Ergotelis F.C.

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Full name PAE Ergotelis
Nickname(s) Οι Κρητικοί (The Cretans)
Founded 7 August 1929; 84 years ago (1929-08-07)
Ground Pankritio Stadium
Ground Capacity 26,240
Owner Dimitris Papoutsakis
President Giannis Daskalakis
Manager Marinos Ouzounidis
League Superleague Greece
2013–14 Superleague Greece, 7th
Website Club home page
Home colours
Away colours
Third colours

PAE Ergotelis (Greek: ΠΑΕ Εργοτέλης) is a Greek football club based in Heraklion, the largest city of the Greek island of Crete. The name itself, Ergotelis, was that of a famous ancient Cretan expatriate Olympic runner Ergoteles of Himera.


Early years[edit]

Ergotelis was established as an amateur club of Cretan footballers in 1929 by prominent Heraklion citizens, mainly refugees from Asia Minor. The club's foundation, as well as its first ever recorded game, a friendly 4-0 win against local side Leon (Greek: Λέων) held at Chandax (Greek: Χάνδαξ) stadium on August 4, 1929, was reported onto local newspaper 'Eleythera Skepsis' (Greek: Ελευθέρα Σκέψις) on Wednesday, 7 August 1929.[1] The newly founded football club was named after Ergoteles of Himera, an ancient Cnossian athlete and first Olympic champion native to the modern Heraklion prefecture.

Since its early days, Ergotelis showed the progressive ideals of its founders, being one of the first sports clubs in Greece to allow women into its sporting divisions, as well as its board of directors. The team gradually gained its own football ground on Martinengo Bastion, located on the Venetian Era walls surrounding the city's center, and would mostly play in local championships and Greece's national Second Division, after the latter was founded in the early 1960s.

Junta years, Theodorakis concert and repercussions[edit]

During the Greek military junta of 1967–1974, Ergotelis was 'branded' as an anti-national organization, after its board of directors allowed renowned songwriter and composer Mikis Theodorakis, a key voice against the right-wing government, to perform a concert on Martinengo stadium. Several months later, the club was relegated to amateur status by the passing of a new law, that allowed each regional city of Greece to be represented in the country's Second national Division by a single team. With many of the club's athletes moving on to local rival OFI - who remained in the national competitions, and members of its board of directors being prosecuted, Ergotelis was practically disbanded in 1967.[2]

After the junta's collapse in 1974, several attempts were made to bring the team back to Greek football reality, however most of these were met with failure. As a result, Ergotelis languished in the lower regional competitions for more than 30 years.[3] The most notable achievement of this period, was the Amateur Cup title won during the 1982-83 season.

Rebirth and rise to top-flight[edit]

In the late 1990s Ergotelis' new owners Georgios Soultatos and Nikos Tzortzoglou devised a plan that would lead to the club's resurrection. This would not only concern quality changes made to the club's roster, but also the foundation of Ergotelis' own training academies, intending to further boost the men's team with promising young talent. Within a couple of years, Ergotelis grew into a strong, competitive team that would celebrate three consecutive promotions and eventually made its debut in the Greek Superleague, thus becoming the second team to have represented Heraklion in the highest professional football league in Greece, alongside OFI F.C. This historical moment for the club was achieved by winning the promotion play-out match held at Makedonikos Stadium in Thessaloniki, against Akratitos F.C., who had finished 14th in the 2003-04 Alpha Ethniki season.[4] However, due to lack of experience, the team failed to avoid relegation in its first season in the league, and after finishing in 15th place, returned to the Beta Ethniki once again. However, the 2005–06 Beta Ethniki season saw Ergotelis return to good form, with Greek manager Nikos Karageorgiou taking over, achieving instant promotion to the Superleague after winning the division title.

Apostolos Papoutsakis era[edit]

In January 2008, Ergotelis came under the ownership of Heraklion businessman Apostolos Papoutsakis. During Papoutsakis' presidency, the club rose to prestigious standards in Greek football, which eventually earned Ergotelis the 2008-09 Fair Play award, making Papoutsakis extremely popular amongst the fans of the club. Karageorgiou remained manager of the club for six seasons, in which the club saw a steady financial growth, mainly due to the transfers of promising young Greek players Dimitrios Kiliaras and Vasilios Koutsianikoulis[5] to Panionios and PAOK F.C. respectively.

Snapshot from an Ergotelis game.

During these years, Ergotelis would sporadically achieve memorable results against Greece's traditional football giants Panathinaikos and Olympiacos, including a 2–3 away competition win in the Athens Olympic Stadium against Panathinaikos on October 29, 2008 and a stunning 5-0 win against reigning champions Olympiacos in a friendly game commemorating Ergotelis' 80th anniversary on September 6, 2009. Outside the pitch, the club's board of directors would gain praise from the media for its initiative to sign international partnerships with Dutch side F.C. Utrecht and State-side Philadelphia Union. Moreover, Ergotelis organized a series of social and beneficial activities, which culminated in a concert held at Pankritio Stadium on September 19, 2011, honoring Mikis Theodorakis in commemoration of the 45 years passed since the controversial concert at Martinengo Stadium in 1966.

Despite the club's gradual financial growth and status, which allowed room for signing stars such as Latvia's all-time top scorer Māris Verpakovskis and former Benfica midfielder Beto, most of the six seasons under Karageorgiou management saw Ergotelis struggling to avoid relegation, with the most notable achievement being an 8th place finish in the 2010-2011 season. The club's continuous weak form led to the fans highly criticizing Karageorgiou's choices, especially since Ergotelis would be the only Superleague team to never advance from the Greek Cup fourth round, often being willingly eliminated by clubs playing in lower divisions, due to the manager's claim that the focus should be fixed on avoiding relegation in the championship.

For the 2011-2012 season, the club's board of directors decided to cut down the team's budget, a direct result of the Greek economic crisis of the late 2000s. While the season took off on a promising start, subsequent weak performances, along with rising tensions between several of the club's players and the manager, ultimately failed to keep Ergotelis in top-flight. The team was relegated in the end of the season, after a disastrous second round which saw the club win only 2 of the total 15 matches, and thus return to the Football League after finishing in 14th place. To further add to the fans' pain, club president Papoutsakis passed away on July 23, 2012 at the age of 60.[6]

The next season saw Ergotelis go through a major overhaul on all fronts. Nikos Karageorgiou terminated his contract on mutual consent after six years of service, and former renowned Cypriot striker Siniša Gogić took over as manager of the team. The roster was rebuilt with youngsters from the club's training academies, as most of the club's veterans were either released, or refused to follow the team in the lower division. During mid-season, the club came to know financial instability after major shareholders announced they were stepping down. Despite these facts however, Ergotelis managed to secure a second place finish in the 2012-13 Football League marathon procedure, thus celebrating a third promotion to the Super League.

Rivalry with OFI[edit]

Ergotelis has enjoyed a fierce rivalry with other local Superleague side, OFI F.C.. The first ever game between Ergotelis and OFI, a friendly match in 1929, ended after 35 minutes. Ergotelis were ahead by one goal, when the game had to be abandoned after violence between the players broke out.

During the Greek military junta of 1967–1974 a legislation determined that every regional Greek city should be represented by one football team. At that time, both OFI and Ergotelis used to play in the Second National division. Αt the end of the 1966–1967 season, Ergotelis finished 8th, while OFI finished in a higher position, leading to Ergotelis' relegation. The legislation also allowed the remaining teams in the second division to sign players of the relegated ones, and thus 5 Ergotelis players were transferred to OFI. In the years to come Ergotelis languished in the lower leagues.[7] This fact led to various controversies, especially since Ergotelis' come back, at the early 00's.

This rivalry has shown signs of diminishing over the years, with OFI fans attending newly promoted Ergotelis' games in the Super League during the club's first season in the competition, and Ergotelis loaning their longtime scoring legend Patrick Ogunsoto to a financially weakened Beta Ethniki side OFI for no fee, as an attempt to assist the latter in their struggle to once again return to the Super League.


Domestic Titles and honours[edit]


Most appearances in professional divisions[edit]

Player Matches
Nigeria Patrick Ogunsoto 178
Greece Fragkos Oikonomakis 158
Argentina Diego Romano 154
Austria Mario Hieblinger 154
Brazil Júnior 151

Top-scoring players in professional divisions[edit]

Player Goals
Nigeria Patrick Ogunsoto 97
Croatia Mario Budimir 24
Greece Stavros Lambrakis 20
Argentina Diego Romano 18
Uruguay Sergio Leal 18

Current squad[edit]

As of 31 January 2014 [8]

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

No. Position Player
1 Greece GK Grigorios Athanasiou
2 Nigeria DF Ayodele Adeleye
3 Greece DF Ioannis Kiliaras
5 Serbia DF Borislav Jovanović
6 Spain DF Álvaro Mejía
8 Argentina MF Diego Romano (captain)
10 Greece MF Andreas Bouchalakis (on loan from Olympiacos)
11 Greece MF Angelos Chanti
12 Argentina MF Horacio Cardozo
13 England DF Aziz Deen-Conteh
16 Greece FW Dimitris Diamantakos (on loan from Olympiacos)
17 Greece DF Manolis Tzanakakis (on loan from Olympiacos)
18 Greece MF Christos Kasapakis
19 Greece FW Michalis Kouiroukidis
21 Greece MF Bruno Chalkiadakis
No. Position Player
22 Greece MF Chrysovalantis Kozoronis
23 Greece FW Ilias Anastasakos
24 Greece DF Minas Pitsos
25 Norway MF Abdisalam Ibrahim (on loan from Olympiacos)
31 Greece GK Zacharias Kavousakis
32 Greece DF Epaminondas Pantelakis
33 Greece MF Leonardo Koutris
37 Slovakia MF František Kubík
38 Serbia GK Vladimir Stojković
39 Belgium MF Ziguy Badibanga
47 Brazil FW Marcos Bambam
70 Greece GK Ioannis Dermitzakis
73 Italy FW Gaetano Monachello (on loan from Monaco)
77 Greece MF Vasilios Rentzas
89 Greece DF Georgios Sarris

Players out on loan[edit]

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

No. Position Player
Albania DF Albi Ala (to Fokikos)
Greece MF Antonis Bourselis (to P.A.O. Krousonas)
Greece MF Christos Chrysofakis (to Panegialios)
Greece FW Ioannis Domatas (to Asteras Magoula)
No. Position Player
Greece MF Konstantinos Protogerakis (to Atsalenios)
Greece FW Sokratis Evaggelou (to Ermis Zoniana)
Brazil MF Wellington Pessoa (to Panelefsiniakos)

Managerial History[edit]

  • Greece Manolis Patemtzis (1999–00)
  • Greece Myron Sifakis (2000–01)
  • Greece Pavlos Dermitzakis (2001–02)
  • Greece Myron Sifakis (2002 – April 4, 2005)
  • Greece Manolis Patemtzis (2005–06)
  • Greece Nikos Karageorgiou (Feb 1, 2006 – June 30, 2012)
  • Cyprus Siniša Gogić (June 29, 2012 – April 17, 2013)
  • Greece Stavros Labrakis (interim) (April 17, 2013 – June 30, 2013)
  • Greece Giannis Petrakis (July 1, 2013 – January 13, 2014)
  • Greece Marinos Ouzounidis (January 20, 2014 – )


External links[edit]