|Full name||(Greek: Πανθεσσαλονίκειος Αθλητικός Όμιλος Κωνσταντινουπολιτών)
(Pan-Thessaloniki Athletic Club of Constantinopolitans)
|Nickname(s)||Two-Headed Eagle of the North
|Founded||12 April 1926|
|2014–15||Superleague Greece, 5th|
|Website||Club home page|
PAOK F.C. (Greek: ΠΑΕ ΠΑΟΚ), or with its full name Panthessalonikios Athlitikos Omilos Konstantinoupoliton (Greek: Πανθεσσαλονίκειος Αθλητικός Όμιλος Κωνσταντινουπολιτών, transliterated Pan-Thessaloniki Athletic Club of Constantinoupoliton), and commonly known as PAOK (Greek: ΠΑΟΚ, pronounced [ˈPAOK]), is a Greek association football club, a part of A.C. PAOK, based in Thessaloniki, Greece. They play their home games at Toumba Stadium, with a capacity of 28,703 seats.
PAOK was established in 12 April 1926 by Greek Constantinopolitans who fled to Thessaloniki from the city of Constantinople in the wake of the Greco-Turkish War. Emblem of the team is a Byzantine-style double-headed eagle.
PAOK currently plays in the top-flight Superleague Greece, which they have won twice (1975–76 and 1984–85). They have won also four times the Greek Football Cup (in 1971–72, 1973–74, 2000–01 and 2002–03 seasons). The team has appeared several times in the UEFA Europa League competition. Their best European performance was in the 1973–74 season, when they reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup. PAOK is an ordinary member of the European Club Association.
- 1 History
- 2 Facilities
- 3 Supporters
- 4 Rivalries
- 5 Badge and team colours
- 6 Honours
- 7 International record
- 8 UEFA club ranking
- 9 Players
- 10 Affiliated clubs
- 11 Contribution to the Greek national team
- 12 Management
- 13 Records
- 14 See also
- 15 References
- 16 External links
Foundation and the early years (1926–1953)
Created by Constantinopolitans, the new club nevertheless 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.
Finally the two teams were merged in one in 1929. The current symbol since 1929 is 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.
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 (PAOK chairman) and Mr. Sakellaropoulos (Hon. Secretary).
Willi Sevcik, an Austrian coach (1950–1952) who had worn the PAOK jersey in 1931–32, established a young talent academy within the club which gave rise to leading names who later left their mark, such as Leandros Symeonidis, Giannelos, Margaritis, Giorgos Havanidis and more.
Era of successes (1955–1985): Koudas years
At the European level, the club made its best performance ever, qualifying for the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1973–74, where they were knocked out by Milan. PAOK also made a memorable appearance against German giants Bayern Munich in the UEFA cup in 1983–84, where it was knocked out on penalties after two goalless draws.
Since 1985 a period of decline will start for the club. In 1992 they lost in the Greek Cup final to Olympiakos.
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 F.C..
However, the new team did not prove equally successful in the domestic league, again finishing fourth in 1997–98. The club's continuing inability to break the dominance of the "big three" in the league resulted in several manager changes over the following three years. By the end of the 1997–98 season Anastasiadis was sacked and Oleg Blokhin reprised his position as PAOK's manager after five years. Blokhin himself only stayed for a few months, and was again replaced by Anastasiadis in late 1998. He himself stayed only till February 1999, and was again replaced in favor of Arie Haan, who, like Blokhin, returned after a four-year gap. By December 1999, Haan was himself sacked, to be replaced by Dušan Bajević.
The 2003–04 season was an unexpected success. Batatoudis was no more the major shareholder, and under the management of Anastasiadis they managed to finish third and to secure participation in the qualifying rounds of the following year's UEFA Champions League. Unfortunately the team failed to qualify for the group stages, as they were knocked out by Maccabi Tel Aviv in the third qualifying round.
Rolf Fringer was appointed as new coach in September 2004, replacing 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 UEFA Cup qualification.
The 2005–06 season started with better omens, yet proved to be the most turbulent. Apart from the return of former captain Theodoros Zagorakis in the summer of 2005 from Bologna FC, signings of key players like Marcin Mieciel, Fatih Akyel and Shikabala took place.
By the end of May 2006, the club's dramatic situation started to emerge, with players openly declaring they are unpaid for months, plus a shocking decision by UEFA to ban the club from participating in the upcoming UEFA Cup, 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, 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, constant allegations of embezzlement, and especially his decision to sell star-player Dimitris Salpingidis to Panathinaikos.
The Zagorakis plan (2007–2010)
In the summer of 2007, Theodoros Zagorakis assumed presidency of the club, replacing the Vezyrtzis-Oikonomidis administration and thus ushered in a new era. One of the new management's first actions was to lay down a three-year plan: the first year priority would be to take action the club's debts, beginning in 2007–08, the second would be to qualify for the UEFA Cup again, and the third would be to become a major league title contender once again.
The plan's first season saw the club eliminated from the Greek Cup by second division club Thrasyvoulos. The early replacement of coach Giorgos Paraschos by the well-known established manager Fernando Santos did little to prevent a ninth-place finish in the league, the worst performance by the club in 11 years.
The club's finances, however, gradually improved, and – thanks to the continuing massive support from fans in the form of season tickets, as well as many new sponsorship deals – the summer of 2008 saw the transfers of widely known internationals like Pablo Contreras, Zlatan Muslimović and Pablo García
In January 2009, Zagorakis announced the club's intention of building a new training facility complex in Nea Mesimvria area, Thessaloniki, owned by the club. The administration had already acquired land from the municipality of Agios Athanasios in the previous summer.
The end of the 2008–09 season found PAOK in second place, eight points behind champions Olympiakos, the best place the club had taken since 1985. This success however was short-lived, as the club failed to retain their place in the recently introduced league playoffs, finishing fourth and missing out on the second UEFA Champions League berth to Panathinaikos. Nevertheless, PAOK secured a spot in the 2009–10 UEFA Europa League third qualifying round.
The 2009–10 season saw the transfer of former Racing de Santander player Vitolo, experienced defender Bruno Cirillo and Vasilios Koutsianikoulis, the club's costliest transfer in many years. Key players' contracts, like Olivier Sorlin and Vieirinha, were also renewed.
The new squad saw UEFA Cup elimination by Dutch club Heerenveen. To make matters worse, the first few games of 2009 found the club struggling, but then managed a 13-game unbeaten streak, including memorable wins against Panathinaikos and Olympiaκos, solidifying the club as one of the main league title contenders. This run was not without setbacks, as the club suffered another elimination in the Greek Cup, by the recently promoted PAS Giannina.
The unbeaten streak ended in late March, when successive derby defeats by Aris and AEK effectively ended any hope of winning the championship. However, the club redeemed itself in the league play-offs by finishing first, with impressive consecutive wins against Aris Thessaloniki F.C., AEK F.C. and twice against Olympiakos. Thus, PAOK was eligible to compete in the 2010–11 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round.
The years after Fernando Santos (2010–12)
The 2010 league playoff success was swiftly followed by Fernando Santos' announcement of his decision to depart, having concluded his three-year contract. It was eventually decided in mid-June that Mario Beretta would be his successor.
As the squad made several awful appearances in its pre-season friendly matches (notably losing to Kickers Offenbach by 3–1), alarming fans and management alike, Theodoros Zagorakis finally decided to fire Beretta and his staff on 22 July, just one week prior to the club's away match in Amsterdam. Beretta was quickly replaced with Pavlos Dermitzakis, veteran PAOK player and Zagorakis' initial choice before reverting to Beretta. Beretta also became the shortest-lived PAOK coach ever, sitting on the bench for just 38 days.
With Dermitzakis at the helm, PAOK faced Ajax and was ultimately eliminated on the away goals rule, managing a 1–1 draw in Amsterdam and a thrilling 3–3 draw in Thessaloniki. Entering the UEFA Europa League playoff round, PAOK were drawn against Turkish club Fenerbahçe, also eliminated on the Champions League third qualifying round. This time, PAOK fared much better and after winning the home game 1–0 in Thessaloniki, secured a memorable 1–1 draw.
Another defeat against Panathinaikos, under Dermitzakis, led to his removal on 17 October. His assistant, Makis Chavos replaced him as caretaker coach. At first, fans were asking for a quick replace of Chavos by a European-range coach, but after a streak of four wins in the Greek Superleague and a home 1–0 win against Villarreal CF in the UEFA Europe League group stage, it was decided to remain.
In the 2010–11 season, PAOK finished 4th in the regular season and secured a place in the 2011–12 UEFA Europa League third qualifying round by finishing 2nd in the playoff round. PAOK board appointed the experienced Romanian coach László Bölöni. Under the leadership of Bölöni PAOK passed the UEFA Europa League playoff round and entered the group stage once again despide the many injured players the club had. In 30 November 2011, PAOK achieved a historic victory against English club Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane, with a 2–1 scoreline. With this victory, the club quilified for the round of 32 of the Europa League for a second consecutive year. There they faced Udinese and after a 0–0 draw in Udine they suffered a 0–3 loss in Toumba.
Ivan Savvidis era (2012–present)
In the summer of 2012, and after several months of negotiations, Ivan Savvidis became the new major shareholder of PAOK. The PAOK board appointed the Greek coach Giorgos Donis in the summer of 2012.
PAOK entered the Europa League 3rd 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 was eliminated after a 2–1 home win and a 3–0 away defeat. PAOK finished the season in 2nd 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 UEFA Champions League in the playoffs after a last game win against PAS Giannina.
In 2015, the club owner Ivan Savvidis paid all of the club's debts to the Greek State, an amount that totalled at €10,886,811. 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.
Toumba Stadium (Greek: Στάδιο Τούμπας) is a football stadium in Thessaloniki, Greece. It is property of amateur P.A.O.K.. It is a family donation from Ioannis Dedeoglou, such as was also later the donation of the P.A.O.K. Sports Arena. The construction started in 1958 and completed in 1959. Patrons on the project were the Ministry of Culture and Sport (Greece) (paid the amount of 1.100.000 drachmas) and the Hellenic National Defence General Staff. Architect of the project was Minas Trempelas and engineer Antonis Triglianos. Important for its construction was the contribution and of its own group of fans, who were invited twice to assist financially through the "Special Fund for the erection of the new ground of PAOK" adopted by the administration of the club, while some friends of the team worked selflessly personal work during the process of the construction. The stadium is located in the district of Toumba (Thessaloniki) in eastern Thessaloniki. Its original capacity was 45,000, until the installation of seating on all stands in 1998. This reduced the capacity to 32,000 (seated). The introduction of security zones in 2000, reduced the capacity to the current capacity 28,703 seats.
The stadium's official name is simply "PAOK Stadium", however it is commonly referred to as "Toumba" after the name of the district. The stadium has hosted several games of the Greece national football team and was selected as one of the training venues for the football tournaments of the 2004 Olympic Games and due to this it was heavily upgraded. The relevant works commenced in 2003 and the stadium was again ready to be used in the summer of 2004 boasting a brand new look. The most important modification was the construction of a new four-storey building behind the main west stand (gates 1,2 and 3). The new building of the stadium houses a number of VIP boxes and VIP lounges, service areas for TV and the Press, such as new club's offices. A new roof was also installed over the west stand, while other works included new seats, upgrading of the dressing rooms, a new pitch and re-enforcement of the concrete pillars below the north curved stand (Gate 4 and Gate 4A). After the advent of the new major shareholder Ivan Savvidis in 2012, began a gradual renovation. The big changes began in 2012–13, but the main changes were made in 2014–15 for the European obligations of the team in the UEFA Europa League.
PAOK Sports Center is the current training ground of PAOK, located in Nea Mesimvria area.
Gate 4 is where the largest PAOK supporters clubs assemble. They generally support all clubs within the PAOK Sports Society, and mostly wear black and white symbols, which are the club's colors. The group as a whole traditionally maintains good relations with the Serbian FK Partizan football club supporters Grobari, as well as with the fans of OFI Crete, a friendship that is supported by annual exchange of tickets and always excellent atmosphere on their matches.
Gate 4 members are known to be fanatic supporters of their team, using firecrackers and fireworks to generate a supportive atmosphere for their team. On the other hand, Toumba Stadium is notorious for its hostility to opposing teams, which has earned it the moniker of "black hell".
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 took place. The rivalry is also fueled by the rivalry that exists between Piraeus and Thessaloniki.
A long-time rivalry also exists between PAOK and local rivals Aris Thessaloniki, which has culminated in two memorable Greek Cup finals between them, each club winning one. On an annual basis, fierce derbies are contested for the Greek League, sometimes accompanied by violent outbreaks on and off the pitch.
Badge and team colours
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. 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. Under the leadership of Ivan Savvidis a gold stripe was added to the crest, as a symbol of glory and renaissance of the club.
Manufacturers and shirt sponsors
The following table shows in detail PAOK kit manufacturers and shirt sponsors by year:
|Period||Kit manufacturer||Shirt sponsor|
|1985–1986||ASICS Tiger||Doperman Fashion|
|1988–1989||ASICS||Coplam Building Prod.|
|1990–1991||Agno Dairy Company|
|1996–1997||National Bank of Greece|
|1997–2002||Adidas||General Bank of Greece|
- Current sponsorships
- Great Shirt Sponsor: Sportingbet
- Official Sport Clothing Manufacturer: Macron
- Official Sponsor: OPAP, Vodafone, Astra Airlines, CYTA
- Total Titles: (6)
- Superleague Greece
- Greek Football Cup
- Greater Greece Cup
- Winners: 1973
- EPSM Championship
- Winners: 1936–37, 1947–48, 1949–50, 1953–54, 1954–55, 1955–56, 1956–57,
UEFA club ranking
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Out on loan
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
PAOK U20 squad
PAOK U20 is the youth team of PAOK. They participate in the Superleague U20 championship. They play their home games at the PAOK Sports Center in Nea Mesimvria area.
Retired PAOK FC Numbers
Since 2013, PAOK maintains a cooperation with Juventus on the academies sector.
Contribution to the Greek national team
PAOK, through its history, has highlighted some of the greatest Greek players in the history of Greek football, who contributed also to the Greek national team (Koudas, Sarafis, Terzanidis, Zagorakis etc).
Six players of the club were members of the first appearance of the national team in a UEFA European Championship (1980): Giorgos Koudas, Konstantinos Iosifidis, Christos Terzanidis, Ioannis Gounaris, Ioannis Damanakis, Georgios Kostikos
Board of directors
Administration and scientific team of youth departments
ΑC PAOK Presidents
PAOK FC presidents
PAOK F.C. managers from 1970 onwards:
Superleague top scorers
Most league appearances and top scorers
League performance and statistics