Aris Limassol F.C.
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (June 2013)|
|Full name||Άρης Λεμεσού
|Nickname(s)||Ελαφρα Ταξιαρχια (Light Brigade)|
|League||Cypriot First Division|
|2012–13||Second Division, 1st (Promoted)|
Aris Limassol (Greek: Άρης Λεμεσού) is a Greek Cypriot football club based in Lemesos. The club's colours are green and white, its home is the Tsirion Stadium. The team often finds itself in relegation zone because it doesn't have enough funds to buy players and improve the team.
One of the founder members of Cyprus Football Association, and was around between 5th and 7th position in the 1930s. During the 1940s, the team didn't compete in the Cypriot First Division, however they returned in the Cypriot Championship in 1954 and they were the first team to be relegated to the Second Division after finishing last in the table. The following season they became Champions in the Second Division and returned to be relegated again. Returning to the First Division, where after a good appearance in the First Division, they gained the fourth position.
Being one of the weakest teams in the First Division during the 1960s, they were finally relegated in 1969–70 as 12th and remained for two seasons in the Second Division. The situation changed for Aris between 1975 and 1980 when the team won again the fourth position in 1976–77 and 1978–79. Two years after winning the fourth position, in 1981 the team were relegated again after finishing last (14th) but returned as runners up the following season and finished 5th in 1985–86.
The greatest success of the club was in 1989 when the team qualified to the Cyprus Cup final, where they were beaten by AEL Limassol 2–3. The following season, in 1989–90, the club signed the Ukrainian Oleg Blokhin, the 1975 European Footballer of the Year, and helped them to win for another time the fourth position, which was the club's greatest position. After the end of the season, Blokhin ended his career playing for Aris Limassol.
After the relegation in 1992/93, the team won the following season for third time the Second Division Championship. Since 1996/97, when the club was in Cypriot First Division, the team was then every year relegated to the Cypriot Second Division and the following year was promoted to the Cypriot First Division. That situation ended in 2006–07, when the team finished 8th in the championship and managed to remain in the Cypriot First Division. Aris was relegated to the Cypriot Second Division in 2008–2009, the team finished in 2nd place and played in the Cypriot First Division in 2009–2010 but has been relegated again. In 2009–2010 it reached the Cyprus Cup semi-final. In the next season 2010-2012 the club was again promoted but finished 3rd from bottom in the 2011-12 season and was yet again relegated. In 2013-2013 Aris won the Cypriot Second Division and was again promoted to the Cypriot First Division.
Aris has a smaller number of fans than other Limassol clubs, but these are very committed to their club. As a resuly, they are often referred to as "the 300 of Leonidas", in reference to the famous 300 Spartan soldiers that stopped the Persian army at Thermopylae.
Although the football team forms the centre of sporting activity for Aris, the club has over the years maintained teams in other sports including basketball, table tennis and chess. The Aris chess team dominated Cypriot chess during the 1980s.
Additionally, the Aris choir was established in 1938 by the famous conductor and composer Solon Michaelides who remained its conductor until 1956 to undertake the direction of the National Orchestra of Salonica, Greece. In 1962, the choir made a new start under the direction of Marinos Mitellas and remains one of the best known Hellenic choirs performing in Cyprus, Greece and internationally.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
For recent transfers, see List of Cypriot football transfers summer 2013.
Selected former players
- Tadeusz Kraus (1976–80, 1983–85)
- Jerzy Engel (1997)
- Henk Houwaart (Sept 1, 2007–Nov 30, 2007)
- Mihai Stoichiţă (2007–08)
- Akis Agiomamitis (2008–09)
- Marios Constantinou (May 17, 2009–Jan 18, 2010)
- Stéphane Demol (Feb 21, 2010–June 30, 2010)
- Dušan Mitošević (July 18, 2011 – June 30, 2012)
- Demetris Ioannou (July 1, 2012 – June 22, 2013)
- Tasos Kyriacou (July 1, 2012–Oct 22, 2013)
- Ton Caanen (Oct 23, 2013–)
- (el) Official website