KF Apolonia Fier
|Founded||17 June 1925|
|Ground||Loni Papuçiu Stadium, Fier, Albania|
|League||Albanian First Division, Group B|
|2017–18||Albanian First Division, Group B, 3rd|
|Active branches of Apolonia Fier|
Klubi i Futbollit Apolonia Fier is an Albanian football club based in Fier. The club was founded on 17 June 1925 and took its name from the nearby ruins of the ancient Illyrian city of Apollonia. The club currently compete in the Albanian First Division and they play their home games at the Loni Papuçiu Stadium.
During the early 1920s sports activities began being organised in the city of Fier, much like other cities in Albania at the time. Students from the region returning from their studies in larger Albanian cities and abroad had learned about football, which they then played back in Fier, which soon became so popular that almost every neighbourhood in the city had children and adults alike playing football. The first official football game to be held in Fier was organised by the Bashkimi Culturual Society on 17 July 1924, which was played between a selection of players from Fier and neighbouring city Vlorë. The following summer in 1925, a group of local students led by Namik Resuli founded the Shoqeria Sportive Apollonia, which translates in English to the Apollonia Sports Society, taking the name from the nearby ruins of the ancient Greek city of Apollonia. The club was a multidisciplinary one, ad featured one of the first official football clubs in Fier. In 1927 the club's name was changed to SK Myzeqeja and the following year in 1928 the club became a fully professional one, and along with this re-organised its structure by adding the club's regulations and the board of directors, who would plan every activity and match held by the club.
In 1930 the Albanian Football Association was established and the first officially recognised competitions were held in the country. The club had entered to compete in a national competition for the first time, and were placed in the inaugural second tier championship along with Shqiponja Gjirokastër, SK Lushnja, Bardhyli Lezhë and Muzaka Berat. Before the championship had begun, the club had renamed itself to SK Fier, thus dropping the Apollonia from the name. Muzaka Berat won the first second tier championship and they achieved promotion to the old First Division, with SK Fier, Shqiponja Gjirokastër, Bardhyli Lezhë and SK Lushnja missing out on promotion. There was no Second Division held the following year in 1931, but the competition returned in 1932 and was played in three groups between April and May. SK Fier competed in Group B along with Erzeni Shijak, SK Kavajë, Kongresi i Lushnjës and Muzaka Berat, where SK Kavajë finished top of the group and progressed to the final stage against SK Vlorë, who they beat to win the competition. For the following two seasons SK Fier competed in Group B of the Second Division to no avail as they failed to the reach the final stage of the competition. There were no footballing activities held in 1935, but with their return in 1936, SK Fier did not compete in the Second Division initially. However, due to the financial problems of the original finalist Leka i Madh Përmet the club was invited by the Albanian Football Association to compete in a rematch tournament, where SK Fier finished in third and last place with 3 points, behind Kongresi i Lushnjës who also had 3 points and the winners and the promoted side Tomori Berat with 5 points. Between 1937 and 1939 there was no Second Division held, and shortly after World War II broke out which meant that many clubs including SK Fier ceased sporting activities until 1945.
Following the return of football activities, the club changed its name back to Apollonia Fier and began functioning in 1945 and entered to compete in the top flight for the first time, participating in the 1945 Albanian Championship, where they were placed in Group B. The club finished sixth out of seven teams in the group, with 2 wins, 1 draw and 6 losses, earning them a total of 7 points and a goal difference of −19 as they conceded 28 goals and only scored 9 in total. They were eventually relegated and as there was no Second Division held at the time the club was reduced to playing friendly games, before successfully joining the 1948 Albanian Championship, again in Group B. Their second top flight season proved to be far more successful as they finished in third place out of eight sides, with 7 wins, 5 draws and 2 losses and a total of 19 points, just one point behind group winners Flamurtari Vlorë. However, due to changes in the format of footballing competitions by the Albanian Football Association, in order to employ a western format, the club was unable to play in the 1948–49 Albanian Championship as they were placed in the new eight-team Second Division, where they were ranked second behind Partizani Tirana B before the competition was annulled under Soviet pressure who ordered the reinstatement of the Soviet format.
After the fall of communism just like in every club in Albania many players left to continue their career abroad. In 1992 the football branch was separated from the main club and continued as KF Apolonia Fier under chairman Koço Kokëdhima. The club started its revival in 1997 after making some impressive appearances to end in the fifth place. The next season the club would finish in a disappointing seventh place but they managed to reach for the first and only time in their history the final of the Albanian Cup. The club would face in the final their arch-rivals KS Lushnja. Apolonia managed to win the game with 1–0 and bring home the only cup. After some good years in the Albanian Superliga, the club got relegated in 2002–03. Apolonia stayed in the Second Division until their promotion in 2005–06 when they finished as runners-up. Romanian Silviu Dumitrescu, who has a lot of experience, was the new coach for the 2006–07 season. On 10 October 2006, Dumitrescu resigned and was replaced by Dhimitër Papuçiu. Even though he started with some good results the club couldn't manage to leave the last place of the table. Papuçiu was replaced by Andrea Marko at the start of 2007. But their Superliga season would be difficult and they would finish bottom of the table. In the next season after a hard-fought championship they managed to get promoted back to the Superliga. This season under manager Esad Karishik they have managed to establish themselves in the middle of the table. This year KS Apolonia has found a talented player whose name is Aldo Capo.
The president of the Albanian Football Association, Armand Duka announced on a visit to Fier on 23 November 2010 that plans are under way to build a new stadium that will be shared by both Apolonia Fier and Flamurtari Vlorë. The stadium will seat between 15,000 and 20,000 people, making it the second biggest stadium in Albania behind the new under construction Qemal Stafa Stadium. The stadium will be located between the two neighbouring cities near the 'Vlorë Fier Bridge' and is due to be completed by 2013. The shareholders that have taken responsibility in building the new stadium are the Vlorë Council, Fier Council, Apolonia Fier, Flamurtari Vlorë and the Albanian Football Association, who have all promised to invest 20% of the costs each.
Loni Papuçiu Stadium
The club's existing stadium Loni Papuçiu Stadium reconstructed in 2013, and was completed 7 months later in February 2014 in time for a home fixture against Ada Velipojë on 15 February 2014. The reconstruction of the stadium involved the installation of floodlights for the first time, a brand new field and 4,000 plastic seating all around the stadium.
Apollonia's biggest rivals are KS Lushnja and the match between the two clubs is referred as "The Myzeqe Derby". The rivalry between the two clubs became more tense when in 1998 the two clus faced each other in the final of the Albanian Cup. Other rivals include Flamurtari, KF Çlirimi second team of Fieri and KS Bylis Ballsh.
Colours and badge
The club's name comes from the nearby ancient city of Apollonia. In the badge are shown the antic ruins of the city in a red background. The club's traditional colours are white and green and this is the reason why they are usually referred to as "Bardhegjelberit" (English:"White and Green").
- Winners (4): 1966–67, 1971–72, 1978–79, 1984–85
- Winners (1): 1997–98
- Runners-up (1): 1998
- Gazeta Bashkimi Cup
- Winners (2): 1985, 1988
KS Apolonia in Europe
As of December 2008
|1989–90||UEFA Cup||1R||AJ Auxerre||0–3||0–5|
|1998–99||UEFA Cup Winners' Cup||QR||KRC Genk||1–5||0–4|
- QR = Qualifying Round
- 1R = 1st Round
- As of 14 February 2016
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Historical list of coaches
- "Unofficial Site of Albanian Football since 1913: Season 1945". giovanniarmillotta.it. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
- "Unofficial Site of Albanian Football since 1913: Season 1948". giovanniarmillotta.it. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
- Bujar Rama (24 November 2010). "Fieri dhe Vlora, me stadium të ri të përbashkët" (in Albanian). Sporti Shqiptar. Retrieved 24 November 2010.[permanent dead link]
- S E. "Apolonia do të luaj me drita kundër Adës | SportEkspres.com". sportekspres.com. Archived from the original on 24 February 2014. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
- "Apolonia me drita, kapiteni ndez sfidën". Archived from the original on 2014-02-21. Retrieved 12 December 2015.