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PAOK Football Club (Greek: ΠΑΕ ΠΑΟΚ, Πανθεσσαλονίκειος Αθλητικός Όμιλος Κωνσταντινοπολιτών, Panthessaloníkios Athlitikós Ómilos Konstantinopolitón PAOK, "Pan-Thessalonian Athletic Club of Constantinopolitans"),[3] commonly known as PAOK FC, PAOK Thessaloniki or simply PAOK, is a professional football club based in Thessaloniki, Macedonia, Greece, current Greek Super League champions and one of the top domestic clubs.

PAOK
Paok2013.png
Full nameΠανθεσσαλονίκειος Αθλητικός Όμιλος Κωνσταντινοπολιτών
Panthessaloníkios Athlitikós Ómilos Konstantinopolitón
(Panthessalonian Athletic Club of Constantinopolitans)
Nickname(s)O Dikefalos tou Vorra (The double-headed eagle of the North)
Aspromavri (The Black-Whites)
Short namePAOK
Founded20 April 1926; 93 years ago (1926-04-20)
GroundToumba Stadium
Capacity29,000 (all-seater)[1]
OwnerIvan Savvidis[2]
PresidentIvan Savvidis[2]
Head coachAbel Ferreira
LeagueSuper League One
2018–19Super League, 1st
WebsiteClub website
Current season
Active departments of P.A.O.K.
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Established on 20 April 1926 by Greek Constantinopolitans who fled to Thessaloniki from the city of Constantinople in the wake of the Greco-Turkish War, they play their home games at Toumba Stadium, with a capacity of 29.000 seats. Their name, along with the club's emblem, the Byzantine-style double-headed eagle with retracted wings that was adopted three years after the establishment of the club, honours the memory of the people and places (mostly the city of Constantinople) that once belonged to the Byzantine Empire and after the Fall of Constantinople were invaded and conquered by the Ottoman Empire in 1453. Τhe club is one of the founding members of the Hellenic Football Federation that was formed in 1926.

PAOK currently plays in the top-flight Super League, which they have won 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 (in 2019 with a 26–4–0 record) and Panathinaikos (in 1964 with a 24–6–0 record) are the two clubs in Greece that managed to win a top-flight championship unbeaten.

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. In addition to this, it is the only Greek team that has more wins than losses in all its European history (68 wins, 54 draws and 64 defeats, as of December 13, 2018); 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.[4]

HistoryEdit

Foundation and early years (1926–1945)Edit

 
PAOK in 1926

PAOK FC is the oldest part of the major multi-sport club AC P.A.O.K., the successor of Hermes ACAC, which was formed in 1875 by the Greek community of Pera, a district of Istanbul (Constantinople).[5]

The football club was founded in 1926. It was created by Constantinopolitans who fled to Thessaloniki after the Greek defeat in the Greco-Turkish War. However, it was 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.[6]

PAOK played their primary friendly match on May 4, 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.[7] Their first captain was Michalis Ventourelis.

 
PAOK in 1937

In 1926–1927 season, PAOK participated in the 2nd tier of Macedonia Football Clubs Association (EPSM) local championship, along among others with AEK Thessaloniki, which dissolved their football team midterm. PAOK FC historic inaugural official match was on December 12, 1926 against Nea Genea Kalamaria and they won 3–1. Despite winning the championship of the 2nd division at the end of the season, PAOK were forced by the organizing committee (EPSM), to play against every club participating in the 1st division and defeat each and every one to get promoted. Eventually they defeated all four teams: Thermaikos 4–1, Aris 2–1, Atlas Ippodromiou 1–0 and Iraklis 1–0, and were awarded promotion. In 1927–1928, PAOK participated for the first time in the 1st tier of EPSM.[8]

The first professional contract was signed by the club on September 5, 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.[9]

In early 1929, AEK Thessaloniki was disbanded as a sports club and their members joined PAOK. PAOK thereupon changed their emblem, adopting the double-headed eagle. The double-headed eagle symbolizes the origins of the club in the former Byzantine capital, Constantinople, and the legacy of the Greek refugees from the Ottoman Empire.[6] 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 Pan-Hellenic Championship, playing their first match on February 1, 1931 against Olympiacos at Piraeus, where they were defeated by 3–1, and ended the season in 5th place.[8] The first foreign coach in team's history was Austrian Rudolf Gasner, who served at PAOK in 1931–1932.[7] On June 5, 1932 the Syntrivani Stadium was inaugurated with PAOK's 3–2 victory over Iraklis. Syntrivani meant to be their home ground for 27 years.[10]

In 1937, PAOK won their first title, the Macedonia (EPSM or Thessaloniki) Championship, and participated in the Pan-Hellenic Championship, finishing 2nd. The 1937 team included: Sotiriadis, Vatikis, Goulios, Kontopoulos, Bostantzoglou, Panidis, Glaros, Kritas, Ioannidis, Kalogiannis, Koukoulas, Kosmidis, Apostolou, Vafeiadis, Vasileiadis, 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[11] at Apostolos Nikolaidis Stadium. The following season, PAOK won the Northern Greece Championship and reached the two-legged final of Pan-Hellenic Championship, but they lost 5–3 on aggregate to AEK.[12]

 
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 Dimitrios (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. Afterdeath, 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 January 28, 1941 in Kleisura, fighting with the rank of Sergeant for the 5th Infantry Regiment, in the Greco-Italian War. He was 33 years old.[13]

EPSM Championships (1946–1958)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.[14]

In 1948, PAOK won the Macedonia Championship for second time in history, and then participated in the final phase of the Pan-Hellenic 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.[15] In 1950 they emerged once again champions of Macedonia,[16] while the next year (1950–51) they participated for second time in the final of the Greek Cup, but lost 4–0[17] 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 Lambis Kouiroukidis from Doxa Dramas was the most important transfer. Along with Lefteris Papadakis and Christophor Yentzis, they formed the famous attacking trio of that age.[6]

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

Coached by Nikos Pangalos, PAOK won the local Championship in 1954 with 9 wins and only 1 draw and in 1955 with 8 wins and 2 draws. In 1955, PAOK participated for third time in a Greek Cup final and were defeated 2–0[18] 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, with 9 wins and 1 draw. That year first scorer was Kouiroukidis, with 14 goals.[19] The "golden" 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 Championship (Alpha Ethniki) was established, with the help of instructions that were made towards the Greek authorities by UEFA.

Toumba Stadium, first years in Alpha Ethniki 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 an area owned by the Ministry of National Defence (Greece) at Toumba (Thessaloniki) was chosen as the adequate location.

Wing-commander Georgios Themelis, then Ministry of National Defence (Greece), granted the 7.5 acres to the club and also became the chairman of the committee overseeing the construction of Toumba Stadium. 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 (Greece) 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 FC (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 mark of 20,000 was broken on 28 April 1963 for the 1–1 draw with Panathinaikos (20,131 spectators), while the 30,000 mark was first surpassed in the 2–0 victory over Olympiacos on 19 March 1967 (31,504 spectators). The attendance record remains at 45,252 tickets and was registered on 19 December 1976 in the goalless draw with AEK Athens.[20]

First years in Alpha EthnikiEdit

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, Ioannis Giakoumis , Ignatios Mouratidis, Pavlos Papadopoulos, Anestis Afedoulidis and Giorgos Makris.

Koudas debut and 2-year absence that fueled Olympiacos–PAOK rivalryEdit

Giorgos Koudas 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. PAOK president Giorgos Pantelakis[21] 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".[22] 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 probably the best period 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, Christos Terzanidis, Kostas Iosifidis, Giannis Gounaris, Dimitris Paridis, Achilleas Aslanidis, Koulis Apostolidis, Filotas Pellios, Aristarchos Fountoukidis, Panagiotis Kermanidis, Angelos Anastasiadis, Neto Guerino 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 wonder-team of PAOK during the seventies

Captain Giorgos Koudas became even inspiration for a popular song by the Greek songwriter and PAOK supporter Nikos Papazoglou and lyricist Manolis Rasoulis.[23]

PAOK participated in 7 Greek Cup finals from 1970 to 1978 . In 1969–70 Greek Cup PAOK lost 1–0[24] to local rivals Aris in the final held at Kaftanzoglio Stadium and in the 1970–71 Greek Cup final they were defeated 3–1[25] by Olympiacos at Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium, home ground of Olympiacos.

The first domestic title PAOK won, was the 1971–72 Greek Cup. PAOK eliminated Pierikos, Aias Salamina, local rivals Aris in the quarter-finals with a 2–1 victory at Kleanthis Vikelidis Stadium and progressed to the final with their semi-final victory over Lamia. This time PAOK would face league champions Panathinaikos who also reached the 1971 European Cup Final. The final was played once again in Athens at Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium. PAOK players had 10,000 fans on their side and they vowed that it was about time to return with the trophy at Thessaloniki. It was the sixth final for the Double-Headed Eagle of the North and the fifth time that they traveled to Athens for the trophy match. PAOK won the game 2–1[26] 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.[27]

In 1972–73 season, PAOK came close to winning their first ever championship title playing exceptional football under the guidance of Les Shannon. 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[28] in a much disputed derby against Olympiacos at Georgios 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[29] 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 champioship. At the end of the season, PAOK participated for fourth consecutive year in the Greek Cup final but lost 1–0[30] to Olympiacos at Georgios 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.[31] PAOK defeated Legia Warsaw with 2–1 on aggregate[32][33] and Lyon with 7–3 on aggregate[34][35] 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.[36][37]

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

1975–76 Greek ChampionsEdit

With Gyula Lóránt at the helm, 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[38] away win over Olympiacos (biggest home defeat of Olympiacos in Greek football history). On April 11, 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 Neto Guerino scored the only goal of the match against AEK in the 89th minute,[39] giving the Double-Headed Eagle of the North a 4pt cushion (point system 2–1–0) with three matches to go until the end. 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.[40]

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 Kiev side. On 1 May 1977 (matchday 28), PAOK were leading the league table and lost 1–0[41] 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 ruled out for offside. PAOK fell from the top of the table and on June 12 (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[42] 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. On June 22, PAOK lost 2–1[43] to Panathinaikos in the Greek Cup final held at Georgios 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[44] to AEK in the Greek Cup final held at Georgios 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[45] to rivals Panathinaikos at Toumba Stadium. This was the first home defeat after a 62-game unbeaten run (52 wins/10 draws). 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[46] with the goal of the substitute Vassilis Vasilakos who was sitting next to Lóránt on the bench when he collapsed. The autopsy revealed that he had recently suffered from at least two heart attacks, the second one about a week before his death. PAOK players wanted to dedicate a Greek Cup title to his memory, but the team lost 3–1[47] to Olympiacos in the Greek Cup final held at Nikos Goumas Stadium on June 21.

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 Giorgos Koudas, the team lost 2–0[48] to AEK despite their superiority over the opponents that day. A first-half goal by Giorgos 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. The first penalty kick of Bayern was saved twice by PAOK goalkeeper Furtula, but the English referee Arthur Robinson ordered the penalty to be retaken both times.[49][50]

 
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. Notable figures of the team included Giorgos Skartados, Nikos Alavantas, Thomas Siggas, Rade Paprica and attacking duo of Giorgos Kostikos and Christos Dimopoulos. It was also the last season at the club for Ioannis Damanakis 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[51] away win over Panathinaikos at Olympic Stadium of Athens. The crucial goal was scored by Paprica in the 80th minute with a diving header. On June 9, 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. It was the only away point of Pierikos that season.[52] On June 22, 10-man (Vasilakos was sent-off early in the first half) PAOK lost 4–1[53] 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 didn’t 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 Vardinoyannis) in order to seal his transfer to Panathinaikos as his 5-year contract with PAOK was expiring.[54]

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[55] 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.[56][57] 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 shining and youngster Giorgos Toursounidis rising, the team managed to reach the half-way stage of the competition topping the table (winter champions),[58] 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)[59] after two goalless draws. On 23 September 1990 (matchday 2), president 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[60] 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.[61] 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-finalsts in 1990 European Cup) in the 1st round of 1991–92 UEFA Cup with 2–1 on aggregate.[62] Stefanos Borbokis scored the winner in the 85th minute of the 2nd leg at Achter de Kazerne Stadium. Blazevic was replaced by Gounaris later and the team lost in the two-legged Greek Cup final to Olympiacos with 3–1 on aggregate.[63] On 24 May 1992 (matchday 32), PAOK lost 1–2[64] 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.[65] It is widely rumoured that after this shock defeat, legendary PAOK fans leader Thomas Mavromichalis decided to never set foot again at Toumba Stadium.

On 1 October 1992, PAOK vs Paris Saint-Germain[66] 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, 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 the reins of the club to Giorgos Batatoudis. Numerous transfers of quality players such as Zisis Vryzas, Spiros Marangos, Kostas Frantzeskos, Percy Olivares and Joe Nagbe took place under the new administration. In 1997, after a five-year absence from European competition, PAOK qualified for the UEFA Cup under coach Angelos Anastasiadis. The club's reappearance at European level was marked by a victory and qualification over Arsenal with 2–1 on aggregate.[67][68] 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.[69][70]

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 February 12 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.[71]

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 match against Panathinaikos at the Olympic Stadium of Athens, which ended 1–1. A ceremony in commemoration of the incident has taken place every year since.[72][73][74]

In January 2000, PAOK appointed Dušan Bajević as their new manager. PAOK won the 2001 Greek Cup beating Olympiacos 4–2[75] in the final held at Nikos Goumas Stadium on 12 May 2001.

On 17 May 2003, PAOK defeated local rivals Aris 1–0[76][77] in the final held at Toumba Stadium with an excellent goal scored by Georgiadis and earned their 4th Greek Cup title. PAOK manager Angelos Anastasiadis became the first in club's history to win the Cup both as a player (in 1974) and manager.

 
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 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 FC. The 1st leg at Toumba Stadium ended 1–2, but it was later awarded 0–3[78] 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.[79]

Rolf Fringer succeeded Angelos Anastasiadis in September 2004, 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,[80] brought the club one step from complete ruin, with the organized supporters' groups launching an all-out war against president Giannis Goumenos during the summer of 2006,[81] going as far as to occupy the club's offices in Toumba stadium for a handful of days. The situation was worsening for Goumenos after various negotiations with possible investors failed,[82] constant allegations of embezzlement emerged,[83] and especially after his decision to sell star player Dimitris Salpingidis to Panathinaikos.[84]

On 13 November 2006, Goumenos resigned from PAOK presidency leaving huge debts behind[85] and few weeks later, Nikos Vezyrtzis–Apostolos Oikonomidis duo (former PAOK BC presidents) assumed temporary management of the club.[86]

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

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

In the summer of 2007, former player and captain Theodoros Zagorakis assumed the presidency of the club, replacing the Nikos Vezyrtzis and Apostolos Oikonomidis administration and thus ushered a new era,[87] in an effort to bring the club back to successes.

In 2007–2008 season, the early replacement of Georgios Paraschos by the well-known established manager Fernando Santos[88] did little to prevent a 9th-place finish in the league.[89] 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.[90][91]

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[92]). In the summer of 2008, the club brought in promising winger Vieirinha and widely known internationals like Pablo Contreras, Zlatan Muslimović and Pablo García.[93]

In January 2009, Zagorakis announced the club's intention of building a new training facility complex[94] in the Nea Mesimvria area of Thessaloniki, owned by the club. The administration had already acquired land from the municipality of Agios Athanasios in the previous summer and the project was executed by former president Vasilis Sergiannidis'[95] construction company.[96]

The end of the 2008–09 season found PAOK in 2nd place, 8pts behind champions Olympiacos. However, team lost in the Superleague playoffs (pos. 2–5) to Panathinaikos and finished in 4th place.[97]

 
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[98] 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.[99] PAOK went on to win the league playoffs 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.[100] It was eventually decided in mid-June that Mario Beretta would be his successor.[101]

Beretta was quickly replaced by Pavlos Dermitzakis[102] and became the shortest-lived PAOK coach ever, sitting on the bench for 38 days only.[103] With Dermitzakis at the helm, PAOK faced Ajax and was ultimately eliminated on the away goals rule, managing a 1–1[104] draw in Amsterdam and a thrilling 3–3[105] 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[106] in Thessaloniki, secured a memorable 1–1[107][108] draw after extra time in Constantinople. Dermitzakis was removed after a 1–0 loss to Panathinaikos on October 17.[109] His assistant, Makis Chavos, replaced him as caretaker manager[110] and PAOK reached the knockout phase of the Europa League, losing 2–1 on aggregate to CSKA Moscow.[111] In the league, PAOK finished 4th in the regular season and secured a place in the 2011–12 UEFA Europa League third qualifying round through the playoffs.

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

PAOK board appointed Romanian László Bölöni as the club's new head coach for the following season.[112] 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[113] 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.[114][115]

Ivan Savvidis era (2012–present)Edit

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

On 10 August 2012, Ivan Savvidis acquired PAOK ownership by depositing a fee of €9,951,000 and thus becoming the major shareholder of the club.[116][117]

In 2012–13 season, under manager Giorgos Donis, PAOK finished 2nd during the regular period, qualifying for the Superleague playoffs (pos. 2–5). After a Greek Cup semi-final loss to Asteras Tripolis, Donis was replaced by technical director and former player Georgios Georgiadis, who was appointed as caretaker manager. 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.[118]

In June 2013, PAOK appointed Huub Stevens as their new coach, but he was dismissed in March 2014 after achieving poor results.[119] Once again, Georgiadis was appointed as caretaker manager and the team managed to reach the 2013–14 Greek Cup final, but lost 4–1[120] to Panathinaikos at the Olympic Stadium of Athens.

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.[121][122] Few days later, PAOK hired Frank Arnesen as their new technical director (sports director). On 18 June 2015, Igor Tudor was hired as the new manager of the club, signing a three-year contract.[123] Tudor was replaced in March 2016 by youth-team coach Vladimir Ivic[124] and the team won the Superleague playoffs and qualified for the 2016–17 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round.

 
The team in 2018

PAOK won the 2016–17 Greek Cup beating AEK 2–1[125] 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.[126] The final was marred by crowd violence before the kick-off.[127] In the Superleague playoffs (pos. 2–5) that followed, a game against Panathinaikos at Apostolos Nikolaidis Stadium was abandoned (scoreline 1–0 at the time) when Ivic was struck on his head by a beer can that was thrown from the crowd.[128][129] 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 Ivic exaggerated the impact of the injury and could continue.[130][131] 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, Ivic did not renew his contract[132] 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.[133]

2017–18 eventful seasonEdit

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 García had to stay at the hospital overnight and PAOK vs Olympiacos game never started.[134][135] Olympiacos communications chief Karapapas stated that he expected a huge apology from PAOK for the incident and that their rivals must meet up with civilization if they want to become a big club. He also claimed that the object that fell onto Garcia 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.[136] PAOK representatives claimed that the whole incident was a certain tactic from Olympiacos, which eventually didn't work out because there was no injury sustained.[137][138][139][140] Medical report of the official doctor of the match, approved by the Greek Football Federation (EPO), stated that Garcia 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.[141] Referee Aretopoulos (who had many controversial moments in his career[142][143]) submitted two match reports (an initial report[144] at Toumba Stadium and a supplementary report[145] few days later that was demanded by first-instance court judge) to describe why the game was abandoned. 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 with a revolver attached to his belt when referee Georgios Kominis disallowed a 90th minute goal scored by Fernando Varela with a header.[146] 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 (wearing a jacket) entered the pitch with few members of his personal guard and Ľuboš Micheľ (former UEFA Elite referee).[147] 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.[148] 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.[149] Kominis’ intention was the game to be continued after 1 hour (and blew his whistle outside the dressing rooms calling the two teams[150]), but AEK general manager Vasilis Dimitriadis approached him and claimed (as can be heard in audio[151]) 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.[152] 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.[153] 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.[154] 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.[155] 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.[156] 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.[157] 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.[158] 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.[159] Ivan Savvidis apologised for his behaviour two days after the game[160] 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.[161] 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[162][163][164] in the final held at 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[165]) both stated that 2018 championship title was stolen from PAOK.[166][167]

2018–19 unbeaten Champions and first domestic DoubleEdit

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

On May 5, PAOK earned their 26th win in 30 games to complete an undefeated season (26–4–0 record).[168] This is arguably the best performance in Greek football history,[169] the previous held by Panathinaikos, who won the 1963–64 Alpha Ethniki title undefeated, but with a 24–6–0 record. PAOK were also the only unbeaten European football club in the national championships held across Europe during the 2018–2019 season.[170]

On May 11, PAOK won the Greek Cup for third consecutive year, defeating AEK 1–0.[171][172][173] 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 also 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.

StadiumsEdit

Syntrivani Stadium was PAOK's first home ground. It was situated near the Children's Asylum, where the Theological School of Aristotle University is based today.[174]

Their current home ground is Stadio Toumbas, which was opened in 1959, although it has been renovated a number of times since.[175]

SupportersEdit

 
PAOK fans in Gate 4
 
PAOK FC bus

PAOK FC is the most popular football club in the regions of northern Greece.[176]

They are one of the most popular football clubs in Greece, with one of the highest average home attendances. PAOK's traditional fanbase comes from the city of Thessaloniki, where the club is based, as well as most of the rest of Macedonia region and northern Greece,[177] but they have fans all over Greece, as well as in the Greek Diaspora (Australia, Germany, Americas etc). A research by Marca in 2018, also found PAOK as the most popular Greek football team in social media.[178]

The main organized supporters of PAOK are known as Gate 4.[179] Gate 4 is where the largest PAOK supporters' clubs assemble. They support all clubs within the PAOK Sports Society, wearing the club's colors and symbols and maintaining firms in every corner of Greece, created in 1976. However, the oldest fan club is "SF PAOK Neapolis Bellos", which was founded in 1963, and was one of the first fan clubs in the country.[180]

 
Big shirt in Toumba stadium

Supporters are also renowned for fireworks, with small and large banners displayed in the stands, and for noisy and constant cheering. One of the biggest banners in the world was created by fan club Michaniona.[181] They maintain a strong friendship with the supporters of Serbian club Partizan, the Grobari. There have been many occasions where fans from both clubs traveled to watch each other's games.[182] PAOK fans also have good relations with the fans of OFI Crete, a friendship that has been built mainly around their sharing of the same club colours.[183] The friendship is supported by an annual exchange of tickets and a typically strong atmosphere in their matches. They additionally also maintain good relations with fans of Panionios.

Early in the morning of 4 October 1999 a bus accident took place in the Vale of Tempe, Thessaly, with six fans of the team killed. A ceremony in commemoration of the incident has taken place every year since.[184]

RivalriesEdit

 
PAOK vs Olympiacos in 2009 (1–0, scorer Sérgio Conceição)

The rivalry between Olympiacos and PAOK, is long-standing, emerging in the 1960s, when the unsuccessful case of Giorgos Koudas' transfer from PAOK to Olympiacos occurred.[185]

A long-time rivalry also exists between PAOK and local rivals Aris .[186]

Panathinaikos and AEK Athens are also considered major rivals due to the rivalry of citizens between Thessaloniki of Macedonia and Athens.[187]

Crest and coloursEdit

The team's traditional colours are black, as sadness for the Asia Minor Catastrophe of 1922 and the end of the Greek presence in Anatolia, and white as hope for recovery.[188] PAOK's traditional home colours are black and white striped shirt. Shorts and socks are usually black with white lines, but it's never the same for a long time. For many seasons in history the shorts were white with black lines. In general, there is nothing stable for a long period. In the club's 91-year history there are over 100 changes, with variations of black and white with shirt and shorts. In addition to classic black and white, the club has used purple, blue, orange, silver and red as an alternative. Every year there are small or big changes.[189] In 1926, the first shirt was black with white collar, and also white shorts.[190] In 1931, the club used a black-and-white shirt with horizontal strips, and also white shorts. Similar appearance was used in 1953 but shorts was black. In 1967–68, for the first time appeared with white shirt, white shorts and white socks.[191] Similar appearances occurred in 1980–82,[192] 1984–85,[193] and 1987–88.[194] In 1970–71, for the first time appeared with black shirt, black shorts and black socks.[195] In January 2016, PAOK presented an anniversary jersey for the 90th birthday of the club. The jersey was designed by Macron. His features were the big, white collar, the thick cords, a variation of the double-headed eagle, the logo of the 90 years on the sleeve, and the first characteristic logo of the team can be found printed on the backneck. Τhe anniversary shirt is a copy of 1966's jersey.[196] The current home kit was designed by Macron. Ιn 2016–17, the kit was the classic band white colors of the club developed in vertical bands with side and front piping color of gold. The collar is enriched in the back by the press of the club's name.[197]

CrestEdit

The first logo of PAOK was a horseshoe and a four-leaf clover, that was proposed by the member of board Kostas Koemtzopoulos.[198] The double-headed eagle was chosen as symbol of the club in 1929. Unlike other Byzantine-style eagles, the wings of the eagle are mournfully closed.[199] Under the leadership of Ivan Savvidis a gold stripe was added to the crest, as a symbol of glory and renaissance of the club.[200]

The first crest of the football club, the horseshoe with the four-leaf clover, was used also in the third kit during the 2018-19 season.

Kit evolutionEdit

First

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1925–26[190]
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1936–37[201]
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1938–39[202]
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1970–71[195]
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1984–85[203]
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1990–91[204]
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2002–03[195]
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2004–05[195]
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2007–08[205]
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2014–15[206]
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2015–16[207]
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2016–17[208]
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2017–18

Alternative

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2000–01[209]
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2001–02[210]
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2002–03[211]
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2014–15[206]
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2015–16[207]
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2016–17[208]
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2017–18
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2018–19

Shirt sponsors and manufacturersEdit

Until the 1980s, when football in Greece was amateur, the team jerseys had only the emblem and the number of each player. When football became professional (in 1980), then companies began to become official sponsors of the club.[212]

 
Astra Airlines is an official carrier of the club.

In 1983, Suzuki Motor Corporation became the club's first shirt sponsor for one season.[212] After one-and-a-half years without a jersey sponsor, οn January 2008, there was an agreement with the natural gas supply corporation of Greece, DEPA. The agreement was two-and-a-half years, and the deal is worth €3 million.[213] At the start of the 2010–11 season, the club's main shirt sponsors was Pame Stoixima, which also sponsored them in 1987–88. The agreement was a three-year term,[214] for €1.5 million a year.[215] The collaboration with Pame Stoixima continued for another 2 years. For the 2013–14 season, the club received €1.5 million a year,[216] and for the next €1.8 million.[217] On 22 September 2015, the club announce a two-year deal with sportingbet.gr.[218] The shirt deal was €1.2 million a year.[219] On 30 June 2017, PAOK signed a three-year deal with online betting company "Stoiximan" as shirt sponsor.[220] The new €1.8-million-a-year shirt deal is worth €5.4 million over three years.[221]

ABM Diffusion became the kit manufacturer of PAOK for two years, until 1995.[222] Puma returned again for 2 years, before Adidas started a second spell in 1997. Adidas remained for nine years, followed by PUMA's third period of cooperation with PAOK.[223] Umbro became kit manufacturer of club again,[224] before the agreement with nike in 2013.[225] since 2015, the current kit manufacturer is Macron.[226]

HonoursEdit

NationalEdit

InternationalEdit

RegionalEdit

European recordEdit

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

UEFA rankingEdit

As of 25 October 2018
Rank Country Team Coeff.
63   Dnipro 24.000
64   Rapid Wien 23.500
65   PAOK 23.500
66   FCSB 23.000
67   Saint-Étienne 23.000

PlayersEdit

Current squadEdit

As of 31 August 2019[229]

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

No. Position Player
2   DF Rodrigo
3   DF Leonardo Matos
4   DF Sverrir Ingi Ingason
5   DF Fernando Varela
6   DF Enea Mihaj
7   MF Omar El Kaddouri
8   MF Maurício
9   FW Karol Świderski
10   MF Dimitris Pelkas (vice-captain)
14   MF Dimitris Meliopoulos
15   DF José Ángel Crespo (3rd captain)
18   MF Dimitris Limnios
19   MF Pontus Wernbloom
20   DF Vieirinha (captain)
No. Position Player
21   MF Diego Biseswar
22   FW Lazaros Lamprou
23   DF Dimitris Giannoulis
24   MF Anderson Esiti
27   MF Josip Mišić (on loan from Sporting CP)
31   GK Alexandros Paschalakis
33   MF Douglas Augusto
47   FW Chuba Akpom
49   DF Giannis Michailidis
51   MF Charis Tsiggaras
78   FW Antonis Gaitanidis
88   GK Živko Živković
98   MF Léo Jabá
99   FW Miroslav Stoch

Out on loanEdit

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

No. Position Player
  GK Rodrigo Rey (at   Pachuca until 30 June 2020)
  GK Nikos Melissas (at   Volos until 30 Jun 2020)
  GK Nikolaos Bourganis (at   Karaiskakis until 30 Jun 2020)[230]
  DF Marko Mihojević (at   Erzgebirge Aue until 30 Jun 2020)
  DF Lefteris Lyratzis (at   Volos until 30 June 2020)
  DF Apostolos Diamantis (at   Volos until 30 June 2020)
  DF Marios Tsaousis (at   Volos until 30 June 2020)
  MF Tasos Meletidis (at   Karaiskakis until 30 Jun 2020)[231]
No. Position Player
  MF Zisis Chatzistravos (at   Karaiskakis until 30 Jun 2020)[232]
  MF Konstantinos Balogiannis (at   Volos until 30 June 2020)
  MF Thibault Moulin (at   Xanthi until 30 Jun 2020)
  MF Ergys Kaçe (at   AEL until 30 Jun 2020)
  MF Amr Warda (at   AEL until 30 Jun 2020)
  FW Giannis Mystakidis (at   Volos until 30 Jun 2020)
  FW Illya Markovskyy (at   Ethnikos Achna until 30 Jun 2020)
  FW Alexandros Gargalatzidis (at   Xanthi until 30 Jun 2020)

Other players under contractEdit

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

No. Position Player

Academy and teamsEdit

PAOK FC Sport Center is the training ground of PAOK and Academy base, located in Nea Mesimvria area. The construction started under the presidency of Theodoros Zagorakis.[233][234]

Retired numbersEdit

  • 12 – in honour of the fans, considered the "12th player" of the team in the pitch. The only player who had the number 12 in his shirt was Joe Nagbe. The last time was on 28 May 2000.[235]
  • 17 – in honour of Panagiotis Katsouris, a PAOK player that died in 1998 in a car accident.[236]

Captains (since 1952)Edit

 
Club's legend Vieirinha led the team to the undefeated championship of 2018–19
Name Period
  Lefteris Papadakis 1952–1957
  Lambis 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 2003–2005
  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–

Affiliated clubsEdit

Since 2013, PAOK maintains a cooperation with Juventus on the academies sector.[237]

National team playersEdit

A number of PAOK players have represented the Greece national team, the first official international being Nikos Sotiriadis. The record number of PAOK players for Greece was six, which happened on two occasions in 1981. The first PAOK player to captain Greece was Stavros Sarafis.[239]

ManagementEdit

Board of DirectorsEdit

[240][241][242]

Position Name
Ownership Dimera Group Limited
President     Ivan Savvidis
Vice–President     George Savvidis
Vice–President & CEO   Chrisostomos Gagatsis
Chief Executive Officer   Kostas Lagonidis
Counselor of administrative board   Giorgos Koudas[242]
Director of Football  
Technical Director of Academy   Vasilis Mittas
Football Section Advisor   Malamas Tevekelis[243]
Legal Department Manager   Achilleas Mavromatis
Marketing Department Manager   Lazaros Bachtsevanos
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
Press Officer   Lefteris Doukas

Management teamEdit

[244][245]

Position Staff
Head coach   Abel Ferreira
Assistant Head coach   Vítor Castanheira
Assistant coaches   João Martins
  Carlos Martinho
  Alexandros Maniatoglou
Head of Football Department   Christos Karipidis
Goalkeeper coach   Giorgos Skiathitis
Gymnast Rehabilitation   Vasilios Kanaras
  Anestis Aslanidis
Team Manager   Dimitris Saraidaris
Head of Medical Services   Emmanouel Papakostas[246]
Data Analyst   Ioannis Tsaniklidis
  Jose Magalhães
Opponent Analysis   Ioannis Thomaidis
  Makis Kosmidis
Scouting   Georgios Kostikos
  Stefanos Borbokis

PAOK FC presidentsEdit

[247]

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

Notable managersEdit

[174][248] The following managers won at least one trophy when in charge of PAOK:

Name Period Trophies
  Nikolaos Aggelakis 1947–1948   EPSM Championship
  Nikos Pangalos 1949–1950   EPSM Championship
  Hermao Koffmann 1955–1956   EPSM Championship
  Niko Polty 1956–1957   EPSM Championship
  Les Shannon 1971–1974 2   Greek Cups,   Greater Greece Cup
  Gyula Lóránt 1975–1976   Super League
  Walter Skocik 1984–1985   Super League
  Dušan Bajević 2000–2001   Greek Cup
  Angelos Anastasiadis 2002–2003   Greek Cup
  Vladimir Ivic 2016–2017   Greek Cup
  Răzvan Lucescu 2017–2019   Super League, 2   Greek Cups
  • Les Shannon is the longest-serving manager (3 years and 8 months), while Mario Beretta is the shortest (38 days).[103]
  • Gyula Lóránt suffered a heart attack, watching a league match of PAOK against Olympiacos and died at the game, aged 58.[249]

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

[250][251]

Player Nationality Position Debut Last match
Giorgos Koudas   MF 1963 1984
Stavros Sarafis   FW 1967 1981
Konstantinos Iosifidis   DF 1971 1985

Most league appearances and top scorerEdit

Giorgos Koudas holds the record for most PAOK league appearances, having played 504 matches (607 overall)[252] between 1963 and 1984.[253]

Stavros Sarafis is the club's top goalscorer with 170 goals overall (136 in league matches), being at PAOK between 1967 and 1981.[252][254]

A list of the ten highest appearances and scorers for PAOK (as of 2004) is listed below:[255]

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 scorers:

Rank Name Goals
1   Stavros Sarafis 136
2   Giorgos Koudas 134
3   Dimitris Salpingidis 90
4   Giorgos Skartados 84
5   Giorgos Kostikos 79
6   Stefanos Athanasiadis 71
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

Domestic team's recordsEdit

Outline Record
Champions without a loss in a top-flight campaign (after 1959) once (2018–19)

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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