Turkey I Division

First Division. 20 teams played in it, but the league was going to reduced to 19 the next season, so the bottom 4 were relegated and 3 teams promoted from second level. As it turned out, 3 teams were outsiders this time, so there was bitter fight only for escaping the dreadful 17th place – 6 teams tried hard to survive. At the top – no drama. One teams dominated the championship.
Zonguldakspor – last with 27 points and relegated.
Genclerbirligi – 19th with 30 points. Relegated.
Kocaelispor – 18th with 34 points and out. Given the performance of the last three teams, the reduction of the league was well justified.
The next 6 teams fought for survival and small differences at the end sealed their fate:
Denizlispor lost the battle for survival by a point – 17th with 45 points and once again going down to Second Division.
Caykur Rizepsor escaped – 16th with 46 points. Standing from left: Mustafa, İsa, Sinan, Oğuz, Muharrem, Jurgen Pahl. Crouching: B.Turgut, Hakan, Metin, K.Turgut, Harun.
Note the (West) German goalkeeper in the team – money was one big reason for improvement. With money – imports, increasingly stronger imports. Still most foreign players in Turkey were Yugoslavs, but now Germans were coming and not just to the big rich clubs.
Eskisehirspor – 15th with 46 points. Survived. Two Yugoslavs here: Adnan Medjedovic and Sedin Tanovic.
Boluspor – 14th with 46 points.
MKE Ankaragucu – 13th with 46 points. Better goal-difference placed them ahead of the other teams with 46 points, but consistency was a problem.
Altay – 12th with 48 points. As the other clubs from Izmir, Altay was struggling, but at least they played in the top league and managed to secure their place for at least one more season. But they were not in good shape – fighting for mere survival, not a promising sign.
Sakaryaspor – 11th with 51 points. Not an impressive season, but this club was never strong before anyway. Yet, this was their best season ever, as it turned out. Standing from left: Turhan Sofuoğlu, Selçuk Yiğitlik, Blerim Mula, Serdar Şenkaya, Neşet Muharremoğlu, Oğuz Çetin.
First row: Kemal Yıldırım, Aykut Kocaman, Özcan Kızıltan, Sinan Turhan, Turgay Poyraz.
Adana Demirspor – 10th with 52 points.
Sariyer – 9th with 52 points.
Fenerbahce – terrible season: 8th with 55 points. The disaster was calling for rapid big measures – evidently, having Yugoslav second raters (Pesic and Lukovcan) was no longer enough. So… the future will show what ambition and money can do.
Karsiyaka – 7th with 56 points. Strong season and it was matter of pride to finish ahead of Fenerbahce.
Trabzonspor – 6th with 57 points. Among the best, but the environment was changing and they seemingly were losing their edge.
Bursaspor – 5th with 57 points. They had similarly strong seasons before, but consistency was old problem and thus Bursaspor was not exactly considered among the leading the clubs. Stability was something to be proven yet.
Samsunspor – 4th with 60 points. Their finest season so far. Going up? Only the future can tell, but they appeared to be among the most stable provincial clubs for quite some time. Standing from left: Uğur Terzi, Muzaffer Badalıoğlu, Gijorgji Jovanovski, Zafer Çabalar, Burhanettin Beadini, Fatih Uraz.
First row: Orhan Kılınç, Erol Dinler, Halil İbrahim Eren, Mete Adanır, Emin Kar.
Malatyaspor – 3rd with 62 points. Great success for them – bronze medals! Their best so far, so the boys could be excused for lacking the strength to compete for the title.
Besiktas – 2nd with 78 points. Keeping strong – far too strong for the others in the league: they left Malatyaspor 14 points behind. Yet, in the same time they were too weak to challenge the leader… perhaps the lack of imported players made crucial difference.
In splendid form Galatasaray dominated the championship and won its 9th title, repeating their 1986-87 success. The champions won 27 games, tied 9 and lost only 2. Their goal-difference was great: +51! 86-35 – They were the best scorers in the championship by far and only 2 teams ended with better defensive record than them – a prove that attacking football was the best way to win. They did not permit even Besiktas to come close, leaving the nearest rival 12 points behind.
Perhaps the regular squad shows the secret of their success: a combination of best Turkish players (the great star and scorer Tanju Colak, for instance) and first-rate foreigners. Galatasaray had 3 well-known Yugoslavs, all former national team players – Cevat Prekazi, Mirsat Kovacevic and Simovic. This was even a bit too much and they either were unable to field them all in the same game, or one (most likely the Kosovar Prekazi) took Turkish citizenship. Galatasaray was already doing what some of the biggest European clubs were doing for years (Real Madrid, Barcelona, most recently Milan) – getting more foreigners than the rules permitted, so to have more options. That was the way to stay strong and not only in the domestic scene.