Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The First Division, the only fully professional Turkish league, was divided into three sections during the 1978-79 season – two outsiders at the bottom, three favourites at the top, and 11 more or less equal teams. The surprise was Besiktas (Istanbul), one of the traditional favourites, which sunk down, and ended 9th with 29 points. Izmir, one of the cradles of the Turkish football, lost its leading position years ago – this was no longer news. Goztepe and Altay were mid-table clubs by now. Goztepe, which played in the second level just the previous year had a relatively good season – they finished 10th. Lat in the table was the other newcomer for the season:
First division football was too much for Kirikkalespor – they finished last, earning 18 points. An incidental club.
Samsunspor was the other outsider with 20 points. It was not surprising to see them relegated – it was surprising to see them really weak.
The third relegated club was rather unlucky.
Boluspor was a likely candidate for relegation, but they put the good fight and even finished with positive goal-difference – 33:32. They won 9 matches – another 4 clubs had the same or smaller number of wins – but the at the end Boluspor had 26 points and these four clubs finished with 27 and 28 points. Small, but fatal difference. Boluspor took the dreaded 14th place.
The pleasant surprise of the year was a club similar to Boluspor – relatively new member of the league, modest and expected to be at the bottom or near bottom.

But Orduspor did contrary to expectations – they had a wonderful season, winning 13 and tying 8 games and finishing 4th with 34 points – 2 more than the 5th, Diyarbakirspor. They were not title contenders, but earned a UEFA Cup spot.
The favourites were the usual suspects – Galatasaray, Fenerbahce, and the new powerhouse Trabzonspor. Fenerbahce eventually slipped down – they ended at 3rd place with 38 points, but the title was decided by a single point. It was a battle of attacking vs defensive football. Galatasaray won 17 matches, the most in the league. However, they lost 6. Winning and scoring goals – 47 was also the best league record this season – was not enough. Trabzonspor won only 13 matches – less than Galatasaray and Fenerbahce – but they lost only one. As for ties, they had 16 – more than half of the games they played. Their striking power was nothing to brag about – 34 goals in 30 matches – but their defense was impenetrable – the ball visited their net only 7 times this season. One of the best records not only in Turkey. The careful, defensive, and point oriented approach paid off – at the end Trabzonspor had 42 points and Galatasaray – 41.

Second consecutive year without a title for Galatasaray. Fatih Terim lost again to Senol Güneş on the pitch.

Standing, from left: Güngör, Mehmet Ekşi, Tuncay, Hüseyin, Şenol, Necati
: Mustafa, Ahmet Ceylan, Serdar, Turgay, Necdet
Trabzonspor were not overwhelming champions, but one thing was made sure – they were not just an accident. 3 titles and 2 Cups in four years firmly established them among the best Turkish clubs and now there were no longer 3 big clubs, but 4.
The Cup was contested by Altay (Izmir) and Fenerbahce (Istanbul). Old rivalry and an attempt of Izmir to restore its leading place in Turkish football. For some reason the two-legged final left little memories... Altay won 2-1 at home, but lost 0-2 in Istanbul.
Fenerbahce won their 3rd Cup – the number strikes as very low. Yet.