The Phoenix (*)Commentary • Author: Özgür R. Nazilli • Sunday, December 7, 2008
From a low of 16th position to 2nd today: this is the story of a legendary bird rising from its ashes.
As usual, Fenerbahçe has put its critics to shame and showed to everyone that even in their worst season, the Canaries will be one of the top contenders for the league title. Even though it is still too early in the league to make a bulletproof statement, Fener players proved what they are capable of by closing down a gap of 10 points to 2, with the leaders Trabzon having a game in hand. The actual arithmetics are not of central concern here; the main lesson of this story is that no one, regardless of how confident they are of their football knowledge, should be too hasty to proclaim that "Fenerbahçe is out of the title race" this early in the season.
The climb to the top that began after the draw with Eskişehirspor in the 9th week of the season has been an impressive one. With 4 wins and 1 draw including a crushing 4-1 defeat of Galatasaray and a 2-1 against Beşiktaş, the run continued comfortably with a 1-0, that should have been a 2-0, in an away game against Denizlispor, a notoriously troublesome opponent that cost Fenerbahçe the league title a couple seasons back.
The more patient critics of Fenerbahçe had almost begged fans to give the team more time, justifying it by pointing to the huge changes that altered the chemistry of Fenerbahçe over the summer. Players left the team and they were replaced with new ones, and the whole managerial staff was renewed with Luis Aragones and company. The logical step would be to give the newcomers a chance to adapt and get comfortable with the Turkish football. However due to several reasons, chief of which is the high bar set by Fenerbahçe's impressive history, Turkish fans, and of course the media, are rarely patient. This naturally is not exclusive to Fenerbahçe; Galatasaray, Beşiktaş, Trabzonspor, as well as the smaller teams of the league, suffer from the same unfortunate intolerance. Nevertheless, despite some recent shortcomings, the Fenerbahçe Board has shown wisdom and self-control yet again and shielded Aragones and the team from criticisms when they needed it the most. In return, the Fenerbahçe engine did not let the Board down and it stoically shouldered its way back in to the title race. Please note that this is not a "pro-Aragones" agreement. Indeed, this is not specific to any one player or manager. Rather, it is to emphasize that no mather what happens, Fenerbahçe is one of the most established and successful clubs of the Turkish football. A few poor weeks can do nothing to change this fact.
I would like to humbly suggest something to all the Fenerbahçe fans, if they would be so kind to let me do so: As one of you, I know the pain of seeing some fan favorites leave the team, when there is no apparent reason for the Board to let them do so. However, our allegiance is to the colors and the concept of Fenerbahçe, not to individual players. Do not be disheartened and always keep faith, even in the face of despair-worthy situations. Support our team, and they will prevail. After all, this is Fenerbahçe.
Two final "honorable mentions" go to both the referee of the Denizlispor-Fenerbahçe game and Deivid himself for his incredible 35 meter "goal":
1) Deivid, please! Not many of our referees are qualified enough to comprehend such extraordinary goals. Try to, as a friend put it, "limit yourself to more humanly possible goals" in the future (!).
2) Mr. Referee, just be glad that the disallowed goal did not cost Fenerbahçe anything. If it had been at a more critical time, you would have had a very sound reason to fear for the future of your career.
Thank you for reading this rather lengthy commentary, and I hope to greet you with another one praising Fenerbahçe's victory over Dynamo Kiev next week.
(*Phoenix: a mythical bird that rises from its own ashes after death, reborn anew to live again.)