AEK (Greek: ΠΑΕ A.E.K. [aek]; Αθλητική Ένωσις Κωνσταντινουπόλεως; Athlitiki Enosis Konstantinoupoleos, meaning Athletic Union of Constantinople) is a Greek professional football club based in Nea Filadelfeia, Athens, Greece.

AEK
logo
Full nameΑθλητική Ένωσις Κωνσταντινουπόλεως
Athlitiki Enosis Konstantinoupoleos
(Athletic Union of Konstantinoupolis)
Nickname(s)Dikéfalos Aetós (Double-Headed Eagle)
Énosi (Union)
Kitrinómavroi (Yellow-blacks)
Short nameAEK
Founded13 April 1924; 99 years ago (1924-04-13)
GroundAgia Sophia Stadium
Capacity31,100[1]
OwnerDimitris Melissanidis[2]
PresidentEvangelos Aslanidis
Head coachMatías Almeyda
LeagueSuper League Greece
2022–23Super League Greece, 1st of 14 (champions)
WebsiteClub website
Current season

Established in Athens in 1924 by Greek refugees from Constantinople in the wake of the Greco-Turkish War (1919–1922), AEK is one of the 3 most successful teams in Greek football (along with Olympiacos, Panathinaikos), winning 32 national titles and is the only club to have won all the competitions organised by the Hellenic Football Federation (13 Greek Championships, 16 Greek Cups, 1 League Cup and 2 Super Cups).[3][4][5][6]

The club has appeared several times in European competitions (UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, and the defunct UEFA Cup Winners' Cup). It is the only Greek team to have advanced to the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup (1976–77) and the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup twice (1996–97 and 1997–98). AEK was also the first Greek team to reach the quarter-finals of the European Cup (1968–69) and to qualify for the group stage of the UEFA Champions League (1994–95).

History edit

Establishment and early years (1924–1944) edit

 
Konstantinos Spanoudis, first president of AEK.

The large Greek population of Constantinople, not unlike that of the other Ottoman urban centres, continued its athletic traditions in the form of numerous athletic clubs. Clubs such as Énosis Tatávlon (Ένωσις Ταταύλων) and Iraklís (Ηρακλής) from the Tatavla district, Mégas Aléxandros (Μέγας Αλέξανδρος) and Ermís (Ερμής) of Galata, and Olympiás (Ολυμπιάς) of Therapia existed to promote Hellenic athletic and cultural ideals. These were amongst a dozen Greek-backed clubs that dominated the sporting landscape of the city in the years preceding World War I. After the war, with the influx of mainly French and British soldiers to Constantinople, many of the city's clubs participated in regular competitions with teams formed by foreign troops. Taxim, Pera, and Tatavla became the scene of weekly competitions in not only football, but also athletics, cycling, boxing, and tennis.

 
Players of Pera Club. Kostas Negrepontis is on the left.

Football in the city was dominated by Énosis Tatávlon and Ermís. Ermís, one of the most popular sports clubs, was formed in 1875 by the Greek community of Pera (Galata). Known as "Pera" since the mid-1880s, and "The Greek Football Team" when its football department was formed in 1914, it was forced to change its name to "Pera Sports Club", and then "Beyoğluspor Kulübü" in 1923. Many of its athletes, and those of most other sporting clubs, fled during the population exchanges at the end of the Greco-Turkish War, settling in Athens and Thessaloniki.[7]

The founders of AEK – a group of Constantinopolitan refugees (among them former athletes from the Pera Sports Club and the other Constantinopolitan clubs) – met at the athletic shop "Lux" owned by Emilios Ionas and Konstantinos Dimopoulos on Veranzerou Street, in the centre of Athens, and created AEK.[8] Their intention was to create a club that provided athletic and cultural diversions for the thousands of predominantly Constantinopolitan and Anatolian refugees who had settled in the new suburbs of Athens (including Nea Filadelfeia, Nea Ionia, Nea Chalkidona, Nea Smyrni).

The first AEK team was: GK: Kitsos, DF: Ieremiadis, DF: Asderis, MF: Kechagias, MF: Paraskevas, MF: Dimopoulos, MF: Karagiannides, FW: Baltas, FW: Milas, FW: Iliades, and FW: Georgiades. AEK played its first match against Aias Athinon in November 1924, winning 2–0.

AEK's football team grew rapidly in popularity during the 1920s, eclipsing the already-established Athens-based refugee clubs (Panionios, Apollon Smyrnis, etc.), thanks mainly to the large pool of immigrants that were drawn to the club, the significance of the name "Constantinople" for many refugees and Greeks, plus, in no small part, to the political connections and wealth of several of the club's board members. Not possessing a football ground, AEK played most of its early matches at various locations around Athens, including the grounds of the Temple of Olympian Zeus and the Leoforos Alexandras Stadium.

AEK's first president, Konstantinos Spanoudis (1871–1941),[9] a journalist and associate of the Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos, petitioned the government to set aside land for the establishment of a sports ground. In 1926, land in Nea Filadelfeia, which was originally set aside for refugee housing, was donated as a training ground for the refugees' sports activities. AEK began using the ground for training, albeit unofficially.[10]

 
Tryfon Tzanetis

In 1928, Panathinaikos, Olympiacos, and AEK began a dispute with the fledgling Hellenic Football Federation (EPO), decided to break away from the Athens regional league, and formed an alliance called POK. During the dispute, POK organised friendly matches against each other and several continental European clubs. In 1929, though, the dispute ended and AEK, along with the other POK clubs, entered the EPO fold once again.

In 1930, the property where AEK trained was officially signed over to the club. Venizelos soon approved the plans to build what was to become AEK's home ground for the next 70 years, the AEK Stadium. The first home game, in November 1930, was an exhibition match against Olympiacos that ended in a 2–2 draw.[11]

In 1932, AEK won their first Greek Cup title, beating Aris 5–3 in the final.[12][13] The team boasted a number of star football players like Kostas Negrepontis (a veteran of the original Pera Club of Constantinople), Kleanthis Maropoulos, Tryfon Tzanetis, Michalis Delavinias, Giorgos Mageiras and Spyros Sklavounos.

The club's mixed success during the 1930's was highlighted by the first Greek Championship and Greek Cup (winning the double) in 1939.[14][15] Under former player Kostas Negrepontis as head coach, AEK also won the Greek Championship of 1940.[16]

1960–1974: Nestoridis-Papaioannou era edit

With Kostas Nestoridis scoring goals in the early 1960s (top goalscorer for 5 seasons in row, from 1958 to 1963), and the timely signing of attacker Mimis Papaioannou (the club's all-time top goalscorer and record appearance maker) in 1962, AEK went on to win the 1962–63 championship.[17] Known affectionately as "Mimis" by the AEK supporters, Papaioannou scored twice in the 1963 playoff against Panathinaikos, leveling the score at 3–3 and giving AEK its first post-war championship on goal aggregate. Coached by Hungarian-German Jenő Csaknády, the championship team also consisted of Stelios Serafidis, Miltos Papapostolou, and Andreas Stamatiadis. Youngsters like Alekos Sofianidis, Stelios Skevofilakas, Giorgos Petridis, and Manolis Kanellopoulos played a significant role in the victorious 1963 campaign.

The club followed up with Cup victories in 1964 and 1966. With the return of Csaknády to the coach's position in 1968 and the addition of some great players like Kostas Nikolaidis, Giorgos Karafeskos, Panagiotis Ventouris, Fotis Balopoulos, Spyros Pomonis, Alekos Iordanou, Nikos Stathopoulos and Andreas Papaemmanouil, AEK easily won the 1967–68 championship.[18]

European Champions Cup quarter-finalists edit

In the 1968–69 season AEK, under Yugoslav coach Branko Stanković, became the first Greek football club to reach the quarter-finals of the European Champions Cup, but were eliminated by the Czechoslovakian Spartak Trnava.[19]

The addition of goalkeeper Stelios Konstantinidis and Apostolos Toskas reinforced the team, and allowed AEK to take their fifth championship title in 1971.[20]

1974–81: The great AEK of Barlos edit

 
Dušan Bajević

Loukas Barlos, a successful industrialist, took over the presidency and financing of AEK in 1974, and with the help of coach František Fadrhonc built one of the finest teams in the club's history.[21] The Barlos "Golden Era" saw some of the greatest players ever to have played for AEK: Christos Ardizoglou, Giorgos Dedes, Giorgos Skrekis, the Germans Walter Wagner and Timo Zahnleiter, Dionysis Tsamis, Lakis Nikolaou, Petros Ravousis, Dušan Bajević, Takis Nikoloudis, Stefanos Theodoridis, Babis Intzoglou and Nikos Christidis.

UEFA Cup semi-finalists edit

Captained by Papaioannou in the 1976–1977 season, AEK reached the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup competition, the first Greek football club to do so. Beating Dynamo Moscow (Russia) 2–0, Derby County (England) 2–0 and 3–2, Red Star Belgrade (Yugoslavia) 2–0, and QPR (England) 3–0 and 7–6 on penalties, AEK were eventually eliminated by Gianni Agnelli's Juventus. Juventus went on to win their first European title.[22]

Thomas Mavros: a goal-machine edit

It was during this period that AEK signed one of Greece's finest strikers, Thomas Mavros, the all-time top goalscorer in the Greek Championship. In the following years, he and Dušan Bajević formed a formidable attacking duo for AEK. Mavros was an integral part of the team that reached the UEFA Cup semi-final in 1976, but it was his devastating form (top goalscorer in 1978 and 1979 – 22 and 31 goals, respectively) that helped AEK to win the 1977–78 Championship-Cup double. The addition of former Panathinaikos stars Domazos and Eleftherakis to the AEK squad the following year saw the club cap off their most successful decade to date by winning the 1979 Championship.[23]

Under the leadership of Loukas Barlos, the Nikos Goumas Stadium was finally completed with the addition of the iconic covered stand, or Skepasti (Σκεπαστή), which eventually became home to the most fanatic of AEK supporter groups, "Original 21".[24] The next generation of star players, fresh out of AEK's Academy, made their debut during this period: Stelios Manolas, Spyros Ikonomopoulos, Vangelis Vlachos, and Lysandros Georgamlis.

1981–1999 edit

With new president Michalis Arkadis and Austrian head coach Helmut Senekowitsch, AEK won the 1983 Greek Cup, beating PAOK 2–0 in the newly built Athens Olympic Stadium.[25] Thomas Mavros and Vangelis Vlachos were the goalscorers.[26]

AEK also chased the elusive Championship title and it finally came in 1989. Coached by former player Dušan Bajević, AEK clinched the title after winning a crucial match 1–0 against Olympiacos at the Athens Olympic Stadium. Takis Karagiozopoulos scored the goal that gave AEK its first Championship after ten years.[27] AEK won also the Greek Super Cup of 1989, beating Panathinaikos on penalties after the match ended in a 1–1 draw.[28]

Bajević golden team: Three consecutive championships edit

After the 1989 triumphs, under Bajević, AEK built what was to become one of the most successful teams in its history. Captained by Stelios Manolas, the team, which included Toni Savevski, Daniel Batista, Vaios Karagiannis, Vasilis Dimitriadis, Giorgos Savvidis, Alexis Alexandris, Vasilios Tsiartas, Michalis Kasapis, Refik Šabanadžović and Vasilios Borbokis dominated the Greek league through the 1990s with three successive Championship titles (1992, 1993, and 1994). AEK won the only Greek League Cup ever organised in 1990 (beating Olympiacos 3–2).[29]

First Greek presence in the UEFA Champions League group stage edit

In 1994–95, AEK became the first Greek football club to participate in the group stage of the UEFA Champions League after defeating Scottish champions Rangers;[30] AEK were eliminated by Ajax and AC Milan, who made it to the final. With Michalis Trochanas as president and Dušan Bajević as coach, the club won the Greek Cup in 1996.[31]

Former player Petros Ravousis took over the coaching position when Dušan Bajević left for Olympiacos at the end of 1996. Ravousis led the team to its second Super Cup in 1996,[32] and its eleventh Cup title in 1997, beating Panathinaikos in both finals.[33]

By far AEK's most successful run with titles, the period also saw the club sign Temur Ketsbaia and several young, talented players like Demis Nikolaidis,[34] Christos Kostis, Christos Maladenis and Akis Zikos. Nikolaidis, in particular, an AEK fan since childhood, declined more lucrative offers from Olympiacos and Panathinaikos to sign for his beloved club.[35] During the 1996–97 and 1997–98 seasons, AEK progressed to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, where they were eliminated by Paris Saint-Germain[36] and Lokomotiv Moscow.[37]

In 1999, ex-president Dimitris Melissanidis organised a friendly match against Partizan in Belgrade, during the height of the NATO bombing of Serbia. As a gesture of compassion and solidarity towards the embattled Serbs, the AEK players and management staff defied the international embargo and traveled to Belgrade for the match.[38][39] The game ended 1–1, when after 60 minutes thousands of Serbian football fans invaded the pitch to embrace the footballers.[40][41]

21st century edit

AEK won its twelfth Cup title in 2000 under coach Giannis Pathiakakis, defeating Ionikos 3–0 in the final.[42] The club continued its consistency in the Championship of 2001–02, finishing second on goal difference behind Olympiacos,[43] and beating Olympiacos in the Greek Cup final.[44]

2002–03 UEFA Champions League unbeaten run edit

 
Kostas Katsouranis

Dušan Bajević returned as coach in the summer of 2002, a move that sparked open hostility towards Bajević from a section of AEK supporters.[45] A strong team, called Dream Team by the fans, was created with players like Kostas Katsouranis, Ilija Ivić, Dionysis Chiotis, Vasilios Borbokis, Grigoris Georgatos, Theodoros Zagorakis, Walter Centeno, Michalis Kapsis, Michel Kreek, Vasilios Lakis, Vasilios Tsiartas (who returned from Sevilla), Ioannis Okkas, Nikos Liberopoulos and Demis Nikolaidis.

Under Bajević, AEK progressed through the qualifying rounds in the 2002 UEFA Champions League by eliminating APOEL. Drawn in Group A with AS Roma, Real Madrid, and Racing Genk, AEK with good performances drew all their games and were knocked out of the competition. They continued to UEFA Cup, eliminating Maccabi Haifa (4–0, 4–1) before being knocked out by Málaga CF.

Off the field, the presidency of Makis Psomiadis caused many problems for AEK, whose mismanagement put the club into debt. He was also accused of assaulting club captain Demis Nikolaidis and other players with the assistance of his bodyguards.[46]

After the altercation, and partly due to the club's growing financial problems, Nikolaidis left on a free transfer by mutual consent to Atlético Madrid.[47] Unable to cope with the negativity from a large section of AEK fans,[48] Bajević resigned in 2004 after a match against Iraklis.[49]

Demis Nikolaidis era edit

In 2004, Demis Nikolaidis and other significant AEK followers formed a supporters' club Enosis 1924 (Union 1924) to motivate all AEK supporters into taking up the club's shares and governance.[50] The project was not fully realised because, in the meantime, various businessmen decided to buy shares and invest money in the club. However, to this date, Enosis 1924's chairman is a member of the AEK FC board.[51] The same year, Nikos Goumas Stadium, AEK's home stadium for over 70 years, was demolished, large parts of it having been damaged by the 1999 Athens earthquake.[52]

 
Sokratis Papastathopoulos
 
Fernando Santos

In 2004, on the back of strong AEK fan support, Nikolaidis, at the head of a consortium of businessmen, bought out the beleaguered club and became the new president. His primary task was to lead AEK out of its precarious financial position. The first success was an arrangement through the Greek judicial system to write off most of the massive debt that previous club administrators had amassed and to repay any remaining public debts in manageable installments.

Securing the club's existence in the Alpha Ethniki, Nikolaidis then began a program to rebuild AEK to its former glory. He appointed experienced former player Ilija Ivić as technical director and brought back Fernando Santos as a coach. The AEK fans, emboldened by Nikolaidis' efforts, followed suit by buying season ticket packages in record numbers (over 17,000).

AEK recruited promising young players to strengthen a depleted team. Led by the experienced Katsouranis and Liberopoulos, and featuring Brazilian Júlio César, the club made it to the Greek Cup final for the seventh time in 13 years but finished second in the Championship, and in the process, secured a place in the third qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League. For the 2006–07 season, former Real Betis coach Lorenzo Serra Ferrer was appointed to the coaching position after Fernando Santos' contract was not renewed.[53]

By beating Hearts over both legs (2–1 in Scotland and 3–0 in Greece), AEK progressed to the group stage of the Champions League.[54] The club obtained a total of 8 points, having beaten AC Milan 1–0, Lille 1–0, and managing two draws with Anderlecht (1–1 in Greece and 2–2 in Belgium). AEK finished second in the Greek Super League, qualifying again for the third round in the UEFA Champions League.[55]

2007–08 Championship controversy edit

For the 2007–08 season AEK changed kit sponsors from Adidas to Puma.[56] They played with Sevilla FC in the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round. The first leg was played on 15 August, away at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán, where AEK were defeated by 2 goals,[57] and the second leg played on 3 September, at the Athens Olympic Stadium where AEK lost again by 1–4.[58]

 
Rivaldo

AEK completed the signings of Brazilian legend Rivaldo, after he was let free from Olympiacos, Rodolfo Arruabarrena, Charis Pappas, and Argentine striker Ismael Blanco. Traianos Dellas was rewarded with a new contract, keeping him at the club until the summer of 2009.[59] On 25 August, the Super League and EPO decided to postpone the opening season's games due to the fire disaster in the Peloponnese.[60][61]

After being eliminated from the UEFA Champions League, AEK were drawn to play against FC Salzburg in the UEFA Cup. On 20 September, AEK claimed a home win over Salzburg by the scoreline of 3–0.[62] In the second leg, played in Salzburg on 4 October, AEK lost the match but still went through 3–1 on aggregate.[63] On 9 October, AEK were drawn in Group C in the UEFA Cup group stage along with Villarreal, Fiorentina, Mladá Boleslav, and Elfsborg.[64] On 25 October, AEK kicked off the group stage with a 1–1 draw away to Elfsborg.[65] On 29 November, AEK again drew 1–1, this time at home to Fiorentina.[66] On 5 December, AEK won Mladá Boleslav 1–0 away[67] and on 20 December, AEK were defeated at home with 1–2[68] by Villarreal, but finally booked a place in the knockout stage of the UEFA Cup by finishing third in the group. They were then drawn against Getafe in the third round (phase of 32). AEK advanced to the third round of the UEFA Cup for the second consecutive season.

 
Ismael Blanco

On 12 February, AEK parted company with Lorenzo Serra Ferrer after a poor run of form and unsuccessful signings[69] and replaced him with former player Nikos Kostenoglou, on a caretaker basis. The team initially finished in first place in the league, but after the court case between Apollon Kalamarias and Olympiacos for the illegal usage of a player in the 1–0 Apollon Kalamarias win earlier in the season, Olympiacos was awarded 3 points, thus finishing 2 points ahead of AEK.[70]

President Demis Nikolaidis and several other managers and chairmen were angered with the court's decision, stating that the Hellenic Football Federation knew about the usage of the illegal player prior to the game and had indeed issued a registration (blue card), but didn't do anything about it. Panathinaikos also challenged the result at the Court of Arbitration in Sport (CAS) with no success, as the Hellenic Federation did not support the claim. Rivaldo had stated his intention to leave Greece if the ruling went in favour of Olympiacos and AEK were not declared champions. He stated, "A team that was not good enough to win the title on the pitch does not deserve the trophy".[71]

Giorgos Donis was appointed head coach of AEK on 14 May.[72] His reign at the club did not go well. It began when AEK failed to defeat AC Omonia in the UEFA Cup second qualifying round, which meant their elimination from European competitions for the season.[73] Rivaldo asked to leave the club to sign for Bunyodkor on 27 August.[74]

The league campaign started very well after a win over rivals Panathinaikos in the opening game of the season,[75] but poor performances and results from then on left AEK in a difficult situation. Head coach Donis was eager to leave the club, but president Nikolaidis did not allow him to leave. Nevertheless, Nikolaidis left due to disappointing results and after a controversy with the club's supporters, Original 21,[76] leaving the presidency temporarily to the members of the board of directors, Nikos Koulis, and Takis Kanellopoulos.[77]

Financial problems and relegation edit

However, the series of disappointing results continued, bringing anger and insecure situations for everyone on the team. The first to be hit by this wave of disappointment and upset with the team council was coach Donis, who was asked to leave the team.[78] On 21 November 2008, AEK hired Dušan Bajević as head coach for third time.[79] However, after a while, Takis Kanellopoulos left the club, as he sparked a rivalry with Bajević.

On 4 February 2009, Nikos Thanopoulos was elected as the 41st president of AEK FC.[80] Bajević brought some much-needed stability to the club, and performances on the pitch improved vastly towards the end of the season, culminating in AEK's progression to the Greek Cup final against Olympiacos which was played on 2 May 2009, at Athens Olympic Stadium.[81] AEK lost in the final 14–15 on penalties.[82] AEK finished the regular season in fourth position, thus qualifying for the season's playoffs, in which they eventually finished second, just missing out on UEFA Champions League qualification.

In the summer transfer period of 2010, AEK, despite being low on budget, managed to reinforce its ranks with many notable players. Club idols Nikos Liberopoulos and Traianos Dellas signed the last one-year contracts of their careers, and many new and experienced players signed to AEK, the most notable of whom were Papa Bouba Diop, Cristian Nasuti, and Christos Patsatzoglou. AEK qualified for the 2010–11 Europa League group stage after defeating Dundee United 2–1 on aggregate.

 
Eidur Gudjohnsen

On 7 October 2010, Manolo Jiménez agreed to a two-year deal and took over for Bajević.[83]

On 30 April 2011, AEK won the Greek Cup for the 14th time, defeating 3–0 Atromitos at the final.[84]

To compensate for the departures of Nacho Scocco, Papa Bouba Diop, Sebastián Saja, and Ismael Blanco in the summer of 2011, AEK signed the captain of Iceland Eiður Guðjohnsen, and Colombian international Fabián Vargas.[85][86][87] Due to financial problems, on 25 June 2012, AEK legend Thomas Mavros took over the club's management and on 1 August 2012, became president in an effort to save the club from financial disaster.[88] Many other former AEK players like Vasilis Tsiartas, Mimis Papaioannou, Kostas Nestoridis, Christos Kostis, Vangelis Vlachos, Christos Arvanitis, and Giorgos Karafeskos were hired to help the club return to its previous glory days. Due to bad results, on 30 September 2012, Vangelis Vlachos was fired and Ewald Lienen hired as AEK's head coach. On 9 April 2013, Lienen was fired after disappointing results and AEK hired Traianos Dellas as head coach with Vasilis Borbokis and Akis Zikos as assistants.[89]

On 19 April 2013, a Super League disciplinary committee voted to remove 3 points from AEK and award Panthrakikos a 3–0 win, after fans stormed the pitch and chased players from the field during the AEK–Panthrakikos match on 14 April 2013.[90] As a result, AEK were relegated from the Super League to the second-tier Football League for the first time in their history.[91] In addition, AEK were to start their Football League campaign with minus 2 points.[92]

Melissanidis return to ownership edit

 
Petros Mantalos

On 7 June 2013, during an AEK council, it was decided that AEK FC would become an amateur football club and would not participate in the Football League division for the 2013–14 season, preferring instead, to self-relegate and participate in the Football League 2 division and start from scratch. On the same day Dimitris Melissanidis, the former president of the club, became administrative leader of the club, under the supervision of Amateur AEK, with the aim of saving the club. Along with other notable AEK fans and old players, they went on to create the non-profit association Independent Union of Friends of AEK (Greek: Ανεξάρτητη Ένωση Φίλων ΑΕΚ; Anexártiti Énosi Fίlon AEK) which took the majority stake of the football club.[93][94]

 
Diego Buonanotte

AEK began its revival by signing Traianos Dellas as their new head coach.[95][96] Dellas led AEK to first place in the third national division with a record of 23 wins, 3 draws, and only one defeat.[97] The following year AEK participated in the 2014–15 Football League, finishing first and undefeated in the regular season standings. AEK successfully finished first in the playoffs and gained promotion back to the top tier, the Greek Super League.[98] The club's biggest signing after returning to the Greek Super League was that of Argentinian star Diego Buonanotte, who only stayed at the club for a year.[99][100]

On 20 October 2015, Traianos Dellas was forced to resign as a result of a dispute with the board, and a heavy 4–0 away loss to Olympiacos.[101][102] Stelios Manolas was named interim coach and later Gus Poyet was appointed as new head coach.[103][104][105][106] On 19 April, Poyet was fired by AEK Athens after being accused by the board of revealing private club conversations.[107][108] Stelios Manolas took charge as interim coach once again. Manolas managed to guide AEK to a 3rd-place finish in the league qualifying for the playoff round and also to their first piece of silverware since the 2010–11 season by lifting the Greek Cup, defeating Olympiacos in the final 2–1.[109] With the postponement of the final on two separate occasions and the congested fixture list of the playoff round, AEK had to play a fixture every three days, which evidently took its toll on the players, but they finished third in the playoffs and qualified for the 2016–17 UEFA Europa League Third Qualifying Round. The first season back in the top flight was considered a success with a trophy and qualification for European football the following season, a return after a five-year hiatus.

 
Dmytro Chyhrynskyi
 
Joleon Lescott

The new season started with high expectations by AEK Athens fans as the club signed Dmytro Chyhrynskyi, Hugo Almeida and Joleon Lescott, announcing three of the biggest transfers in their history.[110][111][112] Unfortunately, the 34-year-old English defender suffered a knee detached cartilage while cycling in his apartment. The injury ruled Lescott out for the remainder of the season. The player refused to get help from the team's doctors and insisted on completing his rehabilitation in the United Kingdom. The board did not agree to the player's wishes and additional demands, which resulted in his contract being terminated.[113] This outcome led what it until then seemed to be a powerful defending duo to a midsummer night's nightmare. In addition, a 0–1 aggregate loss to AS Saint-Étienne in the Europa League qualifiers brought disappointment to fans' dreams of European participation.[114] Nevertheless, AEK defeated Xanthi 4–1 in the first match of the season, raising hopes for domestic success.[115] However, the decision was made to replace Temur Ketsbaia with José Morais;[116] the decision was based on the team's stuttering start to the season, 3 wins, 2 draws and 2 losses, and poor displays. José's arrival, however, did not improve the team's results or performances, winning only three of his fourteen matches as manager. On 19 January 2017, former manager Manolo Jiménez was appointed as manager for the second time following José's resignation.[117] Upon his appointment he got the team from 7th place up to a 4th-place finish, and first place in the European Playoffs, claiming second place in the league overall and qualifying for the UEFA Champions League Third qualifying round. Jiménez also guided the team to a second consecutive Greek Cup final where they faced PAOK in a controversial game marred by pre-match violence between the two sets of fans and a winning goal from an offside position.[118]

UEFA Europa League unbeaten run and Greek champions edit

 
Manolo Jiménez

The third season back in the top flight began with a tough draw in the Champions League Third qualifying round versus CSKA Moscow, ending in a 3–0 aggregate loss. The defeat meant AEK were demoted to the Europa League play-off round where they were pitted against Belgians Club Brugge. A 0–0 draw in Brugge in the first leg and a 3–0 win in the return in Athens meant that AEK qualified for the group stages of a major European competition for the first time in 6 years.[119] They were seeded in pot 4 and drawn along with AC Milan, HNK Rijeka and Austria Wien. AEK would go on to qualify for the round of 32 undefeated, a statement that solidified their return as one of Europe's elite teams, with a record of 1 win and 5 draws, the most notable being the two back-to-back 0–0 draws versus AC Milan.[120] In the Round of 32 AEK were drawn against Ukrainian giants Dynamo Kyiv. AEK were better than their opponents, but also were unlucky and lost after two draws and on away goal rule. The first match took place in Athens, with a 1–1 draw and the second game in Kyiv, finished 0–0.[121][122] In April, AEK won their 12th Greek championship, by recording a 2–0 home win against Levadiakos in front of 60,000 fans. This was their first championship after 24 years.[123][124] AEK were crowned champions in front of 14,500 of their fans in the last matchday against Apollon Smyrnis at Georgios Kamaras Stadium.[125][126]

UEFA Champions League return and consecutive Greek Cup finals edit

The 2018–19 season was the season that AEK returned to the groups of the UEFA Champions League, for the 5th time in the club's history after eliminating Celtic (3–2 on aggregate) and MOL Vidi (3–2 on aggregate) in the qualifying stages.[127][128][129]

Led by former Panathinaikos' manager, Marinos Ouzounidis, AEK were drawn in Group E against Bayern Munich, Benfica and Ajax but failed to make an impact after losing all six matches.[130]

Key players Jakob Johansson, Lazaros Christodoulopoulos, Sergio Araujo and Ognjen Vranješ, as well as manager Manolo Jiménez, who were essential to the triumphant 2017–18 season, left the club, and most transfers failed to improve the team. Greek international Marios Oikonomou and Argentine striker Ezequiel Ponce were the only newcomers who managed to make an impact on an overall disappointing season (3rd place, 23 points behind 1st PAOK and 18 points behind 2nd Olympiacos – third consecutive cup final loss from PAOK, 1–0).[131]

2017–18 champions, Ognjen Vranješ and Sergio Araujo returned to Athens, and some other notable additions included Portuguese international Nélson Oliveira and Serbian midfielder Nenad Krstičić. The 2019–20 season started catastrophically, with an early Europa League elimination by the Turkish side Trabzonspor (1–3 in Athens, 0–2 in Trabzon, 3–3 on aggregate) and disappointing domestic results. New manager Miguel Cardoso was sacked quickly and replaced with the club's veteran player and manager, Nikos Kostenoglou who was also later replaced by Italian manager Massimo Carrera.[citation needed]

Under Carrera, AEK regained the confidence lost from the previous season and a half of bad results. Before the lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, AEK was 3rd in the regular season and in the semi-finals of the Greek Cup (2–1 home victory against Aris in the first leg). Later they would reach the final for the fifth time in a row. However, they lost 1–0 to Olympiacos.

After the draw for the Europa League third qualifying round, AEK Athens got VfL Wolfsburg at the Play-off round and won 2–1 at the Athens Olympic Stadium, securing qualification to the Group stage.[132] However, AEK's campaign results in the Europa League as well as the first half of the domestic Superleague were lackluster, the European campaign being one of their worst ever, only recording 1 win in the group stages. In December, Massimo Carrera was relieved of his duties and replaced by Manolo Jiménez, previous Super League and Greek Cup winner with AEK – his fourth term at the club.[133][134]

Big signings, new stadium and first Double since 1978 edit

 
Djibril Sidibé
 
Domagoj Vida

Hoping to rebuild, AEK acquired the services of Vladan Milojević. However, his tenure ended early, with AEK Athens being disqualified on penalties by Bosnia and Herzegovina club, Velež Mostar in 2021–22 Europa Conference League second qualifying round.[135][136] Barely making it to Christmas, Milojevic's head was turned by an offer from the Middle East, and AEK sacked him. They hired the Greek coach Argiris Giannikis, who managed PAS Giannina successfully prior to his appointment. However, his time at AEK was short and once again, he was sacked, with AEK B coach Sokratis Ofrydopoulos managing AEK through the turbulent play-off period and an exclusion from Europe. It was at this time that AEK searched for a new coach, and found one in the form of Matías Almeyda.

Ahead of the 2022–23 season and AEK's entry into Agia Sophia Stadium, AEK underwent another rebuild under the leadership of Matias Almeyda. Signed as coach towards the end of the 2021–22 season but only taking over in the 2022–23 pre-season, Almeyda played a huge part in AEK's 2022–23 success. Instilling a high-pressing, tireless, and attractive style of attacking football, he established AEK quickly as the best team in Greece along with Panathinaikos, themselves under the leadership of Ivan Jovanovic. Despite initial losses, Almeyda gave AEK great derby victories and team cohesion. Overcoming Panathinaikos' fantastic early-season unbeaten run, being 8 points behind the league leaders, AEK were level on points with Panathinaikos in the playoff round. Notably, AEK defeated PAOK 2–0 at home, 1–0 away, Panathinaikos 1–0, Olympiacos 3–0 in the Greek Cup (reaching the final with PAOK), and 3–1 away. They also underwent a 14-game win-streak at their new stadium, the Agia Sofia or OPAP Arena stadium.

The newly built stadium is located in the place where the old Nikos Goumas Stadium was situated, at Nea Filadelfeia. The Agia Sophia Stadium, also known as OPAP Arena for sponsoring reasons, is a category 4 UEFA stadium and can host 32,500 spectators. The net construction cost is estimated around 81,700,000.[137] The administrative region of Attica funded the stadium with the amount of 20,000,000.[138] The stadium's opening ceremony took place on 30 September 2022.[139][140][141] AEK Athens beat Ionikos 4–1 in the inaugural match on 3 October 2022, which was the sixth fixture of the 2022–23 Greek Super League.[142]

In the summer transfer window of the 2022–23 season, AEK Athens announced the signing of two famous football players who played as opponents in the 2018 FIFA World Cup final in Russia. The first player was the Croatian center-back Domagoj Vida who previously played for Süper Lig side Beşiktaş, and the second player was the French right-back Djibril Sidibé, most recently of Ligue 1 club Monaco.[143][144] The latter is the most valuable player to have ever arrived at the club with a market value of 8,000,000, surpassing the previous record holder Juanfran by 2,000,000.[145] Sidibé is also the fifth World Cup winner to play in the Greek Super League, after Frenchman Christian Karembeu and Brazilian stars Rivaldo, Gilberto Silva and Denilson.[146]

AEK Athens were crowned champions on May 14, 2023, after beating Volos 4–0 to seal the title, 5 points ahead of second place Panathinaikos. AEK Athens thus won their 13th championship and the first in Nea Filadelfeia since 1994. On May 25, 2023, AEK Athens defeated PAOK 2–0 in the 2022–23 Greek Cup final to win the title and seal the double for the first time since 1978.

Crest edit

 
Palaiologos dynasty and Byzantium emblem

In 1924, AEK adopted the image of a double-headed eagle (Δικέφαλος Αετός; Dikéfalos Aetós) as their emblem. Created by Greek refugees from Constantinople in the years following the Greco-Turkish War and subsequent population exchange, the emblem and colours (yellow and black) of AEK were chosen as a reminder of lost homelands; they represent the club's historical ties to Constantinople. The double-headed eagle is featured in the flag of the various entities of the Greek Orthodox Church, whose headquarters are in Constantinople, and served as Imperial emblem under the Palaiologos dynasty, which was the last one to rule the Byzantine Empire.

AEK's main emblem underwent numerous minor changes between 1924 and 1982. The design of the eagle on the shirt badge was often not identical to the design of the eagle depicted on official club correspondence, merchandise, and promotional material. All designs were considered "official" (in the broadest sense of the word), however, it was not until 1982 that an identifiable, copyrighted design was established as the club's official, and shirt badge. The emblem design was changed in 1989, again in 1993, and again in 2013 to the current design.[147]

Anthem of AEK edit

:Εμπρός της ΑΕΚ παλληκάρια
Σουτάρετε και σπάστε τα δοκάρια
Τα δίχτυα σκίστε
Τη δόξα κατακτήστε
Νικήστε-νικήστε-νικήστε![148]
: Let's go AEK's lads
Shoot the ball and break the posts
Tear the nets
Conquer the glory
Win, win, win!

Kit and colours edit

The colours of yellow/gold and black were adopted due to AEK's connections with Constantinople and the Byzantine Empire.[149]

AEK have almost always worn predominantly gold or yellow shirts and black shorts.[150] An exception was the unusual but popular Kappa kits of the 1990s, which featured a large two-headed eagle motif across the kit.[151]

AEK's traditional away colours are all-black or all-white; on a few occasions, the club has worn a third kit of light blue, silver, dark red, or Tyrian purple (porphyra, a type of reddish purple), inspired by the use of the colour on the Byzantine war flag and by Byzantine imperial dynasties.[152]

Shirt sponsors and manufacturers edit

Since 1 June 2021, AEK's kit has been manufactured by Nike. Previous manufacturers have been Adidas (1974–75, 1977–83 and 2005–07), Zita Hellas (1983–89), Diadora (1989–93), Basic (1993–95), Kappa (1995–2000), Puma (1975–77 and 2007–15) and Capelli (2018–21).

Starting in 2015, the club's main shirt sponsors are OPAP, which also sponsored them in 2010–14. Previous shirt sponsors have been Citizen (1982–83), Nissan (1983–85), Ethniki Asfalistiki (1985–93 and 1995–96), Phoenix Asfaleies (1993–95), Geniki Bank (1996–98), Firestone (1999), Marfin Investment Group (1999–2001), Alpha Digital (2001–02), Piraeus Bank (2002–04), TIM (2004–06), LG (2006–08), Diners Club (2009–10), and Jeep (2014–15).

 
Alternative AEK shirts (2008–09)
Period Kit manufacturer Shirt sponsor
1974–1975 Adidas  —
1975–1976 Puma
1976–1982 Adidas[153]
1982–1983 Citizen
1983–1985 Zita Hellas Nissan
1985–1989 Ethniki Asfalistiki
1989–1993 Diadora
1993–1995 Basic Phoenix Asfaleies
1995 Kappa Ethniki Asfalistiki
1995 Diadora[154]  —
1995–1996 Kappa Ethniki Asfalistiki
1996–1998 General Bank of Greece
1999 Firestone
1999–2000 Marfin Investment Group
2000–2001 Nike
2001–2002 Alpha Digital
2002–2004 Piraeus Bank
2004 TIM
2005–2006 Adidas
2006–2007 LG
2007–2009 Puma
2009–2010 Diners Club
2010–2013 Kino
2013–2014 Tzoker
2014–2015 Jeep
2015–2018 Nike Pame Stoixima
2018–2021 Capelli[155]
2021– Nike

Financial information edit

Loukas Barlos, a successful bauxite Mine Owner, was also owner and president since 1974, and was in charge when Greek football turned professional in 1979. In 1981, due to health problems, he passed his shares to Andreas Zafiropoulos.[156] In 1982 the business shipping magnate Michalis Arkadis became president, aiming to reinforce financial support, with Zafiropoulos holding the majority stake. In 1988, Zafiropoulos placed Efstratios Gidopoulos in the presidency, and AEK managed to win their first championship in ten years.[157]

On 17 June 1992, the club passed to new owners. The business shipping magnate and oil tycoon Dimitris Melissanidis, together with Giannis Karras, took the majority stake and continued the successful and champion seasons.[158]

After an unsuccessful season, in 1995, they passed their shares to Michalis Trochanas, and with his turn a percentage to ENIC Group investment company. In 1999, NETMED, a Dutch media company, took over the management of the club. A crisis period followed with mismanagement and many changes in the presidency. In 2004, ex-AEK player Demis Nikolaidis made a plan to progress with the reorganization and financial consolidation, and together with other investors (such as Nicholas X. Notias, Gikas Goumas, Takis Kanellopoulos, a shareholder of Titan Cement, and others) took the majority stake.[159]

The plan initially seemed to work, but the downfall continued. The team was relegated after the 2012–13 season for the first time in its history. In an effort to discharge the immense debt created by years of mismanagement, its directors chose for the team to compete in the third tier. On the same day Dimitris Melissanidis, the old president of the club, became the administrative leader of AEK, under the supervision of the amateur AEK Later, together with other notable AEK fans and old players, they created the non-profit association "Union Friends of AEK" (Enosi Filon AEK) which took the majority stake of the football club.[94]

In March 2015, AEK FC became the first Greek company that is listed in the Elite programme of the London Stock Exchange, a pan-European programme for ambitious high-growth businesses that was launched in 2012 at Borsa Italiana and following its success was rolled out in the UK in 2014, and the first Greek football club quoted on a stock exchange. Raffaele Jerusalmi, executive director of the board of directors of LSEG, stated: "We are delighted to welcome AEK to the Elite programme".[160][161] On 27 April 2015, AEK FC was selected for the honor of opening a session of the London Stock Exchange.[162][163]

Current sponsorships:

Stadium edit

Nikos Goumas Stadium was a multi-purpose stadium in Nea Filadelfeia ("New Philadelphia"), a northwestern suburb of Athens, Greece. It was used mostly for football matches and was the home stadium of AEK FC. It was named after one-time club president, Nicholas Goumas, who contributed to its building and later upgrading. It served as AEK's home ground since 1930.[164] The Nikos Goumas Stadium had severe damages from 1999's earthquake and in 2003 was demolished with the prospect to build a new stadium for AEK FC. Unfortunately, prolonged obstruction, legal issues, and tight deadlines caused multiple delays to the project.

In 2004 the club moved to the 70,000-capacity "Spyros Louis" (Athens Olympic Stadium) in Athens. The Olympic Athletic Center of Athens, also known as OAKA, is one of the most complete European athletic complexes.[165] It has hosted the 1991 Mediterranean Games, the 1997 World Championships in Athletics, the 1994 and 2007 UEFA Champions League Finals, as well as other important athletic and cultural events, the most significant of which remains the 2004 Summer Olympics.[166]

Construction of an all-new purpose-built stadium initially began on 28 July 2017 in the site of the old Nikos Goumas stadium. It suffered from major delays due to the local authorities taking too long on confirming certain proposals concerning the stadium's road system. Construction was completed in 2022. The stadium has capacity of approximately 32,500 fans and features a unique underground road system that the teams use to enter the stadium.

The stadium's opening ceremony took place on 30 September 2022.[140][141] AEK Athens won Ionikos 4–1 in their new stadium opening game on 3 October 2022, a game conducted for the sixth fixture of the 2022–23 Greek Super League.[142]

Stadium Capacity Years
Nikos Goumas Stadium 27,729 1928–1985 and 1987–2003
Athens Olympic Stadium 69,618 1985–1987 and 2004–2022
Agia Sophia Stadium 31,100 2022–

Training facility edit

 
Karalis, Rikka, Backhaus, Moschonas and Stamatis in Spata Training Centre

Since December 2010, AEK has been using state-of-the-art facilities in an area of 144 acres in the Mazareko area in Spata.[167] Previously owned by Nicholas X. Notias, it is the most expensive (with a total cost around €25m)[168] and one of the biggest training centers in Greece. These facilities include two lawns with natural turf and one with plastic for the needs of the Academies (which was created in 2013 with a viewing platform for spectators) and all the necessary and well-equipped areas for the preparation of a team with modern instruments. A standard football studio, one of the most complete in Greece. The main building of the centre hosts the offices of the club, a press room, and the players' rooms. The training ground is used by the first team and youth teams. The Spata Training Centre includes state-of-the-art facilities, a fitness and health centre with weight-training and fitness rooms, a cryotherapy centre, and more. There are also plans for an AEK Museum, hotel, aquatic centre, and two more soccer fields. From 2013 on, AEK training centre services have been upgraded dramatically. The players of the teamwork daily in an environment with all the necessary infrastructure, while in the last few months, they have at their disposal in the basement of the building a treatment centre with the most modern means. Even the young athletes of the Academies work in facilities that very few Academies have in Greece. But the outlook is even more impressive. Since 2014, the official name of the ground is "OPAP Sports Centre".[169] On 4 July 2018, the Sports Centre came to auction which was bought by Dimitrios Melissanidis for a price of €3.5m and then donated it to AEK. Alongside the Sports Centre, Melissanidis also bought 70 hectares for an extra €5.5m[170] which were added to the wider area of the existing training center and there will be additional stadiums along with the necessary additional facilities for the preparation of the team and for the hospitality of the players.[171]

Supporters, rivalries, and affiliations edit

Support edit

AEK Athens has a large fan base across all of Greece and is the third most popular Greek football team in relation to their fan base. According to Sky Sports AEK have around 15% of all Greek football fans.[172] AEK's fan base in Greece is believed to be over 1 million with various types of research suggesting AEK have an estimated fan base between 1.1 – 1.3 million fans in Greece.[173] AEK Athens traditional fanbase comes from the area of Nea Filadelfeia, where the club is based, as well as a good part of the rest of the Athens area.

AEK has a strong following in the Greek diaspora especially in Cyprus where the club has a large following with a recent fan poll from Kerkida.net having AEK as the second most popular Greek-supported team in Cyprus behind Panathinaikos (34%) but ahead of Olympiacos (23%) with AEK having 27% of Cypriot football fans supporting the club.[174] One of the main reasons AEK's popularity in Cyprus is large making them ahead of Olympiacos the most popular Greek team in Greece is due to the fact AEK are a refugee club which many Greek Cypriots are after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus and due to this many Greek Cypriots can relate to the similar history of AEKs being a refugee club. AEK have also a strong following in Australia, the US, the UK, Germany, and France. The most hardcore supporters of AEK are Original 21, which is the largest group fan organisation of the club and is known for its loyal and passionate support.

Supporters friendships edit

A so-called "triangle of brotherhood" has developed between the largest left-wing fan clubs of AEK, Marseille and Livorno.[175][176] The connection is mostly an ideological one.[177][178] Also, AEK's and St. Pauli's left-wing fans, have a strong friendship and their connection is mostly for ideological reasons.[179]

There is an informal friendship and fraternization between the fans of AEK and Fenerbahçe. In the 2017 Euroleague final, Fenerbahçe S.K. supporters displayed a banner that read "Same City's Sons"[180][181]

Club anthem edit

AEK's club anthem, Embrós tis AEK Palikária (Advance AEK's Lads), was composed by Stelios Kazantzidis.[182] The lyrics were written by Christos Kolokotronis. The most popular version of the anthem is sung by ex-football player Mimis Papaioannou.[183]

AEK club anthem

Rivalries edit

AEK FC's biggest rivalries are with Panathinaikos and Olympiacos. Against their city neighbours Panathinaikos, they contest the Athens local football derby.[184] The rivalry started not only because of both competing for the major titles, but also because of the refugee ancestry of a big part of AEK fans and, by contrast, that Panathinaikos was considered in general the representative of the Athenian high-class society[citation needed]. The rivalry with Piraeus based club Olympiacos stems from the rivalry between two of the most successful Greek football clubs. The rivalry was particularly inflamed after 1996, when AEK's former star player and then-manager Dušan Bajević moved to Olympiacos,[185][186] and most recently after the controversial 2007–08 Super League which was awarded to Olympiacos.[187]

Affiliated clubs edit

Honours edit

Domestic competitions edit

League:

Cups:

Doubles edit

  • Winners (3): 1938–39, 1977–78, 2022–23

European competitions edit

Regional competitions edit

Tournaments edit

Source: AEK Athens F.C.

European performance edit

Best seasons

Season Manager Round Eliminated by Results
Champions League / European Cup
1968–69   Branko Stanković Quarter-finals   Spartak Trnava 1–2 in Trnava, 1–1 in Nea Filadelfeia
1978–79   Ferenc Puskás Round of 16   Nottingham Forest 1–2 in Nea Filadelfeia, 1–5 in West Bridgford[200]
1989–90   Dušan Bajević Round of 16   Marseille 0–2 in Marseille, 1–1 in Nea Filadelfeia
1992–93   Dušan Bajević Round of 16   PSV 1–0 in Nea Filadelfeia, 0–3 in Eindhoven
1994–95   Dušan Bajević Round of 16   Milan 0–0 in Nea Filadelfeia, 1–2 in Trieste
Cup Winners' Cup
1995–96   Dušan Bajević Round of 16   Borussia M'gladbach 1–4 in Mönchengladbach, 0–1 in Nea Filadelfeia
1996–97   Petros Ravousis Quarter-finals   Paris Saint-Germain 0–0 in Paris, 0–3 in Nea Filadelfeia
1997–98   Dumitru Dumitriu Quarter-finals   Lokomotiv Moscow 0–0 in Nea Filadelfeia, 1–2 in Moscow
Europa League / UEFA Cup
1976–77   František Fadrhonc Semi-finals   Juventus 1–4 in Turin, 0–1 in Nea Filadelfeia
1991–92   Dušan Bajević Round of 16   Torino 2–2 in Nea Filadelfeia, 0–1 in Turin[201]
2000–01   Toni Savevski Round of 16   Barcelona 0–1 in Nea Filadelfeia, 0–5 in Barcelona[202]
2001–02   Fernando Santos Round of 16   Internazionale 1–3 in Milan, 2–2 in Nea Filadelfeia
2002–03   Dušan Bajević Round of 16   Málaga 0–0 in Málaga, 0–1 in Nea Filadelfeia
2006–07   Lorenzo Serra Ferrer Round of 32   Paris Saint-Germain 0–2 in Paris, 0–2 in Marousi
2007–08   Nikos Kostenoglou Round of 32   Getafe 1–1 in Marousi, 0–3 in Getafe
2017–18   Manolo Jiménez Round of 32   Dynamo Kyiv 1–1 in Marousi, 0–0 in Kyiv
Balkans Cup
1966–67   Tryfon Tzanetis Final   Fenerbahçe 2–1 in Nea Filadelfeia, 0–1 and 1–3 in Istanbul[203]

UEFA ranking edit

As of 14 December 2023[204]
Rank Team Points
140   Olimpija Ljubljana 10.500
141   Dnipro-1 10.500
142   FCSB 10.500
143   KÍ Klaksvik 10.000
144   AEK Athens 10.000

Players edit

Current squad edit

As of 31 January 2024[205]

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

No. Pos. Nation Player
1 GK   AUT Cican Stanković
2 DF   CMR Harold Moukoudi
4 MF   POL Damian Szymański (vice-captain)
5 MF   MAR Nordin Amrabat
6 MF   DEN Jens Jønsson
7 MF   TRI Levi García
8 MF   SRB Mijat Gaćinović
9 FW   NED Tom van Weert
10 MF   SUI Steven Zuber (fourth-captain)
11 FW   ARG Sergio Araujo (captain)
12 DF   GRE Lazaros Rota
13 MF   MEX Orbelín Pineda
14 FW   ARG Ezequiel Ponce
17 DF   GRE Stavros Pilios
18 DF   PER Alexander Callens (on loan from Girona)
19 MF   SWE Niclas Eliasson
No. Pos. Nation Player
20 MF   GRE Petros Mantalos
21 DF   CRO Domagoj Vida
22 MF   ESP Paolo Fernandes
23 MF   CRO Robert Ljubičić
24 DF   GRE Gerasimos Mitoglou
25 MF   GRE Konstantinos Galanopoulos (third-captain)
28 DF   IRN Ehsan Hajsafi
29 DF   FRA Djibril Sidibé
30 GK   GRE Georgios Athanasiadis
37 DF   BIH Vedad Radonja
39 GK   GRE Panagiotis Ginis
55 DF   GRE Konstantinos Chrysopoulos
70 MF   MEX Rodolfo Pizarro
90 FW   ANG Zini
99 GK   GRE Georgios Theocharis

Reserves and Academy edit

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. Pos. Nation Player
GK   GRE Vasilios Chatziemmanouil (at Lamia until 30 June 2024)
DF   UKR Oleh Danchenko (at Zorya Luhansk until 30 June 2024)
FW   GRE Michalis Kosidis (at VVV-Venlo until 30 June 2024)

Statistics and records edit

Domestic and European records edit

Outline Domestic records
Least goals conceded in a Greek Championship season 12 (2017–18)
Consecutive knock-out qualifications in Greek Cup 15 (2015–16, 2016–17, 2017–18, 2018–19, 2019–20)
Biggest win in a Greek Cup final 7–1 (vs Apollon Smyrnis, 1995–96)
Biggest away victory in Greek Championship 0–8 (vs Egaleo, 1961–62)
Outline European national records
Consecutive unbeaten matches in the group stage of the UEFA Champions League 6 (vs Real Madrid, Roma and Genk, 2002–03)
Consecutive participation in the Round of 16 phases of a European competition 4 (1994–95, 1995–96, 1996–97 and 1997–98)
Consecutive games without a loss in any European competition 14 (vs Club Brugge, Milan, Rijeka, Austria Wien, Dynamo Kyiv, Celtic and MOL Vidi, 2017–18 and 2018–19)
Outline International records
Consecutive draws in the group stage of the UEFA Champions League 6 (vs Real Madrid, Roma and Genk, 2002–03)

One-club men edit

Player Position Debut Last match
  Ilias Iliaskos FW 1927 1933
  Christos Ribas GK 1929 1947
  Tryfon Tzanetis FW 1933 1950
  Georgios Magiras MF 1933 1949
  Kleanthis Maropoulos FW 1934 1952
  Michalis Delavinias GK 1938 1955
  Michalis Papatheodorou MF 1944 1956
  Antonis Parayios DF 1948 1957
  Andreas Stamatiadis FW 1950 1969
  Stelios Serafidis GK 1953 1972
  Spyros Ikonomopoulos GK 1977 1996
  Stelios Manolas DF 1979 1998

Super League top scorers edit

AEK has a remarkable tradition in strikers and goal-scoring players. 14 different teams' players, 24 times overall, have finished the season as the top scorer in the Super League.

Rank Player Times Season(s)
1   Kostas Nestoridis 5 (national record) 1959–1963
2   Thomas Mavros 3 1978, 1979, 1985
3   Vasilis Dimitriadis 2 1992, 1993
4   Mimis Papaioannou 2 1964, 1966
5   Ismael Blanco 2 2008, 2009
6   Kleanthis Maropoulos 2 1939, 1940
7   Alexis Alexandris 1 1994
8   Nikos Liberopoulos 1 2007
9   Kostas Vasiliou 1 1939
10   Georgios Dedes 1 1976
11   Demis Nikolaidis 1 1999
12   Vasilios Tsiartas 1 1996
13   Dušan Bajević 1 1980
14   Henrik Nielsen 1 1988

Player records edit

Manager records edit

Contribution to the Greece national team edit

AEK, through their history, have highlighted some of the greatest Greek players in the history of Greek football, who also contributed to the national team (Papaioannou, Nestoridis, Mavros, Tsiartas, Nikolaidis, etc.).

Five players of the club were part of the golden team of 2004 that won the UEFA Euro 2004:

A total of 112 players of AEK had played for the Greece national football team up to 21 November 2023.

Player list edit

Notable former players edit

Personnel edit

Ownership and current board edit

Position Staff
Owner   Dimitris Melissanidis
President   Evangelos Aslanidis
Vice President   Alexis Alexiou
CEO   George Kosmas
Board members   Ioannis Tsoutsas
  Antonis Pavlakis

Source: AEK Athens F.C.

Executives edit

Administration Department edit

Position Staff
General manager   Angeliki Arkadi
CFO   Nikos Ladomenos
Commercial Director   Nikos Karaouzas
Media Consultant   Giannis Karalis
Press Officer   Tasos Tsatalis

Source: AEK Athens F.C.

Football Department edit

Position Staff
Executive Director   Panagiotis Kone
Sporting Director   Bruno Alves
Technical Director   Radosław Kucharski
Team Manager   Dimitris Nalitzis
Scouters   Fanouris Goundoulakis
  Dimitris Xouris
  Akis Petrou

Source: AEK Athens F.C.

Coaching and medical staff edit

 
Matías Almeyda, the current head coach of AEK Athens
Coaching staff
Position Staff
Manager   Matías Almeyda
Assistant manager   Daniel Vega
Fitness coaches   Guido Bonini
  Kostas Parousis
  Sotiris Mavros
Goalkeeper coach   Carlos Roa
Kinesiologist   Fabio Álvarez
Analysts   Agustín Zalazar
  Giannis Antonopoulos

Source: AEK Athens F.C.

Medical staff
Position Staff
Medical Director   Lakis Nikolaou
Doctor   Charis Lalos
Head of Rehabilitation   Dimitris Ioannou
Podiatrist   Manos Arvanitakis
Physiotherapists   Konstantinos Pavlidis
  Lefteris Gaitanos
  Thomas Papadas
Εrgophysiologist   Athanasios Zavvos

Source: AEK Athens F.C.

Other staff
Position Staff
Team manager assistants   Antonis Maos
  Panos Anastasopoulos
Kit mens   Georgios Baliotis
  Spyros Mallioras
  Manolis Fanelakis

Source: AEK Athens F.C.

Presidents edit

AEK Athens F.C. presidential history from 1924 to present
  • Konstantinos Spanoudis (1924–32)
  • Alexandros Strogilos (1932–33)
  • Konstantinos Sarifis (1933–35)
  • Konstantinos Theofanidis (1935–37)
  • Konstantinos Chrisopoulos (1937–38)
  • Vassilios Fridas (1938–40)
  • Emilios Ionas (1945–49)
  • Spiridon Skouras (1949–50 )
  • Georgios Melas (1950–52)
  • Eleftherios Venizelos (1952)
  • Georgios Chrisafidis (1952–57)
  • Nikos Goumas (1957–63)
  • Alexandros Makridis (1963–66)
  • Michail Trikoglou (1966–67)
  • Emmanuil Calitsounakis (1967)
  • Kosmas Kiriakidis (1967–68)
  • Alexis Kougias (1997)
  • Lakis Nikolaou (1997–98)
  • Dimitris Melissanidis (1998–99)
  • Stefanos Mamatzis (1999–2000)
  • Cornelius Sierhuis (2000–01)
  • Filonas Antonopoulos (2001)
  • Petros Stathis (2001)
  • Chrysostomos Psomiadis (2001–03)
  • Giannis Granitsas (2003–04)
  • Demis Nikolaidis (2004–08)
  • Georgios Kintis (2008–09)
  • Nikolaos Thanopoulos (2009–10)
  • Stavros Adamidis (2010–12)
  • Thomas Mavros (2012)
  • Andreas Dimitrelos (2012–13)
  • Evangelos Aslanidis (2014–)

Notable managers edit

Manager From To Trophies
  Kostas Negrepontis 1933
1937
1944
1955
1958
1936
1940
1948
1956
1959
2 Greek Leagues
1 Greek Cup
  Jack Beby 1948 1951 2 Greek Cups
  Mario Magnozzi 1952 1953
  Tryfon Tzanetis[A] 1954
1956
1960
1965
1955
1957
1962
1966
1 Balkans Cup Runner-up
  Heinrich Müller 1963 1964 1 Greek Cup
  Jenő Csaknády[A] 1962
1967
1963
1968
2 Greek Leagues
  Branko Stanković[A] 1968 1973 1 Greek League
  Stan Anderson[A] 1973 1974
  František Fadrhonc 1974 1977
  Zlatko Čajkovski 1977
1982
1978
1982
1 Greek League
1 Greek Cup
  Ferenc Puskás 1978 1979
  Helmut Senekowitsch 1983 1983 1 Greek Cup
  Giannis Pathiakakis 2000 2001 1 Greek Cup
  Fernando Santos 2001
2004
2002
2006
1 Greek Cup
  Lorenzo Serra Ferrer 2006 2008
  Dušan Bajević 1988
2002
2008
1996
2004
2010
4 Greek Leagues
1 Greek Cup
1 Greek League Cup
1 Greek Super Cup
  Manolo Jiménez 2010
2017
2011
2018
1 Greek Cup
1 Greek League
  Traianos Dellas 2013 2015 1 Football League 2
1 Football League
  Stelios Manolas* 2015
2016
2015
2016
1 Greek Cup
  Matías Almeyda 2022 present 1 Greek League
1 Greek Cup
Key
* Served as caretaker manager.
† Served as caretaker manager before being appointed permanently.

Only competitive matches are counted. Wins, losses, and draws are results at the final whistle; the results of penalty shootouts are not counted.

See also edit

References edit

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  196. ^ Mastrogiannopoulos, Alexander (31 January 2008). "Greece 1990/91". rsssf.org. Online: Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Retrieved 6 December 2023. Mediterranean Cup 1991 NB: post-season tournament (June 1991) between top-level clubs (so a sort of league cup), except that Olympiakos, Panathinaikos and PAOK did not enter. Semifinals: AEK 4-2 Apollon, OFI bt [?], Final: AEK 1-0 OFI [Takis Karagiozopoulos].
  197. ^ Πάτροκλος Πανανίδης (2 August 1999). "Τρεις εκτελεστές". tanea.gr (in Greek). Online. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  198. ^ "Η Μπρέσια νικήτρια του τουρνουά Supersport 3-2 την ΑΕΚ". in.gr (in Greek). Online. 5 August 2000. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  199. ^ "Τη δεύτερη θέση κατέκτησε η ΑΕΚ στο 3ο τουρνουά Supersport". in.gr (in Greek). Online. 3 August 2001. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  200. ^ "AEK Athens FC in the UEFA Champions League 1978/79". uefa.com.
  201. ^ "AEK Athens FC in the UEFA Europa League 1991/92". uefa.com.
  202. ^ "AEK Athens FC in the UEFA Europa League 2000/01". uefa.com.
  203. ^ Fenerbahçe beat AEK Athens 3–1 in a third match to win the trophy on 30 May 1968. Play-off match took place at Istanbul home-ground of Fenerbahçe.
  204. ^ "UEFA 5-year Club Ranking 2024". kassiesa.net. Online. Retrieved 16 August 2023.
  205. ^ "Current Roster". aekfc.gr. Retrieved 29 August 2021.

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