Unusual season in Turkey – it was pretty much the same as ever at the bottom, 2 hopeless outsiders, and the battle at the top, 3 teams above the rest of the league, entangled in fierce battle for the title. But Galatasaray was not among them. Not only it was out of the championship race, but had one of its weakest season ever, finishing 11th with 32 points – only 3 points ahead of relegation.
Diyarbakirspor, one of the newcomers this season, was last with measly 11 points. No surprise, really – it was not a club expected to be strong.
Goztepe (Izmir), another of the freshly promoted clubs, finished 16th with 16 points. Unlike Diyarbakirspor, Goztepe had glorious past, but went into decline during the 1970s – and still was unable to recover. Back to second division after very weak season.
Eskisehirspor was 15th and the last relegated team. Unlike their companions at the bottom of the table, these boys fought. They finished with 29 points – the 6th placed team this year had 33! Yet, Eskisehirspor was short at least of a point to survive – and may be their strikers were to blame: they scored only 16 goals, the lowest record, shared with Diyarbakirspor.
Gaziantepspor were lucky – they finished with 30 points, thus, getting the safe 14th place.
Bursaspor – 13th with 31 points.
Boluspor – 12th with 31 points.
Galatasaray – 11th with 32 points. A shameful, season, as far as the fans were concerned.
Kocaelispor (Izmit) – 10th with 32 points. Now, this club probably was proud of its performance – not that it was great, but finishing above mighty Galatasaray was something to brag about.
Altay (Izmir) – 9th with 32 points. Nothing much, but their local and more famous enemies Goztepe were packing to play in the second division.
Adanaspor – 8th with 33 points. Behind their city rivals, unfortunately on goal-difference.
Ankaragucu – 7th with 33 points. Satisfactory season, considering that they just came back from second division.
Adana Demirspor – 6th with 33 points. Ahead of their local rivals, quite high in the final table, but… they, as everybody bellow them, was mostly concerned with mere survival. 33 points was only 4 points more the relegated Eskisehirspor had.
Relegation was not on the mind of Sakariyaspor (Adapazari) – the 4th newcomer this season played very strong football and finished accordingly high: 5th with 36 points. This was wonderful achievement and the only thing to wish for was to keep the good form and enthusiasm.
The other success story was Zonguldakspor – they were 4th with 37 points. Arguably, their best season ever and a big surprise too, for they were normally considered a candidate for relegation.
And the title race at last – 4 teams participated in it in the recent years, now it was back to three: Fenerbahce, Besiktas, and Trabzonspor. Istanbul vs Trabzon. There was no mercy: Fenerbahce won most matches – 15. Besiktas and Trabzonspor were almost unbeatable – Trabzonspor lost 3 games, Besiktas – 2. Three points divided them when the dust settled.
Fenerbahce, more hazardous than the others, lost at the end – they were 3rd with 41 points. 15 wins, 11 ties, 6 losses, 48-26. They scored most goals in the championship, but apparently they risked more than the competition – they scored more, but also received more goals and lost more matches.
With 42 points, Trabzonspor finished 2nd. Standing from left: Sinan, Bahattin, K. Şenol, Şenol, Turgay, Ahmet.
First row: İsmail, Yaşar, İskender, Cemil, Osman.
The best defense in the league – allowing only 11 goals in 32 games. But overcautionous approach came with a cost – they lost the title. Their strikers were pathetic, scoring only 26 goals – less than a goal-per-game average! Nine teams outscored them, including 14th placed Gazientepspor (30 goals).
Perhaps Fenerbahce was too attacking and Trabzonspor too preoccupied with defense, somewhat both teams going to extremes – one had to do it just right and that was the new champion.
Besiktas won 14 matches, tied 16, lost 2. They scored 38 goals, received 17. Second best defense, second best strikers, plenty of ties – also second best, Altay ended with one more, 17 – second best number of wins. Well, excelling in nothing… except in one thing: they lost the least number of matches this season. And more or less balanced between attacking and defensive minded football, careful to be at least equal at the pitch, getting at least a point from almost every match, they ended with one point more than Trabzonspor and the title was theirs.
Not the most impressive victory, but who would blame them? Certainly not Galatasaray. Kara Kartallar (the Black Eagles) won their first title since 1966-67. Their 6th professional title (they also have amateur titles from earlier years). They were back on top!