Giorgos Donis

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Giorgos Donis
Personal information
Full name Giorgios Donis
Date of birth (1969-10-22) 22 October 1969 (age 47)
Place of birth Frankfurt, West Germany
Height 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
Playing position Midfielder
Club information
Current team
Al-Sharjah (head-coach)
Youth career
1986–1987 Pavlos Melas
1987–1988 Panathinaikos
1988–1989 Athinaikos
1989–1990 Panargiakos
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1990–1991 PAS Giannina 52 (7)
1991–1996 Panathinaikos 107 (31)
1996–1997 Blackburn Rovers 22 (2)
1997–1998 AEK Athens 30 (2)
1999 Sheffield United 7 (1)
1999–2000 Huddersfield Town 21 (0)
2000–2001 AEK Athens 13 (0)
Total 252 (43)
National team
1991–1997 Greece 24 (5)
Teams managed
2002–2004 Ilisiakos
2004–2008 AEL
2008–2009 AEK Athens
2009–2012 Atromitos
2012–2013 PAOK
2013–2015 APOEL
2015–2016 Al-Hilal
2016– Al-Sharjah

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Giorgos Donis (Greek: Γεώργιος Δώνης, born 22 October 1969) is a Greek football manager and former player. He was the first ever Greek to play in the English Premier League. In England, he was also known as George Donis.

Early years[edit]

Donis was born and raised in Frankfurt, West Germany until he was six years old and the family moved back to their native Greece. His parents had lived in Frankfurt for "many years" and he has still family ties there.[1]

Club career[edit]

Giorgos Donis started his senior career with PAS Giannina in 1990, and after one successful year he moved to Panathinaikos. The fans of Panathinaikos, known for their love for nicknames, named him the Train for his remarkable acceleration.

On 5 June 1996, after helping the Greek club reach the UEFA Champions League semi-finals against Ajax FC, Donis moved to Blackburn Rovers on a free transfer, making use of the then recent Bosman ruling signing for 1.1 billion drachmas, a record amount for Greek players at the time. He had an erratic season with Blackburn, scoring against Everton and Coventry City.[2][3] He then headed back home to play for AEK Athens, before moving back to England again, playing for Sheffield United and Huddersfield Town where he ended his career. [4]

International career[edit]

He made his debut for the Greek national football team on 22 December 1991, in a 1–1 draw against Malta for the UEFA Euro 1992 qualifying round.[5] He appeared in 24 matches and scored five goals during his international career with Grecce.

Managerial career[edit]


After the end of his playing career, he turned to coaching. Starting in 2002, he led Zografou-based Ilisiakos in two consecutive promotions from 4th to 2nd Greek football level. He then made the move to AEL, where after one season he managed to bring the team to the Greek Superleague from the second division and finished them in 8th place the following year. In 2007, Larissa finished only 10th in the league but he managed to bring them the Greek Cup after defeating Panathinaikos 2–1 in the final.[6] In his first taste of European football management, his team AE Larissa defeated his former team Blackburn Rovers to reach the 2007–08 UEFA Cup group stages.[7] He finished a great year in 6th place in the league, missing out on the season play-off's on goal difference.

AEK Athens[edit]

On 25 April 2008, Donis stepped down as manager of AEL and on May 14 he was appointed as head coach of AEK Athens.[8] On 17 November 2008, due to a string of poor performances and early knock out from the UEFA Cup, AEK parted company with him just six months after his appointment.[9]


In 2009, Donis was appointed by Atromitos and in the 2010–11 season he again reached the Greek Cup Final only to lose 0–3 to his former team AEK Athens. In the next year, Atromitos enjoyed another successful spell under his guidance, reaching the Greek Cup Final for a second consecutive time (losing 1–2 to Olympiacos at extra time), as well as participating at the Greek Superleauge play-offs.


On 31 May 2012, PAOK appointed Donis as the new manager of the club, on a two-year contract, with immediate effect.[10] On 28 April 2013, after a crucial defeat 0–2 and the elimination in the semi-final of Greek Cup by Asteras Tripolis, he was sacked by chairman Ivan Savvidis.[11]


On 11 October 2013, Donis signed a contract until the end of the 2013–14 season with the reigning Cypriot champions APOEL, replacing Paulo Sérgio who had been fired on 4 October 2013.[12] In his first season at APOEL, Donis achieved to win the double. He won his first title with APOEL on 21 May 2014, when he led his team to a 2–0 victory over Ermis Aradippou in the Cypriot Cup final.[13][14] Ten days later, Donis won also the Cypriot First Division after APOEL's 1–0 away victory against AEL Limassol in the title deciding match and won his first league title in his managerial career.[15][16]

Following a successful first season in the club, Giorgos Donis signed a one-year contract extension with APOEL on 26 June 2014.[17] In August 2014, Donis led APOEL into the group stages of the 2014–15 UEFA Champions League, after eliminating HJK Helsinki (4–2 on aggregate) in the third qualifying round and trashing Aalborg BK 5–1 on aggregate in the play-off round of the competition.[18] APOEL were drawn in Group F alongside Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Ajax.[19] Donis led his team to some great performances in the group stage, but APOEL managed to collect only one point after drawing 1–1 with Ajax at home.[20] In their other five Group F matches, APOEL lost twice to Barcelona (0–4 at home, 0–1 away), lost twice to Paris Saint-Germain (0–1 at home, 0–1 away) and also lost to Ajax 0–4 away.

On 6 January 2015, APOEL and Giorgos Donis parted company by mutual agreement after a poor run of performances and results, culminating in a 1–1 home draw against the last-placed Ayia Napa.[21]


On 25 February 2015, he was appointed as the new manager of Al-Hilal in Saudi Arabia, signing a contract until the end of the season. He helped Al-Hilal to qualify in the semi-final of the 2015 AFC Champions League. On 6 June, Donis won the first title with Al-Hilal after defeating Al-Nassr in the final of the 2015 King Cup of Champions.


On 28 July 2016, he was appointed as the new nanager of Al-Sharjah in UAE, signing a contract until the summer of 2018.

Managerial statistics[edit]

As of 20 October 2016
Team Nation From To Record
G W D L Win %
Ilisiakos Greece 1 July 2002 30 June 2004 47 29 11 7 61.70
AEL Greece 1 July 2004 24 April 2008 110 39 32 39 35.45
AEK Athens Greece 14 May 2008 15 November 2008 10 3 6 1 30.00
Atromitos Greece 1 July 2009 30 May 2012 111 41 37 33 36.94
PAOK Greece 1 June 2012 29 April 2013 42 26 9 7 61.90
APOEL Cyprus 11 October 2013 6 January 2015 61 35 14 12 57.38
Al-Hilal Saudi Arabia 4 March 2015 18 May 2016 66 45 11 10 68.18
Al-Sharjah United Arab Emirates 28 July 2016 today 8 4 1 3 50.00
Total 455 222 121 112 48.79







  1. ^ "Donis back where it all began with APOEL". 2013-12-09. Archived from the original on 2016-04-30. 
  2. ^ Edwards, Steve (21 September 1996). "Donis fills the void in attack". London: The Independent. Retrieved 6 November 2009. 
  3. ^ "Blackburn 4 – 0 Coventry". 4TheGame. 11 January 1997. Retrieved 6 November 2009. 
  4. ^ Daley, Kieran (9 May 1999). "Dejected Ipswich head for play-off lottery". London: The Independent. Retrieved 6 November 2009. 
  5. ^ UEFA EURO 1992 - History - Malta-Greece
  6. ^ Unlikely Larissa take Greek Cup
  7. ^ Larissa explain it all
  8. ^ Donis handed AEK post
  9. ^ Donis's brief tenure at AEK is over
  10. ^ Νέος προπονητής της ομάδας ο Γιώργος Δώνης (in Greek). 31 May 2012. Retrieved 6 June 2012. 
  11. ^ Λύνεται το συμβόλαιο με Δώνη, παίζει και του Ιβάν
  12. ^ Υπέγραψε ο Δώνης (in Greek). APOEL FC. 11 October 2013. Retrieved 11 October 2013. 
  13. ^ ΕΡΜΗΣ ΑΡΑΔΙΠΠΟΥ 0-2 ΑΠΟΕΛ (in Greek). APOEL FC. 21 May 2014. Retrieved 21 May 2014. 
  14. ^ "APOEL vs. Ermis 2-0". Soccerway. 21 May 2014. Retrieved 21 May 2014. 
  15. ^ "Sheridan strike hands APOEL Cypriot title". UEFA. 31 May 2014. Retrieved 31 May 2014. 
  16. ^ "AEL vs. APOEL 0-1". Soccerway. 31 May 2014. Retrieved 31 May 2014. 
  17. ^ "Έβαλε υπογραφή ο Γιώργος Δώνης". 26 June 2014. Retrieved 26 June 2014. 
  18. ^ "APOEL ease past AaB and into group stage". UEFA. 26 August 2014. Retrieved 26 August 2014. 
  19. ^ "Holders Real Madrid draw Liverpool in group stage". UEFA. 28 August 2014. Retrieved 28 August 2014. 
  20. ^ "Ajax thrash APOEL to finish third in Group F". UEFA. 10 December 2014. Retrieved 10 December 2014. 
  21. ^ "Κοινή συναινέσει λύση της συνεργασίας με Γιώργο Δώνη". APOEL FC. 6 January 2015. Retrieved 6 January 2015. 

External links[edit]