PAOK FC

PAOK FC (Greek: ΠΑΕ ΠΑΟΚ, Πανθεσσαλονίκειος Αθλητικός Όμιλος Κωνσταντινοπολιτών, Panthessaloníkios Athlitikós Ómilos Konstantinopolitón, "Pan-Thessalonian Athletic Club of Constantinopolitans"),[3] commonly known as PAOK Thessaloniki or simply PAOK, is a Greek professional football club based in Thessaloniki, Macedonia. PAOK are one of the top domestic clubs, the most widely supported in Northern Greece and with the 3rd largest fanbase in the country, according to the latest polls and researches.[4][5][6][7] A research by Marca in August 2018, reported that PAOK are the most popular Greek football team on social media.[8][9][10]

PAOK
PAOK FC logo.svg
Full namePanthessaloníkios Athlitikós Ómilos Konstantinopolitón
(Panthessalonian Athletic Club of Constantinopolitans)
Nickname(s)
  • Δικέφαλος Αετός του Βορρά
    Dikéfalos Aetós tou Vorá (Double-headed eagle of the North)
  • Ασπρόμαυροι
    Asprómavri (White-Blacks)
Short nameΠΑΟΚ
Founded20 April 1926; 94 years ago (1926-04-20)
GroundToumba Stadium[1]
Capacity29,000 (all-seater)
OwnerIvan Savvidis[2]
PresidentIvan Savvidis
Head coachPablo García
LeagueSuper League Greece
2019–20Super League Greece, 2nd
WebsiteClub website
Current season
Active departments of P.A.O.K.
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Football (Men's) Football (Women's) Basketball (Men's)
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Basketball (Women's) Volleyball (Men's) Volleyball (Women's)
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Water Polo (Men's) Water Polo (Women's) Handball (Men's)
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Handball (Women's) Boxing Taekwondo
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Cycling Athletics Ice hockey
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Chess Wrestling Weightlifting
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Swimming Judo Synchronized swimming

Established on 20 April 1926 by Greek refugees who fled to Thessaloniki from Constantinople in the wake of the Greco-Turkish War (1919–1922), they play their home games at Toumba Stadium, a 29,000 seating capacity football ground. Their name, along with the club's emblem, the Byzantine-style double-headed eagle with retracted wings, honours the memory of the people and places (mostly from the city of Constantinople) that once belonged to the Byzantine Empire.[11][12]

PAOK currently plays in the top-flight Super League, which they have won three times (in 1976, 1985 and 2019). They are seven-time winners of the Greek Cup (in 1972, 1974, 2001, 2003, 2017, 2018 and 2019). The club has never been relegated to a lower national division, a feat equalled only by rivals Olympiacos and Panathinaikos. PAOK are the only team in Greece that have won the Double (in 2019) going unbeaten (26–4–0 record) in a national round-robin league tournament (league format since 1959).[13]

The team has appeared several times in the UEFA Europa League, but has yet to reach the group stage of the UEFA Champions League. Their best European performance was in the 1973–74 season, when they reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup. PAOK is the only Greek team that has more wins than losses in their European record (72 wins, 58 draws and 70 defeats, as of 10 December 2020) and the 0–7 away win over Locomotive Tbilisi on 16 September 1999 in the UEFA Cup is the largest ever achieved by a Greek football club in all European football competitions.[14]

HistoryEdit

Foundation and early years (1926–1945)Edit

 
PAOK in 1926

PAOK FC is the oldest department of the major multi-sport club AC P.A.O.K., which is closely linked with Hermes Sports Club, that was formed in 1875 by the Greek community of Pera, a district of Istanbul (Constantinople).[11]

The football club was founded in April 1926 by Constantinopolitans who fled to Thessaloniki after the Greek defeat in the Greco-Turkish War. PAOK's policy was to be open to every citizen of Thessaloniki, leading to a minor rivalry with AEK Thessaloniki, the other Constantinopolitan club of the city, in which only refugees were allowed to play. The original logo of PAOK was a horseshoe and a four-leaf clover.[15]

PAOK played their primary friendly match on 4 May 1926 at the stadium of Thermaikos, defeating Megas Alexandros Thessaloniki 2–1. The first coach of the club was Kostas Andreadis who spent five years on the team's bench without demanding payment.[16] Their first captain was Michalis Ventourelis.

 
PAOK in 1937

In 1926–1927 season, PAOK participated in the 2nd tier of Macedonia Football Clubs Association (Greek: Ένωση Ποδοσφαιρικών Σωματείων Μακεδονίας or Ε.Π.Σ.Μ.) local championship. PAOK FC historic inaugural official match was a 3–1[17] win against Nea Genea Kalamaria on 12 December 1926. Despite finishing at the top of the 2nd division, PAOK were forced by the organizing committee to play against the 1st division teams and defeat all of them in order to get promoted. Eventually, they defeated all four teams: Thermaikos 4–1,[18] Aris 2–1,[19][20] Atlas Ippodromiou 2–0 (w/o)[21] and Iraklis 1–0.[22] In 1927–1928, PAOK participated for the first time in the 1st tier of Ε.Π.Σ.Μ..[23]

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.[24]

In March 1929, AEK Thessaloniki was disbanded as a sports club and their members joined PAOK. PAOK thereupon changed their emblem, adopting the Double-headed eagle, as a symbol of the club's Byzantine/Constantinopolitan heritage. PAOK also got possession of AEK's facilities located around Syntrivani (i.e. Fountain) Square, next to the Children's Heritage Foundation, where today stands the Faculty of Theology of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.

In 1930–1931, PAOK made their debut in the Panhellenic Championship, playing their first match on 1 February 1931 against Olympiacos at Piraeus, where they were defeated by 3–1, and ended the season in 5th place. The first foreign coach in team's history was Austrian Rudolf Gasner, who served at PAOK in 1931–1932.[25] On 5 June 1932 the Syntrivani Stadium was inaugurated with PAOK's 3–2[26] victory over Iraklis. Syntrivani meant to be their home ground for 27 years.[27][28]

In 1937, PAOK won their first title, the Macedonia (Greek: Ε.Π.Σ.Μ.) Championship, and participated in the Panhellenic Championship, finishing 2nd. The 1937 team included: Sotiriadis, Vatikis, Goulios, Kontopoulos, Bostantzoglou, Panidis, Glaros, Kritas, Ioannidis, Kalogiannis, Koukoulas, Kosmidis, Apostolou, Vafiadis, Vasiliadis, Anastasiadis, Moschidis, Tzakatzoglou, Zakapidas.

On 28 May 1939, PAOK competed for first time in a Greek Cup final against AEK Athens and were defeated 2–1[29] at Apostolos Nikolaidis Stadium. The following season, PAOK won the Northern Greece Championship and reached the two-legged final of Panhellenic Championship, but they lost 5–3 on aggregate to AEK.[30]

 
The team of 1939

The declaration of the Greco-Italian War caused mobilization in Greece and ended every sport activity. PAOK football players recruited to Hellenic Army and two of them died on duty. Goalkeeper Nikolaos Sotiriadis and left defender Georgios Vatikis. They are both among the four Greek footballers who took their last breath on the front. The others were Spyridon Kontoulis of AEK and Mimis Pierrakos of Panathinaikos. Georgios Vatikis, who was the first Greek athlete to fall on the Greek-Italian front, served as a warrant officer. He was 22 years old when he died in Battle of Morava–Ivan. After his death, Vatikis was honorarily promoted to lieutenant and awarded the Silver Cross of Valour and the Homeland of Gratitude. Nikolaos Sotiriadis, who played from 1932 until 1940 for PAOK, died on 28 January 1941 in Kleisura, fighting with the rank of Sergeant for the 5th Infantry Regiment. He was 33 years old.[31]

Macedonia Football Clubs Association Championships (1946–1959)Edit

After the Second World War, in the early 1950s, PAOK Academy was created by the Austrian coach, Wilhelm (Willi) Sefzik, and was known as the "chicos of Willi". From the newly founded academy sprang some great football players of the period, such as Leandros Symeonidis, Giannelos Margaritis and Giorgos Havanidis.[32]

In 1948, PAOK won the Macedonia Championship for second time in history, and then participated in the final phase of the Panhellenic Championship where they were ranked 3rd. PAOK footballers dedicated the title to the memory of team captain, Thrasyvoulos Panidis, who had lost his life (18 February 1948) in the civil war few days before. Panidis played for PAOK since 1930 and had 122 appearances.[33] In 1950, they emerged once again champions of Macedonia, and the following year (1950–51), the team reached for second time the final of the Greek Cup, but lost 4–0[34] to Olympiacos at Apostolos Nikolaidis Stadium.

During the summer transfer period of 1953 Kouiroukidis, Petridis, Progios, Geroudis, Kemanidis, Chassiotis and Angelidis joined the team. The acquirement of Lampis Kouiroukidis from Doxa Drama was the most important transfer. Along with Lefteris Papadakis and Christophoros Yientzis, they formed the famous attacking trio of that age.[35]

For four consecutive seasons (1954, 1955, 1956, 1957), PAOK won the Macedonia championship and participated in the Panhellenic Championship, finishing 4th each year. Yientzis was the top scorer in 1953–54 season and Kouiroukidis in 1955–56 season.[36]

Coached by Nikos Pangalos, PAOK won the 1954 and 1955 local Championships unbeaten. In 1955, PAOK participated for third time in a Greek Cup final and were defeated 2–0[37] by Panathinaikos at Apostolos Nikolaidis Stadium (home ground of Panathinaikos). Ιn 1956, under Hungarian coach Erman Hoffman they won their third consecutive unbeaten local championship.[38] The successful 4-year period ended with 1957 championship, coached by the Austrian Walter Pfeiffer. This was their 7th and last Macedonia Championship in club's history. In 1959, Greek National League (Alpha Ethniki) was established, with the help of instructions that were made towards the Greek authorities by UEFA.

Toumba Stadium, first years in Greek National League and rise of Koudas to prominence (1959–1969)Edit

Toumba StadiumEdit

 
Snapshot from the old Syntrivani stadium

The Aristotle University of Thessaloniki purchased a two-acre piece of land in the area of Syntrivani Stadium in order to construct new schools. PAOK had to relocate and a 7.5 acres area, owned by the Ministry of National Defence at Toumba district was chosen as the adequate location. The purchase cost was set at 1.5 million drachmas and was paid by PAOK administration in 20 six-month instalments of 75,000 drachmas each. On 7 February 1958, a committee of III Army Corps officers delivered the land to PAOK representatives.

There were still barracks on the premises, housing victims of the Greek Civil War and the 1953 Ionian earthquake. Relocating all these people cost the club 70,000 drachmas. The total cost of the stadium's construction amounted to 6 million drachmas, with just 1.1 million coming from the General Secretariat of Sports as subvention. In spring of 1958 construction work started, based on the plans of architect Minas Trempelas and civil engineer Antonis Triglianos. In an attempt to collect the necessary funds, the club issued the "Lottery for the construction of PAOK New Stadium" in April 1958 at a cost of 20 drachmas each. Since 1956, the administration was withholding 15% of the gate income in order to fund the construction of the new stadium. Many PAOK fans, apart from money, also contributed to construction by volunteering to work as builders. The construction of the stadium was completed at a record time of one year.

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

The attendance record remains at 45,252 tickets and was registered on 19 December 1976 in the goalless draw against AEK. In European football, the highest attendance was a 45,200 crowd in the 1–0[39][40] win against Barcelona (UEFA Cup, 16 September 1975).[1][41][42]

First years in Greek National League (Alpha Ethniki)Edit

In the first decade of Greek Alpha Ethniki (1959–1969), PAOK had a top-half finish in every season except from the 10th-place finish in 1961. The best outcome came out in 1963 and 1967 with a 4th-place finish. Notable players of this period were Leandros Symeonidis,[43] Ioannis Giakoumis, Ignatios Mouratidis, Pavlos Papadopoulos,[44] Anestis Afentoulidis[45] and Giorgos Makris.[46]

Koudas debut and his two-year absence that fueled Olympiacos–PAOK rivalryEdit

Giorgos Koudas[47][48][49] was born on 23 November 1946 in Thessaloniki. At the age of 12, he signed his first contract with PAOK and made his debut with the first team on 21 December 1963 in a 1–0 loss to Ethnikos at Apostolos Nikolaidis Stadium. Koudas' talent immediately started to excel and in 1965–66 season he made 29 apps and scored 13 goals . On 14 July 1966, PAOK fans were shocked by the news of Koudas' descent to Piraeus, accompanied by his father (who was enraged with PAOK administration for financial reasons) and determined to sign for Olympiacos, who tempted him by offering a much higher annual salary without going into a negotiation with his club. PAOK president Giorgos Pantelakis[50] never gave his consent for the transfer to be completed and for the next 2 seasons, Koudas participated only in Olympiacos friendly games. Military junta's Minister of Sports Kostas Aslanidis suggested in 1968 that Koudas should return to PAOK for 2 years and then move to Olympiacos, but Pantelakis turned down his proposition saying "I may go to Gyaros island (place of exile for leftist political dissidents), but Koudas would never go to Olympiacos".[51] Eventually, Koudas returned to PAOK in the summer of 1968 and led the great team of the 1970s to glorious days. Fueled by this incident, Olympiacos–PAOK rivalry is considered nowadays the fiercest intercity football rivalry in Greece.

1970s and 1980s (1970–1989)Edit

The great team of the 1970sEdit

The 1970s decade was one of the best periods in the history of the football club. Scouting some of the best youth players in Northern Greece at the time and signing many of them to PAOK, president Giorgos Pantelakis built a very strong team (including Stavros Sarafis,[52] Christos Terzanidis,[53] Kostas Iosifidis,[54] Giannis Gounaris, Dimitris Paridis,[55] Achilleas Aslanidis,[56] Koulis Apostolidis,[57] Filotas Pellios, Aristarchos Fountoukidis,[58] Panagiotis Kermanidis,[59] Angelos Anastasiadis,[60] Neto Guerino[61] and captained by Giorgos Koudas). Playing spectacular football, the team managed to win their first Championship (1976), two Cups (1972, 1974), a Greater Greece Cup (1973) and distinguish themselves in European competitions.

 
Christos Terzanidis, member of the great team of PAOK during the 1970s

PAOK participated in 7 Greek Cup finals from 1970 to 1978 . In 1969–70 Greek Cup PAOK lost 1–0[62] to local rivals Aris in the final held at Kaftanzoglio Stadium and in the 1970–71 Greek Cup final they were defeated 3–1[63] by Olympiacos at Karaiskakis Stadium (home ground of Olympiacos).

The first domestic title PAOK won, was the Cup of 1971–72 season. PAOK reached the final for third straight year, sixth in total and it would be the fifth time traveling to Athens for the trophy match. This time PAOK would face league champions Panathinaikos who were also runners-up in 1971 European Cup. The final was held at Karaiskakis Stadium on 5 July 1972. PAOK players had 10,000 fans on their side and they vowed that it was about time to return with the trophy at Thessaloniki. PAOK won the game 2–1[64] with Koudas scoring both goals. In the second half, a magnificent bicycle kick of Matzourakis found the net, but the goal was surprisingly disallowed by referee Michas. PAOK triumph and 1st Greek Cup title was widely celebrated by the fans at Thessaloniki.[65]

In 1972–73 season, PAOK came close to winning their first ever championship title playing exceptional football under the guidance of Les Shannon.[66][67] On 25 February 1973 (matchday 20), PAOK who were leading the league table being 3pts (point system 3–2–1) ahead of rivals Olympiacos suffered their first loss with 1–0[68] in a much disputed derby against Olympiacos at Karaiskakis Stadium. PAOK had tremendous complaints against referee Fakis for not taking the proper disciplinary action against Olympiacos players who committed violent fouls. Two players (Iosifidis and Aslanidis) were substituted in the first half after sustaining injuries. One week later, PAOK lost 1–0 to Fostiras in Athens and Olympiacos drew 0–0 away to Egaleo, results that left the two teams level on pts. On 22 April 1973 (matchday 28), PAOK suffered a 3–5[69][70] shock defeat against Panachaiki at Toumba Stadium and Olympiacos who drew 1–1 away to Kavala, took the lead in the standings and went on with 6 wins in the remaining matches to win the championship. At the end of the season, PAOK participated for fourth consecutive year in the Greek Cup final and lost 1–0[71] to Olympiacos at Karaiskakis Stadium (home ground of Olympiacos).

In 1973–74 season, PAOK reached the quarter-finals of 1973–74 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup where they were knocked out by Milan with 5–2 on aggregate.[72] PAOK defeated Legia Warsaw with 2–1 on aggregate[73][74] and Lyon with 7–3 on aggregate[75][76] in the previous rounds. That season, PAOK reached the Greek Cup final for fifth consecutive year. The final was held at Nikos Goumas Stadium, once again in Athens, on Sunday 16 June, and was the first ever that was decided by penalty shoot-out. The game ended in a thrilling 2–2 draw and PAOK won 4–3 on penalties over Olympiacos with Koulis Apostolidis converting the last of the procedure.[77][78]

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

1975–76 Greek ChampionsEdit

In 1975–76 season, with Gyula Lóránt at the helm,[79] the team had two daily practices instead of one and physical condition of the players improved significantly. On 4 January 1976, PAOK made an impressive 4–0[80] away win over Olympiacos (biggest home defeat of Olympiacos in Greek football history). On 11 April, PAOK defeated Panionios 4–0 and climbed at the top of the standings for first time that season, level on points with AEK who lost 0–1 to Panathinaikos. On matchday 25, AEK were defeated 1–0 by Aris in Thessaloniki and PAOK, with a 3–0 away win over Panachaiki, were alone at the top of the league table. The league title would be decided in two consecutive high-profile encounters at Toumba Stadium. PAOK prevailed 3–1 over Olympiacos and 1–0 over AEK with Neto Guerino scoring the winner in the 89th minute,[81] giving the Double-Headed Eagle of the North a 4pt lead (point system 2–1–0). The league title was clinched on the following matchday, when AEK were held to a goalless draw at Panserraikos and PAOK defeated 3–1 Iraklis at Kaftanzoglio Stadium.[82]

In 1976–77 season, the team tried to defend the title and reached the last 16 of 1976–77 European Cup where they were knocked out by a far superior Dynamo Kyiv side.[83] On 1 May 1977 (matchday 28), PAOK were leading the league table and lost 1–0[84] to AEK at Nikos Goumas Stadium with a controversial first-half goal that was scored from a direct free kick and while goalkeeper Milinis was still setting up the wall. Referee Tsoukaladelis credited the goal to AEK despite the heavy protests from all PAOK players and he also sent off PAOK midfielder Damanakis in the first half for dangerous play. In the second half, a goal scored by Sarafis with a header was wrongly ruled out for offside. PAOK fell from the top of the table and on 12 June (matchday 32), the team had a great chance against Panathinaikos at a packed Toumba Stadium to regain the lead (Panathinaikos were 1pt ahead). The game ended in a 0–0[85] stalemate and it was followed by a huge disappointment among the fans not only for the missed chance to win a back-to-back championship, but also for the team performance in the championship decider which did not meet expectations.[86][87] On 22 June, PAOK lost 2–1[88] to Panathinaikos in the Greek Cup final held at Karaiskakis Stadium. President Pantelakis was furious with referee Platopoulos who sent off Gounaris in the 64th minute and ordered PAOK players to leave the awarding ceremony without receiving their medals.

In 1977–78 season, PAOK finished runners-up in the league and lost 2–0[89] to AEK in the Greek Cup final held at Karaiskakis Stadium.

In 1979–80 season, five teams were battling for the champioship title. On 9 March 1980 (matchday 24), PAOK were leading the table and lost 0–2[90] to rivals Panathinaikos at Toumba Stadium. This was the first home defeat after a 62-game unbeaten run (52 wins/10 draws).[91] Kostikos scored two goals in the first half, but both of them were disallowed by referee Litsas. In the second half, Kostikos was brought down in the area by Kovis, but Litsas denied the penalty and sent off PAOK defender Pellios who was protesting. In the final minutes of the game, PAOK had a chance to score from the penalty spot, but the fans shouted to Orfanos to send the ball wide. Orfanos made a really weak side foot-kick which was easily saved by goalkeeper Konstantinou. After the final whistle, all hell broke loose in and around the stadium with 23 police officers and 20 fans sustaining injuries.

On 31 May 1981, PAOK manager Gyula Lóránt had a heart attack in the 16th minute of the match against Olympiacos at Toumba Stadium when Koudas headed the ball wide from close range. Doctors attempted to resuscitate him on the spot, but he died before the ambulance arrived. PAOK players were told in the half-time break that he had to be transported to the hospital and his death was revealed to them only after the game had ended. PAOK eventually won the derby 1–0[92] with the goal of the substitute Vassilis Vasilakos who was sitting next to Lóránt on the bench when he collapsed. PAOK players wanted to dedicate a Greek Cup title to his memory, but the team lost 3–1[93] to Olympiacos in the Greek Cup final held at Nikos Goumas Stadium on 21 June.

On 29 June 1983, PAOK participated once again in the Greek Cup final which was held for first time at the newly built Olympic Stadium of Athens. Captained for last time in a Greek Cup final by Koudas, the team lost 2–0[94] to AEK despite their superiority over the opponents that day. A first-half goal by Kostikos was ruled out for offside.

PAOK also made a memorable appearance against German giants Bayern Munich in the 2nd round of 1983–84 UEFA Cup, where they were knocked out on penalties (9–8) after two goalless draws.[95][96] Bayern's first penalty kick, taken by Klaus Augenthaler, was saved twice by PAOK goalkeeper Mladen Furtula, but the English referee Arthur Robinson ordered the penalty to be retaken both times. Augenthaler admitted in a 2018 interview that the referee favored Bayern and that he felt uncomfortable when he was asked to take the penalty for a third time.[97][98]

 
Kyriakos Alexandridis member of the 1984–85 champions team

1984–85 Greek ChampionsEdit

The second Championship of PAOK came in 1984–85 season, under Austrian manager Walter Skocik.[99] Notable figures of the team included Giorgos Skartados,[100] Nikos Alavantas,[101] Thomas Siggas,[102] Rade Paprica[103] and attacking duo of Giorgos Kostikos[104] and Christos Dimopoulos. It was the last season at the club for Ioannis Damanakis[105] and captain Kostas Iosifidis, who ended his football career.

On 20 January 1985 (matchday 15), PAOK gained a 5pt lead (point system 2–1–0) on the table with a 1–0[106] away win over Panathinaikos at the Olympic Stadium of Athens. The crucial goal was scored by Paprica in the 80th minute with a diving header. On 9 June, PAOK clinched the league title with a goalless draw at Nea Smyrni Stadium against Panionios, as Panathinaikos were held to a 2–2 draw by bottom of the table Pierikos.[107] It was the only away point of Pierikos that season. On 22 June, 10-man (Vasilakos was sent-off early in the first half) PAOK lost 4–1[108] to Larissa in the Greek Cup final which was held at the Olympic Stadium of Athens and wasted the opportunity to win a domestic Double for first time in history. An interesting story of the final was that PAOK top goalscorer of that season Christos Dimopoulos did not participate as he left the team at Athens airport when they arrived from Thessaloniki for the game. Dimopoulos headed to the headquarters of Motor Oil (company of Panathinaikos president Vardinogiannis) in order to seal his transfer to Panathinaikos as his 5-year contract with PAOK was expiring.[109]

In 1987–88 season, PAOK were fighting for the title (along with AEL and AEK) up to matchday 23, when they suffered a surprising 0–2 home defeat to Iraklis. Earlier that season, on 6 December 1987, PAOK made a record 6–1[110][111] win over rivals Olympiacos at Serres Municipal Stadium (biggest defeat of Olympiacos in Greek Alpha Ethniki/Superleague history). PAOK finished 3rd in the league and qualified for 1988–89 UEFA Cup where they faced Napoli of Maradona, Careca and Alemão. The team fought vigorously, but lost 2–1 on aggregate.[112][113][114] Maradona, when asked on RAI TV, moments after the final whistle of the 2nd leg at Toumba Stadium, if he had ever played in such an atmosphere, said "I have played a lot of games, but i have never seen anything like this. We couldn't find any rhythm and i believe that it was difficult for the opponents too. It was a weird encounter".

Voulinos era (1989–1996)Edit

 
PAOK vs AEK in Toumba Stadium (1989–90)

In 1989–90 season, with Magdy Tolba[115] shining and youngster Giorgos Toursounidis[116] rising, the team managed to reach the half-way stage of the competition topping the table (winter champions),[117] but good form deteriorated and PAOK finished in 3rd place.

PAOK faced Sevilla in the 1st round of 1990–91 UEFA Cup and they were knocked out on penalties (3–4) after two goalless draws.[118] On 23 September 1990 (matchday 2), president Thomas Voulinos stormed the field in the 77th minute of the derby against Panathinaikos at the Olympic Stadium of Athens. Voulinos was furious with referee Karamanis and despite the fact that the scoreline was 3–0[119] and the winner was already determined, he ordered PAOK players to leave the pitch. After the game which was eventually abandoned, he said "We felt like sheep that were heading to be butchered and that was unacceptable". PAOK were later sentenced with a 3pt deduction and a 5 home games behind closed doors penalty by court decision. The two teams met again in the Greek Cup semi-finals and in the 57th minute of the 2nd leg at Toumba Stadium, Voulinos once again entered the pitch in anger at decisions from referee Vasilakis.[120] Panathinaikos won 2–1 on aggregate.

In 1991–92 season, under Croatian manager Miroslav Blažević, PAOK qualified against KV Mechelen (winners in 1988, semi-finalists in 1989 Cup Winners' Cup / quarter-finalists in 1990 European Cup) in the 1st round of 1991–92 UEFA Cup with 2–1 on aggregate.[121] Stefanos Borbokis scored the winner in the 85th minute of the 2nd leg at Achter de Kazerne Stadium.[122] Blazevic was replaced by Gounaris later and the team lost in the two-legged Greek Cup final to Olympiacos with 3–1 on aggregate.[123] On 24 May 1992 (matchday 32), PAOK lost 1–2[124] to Olympiacos at Toumba Stadium and suffered their first home defeat against rivals Olympiacos after a 24-game unbeaten run (21 wins/3 draws – 21 league matches/3 cup matches – goals 52/12) which lasted for 23 years.[125] It is widely rumoured that after this shock defeat, the most renowned PAOK ultras leader Thomas Mavromichalis[126][127] (nicknamed Makis Manavis, i.e., greengrocer due to his profession – PAOK ultras refer to him as «The General») decided to never set foot again at Toumba Stadium.

On 1 October 1992, PAOK vs Paris Saint-Germain[128][129] UEFA Cup match was abandoned due to crowd violence and PAOK were punished with a two-year ban from all European competitions by the UEFA disciplinary committee. The sentence was later reduced to one year.

In 1994–95 season, under Dutch manager Arie Haan,[130] PAOK finished 3rd in the league and Apollon Athens took their place in the next season's UEFA Cup.

1995–96 season was the worst in club's history. PAOK were seriously threatened with a possible relegation for first time in history. The team managed to avoid relegation few weeks before the end of the league and finished in 14th place.

Batatoudis era (1996–2003)Edit

 
Zisis Vryzas, former player, sports director and president of the club

In 1996, Thomas Voulinos handed over a debt-free PAOK to Giorgos Batatoudis. Numerous transfers of quality players such as Zisis Vryzas,[131] Spiros Marangos, free kick specialist Kostas Frantzeskos,[132] Percy Olivares[133] and Joe Nagbe[134] took place under the new administration. In May 1997, after a five-year absence from European competitions, PAOK qualified for the UEFA Cup under coach Angelos Anastasiadis.[135] The club's reappearance at European level was marked by a victory and qualification over Arsenal with 2–1 on aggregate.[136][137] Arsenal went on to win a domestic Double that season. Remembering the 1st leg encounter, captain Tony Adams and goalkeeper David Seaman spoke very highly of the atmosphere created by PAOK fans at Toumba Stadium.[138][139]

In the night of 9 February 1998, PAOK player Panagiotis Katsouris, aged 21, was returning from an amateur 5x5 match, when his car skidded off the road due to excessive speed, hitting the barriers at the Thermi interchange outside Thessaloniki. His death was verified in AHEPA Hospital shortly afterwards. He was buried on 12 February in the Anastaseos Cemetery in Thessaloniki. A bust was erected in his memory at Toumba Stadium and memorial services are held each year near the accident scene. In February 2009, PAOK announced that a football tournament, bearing his name, would be held annually. Katsouris' No 17 jersey was permanently retired by the club in his memory.[140][141]

Early in the morning of 4 October 1999, a bus accident took place in the Vale of Tempe, Thessaly, with six PAOK fans killed (Kyriakos Lazaridis, Christina Tziova, Anastasios Themelis, Charalampos Zapounidis, Georgios Ganatsios, Dimitris Andreadakis). The bus was heading back to Thessaloniki after a 1–1[142] draw against Panathinaikos at the Olympic Stadium of Athens. A ceremony in commemoration of the incident has taken place every year since.[143][144][145]

In January 2000, PAOK appointed Dušan Bajević as their new manager. PAOK won the 2001 Greek Cup beating Olympiacos 4–2[146][147] in the final held at Nikos Goumas Stadium on 12 May 2001.[148]

On 17 May 2003, PAOK defeated local rivals Aris 1–0[149][150][151] in the final held at Toumba Stadium with an excellent goal scored by Georgiadis and earned their 4th Greek Cup title.[152] PAOK manager Angelos Anastasiadis became the first in club's history to win the Cup both as a player (in 1974) and manager.

During the seven-year period of Batatoudis' ownership, PAOK's debts rose to about €10 million.

 
Angelos Anastasiadis, 2002–03 Greek Cup winner as a coach

Goumenos era, troubled times (2003–2006)Edit

The 2003–04 season was an unexpected success. Batatoudis was no longer the major shareholder[153] and under coach Anastasiadis, PAOK managed to finish 3rd in the league and to secure participation in the third qualifying round of 2004–05 UEFA Champions League, where they faced Maccabi Tel Aviv. The 1st leg at Toumba Stadium ended 1–2,[154] but it was later awarded 0–3[155] against PAOK for fielding a suspended player. The club fielded Liasos Louka, a Cypriot player who was still serving a two-match ban in UEFA competitions (for his sending-off in a UEFA Intertoto Cup tie while playing for Nea Salamis on 8 July 2000). Eventually, the team failed to qualify for the group stage.[156]

Rolf Fringer succeeded Angelos Anastasiadis in September 2004,[157] but after a few games, he was replaced by Nikos Karageorgiou, who led the club to a 5th-place finish in May 2005 and a subsequent 2005–06 UEFA Cup qualification.

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,[158] brought the club close to dissolution. The organized supporters' groups launched an all-out war against president Giannis Goumenos during the summer of 2006,[159] going as far as to occupy the club's offices in Toumba stadium for a handful of days.[160] The situation was worsening for Goumenos after various negotiations with possible investors failed,[161] constant allegations of embezzlement emerged,[162] and especially after his decision to sell star player Dimitris Salpingidis to Panathinaikos.[163]

On 13 November 2006, Goumenos resigned from PAOK presidency[164] leaving huge debts behind (during the three-year period of Goumenos' ownership, the club's debts rose from about €10 million to around €30 million → €10 million were the primary debt obligations plus €20 million from additional taxes, fines and surcharges)[165][166][167] and few weeks later, Nikos Vezyrtzis–Apostolos Oikonomidis duo (former PAOK BC presidents) assumed temporary management of the club.[168]

Zagorakis–Vryzas management with massive fans' support (2007–2012)Edit

 
Theodoros Zagorakis, the iconic captain and former president of PAOK FC

In June 2007, former player and captain Theodoros Zagorakis[169] assumed the presidency of the club, replacing the Nikos Vezyrtzis and Apostolos Oikonomidis administration and thus ushered a new era, in an effort to bring the club back to successes.[170][171]

In 2007–2008 season, the early replacement of Georgios Paraschos by the well-known established manager Fernando Santos[172] did little to prevent a 9th-place finish in the league.[173] On 6 January 2008, Zisis Vryzas ended his football career coming on as a substitute in the game against AEL and immediately started his tenure as PAOK sports director.[174][175]

The club's finances gradually improved thanks to new sponsorship deals and to the continuing massive support from the fans (the number of season tickets was vastly increased[176]). In June 2008, Zagorakis announced the club's intention of building a new training facility complex[177] in the Nea Mesimvria area of Thessaloniki, owned by the club.[178] The administration had already acquired land from the municipality of Agios Athanasios and the project would be executed by former president Vasilis Sergiannidis'[179] construction company.[180][181]

In the summer of 2008, the club brought in promising winger Vieirinha and widely known internationals like Pablo Contreras, Zlatan Muslimović and Pablo García.[182][183] In the winter transfer window that followed, Olivier Sorlin and Lino joined the team.[184][185] The end of the 2008–09 season found PAOK in 2nd place, 8pts behind champions Olympiacos. However, team lost in the Super League playoffs (pos. 2–5) to Panathinaikos and finished in 4th place.[186]

 
Pablo García in action for PAOK in 2010

In 2009–10 season, PAOK fought for the title up to matchday 26 (Panathinaikos were 2pts ahead), when they lost 2–0[187] against local rivals Aris at Kleanthis Vikelidis Stadium. The club had tremendous complaints against referee Spathas and after the final whistle, Zagorakis went in the dressing room and apologized to PAOK players for not being able to protect them against poor refereeing.[188] PAOK went on to win the league playoffs (pos. 2–5) and qualified for 2010–11 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round, but the success was swiftly followed by Fernando Santos' announcement of his decision to depart, having concluded his three-year contract as head coach.[189][190] It was eventually decided in mid-June that Mario Beretta would be his successor.[191]

Beretta was quickly replaced by Pavlos Dermitzakis[192] and became the shortest-serving PAOK coach ever, sitting on the bench for 38 days only.[193] With Dermitzakis at the helm, PAOK faced Ajax and was ultimately eliminated on the away goals rule, managing a 1–1[194][195] draw in Amsterdam and a thrilling 3–3[196][197] draw in Thessaloniki. Entering the UEFA Europa League playoff round, PAOK were drawn against Fenerbahçe, also eliminated from the Champions League third qualifying round. This time, PAOK fared much better and after winning the home game 1–0[198] in Thessaloniki, secured a memorable 1–1[199][200] draw after extra time in Constantinople. Dermitzakis was removed after a 1–0 loss to Panathinaikos on 17 October.[201] His assistant, Makis Chavos, replaced him as caretaker manager[202] and PAOK reached the knockout phase of the Europa League, losing 2–1 on aggregate to CSKA Moscow.[203][204] In the league, PAOK finished 3rd and qualified for the 2011–12 UEFA Europa League.

 
Tottenham 1–2 PAOK, László Bölöni at White Hart Lane

PAOK board appointed Romanian László Bölöni as the club's new head coach for the following season.[205] The team qualified from the UEFA Europa League playoff round and entered the group stage. On 30 November 2011, PAOK achieved a historic 2–1[206][207] victory over Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane. With this victory, the club qualified to the knockout phase for second consecutive year. On 26 January 2012, Zagorakis resigned from club's presidency and he was replaced by Vryzas.[208][209]

Ivan Savvidis era (2012–present)Edit

 
PAOK supporters in 2014 Greek Cup final at the Olympic Stadium of Athens

On 10 August 2012, Ivan Savvidis[2][210][211] acquired PAOK ownership by depositing a fee of €9,951,000 and thus becoming the major shareholder of the club.[212][213]

In 2012–13 season, under manager Giorgos Donis, PAOK finished 2nd during the regular period, qualifying for the Super League playoffs (pos. 2–5). After a Greek Cup semi-final loss to Asteras Tripoli, Donis was replaced by technical director and former player Georgios Georgiadis, who was appointed as caretaker manager.[214] PAOK managed to win qualification for the third qualifying round of the 2013–14 UEFA Champions League through the playoffs after a last game win against PAS Giannina.[215]

In June 2013, PAOK appointed Huub Stevens as their new coach,[216] but he was dismissed in March 2014 after achieving poor results.[217] Once again, Georgiadis was appointed as caretaker manager and the team managed to reach the 2013–14 Greek Cup final, but lost 4–1[218] to Panathinaikos at the Olympic Stadium of Athens.

In March 2015, Law N° 4321/2015 on regulations for kickstarting the economy was adopted by the Greek government and stated that a total repayment of a company's primary debt obligations would lead to the deletion of all additional taxes, fines and surcharges.[219] On 12 May 2015, PAOK owner Ivan Savvidis paid the total amount of the club's debts towards Greek public authorities, a fee of €10,886,811.[220][221][222] On 27 May, PAOK hired Frank Arnesen as their new sports director.[223] On 18 June, Igor Tudor was hired as the new manager of the club, signing a three-year contract.[224] On 2 September, PAOK announced the signing of Dimitar Berbatov on a one-year deal.[225][226] Playing a 3–5–2 formation, the team progressed through three qualifying rounds to reach the UEFA Europa League group stage and on 10 December, PAOK made a surprising 1–0[227] away win over Borussia Dortmund at Signal Iduna Park. Tudor was replaced in March 2016 by youth-team coach Vladimir Ivić[228] and the team won the Super League playoffs (pos. 2–5) and qualified for the 2016–17 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round.


PAOK won the 2016–17 Greek Cup[229] beating AEK 2–1[230] in the final held at Panthessaliko Stadium with a controversial goal scored by Pedro Henrique in the 81st minute. Linesman Kalfoglou failed to indicate that the scorer was in an offside position. In the same phase of play, moments before Leovac made the cross to Henrique, Crespo was brought down in the area by Simoes, but PAOK were denied a penalty by referee Kominis.[231] The final was marred by crowd violence before the kick-off.[232] In the Super League playoffs (pos. 2–5) that followed, a game against Panathinaikos at Apostolos Nikolaidis Stadium was abandoned (scoreline 1–0 at the time) when Ivić was struck on his head by a beer can that was thrown from the crowd.[233][234] The Serbian coach was taken to a public hospital and the match was interrupted by referee Kominis in the 54th minute. Panathinaikos representatives claimed that Ivić exaggerated the impact of the injury and could continue.[235][236] The game was awarded 0–3 to PAOK by court decision. AEK went on to win the playoffs and PAOK finished 4th. After the end of the season, Ivić did not renew his contract[237] and the club appointed Aleksandar Stanojević whose tenure as PAOK manager did not last long. On 11 August 2017, he was replaced by Răzvan Lucescu.[238]

2017–18 eventful seasonEdit

 
Aleksandar Prijović, Top goalscorer in 2017–2018 season

On 25 February 2018 (and while PAOK were leading the league table being 2pts ahead of AEK), PAOK–Olympiacos derby was suspended before kick-off when Olympiacos manager Óscar García Junyent was hit by an object thrown from the crowd (reportedly by an unfolding cash register paper roll). Óscar García received medical attention before being taken to a private general hospital (Interbalkan Medical Center). The private clinic where García was taken issued a statement about five hours after the coach was admitted, saying that due to his medical condition (sensitivity in the jaw, neck pain, dizziness and nausea) García had to stay at the hospital overnight and PAOK vs Olympiacos game never started.[239][240] Olympiacos communications chief Karapapas stated that he expected a huge apology from PAOK for the incident and that their rivals should become more civilized if they want to develop into a big club. He also claimed that the object that fell onto García was a sealed cash register paper roll, which can be as heavy as a stone and when thrown from a certain height and distance with a certain force can be a very powerful blow.[241] PAOK representatives claimed that the whole incident was a certain tactic from Olympiacos, which eventually did not work out because there was no injury sustained.[242][243][244][245][246][247][248] Medical report of the official doctor of the match, approved by the Greek Football Federation (EPO), stated that García was not seriously injured and could return on the bench, but Olympiacos questioned doctor's credibility because he was a PAOK employee, working in PAOK youth academy.[249] Referee Aretopoulos (who had many controversial moments in his career[250][251]) submitted two match reports to describe why the game was abandoned (an initial report[252] at Toumba Stadium and a supplementary report[253] few days later that was demanded by first-instance court judge). Olympiacos were later awarded a 0–3 win by court decision.

On 11 March 2018, during a championship decider derby against AEK (timeline of events before the game: 24 Feb: PAOK 52pts/AEK 50pts, 25 Feb: PAOK–Olympiacos suspended before kick-off, 26 Feb: Atromitos–AEK 1–1 and PAOK 52pts/AEK 51pts, 4 Mar: Asteras Tripoli–PAOK 3–2, AEK–Panionios 1–0 and AEK 54pts/PAOK 52pts, 5 Mar: first-instance court sentence: PAOK deducted 3pts, game awarded 0–3 to Olympiacos, 2 home games behind closed doors and AEK 54pts/PAOK 49pts, 10 Mar: court of appeal sentence: 3pts returned to PAOK, game awarded 0–3 to Olympiacos, closed doors penalty suspended and AEK 54pts/PAOK 52pts), the president of the team, Ivan Savvidis, stormed onto the pitch when referee Georgios Kominis disallowed a 90th-minute goal scored by Fernando Varela with a header.[254] The goal was initially credited to PAOK by both the referee who pointed the center spot and the linesman who never raised his flag and ran towards the center. About 10–15 seconds later and while PAOK players were celebrating, linesman Pontikis was approached by AEK players who were protesting and approximately 3 minutes after the goal was scored, they altered their decision. The goal was ruled out for offside (according to referee Kominis, Maurício influenced play). Savvidis entered the pitch with few members of his personal guard and Ľuboš Micheľ (former UEFA Elite referee).[255] At first, he ordered his team to leave the pitch, but his request was denied by PAOK captain Vieirinha. Afterwards they went close to the referee, where Micheľ expressed his complaints about the decision. Leaving the pitch 1 minute after his entry, a tension was built between Savvidis and members of AEK bench and moments later Savvidis took off his jacket and a gun appeared attached to his belt.[256] The referee suspended the game and sent the two teams to the dressing rooms. Savvidis tried to enter into the referees' dressing room, but he was denied entrance by security and few minutes later he left the stadium.[257] Kominis' intention was the game to be continued after 1 hour (and blew his whistle outside the dressing rooms calling the two teams[258]), but AEK general manager Vasilis Dimitriadis approached him and claimed (as can be heard in audio[259]) that the players of AEK were terrified from the incident and could not continue as he felt that their safety was at risk. PAOK vice-president Chrisostomos Gagatsis is heard trying to persuade Dimitriadis to order AEK players to return on the pitch. Soon after, the game was abandoned. The incident caused the league to be suspended by the Greek government.[260] AEK manager Manolo Jiménez giving his side of the story, confirmed that Kominis wanted the game to be concluded, but AEK president told them not to play.[261] He also said about a year later, that AEK players and himself realized that Savvidis was actually carrying a gun on his belt when they received photos on their cellphones and not while they were on the pitch.[262] AEK midfielder Panagiotis Kone in an interview after the game also confirmed that Kominis told them to go out and play for the remaining 5 minutes, but he did not inform AEK players as to whether he would award or overturn PAOK goal when asked in the dressing rooms. He replied that they would be informed outside on the pitch.[263] Of course, both of them condemned Savvidis' actions and held him responsible for the interruption. PAOK goalkeeper Alexandros Paschalakis stated that it was clearly a legitimate goal scored by Varela, because Maurício was behind the goalkeeper and did not influence play. He also said that Savvidis' invasion of the pitch wasn't proper.[264] On his official match report, referee Kominis wrote down that when the match was interrupted the scoreline was 1–0 and that he decided to award the goal.[265] Kominis received a summons to appear at the court hearing, but he sent a letter instead, explaining that he could not show up due to personal reasons.[266] He also received a legal document with 3 questions from first-instance court judge and gave a definite answer in one of them and a vague response in the other two.[267] Ivan Savvidis apologised for his behaviour two days after the game[268] and he was later banned from all football stadiums for three years. PAOK were sentenced with a 3pt deduction (and 2pts from next season's championship) and AEK were awarded a 0–3 win by court decision.[269] The 6-point swing was a major blow to PAOK's title hopes and the club was unable to secure the title as AEK were crowned champions with three match-days to go.

The club still managed to end their season on a high note by winning their second consecutive Greek Cup beating AEK 2–0[270][271][272] in the final held at the Olympic Stadium of Athens (AEK home ground at the time), with the match refereed after many years in Greece by a foreign referee (David Fernández Borbalán). During the post-game press conference, manager Lucescu and captain Vieirinha (final MVP[273]) both stated that 2018 championship title was stolen from PAOK.[274][275]

2018–19 unbeaten Champions and first domestic DoubleEdit

 
PAOK 3–2 Spartak Moscow, August 2018

2018–19 season was the best in club's history.[13] During the 2018–19 Super League Greece, the major derbies, after decades in Greek football history, were refereed by foreign referees.

On 21 April, PAOK beat Levadiakos 5–0 and clinched the league title, hosting a memorable celebration.[276][277][278] On 5 May, PAOK earned their 26th win in 30 games to complete an undefeated season (26–4–0 record).[279] This is arguably the best performance in Greek football history, the previous held by Panathinaikos, who won the 1963–64 Alpha Ethniki title undefeated, but with a 24–6–0 record.[280][281] PAOK were also the only unbeaten European football club in the national championships held across Europe during the 2018–2019 season.[282]

On 11 May, PAOK won the Greek Cup for third consecutive year, defeating AEK 1–0.[283][284][285] This was the third consecutive Greek Cup final against the same opponent and it was held for second consecutive year at the Olympic Stadium of Athens (AEK home ground at the time). The Video assistant referee (VAR) was used for the first time in Greek football and in a Greek Cup final. The winning goal came in the 45th minute with an overhead kick of Chuba Akpom. Dimitris Pelkas provided the assist. With this Greek Cup victory, PAOK FC achieved a domestic Double for first time in their history.

Crest and coloursEdit

CrestEdit

The first emblem of PAOK depicted a four-leaf clover and a horseshoe. The leaves were green and above them were the initials of the word PAOK. Kostas Koemtzopoulos, one of PAOK's founding members, came up with this idea, inspired by his favourite brand of cigarettes.[286]

On 20 March 1929, AEK Thessaloniki was dissolved and absorbed by PAOK and a mournful version of the double-headed eagle with the wings closed instead of stretched, indicating the grief for the lost homelands, was adopted as the club's new emblem.[287]

On 11 June 2013, under the presidency of Ivan Savvidis, a golden outline was added to the crest, as a symbol of the club's Byzantine heritage.[288][289]

During the 2018–19 season, the first emblem was used on the third kit.

ColoursEdit

The club's colours have always been black and white, black for the sorrow related to countless thousands of Greek refugees who were forced to leave the land their ancestors had been living in for centuries (Asia Minor, Eastern Thrace, Pontus, Caucasus) and white for the hope of a new beginning that came with settling in a new home.[290] PAOK's traditional kit features a black and white vertical striped shirt, combined with black or white shorts and socks. Various types of shirts were used throughout the club's history and the most common alternatives were those with thinner or wider stripes, the all-black one and the all-white one.[291][292][293] Over the years, several other colours were used on the 3rd kit, such as grey, silver, blue, purple, orange and red.[294]

Kit suppliers and shirt sponsorsEdit

The current kit manufacturer is Macron, a collaboration that started in July 2015 and was extended until 2023.[295][296] Stoiximan, a Greek online gambling company, is the shirt sponsor since June 2017, with the sponsorship deal extended in November 2019 and set to last until 2022.[297]

Period Kit manufacturer Shirt sponsor Shirt sponsorship deal
1972–1975   Umbro
1975–1977   Adidas
1977–1980   Umbro
1980–1981   Asics Tiger
1981–1983 Puma
1983–1984   Suzuki
1984–1985 Persika (carpet factory)
1985–1986   Asics Tiger Doperman Fashion
1986–1987 Persika
1987–1988 PRO-PO
1988–1989   Asics Coplam (doors and windows)
1989–1990   Adidas
1990–1991 AGNO (dairy industry)
1991–1992   Diadora
1992–1993   Nissan
1993–1995 ABM[298]
1995–1996 Puma Astir Insurance
1996–1997 Ethniki Insurance
1997–2002   Adidas General Bank
2002–2003 Oikos Missias (telesales)
2003–2005 EKO
2005–2006 Egnatia Insurance
2006–2007 Puma
2007–2010 DEPA €2,9M for 2,5 years[299]
2010–2012 Pame Stoixima €7,2M for 5 years[300][301][302]
2012–2013   Umbro
2013–2015   Nike
2015–2017   Macron   Sportingbet[303] €2,4M for 2 years[304]
2017– Stoiximan[305] €5,4M for 3 years[306]

FacilitiesEdit

StadiumEdit

Syntrivani Stadium was PAOK's first home ground. It was situated near the Children's Asylum, where the Theological School of Aristotle University stands today.[27]

Their current home ground is Toumba Stadium, which was built in 1959. The stadium has been renovated many times since and its seating capacity is 29,000.[1][41][42]

PAOK administration have already presented to the Greek public authorities an architecture study of a new Stadium at Toumba. It is estimated that PAOK will be granted a building permit in 2021 and construction process should last three to four years. PAOK would probably move to Kaftanzoglio Stadium until the new Stadium is built.[307]

Training Facilities and AcademyEdit

PAOK FC Sport Center is the training ground of the first team and Academy, located in Nea Mesimvria area of Thessaloniki. The construction started under the presidency of Theodoros Zagorakis.[180][181][308]

SupportersEdit

 
PAOK fans in Gate 4
 
Big shirt in Toumba stadium

PAOK FC is the most widely supported football club in Northern Greece and with the 3rd largest fanbase in the country, according to the latest polls and researches.[4][5][6][7]

PAOK's traditional fanbase comes from the city of Thessaloniki, where the club is based, as well as from the rest of Macedonia region and Northern Greece. They also have fans all over the country and in the Greek Diaspora (Germany, Australia, USA, etc.). Research by Marca in August 2018 reported that PAOK are the most popular Greek football team on social media.[8][9][10]

Toumba Stadium is infamous for its hostile atmosphere, a factor that led to the attribution of the Stadium as "The Black Hell".[309] On high-profile encounters, when the players walk out of the tunnel, the song Hells Bells by AC/DC is heard from the stadium's speakers.[310] The notorious Gate 4 is home to many PAOK organized supporters' groups from around the globe, with the homonymous Gate 4 fan club which was founded in April 1976, being the most familiar everywhere.[311][312] The supporters' group from Neapoli district of Thessaloniki that was founded in 1963 is the oldest one.[313] One of the biggest banners in the world was created by Michaniona fan club.[314]

No 12 jersey is dedicated to the fans, the symbolic 12th man on the pitch. It was permanently retired by the club on 16 August 2000.[315][316]

Vale of Tempe tragedy (4/10/1999)Edit

Constantly on tour in order to follow their beloved team everywhere, some 3,000 PAOK fans descended to the Olympic Stadium of Athens for the game against Panathinaikos on 3 October 1999. A few hours later, time stopped. On its way back to Thessaloniki, the double-decker bus of the Kordelio fan club collided with a truck and fell into a ditch in the Vale of Tempe, Thessaly. The aftermath of the bus crash was devastating. Six PAOK fans lost their lives (Kyriakos Lazaridis, Christina Tziova, Anastasios Themelis, Charalampos Zapounidis, Georgios Ganatsios, Dimitris Andreadakis) and many others were injured. A roadside memorial was erected at the site of the crash bearing the following inscription: "Their love for PAOK brought them here, left them here and went beyond".[143][144]

FriendshipsEdit

PAOK fans maintain a strong friendship with the supporters of Serbian club Partizan, the Grobari. On many occasions, fans from both clubs traveled to watch each other's games.[317][318] Lately, some PAOK supporters' groups have developed a friendship with fans of CSKA Moscow (common Orthodox faith).[319]

PAOK fans have good relations with the fans of OFI Crete, a friendship that started in October 1987 when OFI faced Atalanta for 1987–88 Cup Winners' Cup at Toumba Stadium and numerous PAOK fans supported the Cretans.[320][321]

RivalriesEdit

 
PAOK 1–0 Olympiacos, 2009 Greek Cup quarter-final

The rivalry between Olympiacos and PAOK is the fiercest intercity football rivalry in Greece and is long-standing, emerging in the 1960s, when Olympiacos unsuccessfully tried to acquire Giorgos Koudas from PAOK, approaching him directly without going into a negotiation with his club.[322][323]

A longtime heated rivalry exists between PAOK and local rivals Aris.[324][325]

Panathinaikos and AEK, Athens' two biggest clubs, are also considered major rivals.[326][327]

There are and some less intense rivalries, as can be characterized those with Iraklis (local conflict) and AEL.

HonoursEdit

DomesticEdit

EuropeanEdit

RegionalEdit

  • Macedonia FCA Championship:
    • Winners (7): 1936–37, 1947–48, 1949–50, 1953–54, 1954–55, 1955–56, 1956–57
  • Macedonia–Thrace FCA Championship:
    • Winners (1): 1939–40

European recordEdit

Competition App Pld W D L Goals
European Cup / Champions League 9 28 6 9 13 36–49
UEFA Cup / Europa League 28 148 56 44 48 204–171
UEFA Cup Winners' Cup 6 18 8 5 5 24–23
Inter-Cities Fairs Cup 3 6 2 0 4 5–17
Total 46 200 72 58 70 269–260

Last updated: 10 December 2020

PAOK's best European performance was in the 1973–74 season, when they reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup.[14] Additionally, the club has the joint-most appearances in the UEFA Europa League group stages, with 8.

UEFA club rankingsEdit

As of 22 january 2021[328]
Rank Team
71   Başakşehir 21.500
72   Qarabağ 21.000
73   PAOK 21.000
74   Standard 20.500
75   FCSB 20.500

PlayersEdit

Current squadEdit

As of 24 January 2021[329]

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

No. Pos. Nation Player
2 DF   BRA Rodrigo
4 DF   ISL Sverrir Ingi Ingason
5 DF   CPV Fernando Varela
6 DF   ALB Enea Mihaj
7 MF   MAR Omar El Kaddouri
8 MF   EGY Amr Warda
9 FW   POL Karol Świderski
10 MF   AUT Thomas Murg
11 FW   GRE Christos Tzolis
14 FW   SRB Andrija Živković
15 DF   ESP José Ángel Crespo (vice-captain)
16 DF   NOR Adrian Pereira
19 DF   GRE Lefteris Lyratzis
20 MF   POR Vieirinha (captain)
No. Pos. Nation Player
21 DF   GHA Baba Rahman (on loan from Chelsea)
22 MF   AUT Stefan Schwab
23 MF   JPN Shinji Kagawa
25 FW   CRO Antonio Čolak
27 FW   CZE Michael Krmenčík (on loan from Club Brugge)
31 GK   GRE Alexandros Paschalakis
32 MF   GEO Nika Ninua
33 MF   BRA Douglas Augusto
49 DF   GRE Giannis Michailidis
51 MF   GRE Charis Tsingaras
88 GK   SRB Živko Živković
97 MF   GRE Lazaros Lamprou
98 MF   BRA Léo Jabá
99 MF   BIH Vladimir Bradonjić

Reserve teamEdit

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

No. Pos. Nation Player
29 MF   GRE Georgios Vrakas
64 GK   GRE Christos Talichmanidis
65 MF   GRE Giannis Konstantelias
No. Pos. Nation Player
70 FW   GRE Giorgos Koutsias
GK   GRE Konstantinos Balomenos
FW   GRE Antonis Gaitanidis

Out on loanEdit

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 Nikos Bourganis (at Karaiskakis until 30 June 2021)
DF   GRE Marios Tsaousis (at Spartak Trnava until 30 June 2021)
DF   GRE Dimitris Giannoulis (at Norwich City until 30 June 2021)
MF   GRE Konstantinos Korelas (at Karaiskakis until 30 June 2021)
MF   GRE Serafim Maniotis (at Levadiakos until 30 June 2021)
No. Pos. Nation Player
MF   GRE Vasilios Fasidis (at Trikala until 30 June 2021)
MF   GRE Zisis Chatzistravos (at Lamia until 30 June 2021)
MF   NGA Anderson Esiti (at Göztepe until 30 June 2021)
MF   NED Diego Biseswar (at Apollon Limassol until 30 June 2021)
FW   GRE Dimitrios Panidis (at Trikala until 30 June 2021)

Retired numbersEdit

  • 12 – in honour of the fans, the symbolic 12th man on the pitch. On 28 May 2000, Joe Nagbe was the last player who wore the No 12 jersey.[134]
  • 17 – in honour of Panagiotis Katsouris, a PAOK player who died in a car accident in February 1998.[330]

Captains (since 1952)Edit

 
Club captain Vieirinha
Name Period
  Lefteris Papadakis 1952–1957
  Lampis Kouiroukidis 1957–1960
  Giorgos Hasiotis 1960–1964
  Leandros Symeonidis 1964–1969
  Giorgos Koudas 1969–1984
  Kostas Iosifidis 1984–1985
  Nikos Alavantas 1985–1989
  Giorgos Skartados 1989–1992
  Alexis Alexiou 1992–1996
  Thodoris Zagorakis 1996–1998
  Giorgos Toursounidis 1998–1999
  Kostas Frantzeskos 1999–2000
  Tasos Katsabis 2000–2002
Name Period
  Pantelis Kafes 2002–2003
  Loukas Karadimos 2003–2004
  Dimitris Salpingidis 2004–2005
  Thodoris Zagorakis 2005–2007
  Giorgos Georgiadis 2007–2008
  Pantelis Konstantinidis 2008–2009
  Sérgio Conceição 2009–2010
  Kostas Chalkias 2010–2012
  Pablo García 2012–2013
  Dimitris Salpingidis 2013–2014
  Stefanos Athanasiadis 2014–2017
  Stelios Malezas 2017–2018
  Vieirinha 2018–

MVP of the SeasonEdit

Year Winner
1989/90   Giorgos Skartados
1990/91   Giorgos Mitsibonas
1991/92   Alexis Alexiou
1992/93   Kostas Lagonidis
1993/94   Alexis Alexiou
1994/95   Alexis Alexiou
1995/96   Paraschos Zouboulis
1996/97   Theodoros Zagorakis
1997/98   Kostas Frantzeskos
1998/99   Kostas Frantzeskos
1999/00   Kostas Frantzeskos
2000/01   Pantelis Konstantinidis
2001/02   Ioannis Okkas
2002/03   Ioannis Okkas
2003/04   Dimitris Salpingidis
 
Year Winner
2004/05   Dimitris Salpingidis
2005/06   Dimitris Salpingidis
2006/07   Marcin Mięciel
2007/08   Daniel Fernandes
2008/09   Kostas Chalkias
2009/10   Lino
2010/11   Vieirinha
2011/12   Stelios Malezas
2012/13   Lino
2013/14   Lino
2014/15   Ergys Kaçe
2015/16   Georgios Tzavellas
2016/17   Panagiotis Glykos
2017/18   Vieirinha
2018/19   Vieirinha
 
Year Winner
2019/20   Josip Mišić

Source: PAOK F.C.

Coaching StaffEdit

 
Pablo García current PAOK head coach
Coaching staff
  Pablo García Head Coach
  Mirosław Sznaucner Assistant Coach
  Alexandros Maniatoglou Assistant Coach
  Mario Galinovic Goalkeeping Coach
Analysis department
  Ioannis Thomaidis Head Analyst
  Makis Kosmidis Match Analyst
  Ioannis Tsaniklidis Data Analyst
  Georgios Kostikos Scouting
  Stefanos Borbokis Scouting
Fitness coaches
  Dimitris Daniilidis Head Fitness Coach
  Ioannis Ampatzidis Fitness Coach
  Theocharis Komsis Fitness Coach
  Vasilios Kanaras Rehabilitation Coach
  Anestis Aslanidis Rehabilitation Coach
Medical department
  Dr. Periklis Papadopoulos Head of Medical Services
  Dr. Ioannis Gigis Head of Medical Services
  Dr. Konstantinos Ditsios Head of Medical Services
  Dr. Ioannis Rallis Club Doctor
  Dr. Theoharis Kyriakidis Club Doctor
  Dr. Giorgos Ziogas Toccupational physiologist
  Ioanna Paspala Nutritionist
  Nikos Tsirelas Head Physiotherapist
  Petros Nikoloudis Physiotherapist
  Nikos Mouratidis Physiotherapist
  Athanasios Kapoulas Physiotherapist
  Giorgos Gagalis Physiotherapist
Sport management and organisation
  Olaf Rebbe Sporting Director
  Vasilis Mittas Technical Director of Academy
  Christos Karipidis Team manager

Source: PAOK F.C.


Notable ManagersEdit

The following managers won at least one national trophy when in charge of PAOK:

Name Period Trophies
  Les Shannon 1971–1974 2 Greek Cups, Greater Greece Cup
  Gyula Lóránt 1975–1976 Super League
  Walter Skocik 1984–1985 Super League
  Dušan Bajević 2000–2002 Greek Cup
  Angelos Anastasiadis 2002–2003 Greek Cup
  Vladimir Ivić 2016–2017 Greek Cup
  Răzvan Lucescu 2017–2019 Super League, 2 Greek Cups

GalleryEdit

ManagementEdit

Board of DirectorsEdit

[332]

Position Name
Ownership Dimera Group Limited
President     Ivan Savvidis
A Vice–President & CEO   Chrisostomos Gagatsis
B Vice–President   Kyriakos Kyriakou
Chief Executive Officer   Kostas Lagonidis
Counselor of administrative board   Giorgos Koudas
Football Section Advisor   Malamas Tevekelis
Legal Department Manager   Achilleas Mavromatis
Marketing Department Manager   Lazaros Bachtsevanos
Member of the Board     George Savvidis
Member of the Board   Maria Goncharova
Member of the Board   Artur Davidyan
Member of the Board   Dimokratis Papadopoulos
Security Manager Stage   Tryfon Koukios
Head of the Security Department   Ilias Gerontidis
Director of New Media   Panagiotis Aroniadis
Νetwork Co-ordinator in Northern Greece,   Vasilis Chatziapostolou
Communication Officer   Lefteris Doukas

PAOK FC presidentsEdit

[333]

 
Former president Ľuboš Micheľ
Name Period
  Giorgos Pantelakis 1979–1984
  Petros Kalafatis 1984–1985
  Charis Savvidis 1985–1988
  Giannis Dedeoglou 1988–1989
  Thomas Voulinos 1989–1996
  Giorgos Kalyvas 1996
  Giorgos Batatoudis 1996–2001
  Petros Kalafatis 2001–2003
  Vassilis Sergiannidis 2003
  Apostolos Pagonis 2003
Name Period
  Giannis Goumenos 2003–2006
  Nikolaos Vezyrtzis 2006–2007
  Thodoris Zagorakis 2007–2009
  Zisis Vryzas 2009–2010
  Thodoris Zagorakis 2010–2012
  Zisis Vryzas 2012–2014
  Iakovos Angelides 2014–2016
  Ľuboš Micheľ 2016–2017
   Ivan Savvidis 2017–

Records and statisticsEdit

 
Legendary Giorgos Koudas, a powerful attacking midfielder, is the appearances recordman and second all-time goalscorer of the club.

One-club menEdit

Player Position Debut Last match
  Giorgos Koudas MF 21 December 1963 26 February 1984
  Stavros Sarafis FW 8 October 1967 7 June 1981
  Konstantinos Iosifidis DF 19 September 1971 16 June 1985

Player recordsEdit

Giorgos Koudas holds the record for most PAOK league appearances, having played 504 matches (607 overall) from 1963 to 1984.[47][48][49][334]

Stavros Sarafis is the club's top goalscorer with 170 goals overall (136 in league matches), from 1967 to 1981.[52][335]

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

League top goalscorers:

Rank Name Apps
1   Stavros Sarafis 136
2   Giorgos Koudas 133
3   Dimitris Salpingidis 90
4   Giorgos Skartados 84
5   Giorgos Kostikos 79
6   Stefanos Athanasiadis 72
7   Neto Guerino 66
8   Panagiotis Kermanidis 60
9   Achilleas Aslanidis 55
10   Koulis Apostolidis 51

Super League top scorersEdit

Rank Player Goals Season
1   Aleksandar Prijović 19 2017–18
2   Dimitris Salpingidis 17 2005–06
3   Dimitris Nalitzis 24* 1999–00

* Nalitzis scored 13 goals for Panionios and 11 for PAOK that season.

Domestic recordsEdit

Outline Record
Double winners, going unbeaten in a national round-robin league tournament (league format since 1959). 2018–19 PAOK FC season
Champions, starting the season with a points deduction. 2018–19 Super League Greece (PAOK started the season on –2 points)
Most consecutive league games scoring. 69 (PAOK lost two games 0–3 by court decision during this period that are not taken into account)
Most consecutive league games scoring away. 35
Most seasons with a points deduction. 9 (1963–64, 1986–87, 1990–91, 1995–96, 2013–14, 2015–16, 2016–17, 2017–18, 2018–19)
Most consecutive seasons with a points deduction. 4 (2015–16, 2016–17, 2017–18, 2018–19)
Winners of 3 consecutive Greek Cup finals against the same opponent. 2017, 2018 and 2019 Greek Cup finals (vs AEK)
Winners of 2 consecutive Greek Cup finals that were held at the opponent's home ground. 2018 and 2019 Greek Cup finals (held at Athens Olympic Stadium, AEK's home ground at the time)
Greek Cup runners-up. 13 times
Biggest European win by a Greek football club. Locomotive Tbilisi 0–7 PAOK (16 September 1999, UEFA Cup)
Most UEFA Europa League appearances. 28
Most consecutive UEFA Europa League appearances. 12

See alsoEdit

BibliographyEdit

  • Κανώτας, Μιλτιάδης (2005). 80 χρόνια, αυτός είναι ο ΠΑΟΚ (in Greek). Ελλάδα: Εκδόσεις Εκδοτική Θεσσαλονίκης.
  • Κυρίτσης, Δημήτρης ; Στεφανίδης, Ανέστης ; Τσιομπανούδη, Ελένη (2005). ΠΑΟΚ, Πανθεσσαλονίκειος Αθλητικός Όμιλος Κωνσταντινοπουλιτών 1926-2005 (in Greek). Ελλάδα: Εκδόσεις Κέντρο Ιστορίας Θεσσαλονίκης. ISBN 9789608859524.
  • Μπλιάτκας, Κώστας (2005). Γιώργος Κούδας, της ζωής μου το παιχνίδι (in Greek). Ελλάδα: Εκδόσεις Ιανός. ISBN 9789607827357.
  • Συλλογικό έργο (2009). Για πάντα πρωταθλητές, Π.Α.Ο.Κ. Ποδόσφαιρο-Μπάσκετ (in Greek). Ελλάδα: Εκδόσεις Σκάι. ISBN 978-960-482-020-7.
  • Τσάλλος, Αλέξιος (2010). Το αλφαβητάρι του ΠΑΟΚ (in Greek). Ελλάδα: Εκδόσεις Δίαυλος. ISBN 978-960-531-259-6.
  • Τσιώλης, Σταύρος (2011). Ταξιδεύοντας με τον ΠΑΟΚ (in Greek). Ελλάδα: Εκδόσεις Αιγόκερως. ISBN 978-960-322-419-8.
  • Πετρακόπουλος, Σταύρος (2016). Τα «μυθικά» του ΠΑΟΚ (in Greek). Ελλάδα: Εκδόσεις Friends Press. ISBN 978-618-82397-0-8.
  • Ζαμπούνης, Χρήστος (2016). ΠΑΟΚ αφού (in Greek). Ελλάδα: Εκδόσεις Φερενίκη. ISBN 978-960-9513-58-6.
  • Ιωαννίδης, Νίκος (2017). Μια εποχή στο τσιμέντο (in Greek). Ελλάδα: Εκδόσεις Τόπος. ISBN 978-960-499-192-1.
  • Εδίρνελης, Σωκράτης (2018). Το κλεμμένο πρωτάθλημα (in Greek). Ελλάδα: Εκδόσεις ΑΛΔΕ. ISBN 978-960-9451-89-5.
  • Παππούς, Μιχάλης (2019). Ο ΠΑΟΚ του 70 (in Greek). Ελλάδα: Εκδόσεις University Studio Press. ISBN 978-960-12-2421-3.

FilmographyEdit

  • Νίκος Τριανταφυλλίδης. 90 χρόνια ΠΑΟΚ - Νοσταλγώντας το μέλλον, 2016.[336][337]

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External linksEdit

Official websites

News sites

Media