Dismal Start, Adaptation Period, Recovering Injuries: How Will Things Change?Commentary • Author: Özgür R. Nazilli • Sunday, November 16, 2008
Hello Fener fans and the loyal members of the Fenerbahçe Worldwide community!
I know I have been absent for a long time, and I am truly sorry for that. However, I finally have things under relative control, and I am back at FBWW, with a small change in my writing schedule. I have personally decided that instead of translating/reporting news daily, which is being taken care of admirably by Nathan and Mehmet (thank you both), I will be reaching out to you with a weekly editorial piece that will focus more on the macro-issues rather than day to day events. It will be heavily influenced by the past week and it will try to convey, sometimes through statistics and other scientific methods, my take on everything related to Fenerbahçe. I hope you will enjoy my new role (which was unfortunately influenced by the fact that I cannot make as much time as I used to for FBWW) and my editorial articles in the weeks to come.
So, now that the personal business is done, we can move on to this week's topic. I wanted to reflect upon Fenerbahçe's season so far, with a special focus on the current standings, the hardships of having a new managerial team, and the ubiquitous problem that is the number of injuries on any given match day.
First of all, we have to keep in mind that a new coach and a managerial team, whose importance is mostly overlooked by the mainstream media, always takes a certain period of time, the "grace period" if you will, to adjust to the life at the new club. In the case of Aragones and his aides, it is even a bigger change, since they moved to a completely foreign country with a vastly different football culture. So any managerial team moving to Turkey, regardless of its experience and knowledge levels, needs a "honeymoon period" to adjust to the new way of things. However, the Turkish football world, never known for its patience, always has a difficult time of comprehending the need for the adjustment period, mostly because the influential personas never had to deal with such difficulties, having grown up lodged comfortably in their media seats in Turkey. However, it should always be noted that a coach will take time in adjusting to the new life, and there are no exceptions. Just think of how long it took Sir Alex Ferguson to adjust to Manchester United and become the successful coach he is, and you will understand.
In case of Fenerbahce, it is an even more difficult process for the new manager, since the fans demand instant success. However, the Fenerbahce Board proved to be wise enough to sacrifice some popularity in order to achieve consistency (although this was not the case with Zico unfortunately) and protected Aragones in his worst days. Now, the trend is upwards and everyone, most of all Aragones himself, is hoping that it will continue. The recent crushing defeat of Galatasaray and today's 2-0 defeat of one of the most successful teams of this season (Ankaraspor was placed second after Trabzon until this week) gave the much needed breathing space to both the Fenerbahce Board and Aragones. The main question is: Will this trend continue, or will the dreaded days of the first two months of the season come back?
I am happy to say that all the indicators are pointing to "Yes the upwards trend will continue!" Why? Well, let's look at them individually:
1) Recovering Injuries: Fenerbahce, for some inexplicable reason, suffered heavily from injuries both this season and the last. Appiah, Roberto Carlos, Alex, Emre, Tümer, Deivid, Vederson, Gokhan Gonul and others have all been out of action for extended periods of time. Fortunately, the worst seems to be over and some of the key players have returned to match availability. Deivid, who is definitely enjoying the limelight and the popular support of the fans, proved crucial to both this week's and last week's victories. Roberto Carlos, likewise, has always been a driving power behind the engine of Fenerbahce, with his experience, enthusiasm, skill and charisma. As the injuries wear out and Aragones gets more available players to choose from, the quality of the Fener squad will increase and this will lead to an inevitable improvement in the quality of football being played.
2) Adaptation: Aragones and his helpers have been here for a few months now, and they should be settling in comfortably. It is vital for the coach to know the strengths and weaknesses of his team, and that unfortunately takes a while for him to learn. However, Aragones should be past this stage now, and the adaptation period issue should not be a problem for Fenerbahce anymore.
3) Morale: It is an undisputable fact that the dismal start to the season took a lot out of both the fans and the players. The popular support and belief in the players dwindled, calls for resignations were sounded, and a generally gloomy outlook was ever-present around Fenerbahce. However, the Galatasaray victory, which is always a great morale boost for Fenerbahce, Arsenal tie in England, and the Ankaraspor victory all helped the fans and players alike to gain some self-confidence and much needed spirit boost. In competitive sports, the more you believe in yourself, the better you will perform. Therefore, the current positive atmosphere should go a long way in improving the performances of the team.
So there you have it, my friends. We are entering what promises to be a successful period in this season. Even though Fenerbahce was a bit late in the kick-off of the actual season, there is no reason for it to be unable to catch up with the title race. The only thing the Canaries need, as I always say, is the unfaltering support and belief of the fans. Fener achieved incredible heights of success in the last few years with the backing of the millions of fans it has. Why should this season be any different?