PAOK FC

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PAOK - team crest
Teams Colors: Black White
Sponsors: Stoiximan
Founded: April 20,1926
Address: Mikras Asias 1, 54351 Thessaloniki, Greece
Telephone: +30 2310 950950
Fax: +30 2310 951000
Email: [email protected]
Web Site: www.paokfc.gr
Stadium: Toumba
Capacity: 28,701
Toumba - PAOK Stadium
Theo Zagorakis captained PAOK in 2006

History of PAOK

PAOK was founded in April 1926 by notable Constantinopolitans who arrived in Thessaloniki, after the exchange of population between Greece and Turkey, according to the Lausanne treaty of 1924. These people were: L. Nikolaidis, K. Komitsopoulos, D. Mitsionis, the Dimitriadis brothers, the MP Koultatsoglou, Kouemtzopoulos, Karamaounas and a few more. The constitution of PAOK, with index number 822, was legitimated by the City Court of Thessaloniki on April 28, 1926.

PAOK’s first emblem, adopted in 1926, was a four-leaved clover and a horse shoe. The leaves were green with the letters PAOK marked on each of them, a symbol devised by Kostas Koemtzopoulos who took the idea from a packet of cigarettes he smoked.

The decision to merge with the club AEK Thessaloniki can also be considered to be of historic importance. Until 20th March 1929 the two clubs were rivals, competing against each other although both had been established by refugees from Constantinople. It was the Chairman of AEK, Dr. Karamaounas, who brokered the merger between Thessaloniki’s two refugee teams. The main figures behind the idea and its implementation were Fanourios Vyzantios and Pantelis Kalpaktsoglou who had defected from AEK Thessaloniki, which had been established in 1924-25 by the first wave of refugees who had come to Thessaloniki from Constantinople in 1922. Certain members of AEK Thessaloniki headed south to the capital upon the merger to found the modern-day team AEK.

Following the merger with AEK in 1929, PAOK changed its emblem. The new emblem became the Two-headed Eagle, which remains to this day, and symbolizes the arrival of the club and the return to the roots and heritage of the refugees (Byzantium and Constantinople). The Eagle holds a sword and a crown with its two heads looking East and West. The difference between this emblem and that of AEK Athens (which is also the symbol of the Eastern Orthodox Church) is that the eagle on PAOK’s emblem has its wings folded signifying mourning for expulsion from the homeland.

The first section to be founded was soccer. Later on, in 1928, other sections were also founded such as basketball, volleyball, athletics, swimming, water polo, boxing and cycling.

The soccer team was put in the second division of the local championship of Thessaloniki. The following year, it was promoted to the first division, after beating Iraklis, who were the champions of Thessaloniki, 1-0. From this point on, the football team was established as one of the top Greek teams with a great and fanatical crowd all over Greece and beyond. The first stadium was built in the area of the University of Thessaloniki.

The first foreign coach in the history of the team was German Rudolph Ganser, who served with PAOK for the 1931-1932 season.

In 1957, the second stadium was started in the neighborhood of Constantinopolitan immigrants, called Toumba (Toumba, meaning tomb), which in recent years has become the home stadium. The new stadium was completed in 1959 and inaugurated with a 1-0 friendly victory over AEK Athens.

The 1970s saw PAOK develop into a contender. Englishman, Les Shannon, coached a team made up of Giorgos Koudas, Stavros Sarafis, Dimitris Paridis, Achilleas Aslanidis, Neto Guerino, Christos Terzanidis and others, nearly winning the championship in 1973. Three years later, PAOK handily won the title that eluded them in 1973. Meanwhile, PAOK also won the Cup: in 1972 and 1974, the latter under Ulsterman Billy Bingham.

Giorgos Koudas retired in 1984. The following season, PAOK won their second league title. Kostas Iosifidis has the distinction of having been a member of both 1976 and 1985 teams.

Recent Years

In recent years, PAOK, like most professional soccer teams in Greece, has been hit by financial problems.

In late 2003, Yiannis Goumenos arrived at PAOK, with a considerable background in insurance and stock-broking, with Giorgos Kalyvas and Vassilis Pagonis as his deputies, a new board and supposedly 1,7 million euros in emergency funds. He ushered in by former coach Angelos Anastasiadis, currently in charge of the Cypriot national team.

PAOK's acute financial straits, which have shown no sign of recovery, were dealt a further blow last month when a former coach at the club, Austrian Rolf Fringer, filed a case with soccer's international governing body for back wages owed to him by the Thessaloniki team (he is reportedly owed 200,000 euros).

On November 13, 2006, PAOK owner Yiannis Goumenos resigned amid a financial crisis that could relegate the club to the second division of the Greek league.

Negotiations by Argentina-based ship-owner Yiannis Kambanis and entrepreneur Ivan Savvidis to buy PAOK collapsed in June, bringing Greece's fourth largest soccer club to the verge of bankruptcy.

The amateur division's boss, Thanassis Katsaris, has already approached prominent Thessaloniki-based entrepreneurs in search of emergency funds and a takeover deal.

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Titles

Greek League

Greek Cup

(Former) Players

1930-1959

1960-1979

1980 - 1999

2000 - Present

Coaches

Trivia

PAOK has two retired numbers that won't be worn again:

  • 12 in honour of the fans, who are the 12th player


Other Resources

External Links

Fan Forums