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|Full name||Pan-Thessalonian Athletic Club of Constantinopolitans
Πανθεσσαλονίκειος Αθλητικός Όμιλος Κωνσταντινοπολιτών
|Nickname||Dikefalos tou Vorra (Double headed eagle of the north)|
|Anthem||Paok, Paok (Mimis Traiforos, Petros Giannakos)|
|Website||Club home page|
|Active departments of P.A.O.K.|
The Pan-Thessalonian Athletic Club of Constantinopolitans (Greek: Πανθεσσαλονίκειος Αθλητικός Όμιλος Κωνσταντινοπολιτών. Panthessaloníkios Athlitikós Ómilos Kostantinopolitón), abbreviated P.A.O.K. (Greek: Π.Α.Ο.Κ.), is a sports club in Thessaloniki, Greece. The club is home to several teams, including football, basketball, volleyball, handball, water polo, swimming, wrestling, hockey, and weightlifting. P.A.O.K. was founded in 1926. Because of its crest, it is also known as the "Two-Headed Eagle of the North", in contrast with AEK Athens, the "Two-Headed Eagle of the South".
P.A.O.K. is the historical continuation of the Hermes Athletic and Cultural Association from the Pera area of Constantinople, established by Greek residents of the city in 1875. The need for Constantinople's Greek residents to express and support their Hellenism within Turkey was what led to the creation of this club. In 1923, following the failed Greek invasion of Asia Minor and the agreed population swap between Greece and the newly established Turkish republic, the Greeks of Constantinople renamed their club Peraclub, in line with the new constitution adopted by Kemal Atatürk. Despite this blow to Hellenic culture in Turkey, Peraclub continued its sporting struggle, promising to continue to do so as long as there were Greeks left in Constantinople. The club won many cups and continued to have a strong presence in the sporting sector. However, that situation did not last long. Most players were forced to flee, leaving behind a team, renamed Politakia, consisting of residents of Constantinople. Those who fled settled in Thessaloniki and in 1926 established P.A.O.K., retaining their Greek symbols: the twin-headed eagle of the Byzantine Empire, and black and white for their colors, to symbolize the black of mourning for the tragic story of lost homelands, and white for the hope of a better tomorrow. This club history—stretching back to the 19th century—in effect makes P.A.O.K. one of Greece's oldest athletic clubs, but it also means that it shoulders a heavy historical burden.
The club's first charter was approved on 20 April 1926 by a decision of the Thessaloniki Court of First Instance (No. 822).
The club's founding members were A. Angelopoulos, A. Athanassiadis, K. Anagnostidis, M. Ventourellis, F. Vyzantinos,V.Karapiperis, A. Dimitriadis, D. Dimitriadis, N. Zoumboulidis, M. Theodosiadis, T. Ioakimopoulos, P. Kalpaktsoglou, T. Kartsambekis, D. Koemtzopoulos, K. Koemtzopoulos, P. Kontopoulos, K. Kritikos, M. Konstantinidis, P. Maletskas, I. Nikolaidis, L. Papadopoulos, F. Samantzopoulos, T. Tsoulkas, M. Tsoulkas, S. Triantafyllidis, and T. Triantafyllidis (who was also its first Chairman).
P.A.O.K.'s first Board of Directors, serving between 1926 and 1927, consisted of:
- T. Triantafyllidis (Chairman)
- P. Kalpaktsoglou (1st Vice-Chairman)
- A. Athanassiadis (2nd Vice Chairman)
- V. Karapiperis (3rd Vice Chairman)
- K. Kritikos (Hon. Secretary)
- M. Tsoulkas (Secretary)
- T. Ioakimopoulos (Treasurer)
- A. Angelopoulos (Football Steward)
- M. Konstantinidis (Director)
- S. Triantafyllidis (Director)
After the club's establishment and two months of preparation, the team began competing against the other teams in Thessaloniki. The desire to see the new team compete led many to the Iraklis Football Ground on 26 July 1925, where the club won 2–1. The first professional contract was signed by the Club on 5 September 1928. The contract stipulated that the footballer Etien, who had come from the Constantinople club Peraclub, would be paid 4,000 drachmas per month. The contract was signed by Dr. Meletiou (P.A.O.K. Chairman) and Mr. Sakellaropoulos, Hon. Secretary. The Syntrivaniou Football Ground was officially opened on 12 December 1930 as a home base. This was followed by a friendly match against Aris with the home team winning 2–1.
The original logo was a horseshoe and a four-leaf clover, and the current one is the two-headed eagle. The eagle symbolizes the origins of the club and its return to the roots of memory, and the legacy of refugees of the Byzantine Empire and Constantinople.
- Total Titles: 42
- Total Titles: 16
- Greek Cup: 4
- EPSM Championship (local level until 1959)
- Winners (7): 1936–37, 1947–48, 1949–50, 1953–54, 1954–55, 1955–56, 1956–57
- Greek U–20 Championship
- Winners (2): 2002–03, 2006–07
- Greek U-17 Championship
- Winners (1): 2012-13
- Total Titles: 11
- Greek A Division
- Winners (9): 2001-02, 2005-06, 2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13
- Greek Cup
- Winners (2): 2001-02, 2012-13
- Total Titles: 7
- Greek Championships: 2
- 1959, 1992
- Runners-up : 1960, 1985, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000
- Greek Cups: 3
- 1984, 1995, 1999
- Runners-up : 1982, 1989, 1990, 1991
- Korać Cup:1
- Total Titles: 3
- 2 Greek Championships: 2009, 2010
- Runners-up: 2011
- 1 Greek Cup: 2012
- Runners-up: 2013
- 1 Greek Championship: 2013
- 1 Greek Championships: 2006
- 2 Greek Championships: 2003, 2007
- 1 Greek OPEN Championship: 1987
P.A.O.K.'s main rivals are the teams of Olympiacos, Aris, Panathinaikos, AEK, and Iraklis. The biggest rivalry is against the Olympiacos F.C. Olympiacos and second with arch-rival Aris. The derby against Olympiacos is the fiercest, representing more than any other, the animosity between Athens and Thessaloniki. The rivalry started in the 1960s when Olympiacos tried, and failed, to sign Giorgos Koudas, one of the best players of his time, from P.A.O.K., through direct negotiations with the player.