A true David and Goliath football story occurred in Turkey on Sunday evening. In the following tale, Turkish giants Fenerbahce will play the role of the biblical warrior Goliath, whilst Bursaspor will star as David.
Little old Bursaspor, a team founded in 1963, became only the second team outside Istanbul to win the Turkish Super League, and only the fifth champion in the competitions 52-year history.
For years, Turkish football fans have been eagerly anticipating a time where a fifth team would win the Turkcell Super League. Since Trabzonspor last won the league in the 1983-84 season, only the big three Istanbul clubs: Fenerbahce, Galatasaray, and Beşiktaş, have had a strong hold on Turkish top-flight football.
The title decider came down to the final day of the season, with Bursaspor simply having to win their match against Besiktaş and hope that Fenerbahce would drop points at home to Trabzonspor.
With Fenerbahce’s Sukru Saracoglu Stadium being a virtual fortress, and the side having previously lost just twice this season at home, it appeared as though the people of Bursa could only pray that some good news would sift out of Istanbul.
With both matches kicking off at 4pm, the anticipation over who were to be victorious would reach an agonizing climax right up until the final whistle.
Fenerbahce could only muster a 1-1 draw with Trabzonspor, which saw them drop to second place, leaving Bursaspor to claim their maiden league title as they overcame Besiktas 2-1.
Two years ago, young manager Ertugral Saglam was dismissed from his role as manager of Besiktas and was cast away to the wilderness of Bursaspor. Although the club were considered a mid-table candidate at the beginning of the season, coach Saglam and his players have carried the team to a success beyond all expectations.
With the resources and budget of around a quarter of Trabzonspor’s, and a tenth of one of the big three Istanbul sides, it makes Bursaspor’s achievement even more remarkable; the feat is the equivalent of Stoke or Bolton winning the Premier League.
In a league, which is arguably more monopolized than the Spanish La Liga, Bursaspor will always be remembered for creating one of the most dramatic moments in Turkish football history.
Written By Joe Questier