PAE AEL FC

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For the basketball club, see A.E.L. 1964 B.C..
A.E.L.
A.E.L. 1964 Crest
Full name Athlitiki Enosi Larissas
(Athletic Union of Larissa)
Nickname(s) Vasilissa tou Kambou ("Queen of the Lowlands")
Vyssini ("The Crimsons")
Founded 17 May 1964; 50 years ago (1964-05-17)
Ground AEL FC Arena,
Larissa, Greece
Ground Capacity 16,118
Owner Little Acre Farm S.A.
Chairman Achilleas Pavlopoulos
Manager Thomas Grafas
League Football League
2013–14 Football League 2, 1st[1] (Promoted)
Website Club home page
Current season
Georgios Mitsibonas with AEL fans celebrating the winning of the Greek Football Championship, 1988
50 Years anniversary logo

Athletic Union of Larissa (Greek: Αθλητική Ένωση Λάρισας, Athlitiki Enosi Larissa), commonly known as AE Larissa, Larissa, or AEL, is a Greek association football club based in the city of Larissa, capital of Greece's Thessaly region. It is the only team outside the two big Greek cities, Athens and Thessaloniki, to have won the Greek Championship (1988). It has also won two Greek Cups (1985, 2007) and played in an additional two Cup finals (1982, 1984). This record places Larissa amongst the top teams of Greek Football.

The team currently competes in Greek Football League, the second category of national football championships.

History[edit]

Athletic Union of Larissa, The "Queen of Thessaly", the "Queen of the lowlands", the "Queen of the entire spring of Greece"...A "Queen" who wrote golden history and its unique accomplishments have left an indelible mark in the field of Greek football. A "Queen", who brought the "soccer revolution" of May Day '88, when the "11 Gods of Olympus" climbed the highest peak in winning the championship, giving its achievements, from 1964 until today "flesh and bones", to a vision of an entire city. AEL, the club that represents one of the greatest football prefectures, the team that became a symbol for the group of people that went against the tide and managed to overturn the "status quo" in the Greek football.. A Greek Championship, two cups, four finals and many important successes at European level compose the temporal profile of the top team of the Greek region ...

The Birth of a Legend[edit]

AEL was created from a vision of a powerful team that will represent a city like Larisa – with great football tradition and thirst for success – in the top category. The 17 May 1964 is referred to as the exact date of its establishment, and then – after a barrage of meetings and discussions – held at the Municipal Conservatory of Larissa and a catalytic last meeting of the local county clubs, it was decided the merger of Iraklis Larissa, Aris, Toxotis and Larissaikos. The Athletic Union of Larissa was now a reality, designed on the background of the Second Division, in shades of crimson and white, not black and white, as initially decided ... Typically, the conversion of the statute of Iraklis Larissa just a few days later – on 22 May – and its adoption on 8 June, gave AEL status, while teams Dimitra, Doxa Emporoipalilon (based on Aris Larissas and Doxa), Pelasgiotida (by Larissaikos and Pelasgikos) and Olympos (based on Toxotis and Panthessalikos) completed this great football family...On 7 June, the legendary Alcazar Stadium, the team's first home ground, recorded the initial friendly game, against Panionios who -by that time- was a verry strong team, winning 2–1. Yugoslavian Alexander Petrovic, was the first foreign coach that was hired to ensure the impartiality of the team lineup. Thus, names of players like Zampas, Karelias, Kyriakos, Lellis, Papazoglou, Kassas, Saltapidas, Delfos, Katsianis and many others, passed into history and marked a whole era. Everything was ready to start, under the administrative umbrella of a 15-member ecumenical council, composed of representatives of clubs and organizations of the city, in which the property was held by the former president of Iraklis Larissa, K. Tzovaridis.

The Beginning[edit]

And...the championship begins! Examples of other Greek areas where mergers and establishment of strong teams brought directly impact and a promotion in the 1st Division, has created in advance an optimism which, unfortunately, did not materialize. At least, not directly. The team ends the season 1964–65 in the 5th place, but not at all frustrated and the next year claimed the promotion again, improving however by two seats in the final table. The promotion was lost in a game on 8 May 1966 at Megara with the home side Vyzas opponent. Disappointment was soon made its appearance...Αlthough well-known coaches like Dionysis Minardos, Giannis Helmis and Giourkas Seitaridis the first, passed of the "steering wheel" of AEL, the downturn seemed certain, leading in 1969 with mathematical precision, in the tail of the table...The relegation would be inevitable if the political conditions of the time – Greek military junta of 1967–1974 – and the fact that teams headed by powerful men were in the same predicament, brought changes in the status of Greek football..Therefore Kostas Aslanidis, Lieutenant Colonel and the Secretary General of Athletics, increased the 2 groups of the Second Division to 3 and thus AEL, Chania and Ionikos continued in the B' national. Indeed, with the entrance to the '70s, the emergence of the administrative forefront of Kantonias family and a dramatic changing at liveware, with the coming of some experienced players such as Simantiris, Kyziroglou, Charitidis and Nikiforakis that framed talented Lakis Pagkarliotas and his "gang"...Τhe situation changed for good...So the thread of the story leads us hopefully in 25 June 1972 and the historical game of Serres...where the referee, the hosts and the supposedly "independent" institutional organs of Greek football, act unchecked in order to ensure the final 1–1 and the promotion of Panserraikos instead of AEL in the First National, thanks again to Kostas Aslanidis intervention...Εventually, what failed then to do the team of Kostas Polychroniou, became reality one year later by the team of Stefan Karamfilovic...

The First Promotion[edit]

A season that was started with President Antonios Kantonias, continued with Michalis Kittas and ended up headed by Mayor Messinis, was to be the top – until then – for the "crimsons" who rejoiced in the finally closing, the coveted promotion. It was the year that Horacio Morales, Daniel Hill, Giorgio Vajeho, Guillermo Daus and Enrique Cavoli flew from Argentina and "landed" at Alcazar. Just months earlier they had played with the colors of Independiente against AC Milan in the Intercontinental Cup! On 23 June 1973, AEL wins with characteristic ease Kallithea 3–0 and seal typically the promotion in the First National, finishing first with 98 points, ahead of the second renaissance Karditsa who finished with 89 points . The goals for AEL succeed by Pagkarliotas at 16', D. Seitaridis at 38' and Charitidis at 80'. AEL lined up on the field with the following players: Siavalas, Simantiris, Seitaridis M., Hill, Kyziroglou, Boutos, Charitidis, Cavoli, Rakintzoglou, Seitaridis and Pagkarliotas. After the match the players in front of thousands of fans made the victory lap and great celebrations followed. The dream had become a reality, even if it took 9 years from the day it was born in the hearts and minds of the fans. The team started the season 1973–74 at the First National, with the enthusiasm of a rookie, but clearly capable of material, grafted by the talent and quality players like Kyriakidis, Matzourakis and Dramalis in order to stay in the category. The course was based on the overall strength of the home ground and the final ninth position is considered highly successful. Karamfilovic was replaced (due to expired residence to the country that was not renewed for political reasons), by Bulgarian coach Ivan Kochev. However, a team built on legionnaires without first having obtained the financial strength and solid basis, couldn't have long term evolution. So, the very next year problems started, which led to hasty choices, judgments and frequent upheavals in all levels. Inevitably therefore, the team didn't avoided the relegation and on summer of '75 returned to the Second Division. Since an immediate return was considered impossible, the rebuilding of the team began slowly, mainly based in local Larissa's area players. More experienced Siavalas, Boutos, Lellis, Stergiadis, and Argiroulis formed the backbone on which, as time went on, started "popping up" the branches, which would then "bloom" for the team. Of course, the great breakthrough was made a year later by President Elias Kelesidis and his colleagues in the administration, when they decided to promote to the first team all of the youth squad of AEL, and collect all the talents that admittedly stood well in the prefecture .Thus, on 26 May 1977, in a friendly match against AEK (the first under spotlights in Alcazar stadium), AEL lined up with Anagnostou, Mousouris and nine native players from Larissa's region. Among them, unknown then, Takis Parafestas, Giannis Valaoras, Dimitris Koukoulitsios and Christos Andreoudis...It was indisputably a healthy set of factors and players, which united the common goal and vision of the entire city, to create a "model-team". That summer of '77, rookies including Dimitris Mousiaris and Giannis Valaoras where dressed in crimson and signed a professional contract... These two, along with Koukoulitsios and Selionis didn't take long to become members of the youth National teams, leading discussions and admiration throughout Greece. On 18 June 1978 AEL in front of thousands of fans that travelled to Thessaloniki, triumphs on the pitch of Nea Efkarpia a great victory against Macedonikos (4–1) and finished first with 59 points ahead of Olympiakos Volos, who eventually collected 57 points, while ensured the return in the major league of Greek football as champion of the Northern Group of the Second Division.Koukoulitsios scored the goals for AEL at 17' and 60', Valaoras at 31' and Liapis at 87'. AEL lined up on the field with the following players: Bountolos, Parafestas, Selionis, Dramalis, Argiroulis, Koumarias (63' Koukoulitsios), Andreoudis, Liapis, Mousiaris, Valaoras (61' Rammos). The team was welcomed back in Larissa by thousands of fans, while the celebrations continued throughout the city all night long. The period 1977–78, completed the work of the previous season when AEL had finished in the third place with 46 points. The balanced combination of experienced and talented players managed to create a strong team that succeeded in gaining promotion. AEL triumphantly returned to the First National and now, the solid foundations on which founded this football building, were guaranteed a 15-year establishment and recognition that followed.

The Golden Decade[edit]

The successful policy of carefully selected few experienced and many talented young players continued and AEL not only threatened, but started slowly building a bright future, often achieving results that showed that something big was coming up. However, the same policy maintained by all administrations in the 80s, with proper and prudent management of its human material, gradually cultivated by coaches like Yugoslavian Milan Ribar, and later Kostas Polychroniou and Antonis Georgiadis. Even though some players selectively exited the team, it was certain that there was an equal replacement. So while the team has changed almost everything from the beginning to the end of the decade, in the conscience of the fans it has remained as one and single season. It was the era of AEL or better AEL FC, since in the summer of 1979 it was decided the organization of Greek football on a professional basis. The late Antonios Kantonias, raising the prestige and power of the group "BIOKARPET" was the one who managed to secure the independence of the club, with exemplary organization and a very clear strategy : The aim to reach AEL to the top. Healthy reasons did not allowed him to continue as President of the Interim Committee and the chair of the first administration, and was finally replaced by Simos Palaiochorlidis. But he had already managed to complete his mission to plant the seeds, that a few years later would bear the fruits..

Grieve for the Young Talents[edit]

Unfortunately, the evidence of the power of competitive and organizational work that was achieved in AEL, came up with the most tragic way. It was 6 September 1979, when the beloved youngsters of entire Larissa, Dimitris Koukoulitsios and Dimitris Mousiaris, died in a tragic car accident near Thiva, on their way to Athens for a training with the U-21 National team. Yet still no one has forgotten them, perhaps because the third of the "company" cared about it. Giannis Valaoras, who had survived the accident and overcame the shock, has been one of the greatest members of the great team of the 80's... However, a question never stopped lingering : What more important could AEL succeed if its largest football investment, these two prides, didn't leave their life so early in the asphalt? The chant "They live – They live, They lead us all" rocking since then the atmosphere of the stadium, a huge banner was lifted on the stands of the "Ierolochites" club in the Gate-10..The passion of the supporters along with the other players, managed against this terrible loss, bad omens and blows, to keep the team up.

The First Final[edit]

The river could not turn back ... With a stable administration, new faces on the roster, Maloumidis, Galitsios, Golandas and gradually Voutyritsas and Mitsibonas and with the advent of the technical leadership of Antonis Georgiadis, AEL was beginning to show its "teeth"...and write pages of glory. Best Regional team for the 1980–81 season, AEL claimed the European exit in the final league game...Participation in the Greek Cup final in the summer of '82, for the first time in its history, and unjust 1–0 defeat by Panathinaikos in the Nea Philadelfeia stadium . The "greens" succeeded to the finals before the end of the championship and the barrage against Olympiakos, having the certainty that it would provide them in advance one title. Beside that, the whistles of the late Antonios Vassaras were critical for the final result. On that historic first final that was held on 19 June 1982, AEL lined up with the following players: Plitsis, Parafestas, Patsiavouras, Galitsios, Argiroulis, Dramalis (82' Voutyritsas) Maloumidis, Golantas, Koutas (82' Mitsibonas) Andreoudis, Valaoras. The "crimsons" did not intimidated...They reserved admiration, recognition and the applause of ordinary people, who bowed before them when the next season (1982–83) came to claim even the title after a great victory in the second round at the Karaiskaki Stadium derby against Olympiakos. Eventually, the second place constituted the ultimate fulfillment for Jacek Gmoch's lads, who had been under strong denial because of the modest beginning of the team in the first round of the championship.

Small Hamburg[edit]

The legacy left by that season in living material, was a defensive rock named Giorgos Mitsibonas, one forward in the person of Michalis Ziogas, (a player who knew as much as anyone else to be at the right time and in the right place) and of course a coach on the field, which was none other than the Polish international, Kazimierz Kmiecik. The team of '82–83 season yielded modern, fast and sophisticated football and fairly won the nickname "small Hamburg", taken by the great German team of the 80's..The first exit in Europe was a rewarding and meaningful vindication of an effort that lasted several years, even though AEL ultimately failed to overcome the obstacle of the – strong then – Hungarian Honvéd.

Austrian coach Walter Skocik had found a good, technical team, but somewhat tired. And even if they didn't show steady progress in the league, they managed to be in another Cup Final. Opponent on 6 June 1984, Panathinaikos again, this time in the Athens Olympic Stadium, which was also used by the "greens" as home ground. This fact, coupled with the modest appearance of AEL, apparently justified by the intensity of the semi-final battle against Iraklis, (which took place just 3 days earlier!) and the loss of the suspended Valaoras, brought normal|y a 2–0 defeat, leaving AEL bitterness, which diminished by the ticket for the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, once Panathinaikos had won the double. Three fronts and then again for the "crimsons". Why not...They had a more mature team and could cope, as rightly believed by president Kostas Samaras and coach Andrzej Strejlau who brought with him from Poland another genuine football "steed", named Krzysztof Adamczyk. Its participation in the Cup Winners' Cup for the period 1984–85 was impressive and established the name of the Thessalian team in the European football map. The "crimsons" came up to the "8", where they have been excluded after two sensational quarter-finals by the Soviets of Dynamo Moscow. The unique, however, distinguish in the institution of the Cup Winners Cup that season, made a big impression and showed how great this team was and capable for even bigger achievements...This team however, – that many believed was playing the best football in Greece by that time – was unstoppable and determined to finally overcome and get to a title. This title was not the championship, (although succeeded a record for best offensive productivity in the season), but the Greek Cup, the final of which AEL qualified for the third and...poisonous time!

First Cup[edit]

The final against the 1985 champion PAOK, has been recorded as one of the top performances in the history of AEL. The "crimsons" played "total" football, smashed with 4–1 their opponents and eventually came to their first title. However, in the pregame of that fight a common point united the two teams...AEL and PAOK lined up before the referee Makis Germanakos without their two key players (left back Nikos Patsiavouras and top scorer Christos Dimopoulos), since they both had already agreed to sign for Panathinaikos! As for the actual game, on 22 June 1985, on the Athens Olympic Stadium before 30,000 shared fans, AEL seemed to have the upper hand from the start, but completely dominated from the 19', when Vassilakos was expelled by direct red card (struck Adamczyk off-phase) and reached its first goal at 39' with Ziogas, after an incredible attempt of the Polish striker. After the second half κick-off Kmiecik wrote with perfect shot the 2–0 and although PAOK reduced to 55' with Skartados, Andrzej Strejlau's players not cowed at all and gave the grace shots at 73' with Ziogas and 75' with Valaoras, teaching modern football while creating a host of missed opportunities for a mammoth – score. The players who led AEL in its first title in its history were: Plitsis, Parafestas, Kolomitrousis, Galitsios, Mitsibonas, Voutiritsas, Ziogas, Kmiecik, Adamczyk, Andreoudis (87' Tsiolis) Valaoras. The precious first trophy that was raised in the sky of Athens the previous evening by the team captain Takis Parafestas was entered the city the next day escorted by hundreds of cars.

Ambitious battles were waiting for AEL in Europe, but failed to proceed, although faced without fear the famous Italian Sampdoria. Maybe tired, perhaps it still cost them so much the leaving of their "conductor", the beloved Kazio for the Stuttgart Kickers... His compatriot Janusz Kupcewicz, who replaced him, although came right from the best lineup of the 1982 FIFA World Cup in Spain, had injury problems and did not help as much as he could. And do not forget ...At that time, the culmination of a transfer thriller, a player who was acquired by Toxotis and dressed in crimson, making his first professional steps and later called "the magician", Vassilis Karapialis. His own introduction, along with two to three other important events, painted the following year, the most indifferent season for AEL that decade. The assumption of command by Stelios Kantonias and the return of Jacek Gmoch in the technical leadership, were guarantees for the great offensive of the new season. No paint, but it was stronger than the black of mourning, which darkened the sky of Larissa. The crime of a PAOK supporter, who hurled a flare against the unsuspecting professor Charalambos Blionas who laid dead in the stands of Alcazar Stadium. That day, on 26 October 1986, a grievous page was written in the history of Greek football and as though nothing is more important than the loss of a life, we can unequivocally say that just one year later, the same Greek football has experienced its most glorious time. The crowning "Queen". The only team in the Greek region who ever sat on the throne.

The "Revolution" Of 1988[edit]

Still, the road ahead was not a bed of roses...The non-renewal of contracts of Parafestas and Andreoudis in the summer and the transfer of Plitsis to Olympiakos in December, were options that were not accepted by the fans, but the success of the team in conjunction with the "rising star" of Karapialis, minimized any opposition disposal. Especially when on 16 March 1988 the sports court announced the decision to remove 4 points from AEL because of the famous "doping case" of the Bulgarian striker (with very little participation in the championship), Georgi Tsingov. He was tested positive on the use of the substance Codeine, which is not likely to improve the performance of an athlete at all! Conspiracy theories quoted around about what really happened, (many claimed it was a sabotage), nevertheless the whole city of Larissa uprised and in no time created road blocks that cut Greece in two, claiming the right of what the team had won over the football field. The barricades on the national highway lasted 5 whole days until an intervention by the political leadership of sports. They took a brave decision to restore order, and change the article in question. From 21 March '88, teams ceased to be considered responsible for each possible doping athlete. AEL however, was largely responsible for the... psychological doping of the fans, which then helped to overcome doubt and anxiety and get proudly in the 87th minute of the penultimate game of the season against Iraklis, when that incredible shot of Mitsibonas hurled into space the enthusiasm of the crowd. May Day 1988...God knows how, so many people fit that day at Alcazar...as if there were all the people of Larissa, which then stay up for days and celebrated this unique achievement.

The Countdown[edit]

Somewhere there the countdown began ...AEL was knocked hill, reached the top and had to start to go downhill...The circle of a large team had closed! Maybe if Xamax had not turned the match at Neuchâtel and not sent by 2–1 in the overtime and the unlucky for the "crimsons" penalty shootout, Champions League would held the name of AEL in its ledger, where reigns the amazing goal of Karapialis which opened the score on the second leg of Switzerland. This was the last presence for AEL in the most prestigious club competition in European football..The fans still believed that the team could stay in the spotlight..The accident was for those who were blurred by the excitement of the moment, believed that the team could climb even higher and soon demanded the change of ownership. From there, players leaving and coming, administrations changed without programming, independently on the intentions of everyone..The fact is that AEL gradually lost its credibility inside and outside stadiums and inevitably led eight years later, in May 1996, to the relegation which was spared in '91, thanks to the amazing second round course. More generally, although great players such as late Lefter Millos, also unjustly shed, Ştefan Stoica, Paulo Da Silva, David Embé and Vangelis Tsoukalis, wore the shirt and tried to give the team its lost glory, failed nothing more than some effects – flickering, in a prescribed downward spiral that culminated with the painful return to the Second Division after 18 years.

The 'Stone Years'[edit]

Worst of all, however, occurred on 13 September 1997, when the "eagle stopped flying". Giorgos Mitsibonas, the player-symbol of the team, the gifted and talented figure that marked a glorious era, was killed in a car accident. Even if he was not by that time an active player of the team, (he was playing in Tirnavos), the whole city said farewell along with him, to a large part of its passion for distinction and victory. The conscientious efforts of local factors to keep the club standing were unsuccessful, the debts piled in between, and no one was able by this time, in the summer of 2001, to save the team...AEL fell for the first time in its history in the Third Division, and even threatened with disintegration, with relegation to the Regional Championship, and had to get to the bottom to lift its head again, taking advantage of the beneficial law of special clearance...

Flirting with the 4th National[edit]

AEL arrives at the worst point in its history. Playing again in the third national, almost without administration and money. The season 2002–03 starts with −3 points after penalized and lost the match against ILTEX Lykoi. Amateur players and volunteers are called to offer their services..The course is naturally very poor and the team risks a relegation to the 4th National.. Halfway through the season appeared on the scene the name of Nikos Sotiroulis, a local businessman. Along with the unforgettable friend and collaborator Giorgos Katsogiannis and supporting factors of Amateur AEL predominantly Elias Fasoulas and Zissis Helidonis, he fought the first negative judgments, bore a vicious hunting even from FIFA and vindicated, when on 7 March 2003 he became the owner of the team that a year later was renamed to AEL 1964 FC and celebrated its return to the second division. Some months before, AEL survived the relegation in the Fourth National and thereby dissolve, in the last game of the championship against Niki Volou. Of course, the most crucial and exciting match in the team's -stone years- history was the one before, that was held in Chania, where the "crimsons" tie 3–3 and stayed alive, condemning the hosts. The new period started then vigorously and with one and only target, the promotion, which was achieved after an exhausting marathon of 38 games...On 30 May 2004, at Alcazar, AEL sealed the second place and the ticket to the higher category (which was virtually ensured by the victory from 1–0 at ILTEX Lykoi just a game before), crashing with 5–1 the already "doomed" Pontiakos Neas Santas, while the chant "We are coming back" was rocking the crowded stadium... Coached by Takis Parafestas, with players such as Katsaras, Ziagkas, Kyparissis, Lekidis, Kehagias, Theodosiadis, Kontodimos, Lazorik, Bozilov, Kakazoukis, Kapriniotis, Paleologos, Grigoriou, Floros, Papakostas and a new upsurge of the fans that followed everywhere, the team persuaded that was really coming back ... The one who left, and was the initiator and founder of this effort was Nikos Sotiroulis, who after a few days in mid-June, gave way to the new owner and chairman Kostas Piladakis. A new era had begun...

The New Age[edit]

And because a "good day seems from the morning", new management, technical leadership headed by Giorgos Donis, players like the effective striker Thomas Kyparissis and the presence of supporters that caused admiration through Greece, led AEL back again in the Super League, after nine years of absence. The 19 transfers that were made in the summer of 2004 radically changed the composition of the workforce and the equally young and ambitious coach had time to give the team the required homogeneity. The Moderate So start treated by all with patience and maturity, and the proper corrections that were made in January, found AEL "galloping" from success to success. The conquest of the first place with 58 points was the natural consequence of this team effort and the fans celebrated the return in the Super League after 9 "stone" years, for almost 10 days! Starting from Sunday 15, of May 2005, in Kastoria, in front of 4,000 fans who accompanied the team's bus when returning, a car convoy of 5 km in length and a midnight party at Alcazar, to Wednesday 25, and the fiesta that was set up to the stadium for winning the title after beating Proodeftiki. Except Kyparissis, Papakostas, Ziagkas, Paleologos, Floros and Grigoriou, who continued from the previous season, players such as Christopoulos, Kipouros, the late Bahramis, Gikas, Stournaras, Föerster, Katsiaros, Digozis, Tsiatsios, Makris, Abouna, Nedeljković, Sisic, Passios, Chatziliontas, Galitsios and others, came to add their names to important pages in the team's history. Indeed, beside them, stood from summer until December 2004 the first Greek active scorer Alexis Alexandris and a well-known name in European football, the Romanian international midfielder Dennis Şerban, who played in many major teams, top of which was the Spanish Valencia. That same season, while in the 2nd Division, AEL reached to the "8" of the Greek Cup, having ruled in turn Acharnaikos, Apollon Athens, and Chalkidona of the First Division, before being excluded from the "European" Skoda Xanthi, which nevertheless beat 1–0 in the first match of Alcazar, turning the rematch in real derby. It was the forerunner of the great return.

In The Elite With Cup & Europe[edit]

In the first year after its return to the big category AEL did the "bang" bringing in the summer of 2005 directly from the English courts the UEFA Euro 2004 champion and former captain of the Greek national football team, Nikos Dabizas. A move that was made to shield the defense while sending the message that AEL did not returned to Super League just to remain, but to star. Along with AEL returned also its supporters, giving impressive "presence" with tours admired throughout Greece. Toumba, Kaftanzoglio, Pankritio, Kleanthis Vikelidis, Zosimades...Comfortably stayed 8th, and a European opportunity occurred through Intertoto Cup, exploiting the weakness of PAOK to fulfill the criteria of UEFA. A European return, with two games against the Turkish Kayserispor did not bring the coveted Cup Qualification to UEFA Cup (within 0–0 draw, and a 2–0 defeat in Kayseri), but it was clearly an omen of a great European return, which was meant to be completed one year later. The 2006–07 season was one of its most successful, but also one of the most controversial in the club's modern history. On the one AEL rose again to the throne of Greek Cup Winners, and on the other flirted with relegation, eventually managing to secure salvation in the last matchday.

Cup Again in Pineios[edit]

AEL fans during the 2007 Greek Cup Final at the Panthessaliko Stadium on 5 May 2007.

5 May 2007 is now a new landmark in the history of AEL 1964. Giorgos Donis and his players brought the Cup "again in Pineios" after 22 years, creating a new benchmark in the glorious march of the team. This is the final certificate that AEL returned to the elite of Greek football. Cup in 1985, the 1988 Championship, and a Cup again in 2007 in Volos where the game's MVP Nikos Dabizas and the vice captain, Zissis Ziagkas lifted together the third major trophy in the team's history. Opponents again Panathinaikos for the third time in a cup final where the "crimsons" prevailed with 1–2..The match was held in the Panthessaliko Stadium, inside Thessalian "territory"..AEL secured beside all other the European participation for the second consecutive year, this time in the UEFA Cup. Jozef Kožlej and Henry Antchouet, took the baton from Ziogas, Kmiecik and Valaoras, signing with their own goals – (who had the stamp of Giorgos Fotakis) – this new "golden" page. The Slovakian striker opened the scoring in just the third minute with a perfect header following a free kick from Fotakis, Papadopoulos equalized with a penalty won by Föerster and masterfully executed in the 44th, however, Antchouet was the player who held the final. In the 83rd minute the "Gabonese Arrow" poured on the offensive after the exemplary deep ball of Fotakis and "thundered" the goalkeeper Ebéde, writing the 1–2 that was meant to be the final score. The final whistle of Kyros Vassaras found over 10,000 fans of the team ecstatic singing "because we have lost our minds, this Cup is ours", giving rise to frantic celebration. The celebration began at Panthessaliko from the award of the precious trophy, continued to Alcazar who opened its gates to welcome the winners and ended in the Central Square of Larissa shortly after midnight.

AEL 1964 (Donis): Kotsolis, Galitsios, Venetidis, Dabizas, Föerster, Bassila, Silva Cleyton (85 ' Vallas) Digozis, Aloneftis (74 ' Kalantzis), Fotakis, Kožlej, (60 'Antchouet).

Panathinaikos (Muñoz): Ebéde, Vyntra, Nilsson, (84 ' Šerić), Goumas, Morris, Leontiou, Tziolis (85 ' Bišćan), Ninis (73 ' Romero), Ivanschitz, Papadopoulos, Mantzios.

A week later the "crimsons" made the trip from Heaven to Hell and Heaven again within a 90-minute to ensure in the 83rd minute with a long-shoot the victory in Kalamaria with 2–1 against the local Apollon, having at their side to support over 3,000 fans and putting "happy endings" in a difficult and successful year.

The European Dream[edit]

The new season started with the best omens. AEL as Greek Cup Winner is representing Greece in the UEFA Cup and the draw brings its technical leader, Giorgos Donis, faced with the club that started his international football career, English Blackburn Rovers. AEL enters the first qualifying round as the clear underdog, but in the afternoon of 20 September 2007 at Panthessaliko Stadium – after Alcazar does not conform to the UEFA specifications – radically subverts the data: wins 2–0 in the first match, losing 2–1 in the second game of Ewood Park and takes a proud qualification to the group stage. In the "32" AEL faced powerful teams like Everton with a long tradition in the Premier League, rising Dutch AZ Alkmaar, German Nuremberg and the subsequent 2008 UEFA Cup winners mighty Russian Zenit Saint Petersburg. The team failed to pick a point in the four games, but won the respect that was confirmed by great European coaches, which AEL found opposite in this journey as Louis van Gaal and Dick Advocaat. Liberated from the burden of European obligations and with the assistance of world class players like Maciej Żurawski and Tümer MetinAEL makes a championship course in the second round of the Super League and loses by one goal tie with Panionios the 5th position that leads to the playoffs. A bittersweet epilogue to one of the most successful season in the team's history. Confirming the ever upward steps at all levels AEL records in 2008–09 one of the most successful years in its history. Staying for 13 consecutive undefeated matches, finishing in fifth place in the Super League, ensuring its entry into the playoffs and a European output (in the UEFA Europa League) for the third time in the last 4 years and for just the third time in its history through the championship. It is a year in which AEL – among other things – broke two traditions winning in Kaftanzoglio Iraklis for the first time since 1982 and Olympiakos in Karaiskakis Stadium after 26 years.

The Descent[edit]

From that point the countdown started again, which two years later brought back AEL in the second category. Wrong assessments and decisions regarding the completion of the team roster, and the leaving of the players who provided the guarantee of a remarkable and steady racing body..But much more decisive was the relentless chase of the team on the part of arbitration. The European exclusion from the weak Icelandic KR Reykjavík because of – mainly – the poor squad and preparation in the summer of 2009 brought the first clouds. The unexpected death of the late Mexican striker Antonio de Nigris on 16 November marked with indelible black lettering that period, in which AEL has managed to keep its position in the penultimate game of the season, changing coach (Giannis Papakostas in place of Marinos Ouzounidis) and achieving 5 wins in the last 7 games of the season. The prospect of the entry into the new stadium (the AEL FC Arena) and the feeling that the near-mishap last season had taught a lesson, created expectations of great things for the 2010–11 season, accompanied by large investments in player transfers. The transition from the historic Alcazar Stadium into the newly built AEL FC Arena in late November – early December 2010, was not made in the way that every fan had hoped and dreamed of. Two defeats by Panionios, (0–1) and PAOK (1–2), spoiled the festive atmosphere, but above all it was the shadow of arbitration that created a bleak future again. Grossly injusticed over the first half of the season (for nearly 13 games!) with catalytic decisions that shaped scores and results, AEL had an unequal fight until the end – changing coaching and trying to strengthen the squad – but finally relented..Even the most pessimistic would hardly imagine at the beginning of that year that AEL in a new stadium and with star-players (Dabizas, Venetidis, Cousin, Canobbio, Metin, Tavlaridis Čontofalský, Pancrate) would finish in the penultimate position and eventually relegate.. But the harsh reality was obliging the "crimsons" in a new Calvary, for which were not themselves responsible..At least not entirely. The revelation of the match fixing scandal that occurred in the early summer of 2011 was only moral justification for the club and nothing more. After a barrage of outright decisions and scandalous implementation of sports legislation by the Professional Sports Committee and the Hellenic Football Federation, with selective application of regulations that was completed after almost six months(!) in November, the club (once again injustice) remained in the Football League, while the elementary sense of law enforcement required at least the opposite...

Crest And Colors[edit]

The emblem of the club is a wild rising horse (same as the symbol of the city), believed to be an ancient thessalian-breed horse like Alexander the Great's Bucephalus.Its colors are crimson and white.

First home kit 1964

Ground[edit]

AEL FC Arena Overview AEL FC Arena Main Building AEL FC Arena Inside View

AEL FC Arena is the home ground of AE Larissa. It is a UEFA 3-star rated stadium and has a seating capacity of 16,118 all covered. Its construction lasted 14 months, beginning in September 2009 and ending in November 2010.

Support[edit]

Monsters is the largest AEL 1964 supporters club. The first attempt to organise the team's supporters was made in 31 March 1982 during a game against Diagoras F.C..30 fans that belonged to the older but old-fashioned club Ierolochites gathered in the Gate D of the old Alcazar Stadium that was meant to be the legendary Gate-1 afterwards.Monsters club was formed as an idea of having a true and passionate support to the team without restrictions or boundaries.The fans tend to use various styles and sizes of banners and flags bearing the name and symbols of their club and have been following the team since the first day everywhere in Greece and Europe.Monsters have a strong relationship with German team FC Nürnberg's supporter's club called Ultras Nürnberg 1994 or just UN-94.Fans of both clubs often lift banners and create choreography in support of the fellow teams.

S.F. Alkazar (Greek: Σύνδεσμος Φιλάθλων Αλκαζάρ) is the second bigger club of AEL 1964 supporters.

Records[edit]

All records, counted for the Greek Super League and former Alpha Ethniki championships.

1985–2007 Cups & 1988 Championship Lineups[edit]

Current squad[edit]

As of 13 November 2014.

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 Tasos Karakoutsis
2 Greece DF Thanasis Moulopoulos
3 Greece DF Kostas Kourtesiotis
5 Greece MF Paschalis Melissas
6 Greece MF Kostas Nebegleras
8 Albania MF Bledi Muca
9 Greece FW Nestoras Stefanidis
10 Spain MF Perico
11 Greece FW Dimitris Souanis
12 France MF Geoffrey Dernis
13 Greece MF Thanasis Pindonis
15 Greece GK Tasos Papagiannis
16 Spain FW David Verdú
No. Position Player
17 Greece FW Ilias Anastasakos
18 Greece FW Ilias Tsiliggiris
20 Greece DF Nikos Karanikas
21 Greece DF Dimitris Kontodimos
22 Brazil MF Júnior
23 Cameroon MF Augustin Billa
24 Greece MF Giannis Balogiannis
27 Greece DF Giorgos Delizisis
30 Greece GK Manolis Apostolidis
33 Greece DF Achilleas Sarakatsanos
44 Greece MF Alexandros Tseberidis
62 Greece GK Christos Athanasopoulos
97 Greece FW Dimitris Gkourtsas
  • Total: 26 players, Average Age: 27,9 years.

Out on Loan[edit]

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

No. Position Player

Foreign Players[edit]

EU Nationals

EU Nationals (Dual citizenship)

Non-EU Nationals

International Players[edit]

Honours[edit]

Coaching And Medical Staff[edit]

Position Staff
Head Coach Greece Thomas Grafas
Assistant Coach Greece Sakis Anastasiadis
Youth Team Coach Greece Sakis Anastasiadis
General Manager TBA
Technical Director Greece Andreas Paspaliaris
Goalkeeping Coach Greece Filippos Bolovinis
Fitness Coach Greece Vasilis Seggos
Team Doctor TBA
Team Physiotherapist Greece Vasilis Nousios
Chief Scout TBA
Team Kit Manager TBA

Managerial history[edit]

 
Name Season Matches
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Alexander Petrovic 1964–65 30
Greece Dionysis Minardos () 1965–66 30
Greece Alexandros Vogas 1966–67 32
Greece Giourkas Seitaridis 1967–68 30
Greece Lefteris Papadakis () 1968-69 26
Greece Theodoros Sirganis 8
Greece Giannis Helmis () 1969-70 13
Greece Theodoros Sirganis 14
Greece Apostolos Chabibis 7
Greece Christos Kletsas 1970–71 3
Greece Kostas Ziogas 6
Greece Giorgos Tsalopoulos () 1
Greece Kostas Polychroniou 13
Greece Kostas Polychroniou 1971–72 38
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Stefan Karamfilovic 1972–73 38
Bulgaria Ivan Kochev 1973–74 34
Bulgaria Ivan Kochev 1974–75 5
Greece Dan Georgiadis () 15
Greece AEL 1964 FC 1
Bulgaria Ivan Kochev 13
Greece Lakis Progios 1975–76 5
Argentina Horacio Morales 4
Greece Nikos Alefantos 3
Argentina Horacio Morales 26
Greece Giorgos Petridis 1976–77 14
Greece Giorgos Tsalopoulos () 2
Greece Antonis Georgiadis 8
Greece Vangelis Balopoulos 14
Greece Pavlos Grigoriadis () 1977–78 13
Greece Giannis Zafiropoulos 25
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Milan Ribar 1978–79 34
Greece Kostas Polychroniou 1979–80 34
Greece Antonis Georgiadis 1980–81 34
Greece Antonis Georgiadis 1981–82 34
 
Name Season Matches
Poland Jacek Gmoch 1982–83 34
Austria Walter Skocik 1983–84 30
Poland Andrzej Strejlau 1984–85 30
Poland Andrzej Strejlau 1985–86 26
Greece Nikolaos Tsiakos 4
Poland Jacek Gmoch 1986–87 28
Poland Jacek Gmoch 1987–88 29
Argentina Horacio Morales 1
Czechoslovakia Vladimír Táborský 1988–89 30
Poland Marcin Bochynek 1989–90 34
Poland Marcin Bochynek 1990–91 5
Greece Nikos Alefantos 4
Bulgaria Hristo Bonev 25
Bulgaria Hristo Bonev 1991–92 34
Bulgaria Hristo Bonev 1992–93 34
Poland Jacek Gmoch 1993–94 10
Greece Sotiris Koukouthakis 1
Greece Christos Archontidis 23
Greece Vassilis Daniil 1994–95 34
Greece Ioannis Matzourakis 1995–96 5
Greece Kostas Siavalas, Leonidas Efstathiou 1
Greece Andreas Michalopoulos 28
Greece Giorgos Foiros 1996–97 17
Greece Kostas Siavalas, Dimitris Simeonidis 2
Greece Christos Archontidis 3
Greece Kostas Siavalas, Dimitris Simeonidis 12
Poland Kazimierz Kmiecik 1997–98 8
Serbia Zoran Babović 26
Serbia Zoran Babović 1998–99 15
Greece Nikos Argyroulis 14
Greece Paris Meintanis 2
Greece Leonidas Efstathiou 3
Serbia Nebojša Ličanin 1999-00 19
Greece Takis Parafestas 15
 
Name Season Matches
Greece Nikos Argyroulis 2000–01 8
Greece Giannis Alexoulis 9
Greece Michalis Ziogas 13
Greece Vangelis Vouroukos 2001–02 21
Greece Kostas Siavalas 9
Greece Takis Sourlatzis 2002–03 3
Greece Christos Gkatas 22
Argentina Horacio Morales 5
Greece Takis Parafestas 8
Greece Takis Parafestas 2003–04 38
Greece Giorgos Donis 2004–05 30
Greece Giorgos Donis 2005–06 30
Greece Giorgos Donis 2006–07 30
Greece Giorgos Donis 2007–08 30
Greece Marinos Ouzounidis 2008–09 36
Greece Marinos Ouzounidis 2009–10 23
Greece Giannis Papakostas 7
Greece Giannis Papakostas 2010–11 12
Greece Kostas Katsaras 2
Norway Jørn Andersen 3
Greece Nikos Kostenoglou 13
Wales Chris Coleman 2011–12 10
Greece Nikos Kotsovos 1
Serbia Božidar Bandović 3
Greece Nikos Kehagias 6
Greece Michalis Ziogas 14
Greece Michalis Ziogas 2012–13 14
Greece Timos Kavakas 26
Greece Kostas Panagopoulos 2013–14 7
Greece Giorgos Strantzalis 13
Greece Panagiotis Tzanavaras 10
Greece Kostas Panagopoulos 2014–15 4

Former Players[edit]

European Competition history[edit]

Season Competition Round Club Home Away
1981–82 Balkans Cup 1st Round Albania 17 Nëntori Tirana 3–1 0–3
1983–84 UEFA Cup 1st Round Hungary Budapest Honvéd 2–0 0–3 (a.e.t.)
1984–85 Cup Winners' Cup 1st Round Hungary Siófok 2–0 1–1
2nd Round Switzerland Servette 2–1 1–0
Quarter finals Soviet Union Dynamo Moscow 0–0 0–1
1985–86 Cup Winners' Cup 1st Round Italy Sampdoria 1–1 0–1
1988–89 European Cup 1st Round Switzerland Neuchâtel Xamax 2–1 1–2 (0–3 p)
2006–07 Intertoto Cup 3rd Round Turkey Kayserispor 0–0 0–2
2007–08 UEFA Cup 1st Round England Blackburn Rovers 2–0 1–2
Group Stage
(Group A)
England Everton 1–3
Russia Zenit St. Petersburg 2–3
Netherlands AZ Alkmaar 0–1
Germany Nuremberg 1–3
2009–10 Europa League 2nd Qual. Round Iceland KR Reykjavík 1–1 0–2

UEFA Team Ranking 2013/2014[edit]

Rank Country Team Points
218 Belgium Zulte Waregem 6.540
219 Norway Aalesunds FK 6.315
220 Greece AEL 1964 6.300
221 Denmark FC Midtjylland 6.280
222 Israel Maccabi Netanya 6.225


As of 16 September 2013.[2]

League history statistics[edit]

Season League Rank Win-Draw-Lost Goals F/A Points Season Biggest Win
1964–65 Division 2 5 15–4–11 34–30 64 AELApollon Larissa 4–0
1965–66 Division 2 3 15–9–6 39–30 69 AELOlympiacos Chalkida 4–2
1966–67 Division 2 10 10–10–12 38–45 62 AELOlympiacos Kozani 4–0
1967–68 Division 2 14 9–8–13 33–42 55 AELLamia 5–3
1968–69 Division 2 17 11–4–19 37–43 60 AELEdessaikos 5–0
1969–70 Division 2 13 9–11–14 34–45 63 AEL – Orestis Orestiada 3–0
1970–71 Division 2 4 15–15–4 39–25 79 AEL – Aris Agios Konstantinos 4–0
1971–72 Division 2 2 26–6–6 71–25 96 AELMakedonikos 5–0
1972–73 Division 2 1 27–6–5 68–19 98 Petralona – AEL 0–5
1973–74 Division 1 9 11–10–13 31–40 32 AELApollon Athens 3–1
1974–75 Division 1 18 5–7–22 24–59 17 AELKastoria 4–1
1975–76 Division 2 5 15–12–11 58–42 42 AELXanthi 5–1
1976–77 Division 2 3 19–8–11 63–40 46 AELPanthrakikos 6–0
1977–78 Division 2 1 25–9–4 58–17 59 MakedonikosAEL 1–4
1978–79 Division 1 12 15–5–19 34–53 29 AELPanserraikos 2–0
1979–80 Division 1 8 13–8–13 33–44 34 AELIraklis 3–0
1980–81 Division 1 6 14–9–11 42–40 37 AELKastoria 6–2
1981–82 Division 1 10 12–7–15 40–38 31 AELKavala 8–2
1982–83 Division 1 2 18–9–7 54–27 45 AELEthnikos Piraeus 5–1
1983–84 Division 1 6 13–6–11 28–29 32 AELEthnikos Piraeus 3–0
1984–85 Division 1 6 14–7–9 55–35 35 AELPanionios 5–0
1985–86 Division 1 8 12–6–12 36–31 30 AELOFI 3–0
1986–87 Division 1 9 10–5–15 24–31 25 AELOFI 3–1
1987–88 Division 1 1 18–7–5 51–22 43 VeriaAEL 2–5
1988–89 Division 1 6 10–14–6 37–34 34 AELPanionios 4–0
1989–90 Division 1 8 12–10–12 35–38 34 AELApollon Kalamaria 3–0
1990–91 Division 1 12 10–9–15 38–46 29 PAS GianninaAEL 0–3
1991–92 Division 1 8 11–9–14 40–46 31 AELPanionios 4–0
1992–93 Division 1 7 11–10–13 36–42 43 AELPanachaiki 5–2
1993–94 Division 1 10 11–9–14 45–53 42 AELPanionios 5–0
1994–95 Division 1 11 11–7–16 41–46 40 AELSkoda Xanthi 6–1
1995–96 Division 1 16 9–7–18 32–64 37 AELPanachaiki 4–1
1996–97 Division 2 6 15–10–9 44–32 55 AELApollon Kalamaria 5–2
1997–98 Division 2 9 11–13–10 37–42 46 AELEdessaikos 3–0
1998–99 Division 2 8 13–7–14 45–47 46 AELApollon Kalamaria 4–1
1999-00 Division 2 6 16–7–11 55–39 55 Anagennisi KarditsaAEL 1–7
2000–01 Division 2 15 8–6–16 28–41 30 AELPanelefsiniakos 2–0
2001–02 Division 3 7 12–6–12 37–34 42 AELEthnikos Piraeus 4–1
2002–03 Division 3 15 11–13–14 33–40 43 AELChania 3–0
2003–04 Division 3 2 24–5–9 58–34 77 AEL – Pontiakos Nea Santa 5–1
2004–05 Division 2 1 17–7–6 56–25 58 AELAtromitos Athens 6–0
2005–06 Division 1 8 10–9–11 31–37 39 AELApollon Kalamaria 4–1
2006–07 Division 1 10 9–9–12 30–38 36 AELIonikos 3–0
2007–08 Division 1 6 11–12–7 35–30 45 AELOFI 5–1
2008–09 Division 1 5 12–13–5 36–26 49 AELThrasyvoulos 3–0
2009–10 Division 1 8 10–7–13 31–42 37 PanioniosAEL 0–3
2010–11 Division 1 14 5–10–15 29–47 25 AELSkoda Xanthi 3–0
2011–12 Division 2 10 11–10–13 38–29 43 AELAnagennisi Epanomi 5–2
2012–13 Division 2 13 (9) 16–15–9 42–25 63 (-18) AELFokikos 5–0
2013–14 Division 3 1 23–4–3 87–14 73 AELKeravnos Thesprotiko 6–0
  • Point system: 1959–60 to 1972–73: 3–2–1. 1973–74 to 1991–92: 2–1–0. 1992–93 onwards: 3–1–0.
  • In the season 2012-13 the team gained 63 points but was penalized due to financial problems (-18 points in the final table) and finished 13th.[3]

Training Facilities[edit]

AEL 1964 FC has its own training facilities in the area of the village Dendra, near Tyrnavos. Those facilities cover over 30,000 square meters, have multisport purposes for all of the team's athletes and among the others include :

  • 3 football fields (1 used by the first team, with 1.500 seats capacity and 1 for the U21 team's official matches.)
  • 1 football field with artificial turf.
  • Hosting area for the First and Reserves teams.
  • Gym.
  • Saunas.
  • Rooms for tactical purposes.
  • Press room.
  • Changing rooms.
  • Offices.
  • Parking services.

Sponsorship[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Official Sites

Fan clubs