 69 goals, allowing only 26 in their own net. To top it all, they win the Cup as well – a double, unlike the two earlier seasons. Confidence and mature superiority – the squad was practically the same as the two previous seasons, perhaps reaching its peak in 1975-76. By now they were playing quite well in Europe as well – not exactly making waves, but they were pleasant to watch, elegant and efficient, and not easy to beat. FC Zurich line-up before winning the Swiss Cup: from left: Kuhn, Grob, Rutschmann, Martinelli, Scheiwiler, Fischbach, Heer, Katic, Zigerlig, Risi, Botteron
To a point, FC Zurich examplified Swiss football: modest, unassuming, not abrasive at all, not crazy either – few local stars, completed with lesser local players and inexpensive mid-range foreigners. The Swiss were careful with imports: Ilija Katic was the typical case – he was not a star Yugoslav player, but reliable one, who fit perfectly to the Swiss way and became constant top goalscorer. True, Swiss clubs were importing more foreigners by 1976, and gradually bigger names, but still carefully – Slobodan Santrac was an example of new trend: Grasshoppers (yes, it was still Grasshoppers in mid-70s) bought the former Yugoslav national player, but the striker was aging and not very expensive because of that. Good to score a plenty and provide class in Switzerland, although beyond his prime. ‘Crisis’ was hardly the world describing Swiss football – rather, it was not improving, remaining the same, and thus stifling the possible progress of talented teams like FC Zurich. The reduced league aimed at establishing both financial stability and competitive championship – about 6-7 clubs were relatively good in terms of players and were to benefit from the new championship formula: after the first half, the league was to be split on two tournaments: the top 6 playing among themselves for the title and the bottom half – to decide the relegated two. 1975-76 ended with complete triumph of FC Zurich, but really… playing with the outsiders was not helping as much as playing against Servette (Geneva).
Which finished second in both championship and Cup. Servette reached the final and lost it 0-1. Katic scored the winning goal for FC Zurich in the 9th minute.
Double second… top, from left: M. Locca (Coach), Alain Canizares, Claude Andrey, Jürgen Sundermann (Trainer), Marc Schnyder, Valer Nemeth (Trainer)
Middle row: Gilbert Guyot, Jean-Luc Martin, Ueli Wegmann, M. Cohannier (President), Rolf Riner, Lucio Bizzini, Alfred Hussner.
Sitting:Denis De Blaireville, José Zapico, Kurt Müller, Hans-Jörg Pfister, Franco Marchi, Karl Engel.
Not bad at all, by Swiss standards: a few national players and the rest solid, if not stellar. And like FC Zurich, playing together for a number of years already. Were they to be satisfied with ‘second best’? Unlikely, and the new formula of the championship was designed to help precisely clubs like Servette in a more competitive environment. Anyway, it was FC Zurich so far and let them be happy in 1976.