"2007-2008 Season: Aggregate Gain or Aggregate Loss?" Part OneCommentary • Author: Özgür R. Nazilli • Wednesday, May 14, 2008
So, the season ended a few days ago and much to the dismay of the Fenerbahce fans, their arch-rivals claimed the title. In the light of this fact and everything else that happened this season, would we say this season was an overall success or an overall failure for the Yellow Canaries?
As we all know, Fenerbahce competes on three different and rigorous fronts every season: The Turkish League, the Turkish Cup, and the Champions League (or the UEFA Cup on a bad season.) When one looks at just the plain results of the three competitions, it could be argued that since Fener fell short of its aims in 2 out of the 3 competitions, 2007-2008 season was a bad one for Fenerbahce. However since this is football and not every competition carries the same importance, we have to weigh the competitions accordingly.
First, a simple quantification of the competitions (of course, this method is subject to bias and everyone will weigh the competitions differently according to their own views. The following is my personal view):
Champions League: 10 out of 10, meaning that it is the most important front Fenerbahce competes at.
UEFA Cup: 8 out of 10
Turkish League: 7 out of 10
Turkish Cup: 5 out of 10
Since Fenerbahce did not compete in the UEFA Cup this season, we exclude that from the calculation. Through simple math, we see that Fenerbahce exceeded the expectations in the Champions League (plus 10 points), and fell short in both the Turkish League and the Turkish Cup (minus 7 and minus 5 points). Therefore, we see that Fenerbahce finished the season with negative 2 points. This concludes the most simplistic analysis that can be done to measure the success of a team.
Now, on to a more complex evaluation method. There are as many different ways to look at this season as there are football comentators, so I will just name a few noteworthy ones.
First of all, the main criticism that is brought against Fenerbahce is that Fenerbahce's squad is worth approximately $100 million and Sivasspor's squad is around $10 million. So knowing these numbers, how can the two sides end the season at 73 points apiece?
Well, there is a simple reason for this: Fenerbahce took part in 3 different competitions, one of which (Champions League) is much more challenging for the players, both physically and psychologically. Sivasspor, on the other hand, competed only in the Turkcell Super Lig this season, since they weren't participating in any European cups and they were pushed out of the Turkish Cup at the very first stage, even before the group stages. So in short, the $10 million players needed only to concentrate on battling at one front, whereas the $100 million players had to cope with the same front as the $10 million ones, with the added difficulties of a cup they haven't been able to win for 25 years, and the most important football stage of all, the Champions league. Therefore, one cannot compare the two teams in an isolated manner; you have to consider all the aspects before drawing conclusions, like weighing how much work the players of each team had to endure throughout the season.
Our analysis of the 2007-2008 season for Fenerbahce will continue in the following days with Part Two. Feel free to discuss the season and add any thoughts you might have to the comments section.