Once upon a time we used to be considered a "power"
This weekend unfashionable Sivasspor have the chance to put a rocket up the Istanbul hierarchy of Turkish football with a fury not seen since Lagari Hasan Çelebi flew a gunpowder-powered jetpack over the Bosphorus in 1633.
Sivasspor, in case you haven't been paying attention, are the surprise leaders of Super Lig, and the first team to threaten the Besiktas-Fenerbahçe-Galatasaray stranglehold in a generation. They have been propelled to the summit by incredible home form: played 10, won 10, scored 20, conceded three. In the second half of the season Sivasspor face each of the big three at home. A win over Fenerbahçe this Sunday will set up the most exciting Turkish title race in recent memory.The article goes on to look at how Sivas play an unfashionable style of football that nonetheless gets results.
A rookie coach, Uygun credits his managerial success to the influence of Carlos Alberto Parreira, the manager who schemed Brazil's unBrazil-like 1994 World Cup triumph and was responsible for Fener's mid-90s revival. But equally key to Sivasspor's success is Uygun's own training system (nicknamed "Turbulence") in which players alternate between performance-enhancing fitness binges and prolonged rests, the idea being that form-sapping fatigue can be meticulously scheduled against breaks in the fixture calender.
The author then quotes some media pundits (why didn't they give us a call?) who all think Sivas will stumble at some stage. Then comes a killer quote from Ebru Koksaldi of Fanatik newspaper.
"Nobody can say they will be the champions," says Koksaldi. "But it is clear that they will be the new power in the Turkish league, like Genclerbirligi and Gaziantepspor once were."
"Once were", she says. Ouch.