PAOK FC

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PAOK
Paok2013.png
Full name Πανθεσσαλονικιός Αθλητικός Όμιλος Κωνσταντινουπολιτών
Panthessaloníkios Athlitikós Ómilos Konstantinoupolitón
(All-Thessalonian Athletic Club of Constantinopolitans)
Nickname(s) Δικέφαλος του Βορρά
Short name PAOK
Founded 20 April 1926; 92 years ago (1926-04-20)
Ground Toumba Stadium
Capacity 29,000 (all-seater)[1]
Owner Dimera Group limited
Chairman Ivan Savvidis[2]
Manager Răzvan Lucescu[3]
League Super League
2017–18 Super League, 2nd
Website Club website
Current season
Active departments of P.A.O.K.
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Football (Men's) Football (Women's) Basketball (Men's)
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Basketball (Women's) Volleyball Handball
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Water Polo Swimming Wrestling
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Boxing Taekwondo Weightlifting
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Cycling Athletics Ice hockey

PAOK Football Club (Greek: ΠΑΕ ΠΑΟΚ [paok], Πανθεσσαλονίκειος Αθλητικός Όμιλος Κωνσταντινουπολιτών, Panthessaloníkios Athlitikós Ómilos Konstantinoupolitón, "Pan-Thessalonian Athletic Club of Constantinopolitans"),[4] commonly known as PAOK FC or PAOK Salonika or PAOK Thessaloniki or PAOK, is a professional Greek football club based in Thessaloniki, Greece, and one of the top 4 clubs in Greece.

Established on 20 April 1926 by Greek Constantinopolitans who fled to Thessaloniki from the city of Constantinople (present-day Istanbul) in the wake of the Greco-Turkish War, they play their home games at Toumba Stadium, with a capacity of 28,701 seats. Their name, along with the club's emblem, the Byzantine-style double-headed eagle with retracted wings that was adopted three years after the establishment of the club, honours the memory of the people and places (mostly the city of Constantinople) that once belonged to the Byzantine Empire and were invaded and conquered by the Ottoman Empire in 1453. Τhe club is one of the founding members of the Hellenic Football Federation that was formed in 1926.

PAOK currently plays in the top-flight Super League, which they have won twice (1975–76 and 1984–85). They are six-time winners of the Greek Cup (in 1971–72, 1973–74, 2000–01, 2002–03, 2016–17 and 2017–18 seasons). With a 14th-place finish (1995–96) being the worst position ever achieved, the team has never been relegated to a lower national division since its establishment in 1926, a feat equalled only by rivals Olympiacos and Panathinaikos.

The team has appeared several times in the UEFA Europa League, but has yet to reach the group stage of the UEFA Champions League. Their best European performance was in the 1973–74 season, when they reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup.[5] In addition to this, it is the only Greek team that has more wins than losses in all its European history (62 wins, 51 draws and 57 defeats, as of July 4, 2017); the 0–7 away win over Locomotive Tbilisi on 16 September 1999 in the UEFA Cup is the largest ever achieved[6] by a Greek football club in all European football competitions.[7]

History[edit]

Foundation and early years (1926–1945)[edit]

The notable footballer Christoforos Pantermalis started his career at Hermes Club of Istanbul (then Constantinople) and he also played at PAOK

PAOK FC is the oldest division of PAOK Sports Club, the successor of Hermes Athletic and Cultural Association (Greek: Ερμής), which was formed in 1875 by the Greek community of Pera, a district of Istanbul (then Constantinople).[8]

The football club was founded in 1926.[9] It was created by Constantinopolitans who fled to Thessaloniki after the Greek defeat in the Greco-Turkish War, although it was open to every citizen of Thessaloniki, leading to a minor rivalry with AEK Thessaloniki, the other Constantinopolitan team of the city, in which played only refugees. The original logo of PAOK was a horseshoe and a four-leaf clover.[10]

PAOK played their first (informal) game on May 4, 1926, at the Thermaikos stadium, defeating Megas Alexandros Thessaloniki 2–1. The first coach of the club spent five years on the team's bench, and was unpaid, Kostas Andreadis.[11] Their first captain was Michalis Ventourelis.[12]

PAOK in 1926

The season 1926–27, PAOK participated in the 2nd division of Macedonia Football Clubs Association Championship, where was also AEK Thessaloniki. The first official match of their history was on December 12, 1926, where they defeated Nea Genea 3–1, for the same division. After winning the championship of the 2nd division, forced by the organizing authority (EPSMTH), to play with all club's from first division, and he had to win them to be promoted. Eventually they won all four teams, Thermaikos with 4–1, Aris with 2–1, Atlantas with 1–0 and Iraklis with 1–0, and was promoted. In 1927–28 they participated for the first time in 1st division EPSM.[13]

The first professional contract was signed by the club on 5 September 1928. The contract stipulated that the French footballer Raymond Etienne—of Jewish descent from Pera Club—would be paid 4,000 drachmas per month. The contract was signed by Dr. Meletiou, the PAOK chairman, and Mr. Sakellaropoulos, the Hon. Secretary.[14]

In early 1929, AEK Thessaloniki was absorbed by PAOK, who then changed their emblem, adopting the two-headed eagle. The eagle symbolizes the origins of the club in the former Byzantine capital, Constantinople, and the legacy of the Greek refugees from the Ottoman Empire.[10]

The team of 1937

In 1930–31 they made their debut in the Pan-Hellenic Championship, playing their first match against Olympiacos, and ended the season in 5th place.[13] The first foreign coach in the team's history was Austrian Rudolf Gasner, who served PAOK in 1931–32.[11] On 5 June 1932, the Syntrivani Stadium was inaugurated with PAOK's 3–2 victory over Iraklis. Syntrivani was to be their home ground for 27 years.[15]


In 1937, PAOK won their first title, the Macedonia (EPSM or Thessaloniki) Championship, and participated in the Pan-Hellenic Championship, finishing second. The 1937 team included: Sotiriadis, Vatikis, Goulios, Kontopoulos, Bostantzoglou, Panidis, Glaros, Kritas, Ioannidis, Kalogiannis, Koukoulas, Kosmidis, Apostolou, Vafiadis, Vasiliadis, Anastasiadis, Moschidis, Tzakatzoglou, Zacapidas.[16]

On May 28, 1939, PAOK competed for the first time in a Greek Cup final against AEK and was defeated 2–1 on the Apostolos Nikolaidis.[17] In the same season they competed in the final of the 1939–40 Pan-Hellenic Championship, where they lost in double final from AEK. In 1940 they won the North Greece championship.[18]

The team of 1939
  • The beginning of the Greco-Italian War brought the general mobilization in Greece, and the end of every sport activity. PAOK's footballers were presented to Hellenic Army and two of them gave their lives to battle. Goalkeeper Nikos Sotiriadis and left defender Giorgos Vatikis. They are both among the four Greek footballers who have left their last breath on the front. The others was Spyros Kontoulis of AEK and Mimis Pierrakos of Panathinaikos.
  • Giorgos Vatikis was the first Greek athlete to "fall" on the Greek-Italian front. As an Warrant Officer. He was 22 years old when he died in Battle of Morava–Ivan. Afterwards, Vatikis was promoted to a lieutenant, and he was awarded the Silver Cross of Valour and the Homeland of Gratitude.
  • Nikos Sotiriadis played from 1932 until 1940 in the PAOK team, leaving his last breath on January 28, 1941, in Kleisura, fighting with the rank of Sergeant in the 50th Infantry regiment, in the Greco-Italian War. He was 33 years old.[19]

EPSM Championships (1946–1958)[edit]

After the Second World War, in the early 1950s, some important pages of PAOK's history began to be written. At that time, the PAOK academy was created by the Austrian coach, Wilhelm (Willi) Sefzik, and was known as the "chicos of Willi". From the newly founded academy sprang some great football players of the season, such as Leandros Symeonidis, Giannelos Margaritis and Giorgos Havanidis.[20]

In 1948 PAOK won the Macedonia Championship for the second time in history, and then participated in the final phase of the Pan-Hellenic Championship where it was ranked 3rd. PAOK's footballers dedicated the title to the memory of team captain, Thrasyvoulos Panidis, who had lost his life (18 February 1948) in the civil war a few days before the club won it. Panidis played in PAOK since 1930 and had 122 appearances.[21] In 1950 he emerged once again champion of Macedonia,[22] while the next year (1950–51) participated for the second time in the final of the Greek Cup, but lost to Olympiacos.

In 1953 it marked the beginning of successful period for PAOK. During the summer transfers in the team came the Kouiroukidis, Petrides, Progios, Geroudis, Kemanidis, Chassiotis and Angelides.The acquirement of Lambis Kouiroukidis from Doxa Dramas was the major move for club's board, as with Lefteris Papadakis and Christophor Yentzis, created the famous aggressive triple of that age.[10]

For four consecutive seasons (1954, 1955, 1956, 1957) PAOK won the Macedonian championship and participated in the Pan-Hellenic Championship with Yientzis being the first scorer in the season 1953–54 and Kouiroukidis in the season 1955–56.[citation needed]

Under the coach Nikos Pangalos won the Championship in 1954 with 9 wins and only 1 draw. A similar run for the next championship in 1955 with the same coach, with 8 wins and 2 draws. Also, in 1955 PAOK participated for the third time in a final cup and was defeated by Panathinaikos, at Apostolos Nikolaidis Stadium. Ιn 1956, under Hungarian coach Erman Hoffman they won the third consecutive unbeaten championship, with 9 wins and 1 draw. That year first scorer was Kouiroukidis, with 14 goals.[23] The "golden" four years ended in 1957 championship, coached by the Austrian Walter Pfeiffer.[24] This was the 7th title, and last Macedonia Championship in their history, before the establishment of national championship, Alpha Ethniki.[citation needed]

PAOK Stadium (1959–1967)[edit]

Syntrivani Stadium

The Aristotle University of Thessaloniki purchased a two-acre piece of land in the area of Syntrivani Stadium in order to construct new schools. PAOK had to relocate and an area owned by the Ministry of National Defence at Toumba was chosen as the adequate location.

Wing-commander Georgios Themelis, then Minister of National Defence, granted the 7.5 acres to the club and also became the chairman of the committee overseeing the construction of the new stadium. The purchase cost was set at 1.5 million drachmas and was paid by PAOK's administration in 20 six-month instalments of 75,000 drachmas each. On 7 February 1958, a committee of Third Army Corps officers delivered the land to "Double-Headed Eagle's" representatives.

There were still barracks on the premises, housing victims of the Greek Civil War and the 1953 Ionian earthquake. Relocating all these people cost PAOK 70,000 drachmas. The total cost of the stadium's construction amounted to 6 million drachmas, with just 1.1 million coming from the General Secretariat of Sports as subvention. Earthworks started in spring of 1958 and then construction work followed, based on the plans of architect Minas Trempelas and political engineer Antonis Triglianos.

In an attempt to collect the necessary funds, the club issued the "Lottery for the construction of PAOK's new stadium" in April 1958 at a cost of 20 drachmas each. Since 1956, the administration was withholding 15% of the gate income in order to fund the construction of the new stadium. The "Double-Headed Eagle's" fans, apart from money, also contributed to construction by volunteering to work as builders.

The construction of the stadium was completed at a record time of one year. The inauguration event was scheduled for Sunday 6 September 1959 with a friendly encounter against AEK (PAOK prevailed 1–0 with a goal by Kostas Kiourtzis). Prime minister Konstantinos Karamanlis's attendance was cancelled at the last minute. However, several ministers of his government were there for the occasion. As for the ball for the first kick-off, it fell at 17:30 off an airplane of Sedes Military Air Base. On inauguration day, 15,000 PAOK supporters packed Toumba, as that was the stadium's capacity back then. It would increase to 20,000 seats in the following months until it reached a 45,000-seat capacity in the mid-'70s through extensive expansion work.

The attendance mark of 20,000 was broken on 28 April 1963 for the 1–1 draw with Panathinaikos (20,131 spectators), while the 30,000 mark was first surpassed in the 2–0 victory over Olympiacos on 19 March 1967 (31,504 spectators, to be exact). The attendance record remains at 45,252 tickets and was registered on 19 December 1976 in the goalless draw with AEK Athens.[25]

First titles and Europe (1967–1995)[edit]

The Greek Cup draw procedures were kind to PAOK, as they didn't need to move from Thessaloniki and ended up playing all their Cup matches leading up to the final in their town. In the last 16 stage and in the semi-finals, the "Double-Headed Eagle" were paired with lower tier clubs. In the quarter-finals, they took their revenge from Aris, eliminating them at Kleanthis Vikelidis Stadium with a 2–1 victory. Due to incidents during that match, the referee had to blow the final whistle ahead of time. As a consequence, Aris players Spyridon and Sidiropoulos were heavily punished at first instance (13 months' and 5 months' incarceration, respectively), but their bans were overturned on appeal. PAOK eliminated Pierikos, Aias Salamina, Aris and progressed to the final with their semi-final victory over PAS Lamia 1964.

Since the previous season, PAOK had insisted on the appointment of a neutral ground to host the final, as the 1970–71 Greek Cup showdown against Olympiacos had been held at Karaiskakis Stadium. PAOK would face Panathinaikos this time around—the Greens had prevailed over Panionios in the semis, but the final was played once again in Athens, at the "neutral" ground of Karaiskakis and not at Apostolos Nikolaidis Stadium. So PAOK returned to the familiar yet inhospitable surroundings of Karaiskakis, far more experienced and readier to claim the 1971–72 Greek Cup title. The players had 10,000 fans on their side and they vowed that it was about time to return with the trophy at Thessaloniki.

It was the fifth final for the "Double-Headed Eagle" and the fourth time that they travelled to Athens for the trophy match. Giorgos Koudas paved the way with his early opener (2') and he also got to seal the deal with his direct free kick in the 89th minute. Papadimitriou got on the scorers’ sheet during stoppage time, reducing distances for Panathinaikos, but to no avail.

Monument of Thessaloniki used as a title festive

Panathinaikos head coach Ferenc Puskás spoke highly of PAOK's mature game and the fans of the "Double-Headed Eagle" started celebrations in Thessaloniki. As described in a newspaper report, "PAOK's triumph was wildly celebrated. Fans took to the streets, would jump with their clothes in the sea and the White Tower of Thessaloniki fountains, the city was all lit, church bells were ringing, there were chants, songs, tears, embraces, car horns, PAOK banners, all pieces of the triumph puzzle. Right after the final whistle, everyone who was watching the match headed towards the centre of Thessaloniki, using any means available: motorcycles, tricycles, trucks, buses and mainly small cars, all causing traffic congestion and big noise with their horns, trying to make their way to the White Tower. The younger fans would sing “here-there, here-there, we brought the Cup to the White Tower”.

On Thursday 6 July 1972, despite the heat wave in Thessaloniki, at least 2,500 cars headed to the Thessaloniki Airport "Makedonia" to welcome the players of PAOK who were bringing back the trophy. At exactly 16:35 it was announced by the airport loudspeakers that the flight had landed and the first cheers of the public were so loud that the players inside the aircraft heard them. A few minutes later, the door opened and Koulis Apostolidis was the first to appear holding the trophy. Giorgos Koudas and Les Shannon had remained in Athens, to catch a flight to England. The PAOK player would undergo a scheduled operation to deal with a chronic shoulder blade injury.

After their arrival, the players boarded their bus and the motorcade headed towards PAOK's headquarters in the city centre. There, fans and team would celebrate once again the Greek Cup triumph, with the trophy providing the backdrop. The employees of the club had put it on the ledge of a window at PAOK offices.[26]

The 1973–74 Greek Cup final was held at Nea Filadelfia on Sunday 16 June (while the 1974 World Cup was on in Germany) and was the first ever to feature a pre-match ceremony. Les Shannon, due to his English football culture, had acquired special kits for his players to wear in the final—also a first-time experience in Greek football.

Filotas Pellios, defender and member of the 1975-76 champions team

It was a scintillating contest and kept fans on the edge of their seats until its dying seconds. Olympiacos took the lead after 20 minutes of play through Yves Triantafyllos. Konstantinos Iosifidis saw his thunderous belter crash against the crossbar. Dimitris Paridis eventually got the equalizer in the 51st minute, set up by Koudas. In the 66th minute, Gounaris’ handed the ball in PAOK's area and the referee pointed towards the spot kick. Giannis Stefas denied Karavitis at that crucial moment. Seven minutes later, at the opposite side of the pitch, Paridis charged into Olympiacos’ area and was brought down by Viera. Achilleas Aslanidis took the resulting penalty and fired the "Double-Headed Eagle" into the lead. Kritikopoulos turned in his header to make it 2–2 in the 82nd minute, forcing extra time. Nothing of significance happened in the next 30 minutes and a penalty shoot-out would determine the winner. Olympiacos’ Poupakis and Persidis missed their chances, as did PAOK's Koudas. Koulis Apostolidis showed his character with a nerveless spot-kick, the last of the procedure, and celebrated wildly PAOK's second Greek Cup title.[27]

Kyriakos Alexandridis member of the 1984-85 champions team

On Friday 12 March 1976, after series of deliberations and two assemblies of the Directors’ Board, PAOK announced that Gyula Lóránt would remain at the helm. Kalafatis and Petridis would also remain on board, but under the condition that nobody would interfere any more with the coach's job, as expressly stated in his contract. Three consecutive victories kept the distance from AEK intact, before it increased on 4 April after the 2–2 draw at Kastoria. The tide would turn around in less than a week though, as PAOK won their postponed game against Panetolikos and then went on to defeat Panionios 4–0 on 11 April. They climbed at the top of the standings for the first time that season, level on points with AEK who lost 1–0 to Panathinaikos.

On matchday 25, AEK were defeated 1–0 by Aris in Thessaloniki and PAOK, winners 3–0 over Panachaiki, were alone at the top of the standings. The league title would be decided in two consecutive high-profile encounters at Toumba Stadium. PAOK prevailed 3–1 over Olympiacos and then Neto Guerino scored the only goal of the match against AEK in the 89th minute, giving the "Double-Headed Eagle" a four-point cushion with three matches to go until the end. The league title was all but guaranteed on the following matchday, when AEK were held to a goalless draw at Serres and PAOK defeated Iraklis at Kaftantzoglio (3–1). The 2–1 loss to Atromitos had nothing but statistical value, as it put a stop to PAOK's undefeated home record. The 1975–76 Alpha Ethniki was sealed with a 4–0 victory over Ethnikos at "Karaiskakis".[28]

The "Double-Headed Eagle" sealed the 1984–85 Alpha Ethniki title with their 2–1 win over Larissa at "Alcazar Stadium", extending their lead to three points, as Panathinaikos and Olympiacos played a 1–1 draw. PAOK continued their winning ways and another draw (AEK–Panathinaikos 1–1) allowed Iraklis to climb in second place, three points behind Walter Skocik’s troops, while Panathinaikos and Olympiacos were at a 4-point distance from top spot.

PAOK v AEK Athens 1986–87

The venue of the encounter between Iraklis and PAOK on matchday 24 became an issue of controversy, but nevertheless a goal by Giorgos Skartados in the opening minute put the match to rest. The "Double-Headed Eagle" built a five-point distance from Panathinaikos and AEK. Consecutive away draws against Pierikos and Doxa Dramas added some spice to the league and "reminded" Panathinaikos to file a complaint regarding the venue of their loss to Ethnikos back on matchday 21. However, PAOK were on a roll. They defeated OFI 3–0 for the league and then handed Panathinaikos a 4–0 beating in the Greek Cup quarter-finals. On 9 June 1985, PAOK mathematically secured the league title with a goalless draw at Nea Smyrni against Panionios, as Panathinaikos were held to a 2–2 draw by Pierikos. It was the only away point the outfit of Katerini earned that season.

As the Greek League authorities had yet to reach a final verdict on Panathinaikos’ complaint for their match against Ethnikos, there was no decision yet on the time and place of the trophy ceremony. Finally, two days before their home match against Panathinaikos corresponding to the last matchday, PAOK were given the green light. They were presented with the league trophy and had their celebratory lap, Kostas Iosifidis holding the much-coveted silverware.[29]

At the European level, the club made its best ever performance after reaching the quarter-finals of the European Cup in 1973–74 European Cup Winners' Cup where they were knocked out by Milan. PAOK also made a memorable appearance against German giants Bayern Munich in the 1983–84 UEFA Cup, where it was knocked out on penalties after two goalless draws.[30][31]

In 1992, they lost in the Greek Cup to Olympiacos.[32]

Return to the titles (1996–2006)[edit]

Angelos Anastasiadis Greek Cup winner as a coach at 2002–03
Zisis Vryzas one of the most popular PAOK players

In 1996, Thomas Voulinos handed over the reins of the club to Giorgos Batatoudis. Numerous transfers of well-known players such as Percy Olivares, Zisis Vryzas, Spiros Marangos and Kostas Frantzeskos took place under the new administration. In 1997, having served its five-year ban, PAOK qualified for the UEFA Cup under coach Angelos Anastasiadis. The club's reappearance at European level was marked by a victory and qualification over Arsenal.[33] In 2001 they won the Greek Cup final defeating Olympiacos 4–2.[32] In 2003, they won the Greek Cup final again, defeating Aris 1–0.[32]

The 2003–04 season was an unexpected success. Batatoudis was no longer the major shareholder, and under the management of Anastasiadis, PAOK managed to finish third in the league and to secure participation in the qualifying rounds of the following year's UEFA Champions League. The first match in Toumba finished 2–1 to Maccabi Tel Aviv but was awarded 3–0 against PAOK for fielding a suspended player. The club fielded Liasos Louka, a Cypriot player who was still serving a two-match ban in UEFA competitions (for his sending-off in a UEFA Intertoto Cup tie while playing for Nea Salamis on 8 July 2000).[34] Unfortunately, the team failed to qualify for the group stages, as they were knocked out by Maccabi Tel Aviv in the third qualifying round.[35]

Rolf Fringer was appointed as new coach in September 2004, replacing Angelos Anastasiadis, but after a few games, Fringer was replaced by Nikos Karageorgiou, who led the club to a fifth-place finish in May 2005 and a subsequent 2005–06 UEFA Cup qualification.[36]

By the end of May 2006, the club's dramatic situation started to emerge, with players openly declaring they have been unpaid for months, plus a shocking decision by UEFA to ban the club from participating in the upcoming UEFA Cup,[37] brought the club one step from complete ruin, with the organized fanbase launching an all-out war against Giannis Goumenos during the summer of 2006,[38] going as far as to occupy the club's offices in Toumba stadium for a handful of days. The situation was ever worsening for Goumenos, after many failed deals with possible investors,[39] constant allegations of embezzlement,[40] and especially his decision to sell star player Dimitris Salpingidis to Panathinaikos.[41]

The club appointed Momčilo Vukotić as coach in October 2006, replacing Dumitrescu, who had earlier resigned.[42]

The Zagorakis years (2007–2010)[edit]

Theodoros Zagorakis Former president of PAOK FC

In the summer of 2007, Theodoros Zagorakis assumed presidency of the club, replacing the Nikos Vezyrtzis and Apostolos Oikonomidis administration and thus ushered in a new era.[43]

The plan's first season saw the club eliminated from the Greek Cup by second division club Thrasyvoulos. The early replacement of coach Georgios Paraschos by the well-known established manager Fernando Santos did little to prevent a ninth-place finish in the league.[44]

The club's finances, however, gradually improved, and—thanks to the continuing massive support from fans in the form of season tickets,[45] as well as many new sponsorship deals—the summer of 2008 saw the transfers of widely known internationals like Pablo Contreras,[46] Zlatan Muslimović[47] and Pablo García.[48]

In January 2009, Zagorakis announced the club's intention of building a new training facility complex in the Nea Mesimvria area of Thessaloniki, owned by the club. The administration had already acquired land from the municipality of Agios Athanasios in the previous summer.[49]

The end of the 2008–09 season found PAOK in second place, eight points behind champions Olympiacos, the best place the club had taken since 1985.[50]

European recognition (2010–12)[edit]

Pablo García in action for PAOK in 2010

The 2010 league playoff success was swiftly followed by Fernando Santos' announcement of his decision to depart, having concluded his three-year contract as head coach.[51] It was eventually decided in mid-June that Mario Beretta would be his successor.[52]

Beretta was quickly replaced with Pavlos Dermitzakis, veteran PAOK player and Zagorakis' initial choice before reverting to Beretta.[53] Beretta also became the shortest-lived PAOK coach ever, sitting on the bench for just 38 days.[54]

László Bölöni, as coach of PAOK, against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane, winning 2–1

With Dermitzakis at the helm, PAOK faced Ajax and was ultimately eliminated on the away goals rule, managing a 1–1[55] draw in Amsterdam and a thrilling 3–3[56] draw in Thessaloniki. Entering the UEFA Europa League playoff round, PAOK were drawn against Fenerbahçe, also eliminated on the Champions League third qualifying round. This time, PAOK fared much better and after winning the home game 1–0[57] in Thessaloniki, secured a memorable 1–1 draw.[58]

Another defeat against Panathinaikos under Dermitzakis led to his removal on 17 October.[59] His assistant, Makis Chavos, replaced him as caretaker coach.[60]

In 2010–11, PAOK reached the knockout phase in the Europa League, losing 2–1 on aggregate to CSKA Moscow.[61] In the Superleague Greece, PAOK finished fourth in the regular season and secured a place in the 2011–12 UEFA Europa League third qualifying round by finishing second in the playoff round.

The PAOK board then appointed the experienced Romanian László Bölöni as the club's new head coach.[62] Under the leadership of Bölöni, PAOK passed the UEFA Europa League playoff round and entered the group stage, despite the many injured players the club had. On 30 November 2011, PAOK achieved a historic victory[63] against English club Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane, winning 2–1. With this victory, the club qualified for the Europa League round of 32 for the second consecutive year. There they faced Udinese. After a 0–0 draw away in Udine, however, they suffered a 0–3 loss at Toumba Stadium.

Ivan Savvidis era (2012–present)[edit]

Stefanos Athanasiadis, former captain

PAOK entered the 2012–13 Europa League third qualification round, and with a 0–2 away and 4–1 home win over Bnei Yehuda, qualified for the play-off round, where faced Rapid Wien but were eliminated after 2–1 and 3–0 home and away defeats, respectively. PAOK finished the season in second place during the regular period, qualifying for the Superleague playoffs. Giorgos Donis was replaced by technical director and former player Georgios Georgiadis, who was appointed caretaker manager. PAOK managed to win qualification for the third qualifying round of the Champions League in the playoffs after a last game win against PAS Giannina.[64]

In June 2013, PAOK appointed Huub Stevens as their new coach, but he was dismissed in March 2014 after achieving poor results.[65]

PAOK supporters at the 2013–14 Greek Cup final in OAKA

In 2014, the team reached the 2013–14 Greek Cup final, but lost to Panathinaikos.[66]

In 2015, club's new owner Ivan Savvidis paid all of the club's debts to the Greek government, an amount that totalled at €10,886,811.[67] In May, PAOK hired Frank Arnesen as the new club's technical director (sports director). On 18 June 2015, Igor Tudor was hired as the new manager of the club, signing a three-year contract.[68] Tudor was replaced in March 2016 by youth-team coach Vladimir Ivic.[69]

They won the Greek Cup in May 2017, beating AEK Athens in the final in Panthessaliko Stadium, although the match kicked off late due to crowd trouble.[70]

On 11 March 2018, during a match against AEK, the president of the team, Ivan Savvidis, stormed onto the pitch with a pistol in his holster after a late PAOK goal was overturned after protests from AEK, causing the league to be suspended.[71] PAOK was later punished with a reduction of 3 points and the awarding of the game to AEK by 0–3. The 6-point swing was a major blow to PAOK's title hopes and the club was unable to secure the title as AEK Athens were crowned champions with three match-days to go. The club still managed to end their season on a high note by winning their second consecutive Greek Cup beating AEK 2–0 in the Cup final in OAKA, Athens, with the match refereed after many years in Greece by a foreign (Spanish) referee.

Stadiums[edit]

Syntrivani Stadium was PAOK's first home ground. It was situated near the Children's Asylum, where the Theological School of Aristotle University is based today.[72]

Their current home ground is Stadio Toumbas, which was opened in 1959, although it has been renovated a number of times since.[73]

Supporters[edit]

PAOK fans in Gate 4
PAOK FC bus

PAOK is one of the most popular football clubs in Greece, with one of the highest average home attendances in Greece. PAOK's traditional fanbase comes from the city of Thessaloniki, where the club is based, as well as most of the rest of Macedonia region and northern Greece.[74]

The main organized supporters of PAOK are known as Gate 4.[75] Gate 4 is where the largest PAOK supporters' clubs assemble. They support all clubs within the PAOK Sports Society, wearing the club's colors and symbols and maintaining firms in every corner of Greece, created in 1976. However, the oldest fan club is "SF PAOK Neopolis Bellos", which was founded in 1963, and was one of the first fan clubs in the country.[76]

Big shirt in Toumba stadium

The organized supporters of PAOK (included Gate 4) have over the years become a part of the club by affecting club decisions and by following the club on all occasions. Relations between PAOK's organized supporters and their presidents have occasionally disturbed, and hence have become the cause of ownership change. The reasons for such change include the team's bad results, but also bad management of the club at various times. One of these cases was a movement against the former president of PAOK, Thomas Voulinos. In 1992, organized PAOK fans decided to expel him from the club, leading to their halting of the UEFA Cup home match against Paris Saint-Germain in Toumba by invading the pitch to interrupt the game. The club was punished by UEFA with a 2-year exclusion from any European competition, receiving a painful financial setback. The president of PAOK explicitly accused the president of Gate 4 of being responsible for what had happened. The French newspaper "L'Équipe" used the title "Thessaloniki was crazy" in its match report, while a Paris Saint-Germain member said: "I have not seen such a show, with such furious fans". The beginning of the end of his presidency came on 6 November 1995 when, in a match between PAOK and AEK, extensive violence took place at Toumba. A few months later, Thomas Voulinos left the club.[77][78][79][80][81]

Supporters are also renowned for fireworks, with small and large banners displayed in the stands, and for noisy and constant cheering. One of the biggest banners in the world was created by fan club Michaniona.[82] They maintain a strong friendship with the supporters of Serbian club Partizan, the Grobari. There have been many occasions where fans from both clubs traveled to watch each other's games.[83] PAOK fans also have good relations with the fans of OFI Crete, a friendship that has been build mainly around their sharing of the same club colours.[84] The friendship is supported by an annual exchange of tickets and a typically strong atmosphere in their matches. They additionally also maintain good relations with fans of Panionios.

In the night of 4 October 1999 a road accident took place in the Vale of Tempe, Thessaly, with six fans of the team killed. An ceremony in commemoration of the incident has taken place every year since.[85]

Rivalries[edit]

PAOK vs Olympiakos 1-0 (2009)

The rivalry between Olympiacos and PAOK, is long-standing, emerging in the 1960s, when the infamous case of Giorgos Koudas' transfer from PAOK to Olympiacos occurred.[86]

A long-time rivalry also exists between PAOK and local rivals Aris.[87]

Panathinaikos and AEK Athens are also considered major rivals due to the bitter rivalry of citizens between Thessaloniki of Macedonia and Athens.[88]

Crest and colours[edit]

The team's traditional colours are black, as sadness for the Asia Minor Catastrophe of 1922 and the end of the Greek presence in Anatolia, and white as hope for recovery.[89] PAOK's traditional home colours are black and white striped shirt. Shorts and socks are usually black with white lines, but it's never the same for a long time. For many seasons in history the shorts were white with black lines. In general, there is nothing stable for a long period. In the club's 91-year history there are over 100 changes, with variations of black and white with shirt and shorts. In addition to classic black and white, the club has used purple, blue, orange, silver and red as an alternative. Every year there are small or big changes.[90] In 1926, the first shirt was black with white collar, and also white shorts.[91] In 1931, the club used a black-and-white shirt with horizontal strips, and also white shorts. Similar appearance was used in 1953 but shorts was black. In 1967–68, for the first time appeared with white shirt, white shorts and white socks.[92] Similar appearances occurred in 1980–82,[93] 1984–85,[94] and 1987–88.[95] In 1970–71, for the first time appeared with black shirt, black shorts and black socks.[96] On January 2016, PAOK presented an anniversary jersey for the 90th birthday of the club. The jersey was designed by Macron. His features were the big, white collar, the thick cords, a variation of the double-headed eagle, the logo of the 90 years on the sleeve, and the first characteristic logo of the team can be found printed on the backneck. Τhe anniversary shirt is a copy of 1966's jersey.[97] The current home kit designed by Macron. Ιn 2016–17, the kit was the classic band white colors of the club developed in vertical bands with side and front piping color of gold. The collar is enriched in the back by the press of the Club name.[98]

Crest[edit]

The first logo of PAOK was a horseshoe and a four-leaf clover, that was proposed by the member of board Kostas Koemtzopoulos.[99] The double-headed eagle was chosen as symbol of the club in 1929. Unlike other Byzantine-style eagles, the wings of the eagle are mournfully closed.[100] Under the leadership of Ivan Savvidis a gold stripe was added to the crest, as a symbol of glory and renaissance of the club.[101]

Kit evolution[edit]

First

1925–26[91]
1936–37[102]
1938–39[103]
1970–71[96]
1984–85[104]
1990–91[105]
2002–03[96]
2004–05[96]
2007–08[106]
2014–15[107]
2015–16[108]
2016–17[109]

Alternative

1982–83[110]
2000–01[111]
2001–02[112]
2002–03[113]
2014–15[107]
2015–16[108]
2016–17[109]
2017–18

Shirt sponsors and manufacturers[edit]

Until the 1980s, when football in Greece was amateur, the team jerseys had only the emblem and the number of each player. When football became professional (in 1980), then companies began to become official sponsors of the club.[114]

Astra Airlines is an official carrier of the club.

In 1983, Suzuki Motor Corporation became the club's first shirt sponsor for one season.[114] After one-and-a-half years without a jersey sponsor, οn January 2008, there was an agreement with the natural gas supply corporation of Greece, DEPA. The agreement was two-and-a-half years, and the deal is worth €3 million.[115] At the start of the 2010–11 season, the club's main shirt sponsors was Pame Stoixima, which also sponsored them in 1987–88. The agreement was a three-year term,[116] for €1.5 million a year.[117] The collaboration with Pame Stoixima continued for another 2 years. For the 2013–14 season, the club received €1.5 million a year,[118] and for the next €1.8 million.[119] On 22 September 2015, the club announce a two-year deal with sportingbet.gr.[120] The shirt deal was €1.2 million a year.[121] On 30 June 2017, PAOK signed a three-year deal with online betting company "Stoiximan" as shirt sponsor.[122] The new €1.8-million-a-year shirt deal is worth €5.4 million over three years.[123]

ABM Diffusion became the kit manufacturer of PAOK for two years, until 1995.[124] Puma returned again for 2 years, before Adidas started a second spell in 1997. Adidas remained for nine years, followed by PUMA's third period of cooperation with PAOK.[125] Umbro became kit manufacturer of club again,[126] before the agreement with nike in 2013.[127] since 2015, the current kit manufacturer is Macron.[128]

Honours[edit]

Domestic[edit]

European competitions[edit]

European record[edit]

PAOK's best European performance was in the 1973–74 season, when they reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup.[5]

UEFA ranking[edit]

As of 31 August 2018
Rank Country Team Coeff.
47 Scotland Celtic 31.000
48 Portugal Braga 30.500
49 Greece PAOK 29.500
50 Belgium Club Brugge 29.500
51 Turkey Galatasaray 29.500

Players[edit]

Current squad[edit]

As of 21 September 2018[131]

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

No. Position Player
1 Argentina GK Rodrigo Rey
3 Brazil DF Léo Matos
5 Cape Verde DF Fernando Varela
6 Romania DF Alin Toșca (on loan from Real Betis)
7 Morocco MF Omar El Kaddouri
8 Brazil MF Maurício
9 Serbia FW Aleksandar Prijović
10 Greece MF Dimitris Pelkas (3rd captain)
11 Greece FW Nikos Karelis (on loan from Genk)
13 Greece DF Stelios Malezas (vice-captain)
15 Spain DF José Ángel Crespo
18 Greece FW Dimitris Limnios
19 Sweden MF Pontus Wernbloom
20 Portugal DF Vieirinha (captain)
No. Position Player
21 Netherlands MF Diego Biseswar
28 Ukraine MF Yevhen Shakhov
31 Greece GK Alexandros Paschalakis
32 Greece DF Eleftherios Lyratzis
34 Ukraine DF Yevhen Khacheridi
47 England FW Chuba Akpom
53 Greece MF Konstantinos Balogiannis
70 Greece DF Stelios Kitsiou
71 Greece GK Panagiotis Glykos
74 Egypt FW Amr Warda
87 Spain MF José Cañas
98 Brazil FW Léo Jabá
99 Greece GK Marios Siampanis

Out of Team[edit]

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

No. Position Player
56 France DF Dorian Lévêque

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
Greece GK Nikos Melissas (at Greece Lamia until 30 June 2019)
Albania GK Jorgo Muca (at Greece Karaiskakis until 30 June 2019)
Greece GK Christos Giannakidis (at Greece Panserraikos until 30 June 2019)
Greece DF Dimitris Chatziisaias (at Greece Atromitos until 30 June 2019)
Bosnia and Herzegovina DF Marko Mihojević (at Greece OFI until 30 June 2019)
Greece DF Dimitris Giannoulis (at Greece Atromitos until 30 June 2019)
Greece DF Panagiotis Deligiannidis (at Greece OFI until 30 June 2019)
Greece MF Giorgos Kakko (at Greece Karaiskakis until 30 June 2019)
Cyprus MF Nikolas Mattheou (at Greece Karaiskakis until 30 June 2019)
Greece MF Manolis Patralis (at Greece Doxa Dramas until 30 June 2019)
No. Position Player
Albania MF Ergys Kaçe (at Greece Panathinaikos until 30 June 2019)
France MF Thibault Moulin (at Turkey Ankaragücü until 30 June 2019)
Greece MF Charis Charisis (at Belgium Kortrijk until 30 June 2019)
Brazil FW Pedro Henrique (at Kazakhstan Astana until 30 June 2019)
Greece FW Christos Papadopoulos (at Greece Karaiskakis until 30 June 2019)
Ukraine FW Illya Markovskyy (at Greece Aiginiakos until 30 June 2019)
Albania FW Kristian Kushta (at Greece Aiginiakos until 30 June 2019)
Greece FW Lazaros Lamprou (at Netherlands Fortuna Sittard until 30 June 2019)
Greece FW Giannis Mystakidis (at Greece PAS Giannina until 30 June 2019)
Greece FW Efthimis Koulouris (at Greece Atromitos until 30 June 2019)

Academy and teams[edit]

PAOK FC Sport Center is the training ground of PAOK and Academy base, located in Nea Mesimvria area. The construction started under the presidency of Theodoros Zagorakis.[132][133]

Retired numbers[edit]

  • 12 – in honour of the fans, considered the "12th player" of the team in the pitch. The only player who had the number 12 in his shirt was Joe Nagbe. The last time was on 28 May 2000.[134]
  • 17 – in honour of Panagiotis Katsouris, a PAOK player that died in 1998 in a car accident.[135]

Club Captains[edit]

Current club Captain Vieirinha
Name Period
Greece Giorgos Hasiotis 1959–1964
Greece Leandros Symeonidis 1964–1969
Greece Giorgos Koudas 1969–1984
Greece Kostas Iosifidis 1984–1985
Greece Nikos Alavantas 1985–1989
Greece Giorgos Skartados 1989–1992
Greece Alexis Alexiou 1992–1996
Greece Thodoris Zagorakis 1996–1998
Greece Giorgos Toursounidis 1998–1999
Greece Kostas Frantzeskos 1999–2000
Greece Tasos Katsabis 2000–2002
Greece Pantelis Kafes 2002–2003
Name Period
Greece Loukas Karadimos 2003–2005
Greece Thodoris Zagorakis 2005–2007
Greece Giorgos Georgiadis 2007–2008
Greece Pantelis Konstantinidis 2008–2009
Portugal Sérgio Conceição 2009–2010
Greece Kostas Chalkias 2010–2012
Uruguay Pablo García 2012–2013
Greece Dimitris Salpingidis 2013–2014
Greece Stefanos Athanasiadis 2014–2017
Greece Stelios Malezas 2017–2018
Portugal Vieirinha 2018–

Affiliated clubs[edit]

Since 2013, PAOK maintains a cooperation with Juventus on the academies sector.[136]

National team players[edit]

A number of PAOK players have represented the Greece national team, the first official international being Nikos Sotiriadis. The record number of PAOK players for Greece was six, which happened on two occasions in 1981. The first PAOK player to captain Greece was Stavros Sarafis.[137]

Management[edit]

Board of Directors[edit]

[138][139][140]

Former referee Ľuboš Micheľ
Position Name
Ownership Dimera Group Limited
President Russia Greece Ivan Savvidis
Vice–President & CEO Greece Chrisostomos Gagatsis
Director of Football Slovakia Ľuboš Micheľ
Director of Football Development Portugal Mario Branco[141]
Consultant of Football Greece Giorgos Koudas[140]
Technical Director of Academies Spain Daniel Bigas Alsina[142]
Football Section Advisor Greece Malamas Tevekelis[143]
Public and International Relations Greece Dimitris Saraidaris
Legal Department Manager Greece Achilleas Mavromatis
Marketing Department Manager Greece Lazaros Bachtsevanos
Member of the Board Russia George Savvidis
Member of the Board Russia Maria Goncharova
Member of the Board Russia Artur Davidyan
Member of the Board Greece Dimokratis Papadopoulos
Member of the Board Greece Ilias Gerontidis
Press Officer Greece Kyriakos Kyriakos[144]

Technical and Medical staff[edit]

[145][146]

Răzvan Lucescu was appointed manager in 2017
 
Position Name
Head Coach Romania Răzvan Lucescu
Assistant Coach Italy Diego Longo
Assistant Coach Italy Cristiano Bacci
Team Manager Greece Pantelis Konstantinidis[147]
Data Analyst (Vis-Track) Greece Kyriakos Tsitsiridis
Opponent Analysis Greece Ioannis Thomaidis
Head Gymnast Rehabilitation Greece Georgios Tsonakas
Gymnast Rehabilitation Greece Vasilios Kanaras
Fitness Coach Italy Matteo Spatafora
Goalkeeping Coach Greece Giorgos Skiathitis
 
Position Name
Head of Medical Services Greece Emmanouil Papakostas[148]
Club's Doctor Greece Kostas Tziantzis
Exercise Physiology Greece Giorgos Ziogas[149]
Nutritionist Greece Ioanna Paspala[150]

PAOK FC presidents[edit]

[151]

Name Period
Greece Giorgos Pantelakis 1979–1984
Greece Petros Kalafatis 1984–1986
Greece Charis Savvidis 1986–1988
Greece Giannis Dedeoglou 1988–1989
Greece Thomas Voulinos 1989–1996
Greece Giorgos Kalyvas 1996
Greece Giorgos Batatoudis 1996–2001
Greece Petros Kalafatis 2001–2003
Greece Giannis Goumenos 2003–2006
Name Period
Greece Nikolaos Vezyrtzis 2006–2007
Greece Thodoris Zagorakis 2007–2009
Greece Zisis Vryzas 2009–2010
Greece Thodoris Zagorakis 2010–2011
Greece Zisis Vryzas 2011–2014
Cyprus Iakovos Angelides 2014–2016
Slovakia Ľuboš Micheľ 2016–2017
Greece Ivan Savvidis 2017–

Notable managers[edit]

[72][152] The following managers won at least one trophy when in charge of PAOK:

Name Period Trophies
Greece Nikolaos Aggelakis 1947–1948 Trophy (transp. Simón Bolívar Cup).png EPSM Championship
Greece Nikos Pangalos 1949–1950 Trophy (transp. Simón Bolívar Cup).png EPSM Championship
Hungary Hermao Koffmann 1955–1956 Trophy (transp. Simón Bolívar Cup).png EPSM Championship
Austria Niko Polty 1956–1957 Trophy (transp. Simón Bolívar Cup).png EPSM Championship
England Les Shannon 1971–1974 2 Trophy (transp. Simón Bolívar Cup).png Greek Cups, Trophy (transp. Simón Bolívar Cup).png Greater Greece Cup
Hungary Gyula Lóránt 1975–1976 Greece Super League.svg Superleague Greece
Austria Walter Skocik 1984–1985 Greece Super League.svg Superleague Greece
Serbia Dušan Bajević 2000–2001 Trophy (transp. Simón Bolívar Cup).png Greek Cup
Greece Angelos Anastasiadis 2002–2003 Trophy (transp. Simón Bolívar Cup).png Greek Cup
Serbia Vladimir Ivic 2016–2017 Trophy (transp. Simón Bolívar Cup).png Greek Cup
Romania Răzvan Lucescu 2017–Present Trophy (transp. Simón Bolívar Cup).png Greek Cup
  • Les Shannon is the longest-serving manager (3 years and 8 months), while Mario Beretta is the shortest (38 days).[54]
  • Gyula Lóránt suffered a heart attack, watching a league match of PAOK against Olympiacos and died at the game, aged 58.[153]

Records and statistics[edit]

Giorgos Koudas, appearances recordman and second all-time goalscorer, played his entire career in the club.

One-club men[edit]

[154][155]

Player Nationality Position Debut Last match
Giorgos Koudas Greece MF 1963 1984
Stavros Sarafis Greece FW 1968 1981
Konstantinos Iosifidis Greece DF 1971 1985

Most league appearances and top scorer[edit]

Giorgos Koudas holds the record for most PAOK league appearances, having played 504 matches (607 overall)[156] between 1963 and 1984.[157]

Stavros Sarafis is the club's top goalscorer with 170 goals overall (136 in league matches), being at PAOK between 1967 and 1981.[156][158]

A list of the ten highest appearances and scorers for PAOK (as of 2004) is listed below:[159]

Most league appearances:
Rank Name Apps
1 Greece Giorgos Koudas 504
2 Greece Kostas Iosifidis 397
3 Greece Giannis Gounaris 377
4 Greece Stavros Sarafis 358
5 Greece Aristarchos Fountoukidis 336
6 Greece Koulis Apostolidis 280
7 Greece Giorgos Skartados 265
8 Greece Dimitris Salpingidis 262
9 Greece Giorgos Toursounidis 261
10 Greece Giannis Giakoumis 250

League top scorers:

Rank Name Goals
1 Greece Stavros Sarafis 136
2 Greece Giorgos Koudas 134
3 Greece Dimitris Salpingidis 90
4 Greece Giorgos Skartados 84
5 Greece Giorgos Kostikos 79
6 Greece Stefanos Athanasiadis 71
7 Brazil Neto Guerino 66
8 Greece Panagiotis Kermanidis 60
9 Greece Achilleas Aslanidis 55
10 Greece Koulis Apostolidis 51

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External links[edit]

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