Saturday, May 20, 2006
A strange week
I think that I have finally come to terms with the events of last Sunday. That was one of the most stressful days that I have had to endure or at least the last 16 minutes of the game was. The delays due to the paper being thrown were almost unbearable.
What a season though. To come down to the last minutes of the last games to not only decide the Champions but also the final relegation team and also the UEFA Cup representative is almost unheard of. It made for 90 minutes of high drama that's for sure. Here in Cleveland though, the locals just cannot grasp why there is so much passion and excitement about soccer. I guess when sports are franchises to be moved on a whim by their owners there is less supporter association with the team. Another aspect my be that as there is no relegation, and that after about three games in the NFL season you know whether your team has a chance for the play offs that there is just not as much to play for!
This championship, Galatasaray's 16th is one of the sweetest though, and maybe even surpasses the night in Copenhagen when Galatasaray became the only Turkish Club to win a European trophy, given all the well documented problems during the season. The club in debt, the stadium in pieces, players not being paid etc. In addition given the dubious nature of some referring decisions, comments made by other teams directors about closing Galatasaray down etc. and the scale of the money etc. available to our opponents this has been a major achievement.
For a team made up of rejects from other teams, Tomas, Song, cheap foreign imports, Ilic and Heinze, long term foreigners such as Mondragon together with a core of players like Hakan, Hasan, Umit, Ayhan etc and the younger upcoming players such as Ferhat, Ugur, Hasan Kabze it has been a truly remarkable victory. Most importantly there was not a diving, cheating Brazilian or Frenchman to be found. Eric Gerets I think proved he is a much better coach than Cokehead given the resources he had to deal with.
So there you go, that was the season that was, next up is the World Cup and then the Chimps League Qualifying round in July, at least for the Kadikoy mob and we get a bit more rest until August I believe.
Anyone who feels like reliving the last 10 minutes of the seaons in all its nail biting and heart stopping details have a look to the Galatasaray Official web site.