Apollon Smyrni F.C.

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Apollon Smyrni
Apollon-Athens.png
Full name Gymnastikos Syllogos Apollon Smyrnis
Nickname(s) Ελαφρά Ταξιαρχία (Light Brigade)
Founded 1891
Ground Rizoupoli Stadium
Ground Capacity 14,856
Owner Asia Minor Land Sports Capital
President Panagiotis Monemvasiotis
Head coach Alexandros Vosniadis
League Football League
2013–14 Superleague Greece, 17th (Relegation)
Website Club home page

Gymnastikos Syllogos Apollon Smyrnis (Greek: Γυμναστικός Σύλλογος Απόλλων Σμύρνης, Sports Club Apollon of Smyrna) is a Greek association football club based in the city of Athens, that plays in the Super League. It was founded in Smyrna in 1891 and is one of the oldest sport clubs in Greece.[1][2] Apollon has departments in football, basketball and volleyball.

History[edit]

Smyrna era (1891-1922)[edit]

Apollo, emblem of the Club.
The Apollon Smyrna Greek football team 1919.
The Apollon Smyrna Greek football team 1922.

Apollon Smyrna was founded in 1891 by former memders of club Orpheus. Orpheus (subsequent Panionios) had been founded one year earlier in 1890. Among the founder of Apollon were prominent residents of Smyrna such as Chrysostomos of Smyrna and Vasilis Samios.[1][2]

Roughly in the year of 1893, the athletic department was organised. The first games of Smyrna took place in 1894, these were organized by the English sports fans of Bornova. In these games the athletes of Apollon achieved a lot of first victories. The person with the most wins was Theologos Anastasogloy a glorious athlete who later became Olympic champion; he was most likely the best athlete from Apollon. The Games were always organized by English sports fans until 1903, with the attendance of the Gymnastic Association Apollon Smyrnis.[1][2]

The third anniversary of the foundation of Apollon was celebrated festively. The chairman N. Koylmasis gave the speech of the day, while the famous S. Pittakis spoke of Delphi and said the anthem to the god Apollon. There was a special pedestal on which had been set up an altar to praise the god Apollo, while eight youths dressed (with chlamys) sang the Pindariko the Apollon anthem.[3]

In 1894 Apollon with the election of its new presiding board, adopts as its emblem three runners and at the same time it establishes an excursion department. Of the first excursions that were organized one was to Ephesus and another to Aidini, in which the Russian scholar and historical Frjgkol took part.[2]

In 1894 the council of the Gymnastic Association of Apollon (Apollon Sports Club) was composed of the chairman: Mathaios Provatopoylos and Th. Vatidi, Jakovos Koylampidis, Grig. Sofjanopoylos, G. Ojkonomidis, A. Koylampidsi and C. Papadimitriou. During this season it acquires privately -owned ground. Initially only its members fought in this. Later however it organized games in which other associations could take part.[1]

The stadium of Apollon[edit]

Apollon acquired its own stadium in 1894. At this point we should examine a little the background of the foundation of the first ground of Apollon. Fourteen years before, in 1880, Ioannis Damvergis with Apostolos Psaltof, Stefanos Papamjhalis and I. Makroylidis, all then students of the Evangelic Faculty Smyrnis, created an off-hand gym in some open space, acquaintance with name “love arena”. After they opened the ground, they set up a perimeter using ropes because of a lack of money. Then, with hard economies they bought a horizontal bar and other gymnastic equipment. In this ground the youth from Smyrni exercised paying a symbolic price. Makroyljdis was made cashier. This primitive gym constituted the precursor of the gym of Apollo, but was also the beehive for the later great athletes of the association. For this reason and the creator of this gym, Apostolos Psaltof, was called “grandfather'” of Apollon. Later the gymnastic association "Apollon Smyrnis" moved to a space opposite the Greek Orphanage where was then built a big and modern gym in the district of Saint Tryfon, near by was the famous theatre "Terpsithea".[1][3]

In 1901 Apollon organized the first boat races in Smyrni, with the attendance of the other big Smirni association, the "Panionios", which was founded in 1898 and emanated from the conjunction of associations "Orpheus"" and "Gymnasium".[2]

To these competitions was added in 1906 another association, the Pelopas, that resided in the Melantia (Karatas) and was founded by Omiros Onasis, uncle of the tycoon and shipowner Aristotelis Onassis. He was the one that imported to Smyrni the sport of boxing with brilliant results.

In 1904 Apollon undertakes the organisation of the athletic fights of Bornova, taking over the organization from the previous organizers, who were the English sports fans of Smyrnis. These athletic games, under the inspired guidance of people from the Apollon club, were a huge success constituting a turning - point in the history of the team. For the athletic games needs, the Apollon Stadium of Bornova was renovated completely by the architect B. Litti and acquired a track of 400 metres and a seating capacity for 6.000 spectators!

Apollonian Games[edit]

On 6 and 8 May 1904 the Apollon Stadium of Bornova organised the first Apollonian Games with attendance, not only from the organizer, the "Gymnastic Association Apollo Smyrnis" and the "Athletic Organization of Bornova", but the "Athletic Union Smyrnis" as well. Remarkable it is the make of these games were under the all supervision of prefect Smyrnis Kjamil pasa, A sample of the huge scope and force of this association. The committee of the athletic games constituted of: Sokratis Solomonidis, Xristos Athanasoulas, Xenophon Dimas, Kostas Kotzjas, Petros Mposkovjk, A. Vanterze and Richard Whittes. The ellanodjkos committee was composed of Nikos Stayridis (chairman of Apollon), E. Fintao and D. Whittes. The opening ceremony of the first Apollonian Games started with a parade of all athletes under the sounds of music that was played by the orchestra of Apollo with director I. Magglis. The gymnastic association "Apollon Smyrnis" took part with 54 athletes. The biggest attraction was the run for 10.000 metres, with victor L. Venjzelo with a time of 34'43 and the second A. Kasoydi. Another popular game attraction was the "sakkodromies" (small jumps) with 60 metres, in that the runners they was surrounded with sakkoys until the neck. Afterwards at the end of the games there was the handing-over of rewards, the athletes followed by thousands of spectators and with the escort of the orchestra of Apollo, reached the railway station of Bornova from where by special train reached the Smyrni city. From the railway station of Mpasmahane to the offices of the Apollon Gymnastic Association in the Bella Vista running with torches a “lampadidodromia” took place. The Apollonia or Apollonian Games competitions took place in Smyrni, with exceptional success, in total ten times. In these games took part almost all the athletic associations of Smyrnis, Greek and foreign, except however from Turkish clubs.[1]

Adversity between Apollon and Panionios[edit]

This period is also the beginning of the adversity between Apollon and Panionios, which has continued until our days, fortunately without extremities. The point of juxtaposition existed in the claim of athletic sceptres of the capital of Ionia. However, this adversity was progressively blunted, after, the men of Apollon were active mainly in football, creating the most powerful team of Asia Minor and one of the three most important in the Greek lands, the Panionios in the track electing very important athletes. In 1904 the Apollon took part in the Pan-Hellenic athletics that were organized in Athens. The city of Smyrni was represented by athletes of Panionios and Apollo. The athletes of the Gymnastic Association Apollon Smyrnis gained a lot of victories: Theologos Anastasogloy, Mathaios Despotopoylos, Kiros Alexiou, Dimitrios Moyratis and X. Lohner. The Athenian man of letters I. Damvergis that represented Apollon in Athens, announced the victory of the athletes of Apollo telegraphically in Smyrni. The chairman of Apollo answered: “We are grateful to you give our congratulations to the champions. May 1st 1905 the Apollon club celebrated with magnificence. With the music orchestra of Apollon as its head the association organized a parade of all of the club athletes in the major streets of Smyrni. In 1906 common games were organized in Smyrni between the athletes of Apollon and Panionios. In these games victors from Apollo club were the athletes: Goynaris, Patestjdis and K. Alexj'oy. In the same season the Gymnastic Association Apollon Smyrnis suggested replacing the Apollonian and the Panionian Games of Smyrni with Pan Minor Asian games. This effort however was not realised because of the intense refusal from Panionios sports club. In the same year (1906) the Apollon sports club took part in the Olympic Games of Athens (Middle Olympics). Its athletes Theologos Anastasogloy and Mathaios Despotopoylos were winners of the pentathlon, writing yet again a brilliant page in the history of the club.[1]

The football team[edit]

The year 1910 is a very important year for the history of Apollon. During this year the football – soccer team of the club is founded, with the emblem the swastika - a cross which is an ancient Greek symbol. The Apollon fans loved this sport particularly giving it first place, at the heart of that is to say thousands of friends who worshipped and supported it unlimitedly. In this contributed of course the club soccer players with their superiority, their high morals and the fighting spirit that they demonstrated. The club competed in football matches with all the teams of Smyrni, as well as with teams of sailors on foreign navy ships. These were in the harbour of the Ionian capital. In 1911 Apollo accomplished a victory over the most powerful soccer team of the season. The team of the Austrian warship "Wirintous"! It is characteristic that the Austrian admiral sent a congratulations telegram to the presiding board of the Apollon Club Association. Important also is the victory achieved in 1918 against the almighty team of English warship "Minitor 19", the first warship that had sailed into the harbour of Smyrni, after the defeat of Turkey in the First World War. The successes began to succeed the one the other and shortly Apollon became the leading football association of Ionia. Characteristically it won the Championship of football games in Smyrni continuously between 1917 and 1922.

In the Olympic Games of Antwerp (1920) the footballers of Apollon A. Gkjllis, D. Gottis, I. Zaloymis and Fotjadis took part in the Greek national football team. Finally presence of football team of Apollon in Smyrni was in 1922 when it gained also the title of champion. Thousands of Apollon funs celebrated this huge success, that was their last before the Smirni destruction. In the football team of Apollon that year were: Kajsaris, Koygjoyntogloy, Tsarls, Taloymis, Mayromma'tis (Haralampakis), Hrysoylis, Kampoyropoylos, Samjos, Papagjannis, Gottis, Gkjlis, Alevizakis, Domeniko, Vjglatsis, Zaloymis, Kjmitsopoylos, Magoylas, Marselos and the goalkeepers Fotjadis (basic) and Zejmpekis (substitute). Two of them, Marselos and the Hrysoylis, were captured and remained forever on Ionian soil. Also, in Smyrni A. and G. Kyroy, remained forever as captives, members of the council of Apollon, as well as the champion of track Kr. Persis, the traces of which from then have been lost. The last council of Gymnastic Association Apollon Smyrnis, in the last year in Smyrni was: D. Marselos (chairman), J.Garyfalos (General Secretary), A.Kyroy (Special Secretary), and Hatzithomas (cashier).[1]

Apollon in Athens (1922–)[edit]

After the Asia Minor Catastrophe and the expulsion of Greek of Asia Minor, Apollon moved to Athens. The clubs first home ground was located in a place near the building of the Greek Parliament called "Stiles Olympiou Dios" (Pillars of Olympian Zeus). Apollon stayed there for about 25 years, and after the World War II the clubs house was transferred in an Athens neighborhood called "Rizoupolis" and built a stadium there, which is called Georgios Kamaras Stadium, after a club legend called Georgios Kamaras. The club has four departments: The football department called "Apollon Smyrnis FC", a basketball club called "Apollon BC", a volleyball club and a fighting department. The best known (and probably the most successful) department is Apollon's football club. Apollon FC participated in Alpha Ethniki championship for many years, except seasons 1969/70, 1972/73, 1974/75, 1986/87. The team won the local Athens Championship 4 times: 1924, 1928, 1938, 1948 and 1958

The seasons 1994/95 and 1995/96 are the most successful club's seasons: In 1994/95 Apollon qualified for the 1995-96 UEFA Cup (preliminary round) where they played against Olimpija Ljubljana. Georgios Kamaras Stadium was not suitable for the game and Apollon played in AEK Athens home ground, Nikos Goumas Stadium. Apollon won 1-0 in Athens in front of 10,000 Apollon fans but lost 3-1 in Ljubljana (Olimpia scored 2 goals in the last 15 minutes) and Apollon was eliminated. In these matches many people noticed a young striker (he was just 21 years old) who almost ten years after this moment would become European football Champion: his name was Demis Nikolaidis The following season (1995–1996) Apollon FC, under Giannis Pathiakakis coaching and thanks to Demis Nikolaidis's integral scoring performances, participated after an excellent season in the Greek Cup final, but they lost 7-1 to AEK Athens. After these great seasons, Apollon's glory started to fade and as a result, in 1999/2000 season Apollon was relegated in Beta Ethniki, in 2005 relegated to Gamma Ethniki (South Group) and in 2007 relegated to Delta Ethniki (Group 8).

Apollon have gone since the 1930s under the nickname "The Light Brigade" (Greek: Ελαφρά Ταξιαρχία), named after the 1936 Hollywood movie release The Charge of the Light Brigade, after winning the 1938 regional Athens championship.

Honours[edit]

Trivia[edit]

The 1938 Light Brigade. Notice the swastika-like badge.
  • Apollon have gone since the 1930s under the nickname "The Light Brigade" (Greek: Ελαφρά Ταξιαρχία), named after the 1938 Hollywood movie release The Charge of the Light Brigade, after winning the 1938 regional Athens championship.
  • Since 1910 the team's badge was a swastika-like cross. But after the Nazi invasion in Europe it was changed with Apollo's head for obvious reasons.
  • The last time an Apollon FC player was an active member of the Greek national football team was on May 8, 1996 (Demis Nikolaidis, Greece - Georgia 2-1). Since then, no Apollon FC player is a national football team member.
  • Shareholder and team president was from the late 70's until 2005 the businessman Kostas Alamanos. He helped Apollon to participate in the UEFA Cup and in the Greek Cup final and for many years, he was the beloved of Apollon fans. But after these successful seasons, Alamanos became Persona non grata for Apollon fans mainly because he sold many of the team's best footballers (Demis Nikolaidis, Blendar Kola and Theofilos Karasavidis) and released most of the remaining team as free agents. The team was unable to recover from these losses, and in 2000 were relegated. That's why Apollon fans are calling Alamanos "The Unmentionable".
  • Still today Apollon is the 9th team with 37/53 appearances in Superleague Greece.

Current squad[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Greece GK Dimitrios Koutsopoulos
2 Greece DF Georgios Chatzizisis
3 Greece DF Vasilis Golias
4 Greece DF Michalis Kyrgias
6 Argentina MF Sebastián Setti
7 Greece DF Anastasios Kyriakos
8 Greece DF Konstantinos Chatzis
9 Brazil MF Enrico
10 Argentina MF Gaston Gonzalez
11 Greece MF Panagiotis Lagos
14 Greece DF Andreas Iraklis
15 Greece DF Giorgos Karakostas
16 Greece MF Ilias Dounis
No. Position Player
17 Greece MF Stavros Vasilantopoulos
18 Greece FW Paolo Farinola
19 Spain FW Igor Angulo
21 Greece MF Dimitrios Psyrras
22 Greece MF Alexandros Foukaras
23 Greece DF Georgios Georgiou
28 Argentina MF Lucas Nanía
29 Brazil MF Alípio
30 Greece GK Vaggelis Pitkas
31 Albania GK Aldjon Pashaj
33 Greece FW Leonidas Kyvelidis
39 Greece DF Dimitris Kotsonis
77 Brazil MF Wanderson
For recent transfers, see List of Greek football transfers summer 2013.

Notable former players[edit]

League statistics[edit]

Positioning in Greek league

1960s Position 1970s Position 1980s Position 1990s Position 2000s Position 2010s Position
1959–60 4th 1969–70 1st div.2 1979–80 17th 1989–90 15th 1999-00 17th 2009–10 1st div.4
1960–61 5th 1970–71 6th 1980–81 12th 1990–91 11th 2000–01 6th div.2 2010–11 6th div.3
1961–62 3rd 1971–72 17th 1981–82 15th 1991–92 5th 2001–02 12th div.2 2011–12 1st div.3
1962–63 8th 1972–73 1st div.2 1982–83 10th 1992–93 12th 2002–03 8th div.2 2012–13 1st div.2
1963–64 5th 1973–74 17th 1983–84 10th 1993–94 13th 2003–04 10th div.2
1964–65 6th 1974–75 1st div.2 1984–85 11th 1994–95 4th 2004–05 14th div.2
1965–66 10th 1975–76 14th 1985–86 11th 1995–96 11th 2005–06 14th div.3
1966–67 11th 1976–77 16th 1986–87 15th 1996–97 9th 2006–07 14th div.3
1967–68 12th 1977–78 12th 1987–88 3rd div.2 1997–98 10th 2007–08 8th div.4
1968–69 14th 1978–79 10th 1988–89 13th 1998–99 14th 2008–09 2nd div.4

European matches[edit]

Season Competition Round Club Home Away
1995–96 UEFA Cup 1st Round Slovenia Olimpija Ljubljana 1–0 1–3

Managers[edit]

Supporters[edit]

Supporter groups:

  • Anagennisi (ANA)
  • Apollon Ultras
  • Blue Angels
  • Gate 1
  • Ultras Votanikos
  • Ultras Loutsa
  • Club Patissia, Rizoupoli, Kipseli
  • Club Nea Ionia
  • Club Vyronas, Kesariani, Pagrati
  • Club Volos
  • Club Paros
  • Apollonian Light Brigade (International Supporters Club)

Friendships:

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Club Apollo Smyrna". Encyclopaedia of the Hellenic World. Retrieved 11 July 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "History". fcapollon.gr. Retrieved 11 July 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "Η ίδρυση". apollongs.gr. Retrieved 11 July 2014. 

External links[edit]