Wednesday, July 22, 2015

So much for the second division winners. The First Division was the real thing anyway. Most of the league was fairly equal this season, which boiled down to concerns not of winning, but about surviving: 8 points divided silver medalists from the relegated 14th placed team. Some unlikely clubs had to fret to the end... Diyarbakirspor were the seasonal outsiders, finishing last. Above them were the unlucky newcomers Kayserispor. They fought as much as they were able to, but evidently they had weak squad – Kayserispor was the lowest scoring team this year, which placed them 15th at the end with 25 points. Above them bitter fight for survival lasted to the end:
Orduspor finished 7th with 30 points – seemingly safe, when one looks at the final table.
Demirspor (Adana) – or Adanademirspor, depending of correct or incorrect writing of the name – was 8th with 29 points. Talking stable mid-table teams? Not really: 4 clubs finished with 29 points. Two with 28. Half of the league was largely trying to escape relegation... and in this group were two clubs usually competing for the title. Besiktas finished 11th.
Galatasaray was 9th. Both mighty clubs finished with 29 points, perhaps having their worst season in history. But they at least survived. Two other old and highly respected clubs were also down, but unlike the giants from Istanbul, the clubs of Izmir were declining during the 1970s. Altay survived – they ended at 12th place with 28 points. Goztepe were not so lucky – they earned 27 points and finished 14th. Two points divided Galatasaray from Goztepe – well, Izmir was pretty much equal to Istanbul. Except that Besiktas and Galatasaray remained in first division, but Goztepe was going down to second division.
Pretty equal league up to the top. Small differences and may be luck decided failure and success.
Zonguldakspor certainly had fantastic success: they finished 3rd. Not only strong season, but the best ever for club of the coal mining town (the original name of the club was exactly that: Kömürspor. 'Kömür' is coal, hence, the nickname 'Kara Elmas' - Black Diamond). Great success for a modest club, but... thanks to the weakness of the other clubs, especially the big ones. And thanks to luck – Zonguldakspor finished with 33 points. Bursaspor had the same, but worse goal-difference.
Two points better than the miners were Fenerbahce.
Silver is not what Fenerbahce cares about, but at least they finished high and compared to their archenemies Galatasaray and Besiktas, had a strong season. On the other hand, it was not a strong season at all – the team was not really above the rest of the league and, even worse, they were not contenders – they were not unlucky losers of a race for the title, but rather more consistent than the bulk of the league. Confidently above them were Trabzonspor. Nothing surprising about them by the end of the 1970s.
Standing from left: Necati, Hüsnü, Şenol, İskender, Cengiz, Güngör
First row: Mustafa, Yaşar, Selahattin, Tuncay, Turgay.
Their 4th title, a consecutive too. Trabzonspor were the strongest Turkish club since 1975. They had no real opposition this season, finishing 4 points ahead of Fenerbahce. They were also very pragmatic team – clearly depending on defense. Trabzonspor lost only 3 matches, but tied half of their championship games – 15. Iron defense, allowing just 11 goals – the next best defense permitted 19 – but that was their only strategy. The team was not concerned with scoring and entertaining, but with collecting points. Minimal victories and ties was enough to stay... above every other club. They scored 25 goals in 30 matches! And with such record they remained unchalanged the whole season. No matter what, they were the 4th big Turkish club by now and the only not from Istanbul.