Bursaspor ends Istanbul monopoly
Bursaspor won the Turkish Super League, ending more than 20 years of Istanbul dominance of the country’s top soccer division.
The team from the northwestern car-manufacturing city of Bursa grabbed the title from leader Fenerbahce in the last round of matches, with a 2-1 home win over Besiktas yesterday, while Fenerbahce drew 1-1 with Trabzonspor. Bursa ended the season with 75 points to Fener’s 74 to take the crown for a first time.
The last time a team from Turkey’s Anatolian mainland won the league was in the 1983-84 season, when it was claimed by Trabzon, from the northeastern Black Sea coast. Since then the honors have been shared among Besiktas, Fenerbahce and Galatasaray.
And the man behind Bursaspor’s unprecedented success was none other than soft-spoken unassuming young coach Ertuğrul Sağlam. The coach and his gallant Crocs were officially rewarded for their efforts in an elaborate celebration at the Bursa Özlüce facilities on Monday night — and it was quite a spectacle.
“Anatolia hasn’t had this joy since Trabzon,” Bursaspor’s charismatic and young manager Ertugrul Saglam said after the match. “Now we have the responsibility of representing Turkey in the Champions League.”
A loudspeaker announcement at the Fenerbahce ground incorrectly told fans that Bursa and Besiktas had drawn, giving Fener the title. Jubilation turned to shock as the real result filtered through. Some fans broke seats and a fire broke out in the stands.
Shares in Fenerbahce Sportif Hizmetler Sanayi & Ticaret AS fell 9.3 percent to 63.50 liras in Istanbul at 1:32 p.m.
Bursaspor is nicknamed “the crocodiles” by the fans as the team jersey colors are green and white.
Bursa, the first capital city of the Ottoman empite, is a very important cultural centre in western Turkey and posses a significant population and a stable financial environment which obviously helped their team enjoy a consistent form.