Greek Football Cup
The Greek Football Cup, commonly known as the Greek Cup or for sponsorship reasons the Football Cup OPAP, is a Greek football competition, run by the Hellenic Football Federation. The holders of the Greek Cup are AEK Athens, who beat Olympiacos 2–1 in the 2016 final held on May 17,2016, the Greek Cup under EPO began in 1931. In its early years, entry was optional, Teams were paired against each other by the football associations, without a draw taking place. Later on, for years, a proper draw took place. In the 90s, the matches were played in groups. The winners of the played against each other up to the final in two-leg matches. Until 1964, if the score was a draw, the two teams played another match, while penalties didnt exist. The next year a new rule was applied, to determine that, if the game was undecided even after extra time and that rule was abolished in 1969, when the penalty shootout was applied. Until 1971, teams all over the country, professional. Each team first played against clubs from its own association and the winners continued in a nationwide competition, since 1971, only teams from the three professional divisions are allowed entry, while amateur clubs take part in the Amateur Cup. Over the years, the competition has played under various formats. In the initial format, one-legged ties were played at the ground of the team as determined by the draw, if the final result between two teams was a draw, the match was replayed at the opponents ground. There was extra time but no penalty shootout, if teams were still level after extra time, the winner was nominated by drawing lots or toss of coin. From 1969, the penalty shootout was established and the matches were concluded without the need for replays, for some years of the decades of 1980 and 1990, the First Round was played in preliminary groups, from which 16 teams qualified. These teams continued in knockout format with two-leg ties until the final match. For two seasons, the Final was also held as a tie, but then this rule was discarded. The current format is in effect from 2005, excluding 2009–10 season, for 2011–12, only to Semi-finals will be double matches. This is because the start of the tournament will delay because of court decisions pending for several teams, First Round, The teams of two groups of Football League 2 participate
Apostolos Nikolaidis Stadium
Apostolos Nikolaidis Stadium is a football stadium and multi-sport center in Athens, Greece. It was inaugurated in 1922 and is the oldest football stadium in Greece currently active and it is the traditional athletic center of Panathinaikos A. C. and has been the home ground of Panathinaikos FC for the most part of the clubs existence. The stadium is named after the clubs president, official. It is situated in the Ambelokipi district of Athens, east of the Lycabettus Hill and on Alexandras Avenue 160, the stadiums record attendance was recorded in 1967, when 29,665 spectators watched the Cup Winners Cup game between Panathinaikos and FC Bayern Munich. Apostolos Nikolaidis Stadium holds an important place in the history of Greek football. The first stand was built in 1928, and for almost 50 years it hosted the majority of big matches in domestic and it was the first to have floodlights installed and the first with a grass pitch. It was the home of the Greek national football team for many years, Panathinaikos FC left Leoforos in 1984 and moved to the Olympic Stadium. The club returned to their ground in 2001, following an upgrading that cost €7 million. In 2007, Panathinaikos FC decided to reuse Apostolos Nikolaidis Stadium for the 2007/2008 Greek Super League season, due to the stadiums old construction, dearth of space and dense urbanization of the area, the club has sought to move. Finally, the industrial Votanikos district has been selected among others to house the complex, Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyianni has stated that such a project will revitalise the area as well as benefit the club. In 2012, bureaucracy problems, such as Panathinaikos and the bad financial situation due to the economic crisis. President Giannis Alafouzos decided to move the back from the Athens Olympic Stadium to the historical Leoforos Alexandras for the 2013-14 season. As of October 2013, the plans for the construction of the Votanikos complex have been put on hold, under the East curve of the stadium, under Gates 6 and 7, there is an Indoor Hall. When it was constructed in 1959, it was the first indoor hall in Greece and it has a capacity of 2,000 and it is famous for the hot atmosphere Panathinaikos fans create in it. Its known by its nickname, The Indians Tomb, pronounced Tafos tou Indou in Greek and this nickname was so successful, that it was immediately adopted and is used until today to -informally- distinguish the indoor hall from the other facilities of the stadium. Since 2015, the name of the indoor hall is Pavlos Giannakopoulos. There are training rooms, boxing ring, swimming pool, such as a shop of the football team, pressroom. Fan seating in Greece is segregated by team allegiance, Gate 13, the subject of much graffiti in Athens, is where the most enthusiastic supporters of Panathinaikos FC sit in the stadium
Athens is the capital and largest city of Greece. In modern times, Athens is a cosmopolitan metropolis and central to economic, financial, industrial, maritime. In 2015, Athens was ranked the worlds 29th richest city by purchasing power, Athens is recognised as a global city because of its location and its importance in shipping, finance, commerce, media, entertainment, arts, international trade, culture, education and tourism. It is one of the biggest economic centres in southeastern Europe, with a financial sector. The municipality of Athens had a population of 664,046 within its limits. The urban area of Athens extends beyond its administrative city limits. According to Eurostat in 2011, the Functional urban areas of Athens was the 9th most populous FUA in the European Union, Athens is also the southernmost capital on the European mainland. The city also retains Roman and Byzantine monuments, as well as a number of Ottoman monuments. Athens is home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Acropolis of Athens and the medieval Daphni Monastery, Athens was the host city of the first modern-day Olympic Games in 1896, and 108 years later it welcomed home the 2004 Summer Olympics. In Ancient Greek, the name of the city was Ἀθῆναι a plural, in earlier Greek, such as Homeric Greek, the name had been current in the singular form though, as Ἀθήνη. It was possibly rendered in the later on, like those of Θῆβαι and Μυκῆναι. During the medieval period the name of the city was rendered once again in the singular as Ἀθήνα, an etiological myth explaining how Athens has acquired its name was well known among ancient Athenians and even became the theme of the sculpture on the West pediment of the Parthenon. The goddess of wisdom, Athena, and the god of the seas, Poseidon had many disagreements, in an attempt to compel the people, Poseidon created a salt water spring by striking the ground with his trident, symbolizing naval power. However, when Athena created the tree, symbolizing peace and prosperity. Different etymologies, now rejected, were proposed during the 19th century. Christian Lobeck proposed as the root of the name the word ἄθος or ἄνθος meaning flower, ludwig von Döderlein proposed the stem of the verb θάω, stem θη- to denote Athens as having fertile soil. In classical literature, the city was referred to as the City of the Violet Crown, first documented in Pindars ἰοστέφανοι Ἀθᾶναι. In medieval texts, variant names include Setines, Satine, and Astines, today the caption η πρωτεύουσα, the capital, has become somewhat common
AEK Athens F.C.
AEK F. C. abbreviated as AEK, known in European competitions as AEK Athens F. C. is a Greek association football club based in Nea Filadelfeia suburb of Athens. Established in Athens, in 1924, by Greek refugees from Constantinople, in the wake of the Greco-Turkish War, its name is a direct reference to the origins of the founders. The clubs emblem is the eagle, used by the Palaiologos dynasty and traditionally by the Byzantine Empire, as a remembrance of the Byzantine legacy. AEK is one of the three most successful teams in Greek football, winning 30 national titles and the only to have won all the competitions organised by the Hellenic Football Federation. They are one of the most popular Greek clubs with millions of fans in Greece and Cyprus, and in Greek communities worldwide, mainly in Australia, United Kingdom, and North America. The club has appeared several times in European competitions, in which they are the second most successful Greek football club in terms of achievements and they have also reached once the quarter-finals of the European Cup and twice the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup Winners Cup. AEK is a member of the European Club Association, traditional rivalries of AEK are considered the matches against Olympiakos and Panathinaikos, the other two major clubs of the capital. PAOK is another of the clubs rivalries, the large Greek population of Constantinople, not unlike those of the other Ottoman urban centres, continued its athletic traditions in the form of numerous athletic clubs. Clubs such as Enosis Tataoulon and Iraklis from the Tatavla district, Megas Alexandros and Hermes of Galata and Olympias of Therapia existed to promote the Hellenic athletic and these were amongst a dozen Greek-backed clubs that dominated the sporting landscape of the city in the years preceding World War I. After the war, with the influx of mainly French and English soldiers to Constantinople, taxim, Pera, and Tatavla became the scene of weekly competitions in not only football, but of athletics, cycling, boxing, and tennis. Of the clubs in the city, though, football was dominated by Enosis Tataoulon, Hermes, one of the most popular clubs, was formed in 1875 by the Greek community of Pera. In 1920, a group of Constantinopolitan refugees met at the athletic shop Lux of Emilios Ionas and Konstantinos Dimopoulos on Veranzerou Street, in the center of Athens, and created AEK. GK, Kitsos, DF, Ieremiades, DF, Asderis, MF, Kechagias, MF, Paraskevas, MF, Dimopoulos, MF, Karagiannides, FW, Baltas, FW, Milas, FW, Iliades, FW, Georgiades. AEK played its first match against Aias Athinon in November 1924, not possessing a football ground, AEK played most of its early matches at various locations around Athens, including the grounds of the Temple of Olympian Zeus and the Leoforos Alexandras Stadium. In 1926, land in Nea Filadelfeia that was set aside for refugee housing, was donated as a training ground for the refugees sports activities. AEK began using the ground for training and by 1930, the property was signed over to the club, venizelos soon approved the plans to build what was to become AEKs home ground for the next 70 years, the Nikos Goumas Stadium. The first home game, in November 1930, was a match against Olympiakos that ended in a 2–2 draw. In 1928, Panathinaikos, Olympiakos, and AEK, began a dispute with the fledgling Hellenic Football Federation, decided to break away from the Athens regional league, during the dispute, POK organised friendly matches against each other and several continental European clubs
Aris Thessaloniki F.C.
Created in 1914 as Aris Thessaloniki Football Club, the club was a founding member of Macedonian Football Clubs Association as well as the Hellenic Football Federation. The colours of the club are yellow of glory, dominant colour in the culture of Macedonia, such as reminiscent of the Byzantine heritage of Thessaloniki, and black. It is named after Ares, the ancient Olympian God of War, associated also with courage and masculinity, Aris was also one of the most popular and strongest teams in Greece during the Interwar period. The club was established as a club by a group of 22 young friends in a coffee bar in Votsi area on 25 March 1914 and given the name Aris from Ares. Its nickname was inspired by the two Balkan Wars of 1912–1913, when Greece fought against the Ottoman Empire before engaging in a war with Bulgaria. In Greek mythology, Aris was a deity who was in conflict with Heracles, Aris holds a fierce rivalry with paok and Olympiakos. In the beginning the club was based on a near the Arch and Tomb of Galerius, the first stadium was built on the site where Mars Field Park currently lies on Stratou Avenue. Quickly the club became popular and soon new teams apart from football were established. During this early stage of football in Greece no professional league was established, instead, three minor leagues were created, with the champions of each league competing in a postseason mini tournament to claim the title of the national champion. The first official game was held in 1923 against Megas Alexandros Thessaloniki and that year marked the first title, when Aris was named regional champion of Macedonia, something that was repeated next year. In 1926 the club was renamed Athletic Club Aris Thessaloniki to include other sports than football. In the first race on 24 May, the team of Thessaloniki prevailed 3–1 Atromitos Athens, in iterative matches played in June in Thessaloniki, Aris won both of his opponents by 3–1 and thus crowned the first champion of Greece. The following year, it was held the stage of national championships although Aris won the championship title in Thessaloniki. The first took place on 12 May 1929 and ended 1–1, while the second was held on 2 June with Aris to beats 4–3, on 20 April 1929, the first friendly match took place between Aris and Panathinaikos, the yellows to defeat 5–4. The second championship came four years later in 1932, only time his opponents were Olympiakos, Panathinaikos, AEK, Ethnikos, paok. Four years after winning the first Panhellenic title, the won the championship. Leading scorer of the league emerged Nikos Kitsos with 15 goals, big stars of that team were Kitsos, Agelakis, Caltech, and Vogdanou Gkikopoulos while coach De Valera. That same year, the EPO instituted for the first time the Greek Cup and this was followed by victory over Apollo Athens, to reach the final where they lost 5–3 from AEK Athens, losing the chance to win the first doubles
Ethnikos Piraeus F.C.
Ethnikos Piraeus 1923 F. C. is a Greek professional football club based in Piraeus. They have had a turbulent recent history, and are competing in the third division Football League 2. Colloquially referred to as Ethnikos Piraeus, is a club with teams competing in football, water polo. The clubs most significant teams, in terms of history and success, are their football and water polo teams, prior to 1959–60 Greek football was played in regional championships and then the top teams from each region would advance to play for the National Championship. In some pre-War years a traditional Final match was played between 2 regional champions, but generally the Panhellenic Championship was played as a final round-robin between at least 3 teams, Ethnikos was Piraeus Champion in 1927–28, but lost the National Championship to Aris. The following year Ethnikos was Piraeus Champion once again, but the National Championship was not played, in 1932–33 Ethnikos won the Greek Cup, the club’s only major title. Ethnikos eliminated Apollon in the Quarterfinals and Olympiacos in the Semifinals before meeting Aris in the Final, Ethnikos and Aris played to a 2–2 draw in Thessaloniki, but Ethnikos won the replay 2–1 and took the Cup. Ethnikos won another Piraeus Championship in 1938–39, but lost the South Division by 2 points, Ethnikos reached the Semifinals of the Greek Cup in 1938–39 and 1939–40, but lost to PAOK and Panathinaikos, respectively. The Ethnikos teams of the mid- to late-1950s are considered by many to be Ethnikos’ greatest teams, in 1955–56 Ethnikos finished 2nd in Greece, just 1 point behind champions Olympiakos. In 1956–57 a scandal robbed Ethnikos of the National Championship, with 4 matches left in the National Championship, Ethnikos was favorite for the title, and next on the schedule was Olympiakos, who Ethnikos had already defeated earlier in the season. Ethnikos was docked 4 points and not allowed to play the final 4 matches of the season, from 1959–60 the Greek championship changed to its modern form and the first division became known as Alpha Ethniki. Since 1959–60 Ethnikos is tied for the 8th-most first division participations with 36, along with OFI, ahead of Ethnikos are traditional powers Olympiakos, Panathinaikos, AEK and PAOK as well as Iraklis, Aris and Panionios. During the 1960s Ethnikos’ best league finishes were 5th in 1962–63 and 6th in 1960–61, from 1960–61 to 1968–69 Ethnikos never finished outside the top 10. Ethnikos reached the Semifinals of the Greek Cup twice during the 1960s, in 1967–68 Ethnikos lost in the Semifinals to Panathinaikos. The following year Ethnikos came desperately close to another Cup Final – after defeating PAOK 5–4 in the Quarterfinals, in 1974–75 Ethnikos made its best challenge for the league championship in the modern era. Though never making another challenge for the league championship, Ethnikos remained consistently competitive during the 1970s. Ethnikos’ two best runs in the Greek Cup in the 1970s were halted by PAOK, in 1972-72 Ethnikos lost to PAOK 3–2 in the Semifinals and in 1976–77 Ethnikos was defeated by PAOK in the Quarterfinals. Ethnikos made decent 7th-place finishes in 1979–80 and 1980–81, but the team would struggle through the rest of the 1980s
Olympiacos dominating success can be further evidenced by the fact that all other Greek clubs have won a combined total of 37 League titles. They are also one of three clubs to have never been relegated from the top flight of Greek football. They have also won the Balkans Cup in 1963, becoming the first ever Greek club to win an international, Olympiacos is one of the founding members of the European Club Association in 2008. The clubs home ground is the Karaiskakis Stadium in Piraeus, Olympiacos is the most popular Greek club with around four million fans inside Greece and millions of others in the Greek communities all over the world. Olympiacos was placed ninth on the 2006 list of clubs with the largest number of paying members, in 2014, that figure increased and the team boasts 98,000 registered members. They share a great and long-standing rivalry with Panathinaikos, with whom they contest the derby of the eternal enemies, Olympiacos was founded on 10 March 1925, in the port of Piraeus. Notis Kamperos, a officer of the Hellenic Navy, proposed the name Olympiacos. Michalis Manouskos, a prominent Piraeus industrialist, expanded the name to its complete and current status, Andrianopoulos, a family of well-established Piraeus merchants, played a pivotal role in the founding of Olympiacos. The five brothers, Yiannis, Dinos, Giorgos, Vassilis and Leonidas Andrianopoulos raised the reputation of the club and brought it to its current glory. Yiannis, Dinos, Giorgos and Vassilis were the first to play, while Leonidas, back then, their fan base consisted mainly of the working class, with the teams home ground at Neo Phaliron Velodrome, before moving to its current Karaiskakis Stadium. They became Piraeus Champions in 1925 and 1926, in 1926, the Hellenic Football Federation was founded and organized the Panhellenic Championship in the 1927–1928 season. The Panhellenic Championship was organized in this manner up until 1958–59, during the course of that season, the three of them played friendly games with each other and formed a group called P. O. K. Those results ignited an enthusiastic reception from the Greek press, who called Olympiacos Thrylos for the first time in history, Olympiacos put in a great performance during the competition and won the title very convincingly with 11 wins,2 draws and only one game lost. They managed to score 7 wins in 7 matches at home, beating Panathinaikos, AEK Athens, Aris, Iraklis and PAOK with the same score, the sole exception was the match against Ethnikos, where Olympiacos netted 4 goals and won with 4–1. The rise of the new decade marked a rise in Panhellenic Championships popularity throughout Greece. In October 1931, Giorgos and Yiannis Andrianopoulos, emblematic players and founding members of Olympiacos, especially Giannis Vazos, Christoforos Raggos and Theologos Symeonidis composed a formidable trio of attacking players, scoring numerous goals and became nothing short of legendary. In addition, the managed to win the 1936–37 and 1937–38 Championship titles undefeated. On 28 October 1940, Fascist Italy invaded Greece, and several Olympiacos players joined the Hellenic Army to fight against the Axis invaders, chistoforos Raggos was heavily injured in his left leg in January 1941, and wasnt able to play football again
Apollon Smyrni F.C.
Apollon Smyrni F. C. or in its full name Gymnasticos Syllogos Apollon Smyrnis is a Greek football club based in the city of Athens, that plays in the Super League. It was founded in Smyrna in 1891 and is one of the oldest sports clubs in Greece, Apollon has departments in football, basketball, volleyball, water polo and other sports. Apollon Smyrna was founded in 1891 by former members of club Orpheus, Orpheus had been founded one year earlier in 1890. Among the founders of Apollon were prominent residents of Smyrna such as Chrysostomos of Smyrna, roughly in the year of 1893, the athletic department was organised. The first games of Smyrna took place in 1894, organized by the English sports fans of Bornova, in these games the athletes of Apollon achieved a lot of first victories. The person with the most wins was Theologos Anastasoglou, an athlete who later became Olympic champion. The Games were always organized by English sports fans until 1903, the third anniversary of the foundation of Apollon was celebrated joyously. Chairman N. Koulmasis gave the speech of the day, while the famous S. Pittakis spoke of Delphi and recited the anthem to the god Apollo. There was a pedestal on which had been set up an altar to praise the god Apollo. In 1894, with the election of its new presiding board, of the first excursions that were organized, one was to Ephesus and another to Aidini, in which the Russian scholar and historical Frigkol took part. In 1894, the council of the Gymnastic Association of Apollon was composed of chairman Mathaios Provatopoulos, sofianopoulos, G. Oikonomidis, A. Koulampidis and C. During this season the team acquired a privately owned ground, initially, only its members fought on these. Later, however it organized games in other associations could also take part. Apollon acquired its own stadium in 1894, at this point we should examine a little the background of the foundation of the first ground of Apollon. Fourteen years before, in 1880, Ioannis Damvergis with Apostolos Psaltof, Stefanos Papamihalis, makroulidis, all students of the Evangelic Faculty of Smyrni, created an off-hand gym in some open space, known with the name love arena. After they opened the ground, they set up a perimeter using ropes because of a lack of money, then, with hard economising, they bought a horizontal bar and other gymnastic equipment. The youth of Smyrni exercised there paying a symbolic price and this primitive gym constituted the precursor of the gym of Apollo, but was also the fountain for the later great athletes of the association. For this reason, the creator of this gym, Apostolos Psaltof, was called the grandfather of Apollon
Panathinaikos F. C. also known simply as Panathinaikos, or with its full name Panathinaikos A. O. are a Greek professional football club based in the City of Athens. Panathinaikos can literally be translated as Panathenaic, which means of all Athens, today a part of Panathinaikos A. O. they are the oldest active football club in Greece, initially founded only to practice this sport. Amongst their major titles are twenty-six Greek Championships, twenty-one Greek Cups, achieving eight times the Double, and five official Greek Super Cups. They are also the club that won a championship undefeated, going without a loss in a top-flight campaign. Panathinaikos is also the most successful Greek club in terms of achievements in the European competitions and it is the only Greek team that has reached the European Cup final in 1971, and also the semi-finals twice, in 1985 and 1996. It is also the only Greek team that has played for the Intercontinental Cup, furthermore, they have reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League on another two occasions, as well as the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup twice. They have also won the Balkans Cup in 1977, Panathinaikos is a member of the European Club Association. Panathinaikos became professional and independent in 1979 and they have played their home games in the Apostolos Nikolaidis Stadium, considered their traditional home ground, and the Athens Olympic Stadium. The club has million of fans inside Greece and millions of others in the Greek communities all over the world and they hold a long-term rivalry with Olympiacos, the clash between the two teams being referred to as the Derby of the eternal enemies. The name of the new club was Podosferikos Omilos Athinon and it was founded with the aim of spreading and making more known this new sport to the Athenian and Greek public in general. Also, intension of the founders was to create a team for all of Athens and to be connected with the rest of the European football movement, the first president elected was Alexandros Kalafatis, brother of Giorgos. The ground of the team was in Patission Street, oxford University athlete John Cyril Campbell was brought in as coach, the first time that a foreigner was appointed as the coach of a Greek team. Konstantinos Tsiklitiras, the great Greek athlete of the early 20th century, in 1910, after a dispute among a number of board members, Kalafatis with most of the players—also followed by Campbell—decided to pull out of POA and secured a new ground in Amerikis Square. Subsequently, the name of the changed to Panellinios Podosferikos Omilos and its colours to green. By 1914, Campbell had returned to England but the club was already at the top of Greek football with such as Michalis Papazoglou, Michalis Rokkos. In 1918, the team adopted the trifolium as its emblem, in 1921 and 1922, the Athens-Piraeus FCA organized the first two post-WWI championships, in both of which PPO was declared champion. After long discussions with the Municipality of Athens, an agreement was finally reached, the move to a permanent home ground also heralded another—final—name change to Panathinaikos Athlitikos Omilos, Panathenaic Athletic Club, on 15 March 1924, from now on a multi-sport club. However, the decision was taken by 1922
Iraklis 1908 Thessaloniki F.C.
Iraklis 1908 FC or Iraklis FC, is a Greek football club, based in the city of Thessaloniki, Macedonia, Greece, currently playing in the Superleague, the top tier of Greek football. Their home ground is the Kaftanzoglio Stadium with a capacity of 27,770, founded in 1908 as Macedonikos Gymnasticos Syllogos, they are one of the oldest in Greek football and the oldest in Thessaloniki, hence the nickname Ghireos. A year later, the name Iraklis was added to the name as an honour to the ancient Greek hero Heracles. The teams colours are cyan or blue and white, inspired by the Greek flag, Iraklis was a founding member of Macedonia Football Clubs Association, as well as the Hellenic Football Federation, as a part of G. S. Iraklis. Before the formation of the league of Alpha Ethniki, Iraklis competed in the league that was run by the Macedonia Football Clubs Association. The club has played in five Greek Cup finals, lifting the trophy once in the 1976 final. They have also a title, as they won the Balkans Cup in 1985. Iraklis traces its roots back in 1899 when Omilos Filomouson was established, the club was established as a cultural union of the Greeks of Thessaloniki, but in 1902 it founded a sports department. Football was a new sport at the time, but rapidly increasing in popularity, the first match that was held by the Omilos Filomouson football team was on 23 April 1905, against a team of the Western European diaspora of the city called Union Sportive. Omilos Filomouson won the match by a 3-0 scoreline, later on, the club faced financial problems, but members of the club joined forces with another Greek athletic club of the city, called Olympia. The result of union was the foundation of a new club on 29 November 1908, called Makedonikos Gymnastikos Syllogos. The new clubs first president was a Greek doctor, Alkiviadis Maltos, the name of the club had a direct reference to the ethnic tensions that took place in the area at that time. Due to the Young Turks revolt of 1908 and their promises for ease of ethnic tensions in the area, thus a new name was decided for the club, Ottomanikos Ellinikos Gymnastikos Syllogos Thessalonikis Iraklis. The new name was approved, together with a new statute, Iraklis won Alliance 3-1, Progrès Sportive 5-1 and after winning the French-German School Alumni Union, the club was proclaimed Champion of Thessaloniki. On 6 April 1914, Iraklis played a match against Athinaikos Syllogos Podosfairou and it was the clubs first match against a club outside Thessaloniki. In 1914, Iraklis established the clubs youth squad, so the students of the Greek Gymnasium of the city could train in football, a year later Iraklis won the second Thessaloniki Football Championship. The next championship was not held due to World War I, in the years following World War I, several football clubs were established in Thessaloniki and that led to the establishment of the Macedonia Football Clubs Association in 1923. The first championship from the newly founded association was organised shortly afterwards, in 1924 Iraklis played its first match against a club from outside the borders of Greece
They play their home games at Toumba Stadium, with a capacity of 28,803 seats. PAOK was established on 20 April 1926 by Greek Constantinopolitans who fled to Thessaloniki from the city of Constantinople (present-day Istanbul in the wake of the Greco-Turkish War, emblem of the team is a Byzantine-style double-headed eagle, adopted three years after the establishment of the club. PAOK currently plays in the top-flight Superleague Greece, which they have won twice and they have won also four times the Greek Football Cup. The team has appeared several times in the UEFA Europa League competition and their best European performance was in the 1973–74 season, when they reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup Winners Cup. PAOK FC is the oldest division of PAOK Sports Club, the successor of Hermes Sports Club, which was formed in 1877 by the Greek community of Pera, the football club was founded in 1926. The original logo of PAOK was a horseshoe and a four-leaf clover, the two teams were merged in 1929, adopting the still-current two-headed eagle symbol, also in 1929. The eagle symbolizes the origins of the club in the former Byzantine capital, Constantinople, 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. In the 1950s, the won the Thessaloniki Championship for four successive seasons. In 1959, their new Toumba Stadium opened, Giorgos Koudas, the great star of the team made his first appearance in 1963. With him, PAOK won their first national titles, the Greek Football Cup and they won also for the first time the Greek Championship in 1975–76, a feat they would repeat in 1984–85. At the European level, the club made its best ever performance after reaching the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup Winners Cup in 1973–74, where they were knocked out by Milan. PAOK also made an appearance against German giants Bayern Munich in the 1983–84 UEFA Cup. Since 1985, a period of decline affected the club, in 1992, they lost in the Greek Cup final to Olympiacos. In 1996, Thomas Voulinos handed over the reins of the club to Giorgos Batatoudis, numerous transfers of well-known players such as Percy Olivares, Zisis Vryzas, Spiros Marangos and Kostas Frantzeskos took place under the new administration. In 1997, having served its five-year ban, PAOK qualified for the UEFA Cup under coach Angelos Anastasiadis, the clubs reappearance at European level was marked by a victory and qualification over Arsenal. The new team, however, did not prove successful in the domestic league. The clubs continuing inability to break the dominance of the big three in the league resulted in several changes over the following three years