|Full name||(Greek: Πανθεσσαλονίκειος Αθλητικός Όμιλος Κωνσταντινουπολιτών)
(Pan-Thessaloniki Athletic Club of Constantinopolitans)
|Founded||20 April 1926|
|Owner||Dimera Group Limited|
|2015–16||Superleague Greece, 2nd|
|Website||Club home page|
PAOK F.C. (Greek: ΠΑΕ ΠΑΟΚ, Greek pronunciation: [paˈe ˈpaok]), also known as PAOK Thessaloniki, short for Panthessalonikios Athlitikos Omilos Konstantinoupoliton (Greek: Πανθεσσαλονίκειος Αθλητικός Όμιλος Κωνσταντινουπολιτών, transliterated Pan-Thessaloniki Athletic Club of Constantinopolitans), and commonly known as PAOK (Greek: ΠΑΟΚ, pronounced [ˈpaok]), is a professional Greek football club, a part of AC PAOK, based in Thessaloniki, Greece. They play their home games at Toumba Stadium, with a capacity of 28,803 seats.
PAOK was 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. Emblem of the team is a Byzantine-style double-headed eagle, adopted three years after the establishment of the club.
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). 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 achieved only by rivals Olympiacos and Panathinaikos.
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. In addition to this, it is the only Greek team that has more wins than losses in all its European history (60 wins, 50 draws and 54 defeats, as of September 29, 2016); the 0–7 away win over Locomotive Tbilisi on 16 September 1999 in the UEFA Cup is the largest ever achieved by a Greek club in all European competitions.
- 1 History
- 2 Facilities
- 3 Supporters
- 4 Rivalries
- 5 Badge and team colours
- 6 Honours
- 7 International record
- 8 Players
- 9 Affiliated clubs
- 10 Contribution to the Greek national team
- 11 Management
- 12 Notable managers
- 13 Records
- 14 See also
- 15 References
- 16 External links
Foundation and the early years (1926–1953)
The football club was founded in 1926. 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.
The two teams were merged in 1929, adopting the still-current two-headed eagle symbol, also in 1929. 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, the PAOK chairman, and Mr. Sakellaropoulos, the Hon. Secretary.
Era of successes (1955–1985): Koudas years
At the European level, the club made its best ever performance after reaching 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 1983–84 UEFA Cup, where it was knocked out on penalties after two goalless draws.
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.
The new team, however, 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 Oleh 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 stayed only until February 1999, and was again replaced in favour 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 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. 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 Aggelos 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.
The 2005–06 season, despite starting with positive omens, proved to be turbulent. In addition to the return of former captain Theodoros Zagorakis in the summer of 2005 from Bologna, key players like Marcin Mięciel, Fatih Akyel and Shikabala were also acquired.
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, 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 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.
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. 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 Champions League berth to Panathinaikos. Nevertheless, PAOK secured a spot in the 2009–10 UEFA Europa League's 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 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 as head coach. 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 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 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.
Unfortunately, such excellent performances did not continue in the first fixtures of the Greek league. Unsuccessful results included a 0–1 home loss to Thessaloniki rivals Aris.
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 1–0 home win over Villarreal in the Europa League group stage, it was decided he would remain.
In 2010–11, PAOK reached the knockout phase in the Europa League, losing 2–1 on aggregate to CSKA Moscow. 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. 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 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)
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 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.
In 2015, club owner Ivan Savvidis paid all of the club's debts to the Greek government, 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. After the dismissal of coach Igor Tudor after continuing unsuccessful results undertakes n March 9, 2016 became the PAOK coach Vladimir Ivic until the end of the season because of Igor Tudor dismissal and managed to finish first in the Greek playoffs after starting Handicap 2 points against Panathinaikos and AEK Athens FC . During the 2016-17 campaign, he was credited with the qualifications of PAOK for the first knockout round of the UEFA Europa League , for the first time since the 2013-14 season.the same and the next years 2015-16 after fight ranking in Super League Playoffs starting the PAOK Second and third qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League
Syntrivani Stadium (Greek: Γήπεδο Συντριβανίου) is the first PAOK's Home. The ground where the Syntrivani Stadium would be built became a cause for yet another conflict between PAOK and AEK Thessaloniki in 1928. It was situated near the Children’s Asylum, right where the Theological School is based today. Securing this specific ground had turned into an attempt to lure more fans, although the football team of AEK had already ceased to exist since autum 1927. The ground was not that vast in order to accommodate a football field and was given eventually to AEK Thessaloniki in order to stage their athletics sections. On 25 June 1928, AEK Thessaloniki held the inauguration ceremony of the ground. After AEK got absorbed by PAOK in March 1929, both clubs joined forces in an effort to develop the ground.
In March 1929, PAOK absorbed AEK Thessaloniki. The latter were using the Syntrivani premises as training ground for their athletics sections. Construction works were quite challenging in order to turn the ground into a football field and –above all- to come up with an underground escape route for the Evangelistria water stream.
The first football ground of PAOK was inaugurated on 5 June 1932 before the league encounter against Iraklis. Thousands of Thessaloniki citizens attended the event, proud to see the club get their own “home”. Syntrivani Ground hosted PAOK for 27 years. Based there, the “Double-Headed Eagle” claimed the Northern Greece Championship in 1939-‘40 and also won seven Thessaloniki league titles (1937, 1948, 1950, 1954, 1955, 1956 and 1957).
On that day, PAOK draw Iraklis 3-3, Papaiordanidis netting a hat-trick for the “Double-Headed Eagle”. Gate income of that match was 23.000 drs! PAOK fielded the following line-up in their first encounter on Syntrivani Ground: Chalkias, Pylorov, Papadopoulos, Panidis, Pangalos, Athanasiadis, Papaiordanidis, Konstantinidis, Kampouroglou, Lazarou, Kavourmatzis.
The last official match at Syntrivani Ground was held on 31 May 1959. The land was purchased by Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. Nowadays the Theological School stands where the football stadium used to be.
Toumba Stadium (Greek: Στάδιο Τούμπας) is a football stadium in Thessaloniki, the property of amateur AS PAOK. It is a family donation of Ioannis Dedeoglou, as was later the plot to be built the PAOK Sports Arena. Construction on the stadium began in 1958 and concluded in 1959. Patrons of 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 (which owned the space). Contributed decisively to expropriate the space Toumba Stadium, the then defense minister Georgios Themelis for the expropriation of the area of Toumba Stadium during the government of Konstantinos Karamanlis.
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, which reduced the capacity to 32,000, all seated. The introduction of security zones in 2000 further reduced the capacity to the current capacity of 28,703 seats. A record attendance of 45,252 has been recorded in a first division football match between PAOK and AEK Athens on 19 December 1976. The stadium's official name is simply "PAOK Stadium", however it is commonly referred to as "Toumba" after the name of the district in which it is located.
The PAOK Sports Center is the current training ground of PAOK, located in Nea Mesimvria area.
PAOK has one of the largest fan base across Greece and majority of them are emigrants and refuges from Minor Asia from the Greco–Turkish war (1919–1922). PAOK has the largest support then any other Greek club from Greek refugees in countries around the world to such an extent that they have created and maintained firms in countries such as Germany, Sweden, Cyprus, Australia , the United States and Canada.
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, first one officially created in 1963 at Neapoli Thessaloniki. Their members are known to be fanatic supporters of their team famous around the world for their great pyroshows and vocal support for their team. After a match against PAOK, Diego Maradona commented that would play for the club even for free because of its fans' mentality and passion, with Toumpa Stadium earning its moniker as "black hell" for the hostility to opposing teams.
The group as a whole maintains a strong friendship with the supporters of Serbian club Partizan, the Grobari. There have been many occasions where fans from both clubs travel to watch each other's games. Their friendship is so strong that Serbian fans chanted in the Greek language in a basketball match against Olympiacos, PAOK's greatest rival. 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 and as well as their mutual hatred of Panathinaikos and Olympiacos. The friendship is supported by an annual exchange of tickets and a typically strong atmosphere in their matches. They also maintain good relations with fans of Panionios.
The fateful night at Tempi
On 3 October 1999, PAOK had held Panathinaikos to a 1-1 draw in Athens Olympic Stadium, thanks to Joe Nagbe’s equalizer in the 78th minute. PAOK fans travelled back to Thessaloniki, 77 of them boarding the double-decker bus that had collected them outside the offices of PAOK Fan Club of Kordelio. On 4 October, at 4.30 in the morning, two kilometers away from the Tempi tolls, the bus driver tried to overtake a vehicle, veered into the opposite lane and collided head on with a truck. The bus overturned and fell on a ditch, killing six fans. Charalampos Zapounidis, 20, Dimitrios Andreadakis, 15, Christina Tziova, 18, Anastasios Themelis, 22, Georgios Ganatsios, 22, Kyriakos Lazaridis, 17, died on the spot, as did 68-year old Asterios Agziotis, driver of the truck. All six fans were members of the PAOK Fan Club of Kordelio, a Thessaloniki suburb struck by this unspeakable tragedy.
A few minutes after the accident, PAOK FC president Giorgos Batatoudis and vice-president Thanasis Akrivopoulos were informed and it fell upon them to pass the dreadful news to the club community. Stavros Kalafatis travelled immediately to Larissa to assist the families of the victims and to meet the remaining fans who camped at Tempi. In total 33 PAOK fans were injured and were taken to the General Hospital of Larissa.
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. The rivalry is also fueled by the rivalry that exists between Athens and Thessaloniki.
A long-time rivalry also exists between PAOK and local rivals Aris, 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.
In the renovated press hall of Toumba Stadium, the redesign of PAOK's logo was presented in front of an audience of officials and journalists. Creators of the new logo is the group of award-winning advertising agency "Beetroot Group Design", headquartered in Thessaloniki. Alexis Charalampopoulos, the designer of the new logo, stated, "What happened was an evolution of the logo. Respecting the history of PAOK, we wanted to bring it today and govern the design synchornes values. We hope to accompany the team for many years. The new logo is best applied to the social media."
Alexis Nikou, another other designer, said, "Essentially what happened was to improve the lines of the double-headed eagle, volume and open its wings to become more powerful. We made a line that is geometric and timeless. There are references to the history of PAOK and Byzantine Empire with gold color and the hope to be always first. It was a matter of functionality to change the logo. We wanted to change the sign, without showing this change. We wanted to show that PAOK progresses in the future. We wanted to have a change for a contemporary sports team. We did not want to design the logo of Byzantium. We wanted to combine the history of PAOK. We did not want to change the essence of the logo. It has no relation to the Cyrillic script, but was chosen this line because it gives strength and volume. The power is something timeless and not something ephemeral. The logo has also a retro feeling that makes a reference to the golden age of PAOK."
- 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,
As of December 9, 2016.
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
- 12 – in honour of the fans, considered the "12th player" of the team in the pitch.
- 17 – in honour of Panagiotis Katsouris, a PAOK player that died in 1998 in a car accident.
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 Greece national team, including Giorgos Koudas, Stavros Sarafis, Christos Terzanidis and Theodoros Zagorakis, among others.
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
Technical & Medical Staff
PAOK FC presidential history
 The following managers won at least one trophy when in charge of PAOK:
|Nikos Avelakis||1947–1948||EPSM Championship|
|Nikos Pagkalos||1949–1950||EPSM Championship|
|Hermao Koffmann||1955–1956||EPSM Championship|
|Niko Polty||1956–1957||EPSM Championship|
|Les Shannon||1971–1974||2 Greek Cup, Greater Greece Cup|
|Gyula Lóránt||1975–1976||Superleague Greece|
|Walter Skocik||1984–1985||Superleague Greece|
|Dušan Bajević||2000–2001||Greek Cup|
|Angelos Anastasiadis||2002–2003||Greek Cup|
|Fernando Santos||2009–2010||Superleague Greece UEFA Play-Offs|
|Georgios Georgiadis||2012–2013||Superleague Greece UEFA Play-Offs|
|Vladimir Ivić||2015–2016||Superleague Greece UEFA Play-Offs|
- Fernando Santos is the longest-serving manager (2 years and 10 months), while Mario Beretta is the shortest (38 days).
- Angelos Anastasiadis is the overall longest serving manager (4 years an 2 months), in three distinct terms.
PAOK managers from 1970 onwards:
Most league appearances and top scorers
- PAOK (The parent sports club)
- P.A.O.K. Thessaloniki B.C. – Basketball
- P.A.O.K. Thessaloniki H.C. – Handball
- P.A.O.K. Thessaloniki V.C. – Volleyball
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to PAOK football.|
- Official site
- PAOK Thessaloniki History – PAOK Thessaloniki History provided on behalf of Melbourne Club PAOK
- PAOK FC at UEFA
- PAOK FC at UEFA.com (season 2015–16)