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    • One of the first line ups of AEK: Baltas, D. Michaelidis, Kehagioglou, Dimopoulos, Kitsos, K. Michaelidis, Paraskevas, Ieremiadis. Front row: Askitopoulos, Ippiadis and Milas. Apostolos Nikolaidis is in casual outfit.
    • The team of AEK Athens in 1924. From left to right: Asderis, Ieremiadis, Chatzopoulos, Karayiannidis, Milas, Kitsos, Kehagias, Ippiadis, Baltas, Dimopoulos, Paraskevas and the player of Panathinaikos Apostolos Nikolaidis who was the referee that day.
    • Kostas Negrepontis came from France in 1926 to be the leader of AEK
    • Konstantinos Spanoudis was the first of the pioneers of AEK Athens’ idea and one of the greatest administrative leaders of its history.

    The birth of a great idea.

    ATHLETIC UNION OF CONSTANTINOPLE:  A huge club, a great idea. A symbol of memory, of long-established presence in sports both in Greece and abroad.
    Everything started back in 1924. Two years after the destruction of Smyrna, a group of Athenians originating from Constantinople decided to establish an association that would stand as a reminder of unforgettable homelands and a culture of thousands of years that was burnt to ashes. On April 13 1924, in the sports store of Konstantinos Dimopoulos and brothers Aimilios and Menelaos Iona at 24 Veranzerou street, those athletes from "Poli" (Constantinople) took a historic decision and a great association was born. Its articles of association were signed by more than forty members from the community of Athenians originating from Constantinople. Its emblem was the double-headed eagle of the Byzantine Empire and its colours were yellow and black
    AEK's first President was the journalist Kostas Spanoudis, who was later elected as an MP and also appointed in Venizelos' cabinet of ministers, its vice president was professor Nikos Eleopoulos, and the first board members were Timoleon Tagaris, Menelaos Karotsieris, Miltos Ieremiadis and Konstantinos Dimopoulos.
    • Kostas Negrepontis scores against Apollon in 1927
    • Photo of early 30s. Left to right: Iliaskos, ieremiadis, Moungras, Delikaris, Patroklos, Dimopoulos, Yiamalis. Front row: Paraskevas, Konstantinidis, Negrepontis and Mallios. In casual fit to the right, the attacker of Panathinaikos those days Antonis Tsolinas
    • AEK in 1929: Ieremiadis, Yiamalis, Rimbas, Patroklos, Paraskevas, Mallios, kariotakis, Negrepontis, the Hungarian coach Joseph Sveg, Argyropoulos, Negris, Konstantinidis, Iliaskos, Dimitriadis
    • Rodolfo Valentino” of AEK –goalkeeper Georgios Yiamalis, the first great keeper of the club and the first ever of the Greek National Team

    The early years

    AEK started being successful early on and thus built its own fan base. Over time, it acquired valuable players, such as the renowned Kostas Negrepontis who came from Istanbul and relocated to Athens in 1926 following a successful career in French clubs.
    At that time, thanks to the actions of Ioannis Chrissafidis, an advisor to the Central Committee for Refugee Accommodation, a tree-covered plot in Podoniftis area, or Nea Filadelphia as it is currently called, was given as a training ground for the refugees. It was a tree-covered and rough land which was turned overnight, thanks to the work of refugees, into a pitch.
    However, it wasn't until November 2, 1930, that AEK settled there, when the venue was officially inaugurated on the occasion of an exhibition match between AEK and Olympiacos, which ended 2-2. In 1934, the first president of AEK, Konstantinos Spanoudis, intervened personally towards Eleftherios Venizelos in order for the pitch to be granted to AEK by the Ministry of Welfare. At that time, the pitch was fenced and standard facilities, such as locker rooms, were added.
    • Common photograph of AEK and Aris Thessaloniki players just before the 1940 Greek Cup semi-final in Thessaloniki. AEK players pictured in the photo are: Vassiliou, Delavinias (wears his characteristic woollen cup, next of Vassiliou) Hatzistavridis, Kapantais, Maropoulos, Tzanetis, Gasparis and in front row Kontoulis, Koutsoulieris, Papadopoulos and Christodoulou
    • The team of AEK that won the double in 1939. Left to right: Sklavounos, Gasparis, Hatzistavridis, K. Manettas, Kontoulis, Maropoulos, Papadopoulos, Christodoulou, Tzanetis. Front row: Simos (Magiras) and Koutsoulieris
    • AEK team in the end of 1931: Mallios, Patroklos, Konstantinidis, Argyropoulos, Emmanouelidis, Rimbas, Moungras, Daispaggos, Baltas, Psaltis (replaced Negrepontis in this day) and Iliaskos
    • Photo of the AEK and PAOK players just before the 1939 Greek Cup Final .The footballers of AEK (with light colored views) are Maropoulos, Vasiliou, Kontoulis, Seltsikas, Gasparis (taller than all), Vasilis Manettas, Kapantais, Tzanetis and seated Chatzistavridis, Delavinias, Simos (Magiras).

    The football ground and first titles

    Kostas Negrepontis was in the last years of his career, when AEK won its first title. During the first Cup competition in the 1931-32 season, AEK made it to the final of November 8, 1931 at Alexandras Avenue against the then powerful Aris from Thessaloniki. A 5-3 win for AEK (5’ Iliaskos, 27’, 65’ Mpaltas, 70’ og. Oikonomou, 78’ Negrepontis- 40’, 43’,80’ Kitsos) and a title of historic proportions. The lineup of our first title ever: Giamalis, Mallios, Daispangos, Argiropoulos, Konstantinidis, Patroklos, Negrepontis, Baltas, Tziralidis I., Iliaskos, Tziralidis P.
    In the late 1930s Nea Filadelfia is the team's home and AEK will become the utterly dominant team in Greek football after winning the double of the 1939 Championship and Cup and the 1940 Championship. Maropoulos, Delavinias, Rimpas, Sklavounos, Manettas, Tzanetis, Magiras, Chatzistavridis, Xenos, and other outstanding footballers coached by Kostas Negrepontis, seemed capable of dominating Greek football for years.
    However, the course of this team came to an abrupt end due to World War II. A generation of great footballers missed out on its youth (Spiros Kontoulis was actually killed by a German machine gun in Mets), whereas the stadium was looted by conquerors.

    • Apollon’s goalkeeper Stathis Tsanaktsis blocks the ball in an aerial fight to Kleanthis Maropoulos
    • The line-up of AEK in 1947: Papadopoulos, Maropoulos, Delavinias, Tzanetis, Pantelidis, Gasparis, Adamidis. In front: Ksenos, Hatzivardeas, Magiras, Vlantis
    • The team of AEK at Panathinaikos football ground in 1950: Lazaridis, Goulios, Delavinias, Ksenos, Papatheodorou, Poulis, Emmanuelidis, Paragios, Sevastiadis, Kountouris, Tsavos and Maropoulos
    • 1950 Greek Cup Winners AEK Athens with the trophy.Standing from left to right the Delavinias, Poulis, Ilias Papageorgiou, Kanakis, Kountouris, Paragios, Emmanouilidis, Lazaridis, Kalybopoylos. Seated Maropoulos, Tzanetis, Papatheodorou and Goulios,

    Post-war years

    The generation of the ’30 returned to the pitch in early 1945 and steered AEK to conquering the first 2 post-war championships of Athens, in 1946 and 1947. In the following years, having great reformer Jack Beby at the reins and impressive new signings who were to make history (Goulios, Emmanouilidis, Parayios, Poulis, Papatheodorou, Kanakis, Patakas etc.), the side made it to three consecutive Greek Cup finals, winning last two of them, in 1949 and 1950.
    In 1949 ΑΕΚ had to replay the final match in Alexandras Ave. stadium and beat Panathinaikos 2-1 in overtime, with both our goals courtesy of Panagiotis Kanakas, whereas in 1950 it saw off Aris by 4-0 in the same pitch, with goals scored by Maropoulos and Goulio, whereas in 1950 we won Aris 4-0 in same stadium, with goals scored by Maropoulos, Goulios in the first half and a brace by Kountouris in the second.
    • Yiannis Kanakis and Kostas Poulis against Olympiacos in 1956
    • The team of AEK in 1956, some months after the win of the Greek Cup: Tsangaris, Polyzos, Adamopoulos, Poulis, Arvanitis, Serafidis, In front: Emmanouelidis, Kanakis, Chaniotis, Stamatiadis, Melissis
    • AEK team in the late 50s. Back row: Tsangaris, Papapostolou, Melissis, Poulis, Anastasiadis, Serafidis. Front row: Emmanouelidis, Stamatiadis, Kanakis, Nestoridis, Tsanoulas
    • The front page of sports paper “ATHLITIKI ECHO” the following day of 1956 Greek Cup win by AEK

    The tough decade

    The 1950s had only few good times in store for AEK. In 1951, shortly after the historical 2-2 against Austria Wien, Beby suddenly left Greece, whereas Kleanthis Maropoulos and Michalis Delavinias, the last two great players from the pre-war team, retired from action.
    Delavinias was AEK's goalkeeper in the lost 1953 Cup final (3-2 defeat to Olympiacos), where Enosis brought in some of the players who were to make history in the following years, such as Ilias Papageorgiou and Andreas Stamatiadis. It took three years, the year was 1956, when AEK left victorious following a win at the same pitch against the same opponent in the same competition. The goals of Chaniotis and Kanakis crowned AEK as Cup winner against the absolute master of that time, Olympiacos.
    Serafidis, Paragios, Karakatsanis, Tsangaris, Zografos, Poulis, Emmanouilidis, Kanakis, Chaniotis, Stamatiadis, and Kourtidis were the eleven players behind this triumph.
    Kostas Nestoridis was watching from the tiers. He had already come to our side from Panionios "under a two-year ban" (since his club had not consented to his transfer), but he would boost AEK's performance in official matches as of the 1957-58 season. Once he properly joined the team, AEK leveled up. The 1958 and 1959 titles were lost to minor details, Nea Filadelfia was already attracting fans and this stadium (with a maximum capacity of 15,000 following the construction of two tiers during 1945-55) had to grow significantly.
    • The stadium of NEA Philadelphia at a panoramic photo of 1966, before AEK's game against the Portuguese Braga for the European Cup.
    • Greek Champions of 1963: Serafidis, Kanellopoulos, Petridis, Papapostolou, Skevofylax, Sofianidis. Front row: Stamatiadis, Nestoridis, Papaioannou, Ibrahim, Tsachouridis
    • Mimis Papaioannou is watching anxiously to see where the ball will end up against Pierikos at Nea Filadlelfia Stadium in 1964
    • Coach Jenő Csaknády embraces captain Andreas Stamatiadis after win of 1968 League title

    AEK in Division 1

    The first title in A' Division united championship was lost in a painful way in summer 1960. AEK's 3-2 defeat in Nea Smirni in the last match day by Panionios, in conjunction with the unexpected 4-1 crashing of Olympiacos by Panathinaikos in Karaiskakis Stadium, resulted in a rematch between AEK and Panathinaikos that ended in a 2-1 win for the latter.
    The following years, however, have been really important. AEK led by visionary Nikos Gkoumas, completed works in the Nea Filadelphia stadium and from early 1962 onwards, the club had a 40,000-seat stadium, which was large and modern for that time's standards, featuring natural turf and the horseshoe-shaped stand to the park side.
    A few months later, 20-year old Mimis Papaioannou was signed and AEK, always led by its top scorer, Kostas Nestoridis, conquered, in 1963, its first Greek Championship, after 23 years! As in 1960, the championship was again decided in a playoff match; it was AEK this time, following a 3-3 draw with Panathinaikos in Nea Filadelphia, to win the title on goal aggregate.
    Our coach was Jenő Csaknády of Hungarian-German origin, a pioneer in his ideas and method, who actually returned to AEK in 1967 and led the club to another title in 1968, coaching a side with some great new players (Kostas Nikolaidis, Papageorgiou, Kefalidis, Stathopoulos, Karafeskos, Balopoulos, Ventouris, Pomonis, Vassileiou etc.). In between these two championship titles, AEK had already won the 1964 and 1966 Cups, even without playing in the finals. In 1964, EPO (The Greek Football Federation) decided not to organize the semi-finals' second leg due to major riots that had occurred in the Panathinaikos-Olympiacos match in Leoforos Avenue stadium, while in 1966 Olympiacos decided not to show up for the match, as a means of protesting against the elongation of that year's campaign as a result of the semi-finals and final rescheduling "saga".

    • Branko Stankovic left his sign on the history of AEK in late 60s and early 70s
    • Branko Stankovic poses along with his players, days after winning of 1971 greek title. The attackers posing behind him: Ventouris, Kachris, Nikolaidis, Papaemmanouel, Papaioannou, Pomonis. Second row: the midfielders Karafeskos, Lavaridis, Skevofylax and behind them the defenders Kefalidis, Avramidis, Theodoridis, Stathopoulos. The goalkeepers Konstantinidis and Serafidis in the last row.
    • The third goal of AEK by Kostas Nikolaidis in the 6-0 win against Proodeftiki that was the decisive result for AEK to win the title
    • Training session of AEK players in Milan before the match against Inter in 1971

    The 5-year spell of Stankovic

    In the summer of 1968, the Yugoslav Branko Stankovic replaced the champion Jenő Csaknády, who left AEK for the second and last time. The "Professor" would stay with AEK for almost five years, which was rare for the time in Greek teams, particularly for a foreign coach and his term would begin with a great success: the team made it to the 1968-69 Champions'Club Cup quarter-finals! Enosis had eliminated Jeunesse Esch (Luxembourg) and AB Copenhagen before its tough elimination from Spartak Trnava (Czechoslovakia).
    Stankovic linked his name with a extensive renewal that began in 1968 and reached its peak in 1969, which meant that players having left their mark in the 1960s were off the team (Stamatiadis, Sofianidis, Balopoulos, Vasiliou, Iordanou, Papageorgiou, etc.) and other players, such as Stelios Konstantinidis, Toskas, Triandafillou, Lavaridis, Papaemmanouil, etc., were promoted or acquired. These were the ones who led AEK, in cooperation with the old guard, to the 1971 title.
    Stankovic's term ended by reason of AEK's elimination from Apollon Kalamarias in the Greek Cup in early 1973. It was a time when AEK was far from making any serious claims due to financial problems. The 1972-1974 period ended with businessman Loukas Barlos becoming actively involved with the club's management in the spring of 1974.
    • The full squad of AEK in 1974-75 season, the first one under Loukas Barlos presidency. Back row: Lavaridis, Lelis, Skrekis, Theofilopoulos, Wagner, Zarzopoulos, Zahnleiter. Middle row:Fandrohnk (coach) Pantazis (physio) Stergioudas, Nikolaou, Tsamis, Timotheou, Sidiropoulos, Theodoridis, Daditsos, Kazakis (fitness coach). Front row: Tassos, Ardizoglou, Dedes, Papaioannou, L. Papadopoulos, Stefanidis, Makos
    • The moment of AEK's third goal from the heading of non-visible Mimis Papaioannou, at 3-0 over QPR that led to a penalty shootout and the historical qualification of the Greek team in the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup 1976-77
    • Dusan Bajevic scores the first goal of AEK in the 2-0 win over PAOK in the Greek Cup Final of 1978
    • Loukas Barlos raises delighted one of the trophies AEK won under his presidency

    Glory days under Loukas Barlos

    The fact that businessman Loukas Barlos took over AEK's management in the spring of 1974 would be a key enhancer of the most impressive change in AEK's historical course, since it was clear that the new president was wealthy enough to promptly change the team's composition and lead it to the final 4 of the UEFA Cup in 1977, the double of 1978, and the 1979 Championship in the following five years.
    Barlos' first move was to bring in renowned coach Frantisek Fadrhonc, a 60-year old Dutch-Czech, who had coached the Netherlands National Football Team in 1970 and led it, together with Rinus Michels who was appointed by the Dutch federation as... supervisor, to the 1974 World Cup final. Fadrhonc was handed over an AEK having a high-quality old guard (Papaioannou, Nikolaou, Ravousis, Theodoridis, Toskas, Sidiropoulos, Stergioudas,Tasos, Tsamis, Zarzopoulos, Stefanidis, Lazaros Papadopoulos, etc.) that was enhanced by Germans Wagner and Zahnleiter, as well as by Ardizoglou, Skrekis, Theofilopoulos and Dedes and immediately started playing high-quality football.
    Still, AEK did not win any titles in the first three years, since it lost the championship and Cup over details due to errors, misfortunes and, most of all, unjust treatment. However, in Europe it gained the ultimate glory when it qualified for the 1977 UEFA Cup semifinals, being already reinforced by striker Thomas Mavros, goalkeeper Nikos Christidis, midfielder Takis Nikoloudis and defender Babis Intzoglou.

    In September 1976, a 2-0 win over Dynamo Moscow in Nea Filadelfia with the goals of Nikoloudi and Papaioannou, and a 2-1 defeat in the overtime in Moscow, meant that AEK was qualified to the next round. In the second leg, the score 2-0 in favour of the Russians forced overtime and in the 119th minute it seemed it would all be down to penalty shootouts. However, a cross by Wagner stumbled upon defender Dolvatov's arm, the Cypriot Tasos Konstantinou successfully struck the penalty and AEK went through to the next round following a 2-1 defeat.
    It was Derby County's turn in the next round. The 2-0 score following Wagner's header in the 66th minue and Thomas' own goal two minutes later gave AEK half the chances for qualification, however, an even more valuable chapter was written in the Baseball Ground. On November 3, 1976, AEK was behind in the score, 1-0 in the 53rd minute and was under so much pressure that our goalkeeper, Lakis Stergioudas, made his greatest appearance, thus dubbed the "Derby hero" for life. In the 60th minute, the captain, Papaioannou, left with an injury, but in the 64th minute, Nikoloudis netted a direct kick and made it 1-1. In the 77th minute, Tasos turned it to 1-2, in the 85th minute Wagner scored the third goal, and Rioch only made it 2-3 in the 89th minute.
    The qualification against Red Star was even more dramatic. Again, the qualifying scoreline was 2-0 in Athens, with goals by Papaioannou in the 19th minute and Mavros in the 28th minute, however, the match in Belgrade was a thriller: in the 32nd minute, the score was already 3-1 (Wagner had temporarily levelled the score at 1-1) and AEK would qualify to the next round, however, one hour was left and the Greek goal-line was bombarded by Yugoslav attacks. Playing in the pouring rain, both Red Star and AEK missed lots of opportunities and 3-1 was the final score, thus, AEK qualified to the round of 8.
    In March 1977 against Queens Park Rangers, AEK suffered a 3-0 defeat with an off-side goal and things seemed extremely difficult. Still, Nea Filathelfia was packed for the second leg and AEK made the greatest Greek comeback of all times and one of the greatest in Europe.
    The goals by Mavros in the 11th and 65th minutes laid the foundations, but the 35-year old Mimis Papaioannou had to... stand in air in the 82nd minute making the most of a cross by Tasos and achieve 3-0. Overtime made no difference, until "grandpa" Frantisek Fadrhonc decided to do what he had been thinking for a long time. Shortly before overtime expired, the experienced Christidis substituted Stergioudas and during the penalty shootout blocked the efforts by Eastoe and Webb, thus giving AEK the qualification.
    Juventus would be the opponent in the semi-finals. A 4-1 victory in their favor in Turin and a 1-0 victory in them in Nea Filadelfia meant they made it to the final against Athletic Bilbao. The Italians would win their first European title.

    In the early 1977-78 season, Loukas Barlos was forced to take a decision that would prove crucial, since it led to the 1978 double. Following a defeat to Olympiacos at Karaiskaiki, the 63-year old Frantisek Fadrhonc was removed from head-coach (but remained as head of the youth ranks) and the Croatian Zlatko Čajkovski was recruited in his place. He is the one that took the team to the double, after it went undefeated for 31 games!
    ΑΕΚ finished seven points higher than the second team, PAOK, the top scorer in the Championship was our own Thomas Mavros with 22 goals, and AEK ultras got to enjoy for the first time the football genius Dusan Bajevic who had been acquired from Velez Mostar in the previous summer (other new additions included Milton Viera and Giannis Mousouris).
    In fact, Bajevic was the one who sealed AEK's Cup campaign, since he scored nine goals, i.e. against Panathinaikos in the round of 16 (0-1 at Leoforos), against Olympiacos at the epic 6-1 victory in Nea Filadelfia, and also at the 2-0 victory over PAOK at the Karaiskaki stadium final.
    These two matches were the highlight of that campaign. At the semi-finals of May 17, 1978 in Nea Filadelfia, although Olympiacos took the lead thanks to Northern Irish Derek Spence, AEK answered back with six goals: three by Mavros and three more by Bajevic, Tasos and Nikoloudis. On June 4, 1978, PAOK was the victim of yet another yellow-black attack. A cross by Papaionnou and a header by Bajevic made the score 1-0 in the 54th minute, whereas Thomas Mavros sealed the victory in the 80th minute taking a short from close range after an attempt by Bajevic.
    AEK was crowned champion in 1979 as well. Čajkovski had been replaced in the summer of 1978 by the famous Ferenc Puskás, however Puskás had to be replaced too after 23 games by his then associate Andreas Stamatiadis, in order for AEK to make its final attack and win the title. In the remaining eleven games, AEK registered ten wins and one tie and had the same points as Olympiacos, since the latter earned a 3-3 draw against OFI in the last matchday, while AEK achieved a 7-3 victory against PAS Giannina. The two teams had to go to a play-off game, however, on June 16, 1979, only AEK appeared on the pitch of Panathinaikos' home ground. Olympiacos did not show up at the Leoforos Stadium in protest to the decisions of Pamporidis, the referee at the game against OFI in Herakleion, which ended in 3-3.
    AEK was crowned champion and could have won a second double in a row, had it not fallen victim to the greatest surprise at a Greek Cup final until that time, Panionios, on June 9, at Karaiskaki stadium. Although it had taken the lead early on with a goal by Tasos, it finally lost 3-1, playing with ten players during the last twenty minutes due to its scorer being dismissed. <br Great Loukas Barlos remained the president of AEK during 1979-1981, when the public limited companies for Football Clubs were established, and then gave his shares to Andreas Zafiropoulos. He was AEK's president for more than 7 years and his name is linked to the most glorious era in the club's history.

    • AEK fans painted black and yellow the stands of Athens Olympic Stadium in the first ever Greek Cup Final that was held there. AEK beat PAOK by 2-0
    • Thomas Mavros, Hakan Sadberg and Marton Esterhazy formed a powerful attacking trio during 1984-85 season
    • The line up of AEK Athens in the 4-1 win against Panathinaikos in 1983. Back row: Manolas, Dintsikos, Tzirakis, Vlachos, Nikoloudis, Radonic. Front row: Mavros, Paraprastanitis, Georgamlis, Ardizoglou, Arvanitis
    • Coach Helmut Senekowicz and chairman Michalis Arkadis (in the middle of the picture) were the head coach and President of AEK Athens respectively when AEK won the 1983 Greek Cup

    Just one Greek Cup

    Summer of 1981 started with AEK in the hands of sports clothing businessman Andreas Zafeiropoulos. The new major shareholder was quite well off, but not that strong to face ship-owners Ntaifas and Vardinogiannis who owned Olympiacos and Panathinaikos respectively. Ιt is not by chance that in summer 1982 he withdrew from the club's administration and handed presidency over to late Michalis Arkadis, a shipowner with long-standing involvement in the club's administration, who headed our campaign to winning the 1983 Greek Cup following a 2-0 win over PΑΟΚ in the then newly-built Olympic Stadium; before that, our side has seen off Olympiacos with two wins and Iraklis of great Hadjipanagis after two thrilling semi-finals.
    Thomas Mavros was the team's star and he was joined by the "elders", such as Christos Ardizoglou and Petros Ravousis, and young talented players (Georgamlis, Manolas, Karagkiozopoulos, Dintsikos, Vlahos, Stilianopoulos etc.)
    The 1983-84 season with Panagidis-Roussakis holding the administrative reins was a utter failure and Zafiropoulos, in 1984, returned to the club as president, strengthening the team with new top signings, like Hungarian Marton Esterhazy and Swedish Hokan Sandberg. AEK played nice, especially in the second half of the season with Antonis Georgiadis on the bench, but the title was finally earned by PAOK.
    In the years 1985-87, AEK moved to the Olympic Stadium, since the pitch in Nea Filadelphia was being renewed; that period was identified with a few good moments for the club (such as the 1-0 win over Real Madrid for the UEFA Cup) and lots of problems.
    The team returned to its proper home ground in 1987 and, coached by Tosa Veselinovic, made a good campaign that could have ended with the title should it be for the intervention by then football authorities in favor of Larisa, which finally won the 1988 title. Although the team from Thessaly had initially been penalized with point deduction, because its player Tsingov had been tested positive for doping, a tailor-made change in legislation allowed Larisa to maintain its points, even though the player was penalized. At that point, it became apparent how powerless AEK was behind the scenes. At the same time, the team was excluded from the Greek Cup following a 1-3 defeat to Koskotas' Olympiacos in Nea Filadelfia and this outcome gave rise to numerous rumors. The people's faith the management was undermined as never before and Andreas Zafiropoulos retired from the presidency after the last matchday of the 1987-1988 season, when the riot police invaded for no reason the "Skepasti" tier in Nea Filadelfia and bashed AEK's fans.

    • The original line up of AEK is photographed before the 7-1 against Apollon in the 1996 Cup final. From left to right Savevski, Tsiartas, Kasapis, Šabanadžović -,Borbokis, Batista, Ketsbaia, Kostenoglou, Vlahos, Atmatsidis and Manolas.
    • One of the trophies of the Bajevic season for AEK was the 1989 Super Cup against Panathinaikos on penalties.
    • The historic goal by Takis Karagkiozopoylos that sealed the conquest of the first professional title for AEK in the crucial match against Olympiacos on 7 April 1989.
    • Yiannis Karras and Dimitris Melissanidis rejoiced two Championships in three years who were the administrative ‘duo’ of AEK Athens.

    Ten years of glory

    In June 1998, the businessman Stratos Gidopoulos became the president of AEK FC, whereas Andreas Zafiropoulos remained as one of its major shareholders. AEK's former footballer Dusan Bajevic left his hometown's club, Velez Mostar, to coach one more club where he had previously served as player.
    The most significant transfer was that of Mirosław Okonski from Hamburger SV and AEK set off for a season that seemed very hard against powerful opponents both on and off the pitch, such as Olympiacos owned by Giorgos Koskotas, and Panathinaikos owned by the Vardinogiannis family.
    ΑΕΚ had a robust and effective team achieving victories, even by 1-0. Among them, those against Panathinaikos, the Champion title holder Larisa in both their home grounds, and against OFI (at the neutral OAKA) stand out. The core of the team were Oikonomopoulos (who cleared three penalties and won three points), Manolas, Koutoulas, Pavlos Papaioannou, Savvidis, Okonski, and Savevski who came in December, and they were surrounded by other competent footballers (Christodoulou, Pittas, Chatzis, Stamatis, Vasilopoulos, Georgiadis, etc.). They all succeeded in playing for the title against Olympiacos at the latter's home ground, OAKA, on the penultimate matchday. <br />On May 7, during this historical match, AEK was crowned champion for the first time after ten years and for the first time in professional championship! Olympiacos pushed hard and missed opportunities, Stelios Manolas had to make the greatest intervention of his career by blocking on the goal line what was to be Detari's goal for sure, and, eventually, triumph was achieved by a historical goal by Takis Karagkiozopoulos (who had just returned following months of absence due to injury) in combination with Okoski in counter-attack. Playing with eight players, due to the dismissals of Peppe, Manolas, Chatzis (Olympiacos also had two players dismissed), AEK managed to win the game and the title!

    Three consecutive titles
    In the following two years, AEK was admired for its game, and the highlight was a 5-3 victory over Dynamo Dresden for the 1989-90 Champions' Cup title and an 8-0 victory over Xanthi, which is AEK's record-breaking tally in professional championships. However, pre-existing financial problems worsened when AEK was banned from European competitions in the 1990-91 season due to its punishment for incidents during the second leg against Marseille in November 1989 and the club was unable to operate properly and become stronger. In the spring of 1991, Stratos Gidopoulos resigned and Kostas Generakis became president.
    Bajevic became more influential and together with the first-class transfers of Dimitriadis, Alexandris, and Sabanajovic, AEK struck back and won three consecutive titles:
    • In 1991-92, AEK's game was admired by everyone and our side was crowned champion at the Touba pitch, having achieved a series of ten victories in the ten previous matches!
    • In 1992-93, the new owners, Dimitris Melissanidis and Giannis Karas, further enhanced the team and the company, and AEK was once again the champion after a 3-1 victory over Olympiacos at Nea Filadelfia on the last matchday (following two months of agony since AEK and Panathinaikos took turn in the lead of the championship, although Enosis had won a 3-1 victory over Panathinaikos in the second round at Nea Filadelfia).
    • In 1993-94, AEK easily won the Championship again having many more points than other teams, since it was better qualified. It could have also won the double if it weren't for bad luck. It lost the Cup title at the penalty shootout against Panathinaikos during the legendary final at OAKA that had ended 3-3 after 120 minutes.
    Following the third title, AEK became the first Greek team to be qualified for UEFA Champions League. AEK eliminated the powerful Glasgow Rangers after two victories, 2-0 at Nea Filadelfia thanks to the goals of the newly-acquired Dimitris Saravakos and 1-0 in Glasgow thank to the historical goal of Toni Savevski. It was in the same group as Casino Salzburg, and Ajax and Milan, which made it through to the final. The team performed well, but only achieved two scoreless ties, one against Salzburg, in an away match, and one against Milan in Nea Filadelfia. It was the highlight of three years of titles and success for the two owners. Dimitris Melisanidis and Giannis Karas are included in the pantheon of AEK's great executives.
    The European effort meant poor performance in the Championship, whereas at the end of the season, after an unfair defeat to Panathinaikos at the Cup final due to a non-existing penalty won and scored by Krzysztof Warzycha, the two managers gave their shares to the businessman Michalis Trochanas. During the latter's presidency, AEK won the Greek Cup title twice, in 1996 and in 1997, whereas it lost the championship to Panathinaikos and Olympiacos, respectively, over details and following a number of controversial referee decisions.
    During the 1996 Cup, AEK eliminated its two major opponents before it thrashed Apollon, that was very good at the time, 7-1 in the final at OAKA, whereas in 1997 -while Petros Ravousis had replaced Dusan Bajevic since the summer of 1996- it defeated Panathinaikos on the penalty shootout in the final at Karaiskaki after having eliminated Olympiacos in the semi-finals following two victories. At that time, AEK made it to the Cup Winners' Cup quarterfinals, where it was eliminated by Paris Saint Germain.

    The great opportunity missed
    As of summer 1996, the yellow-black squad had acquired Demis Nikolaidis who became the new captain, at a time when borders had opened for players such as Vasilis Tsiartas, Vasilis Borbokis and Temur Ketsbaia. In the early 1997-98, the roster had changed a lot and the Romanian Dumitru Dumitriu was now coach, but it was time for another president as well, and Michalis Trochanas sold the share held by SoE International to the British ENIC PLC, which was already involved in the management of other European clubs.
    It was a season of great misfortunes and great missed opportunities. The losses of Kostis (his injury in the game against Sturm Graz essentially put an end to his career), Batista and the problems troubling Nikolaidis, left AEK's attack powerless. It may have won all four derbies against Olympiacos and Panathinaikos, but, in the end it ranked 3rd. Moreover, it missed the opportunity to qualify for the Cup Winners' Cup semi-finals when it was defeated 2-1 to Lokomotiv in the final minute of the Moscow match.
    At the end of that season, after two decades of playing for AEK, Stelios Manolas retired. At the age of 37, he hang up his boots after more than 500 official matches with AEK and after winning four Championship titles and three Greek Cup titles.
    • Fantastic atmosphere in Nea Philadelphia during the game against Barcelona season 2000-01.
    • Round triumph of AEK's players after winning the 2002 Cup, with first in the row Nikolaidis, Zikos, Kostenoglou and Lakis.
    • With this direct free-kick by Vassilis Tsiartas , AEK opened the scoring in the historic 3-3 against Real Madrid in Nea Philadelphia for a Champions League game of 2002-03.
    • Maladenis, Ivic and Zagorakis celebrating 2-2 against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabéu.

    Little joy, big problems

    As of the summer of 1997, AEK has been through continuous changes at all levels: from ownership and presidents (the first president under ENIC was the renowned orthopedist Pandelis Nikolaou, also a former glory of the team, but he was succeeded by Kostas Generakis in late 1998, whereas Stefanos Mamatzis took over in 1999) to the people running the company and the team. In the summer of 1998, the Serbian Dragoslav Stepanovic became coach, only to be succeeded by the Ukrainian Oleg Blokhin a few months afterwards, but in the summer of 1999, the Serbian Ljubiša Tumbaković was sitting on the bench. At that time, the Dutch company NETMED took over the FC's management.
    The second half of 1999 was traumatic for AEK, although it started off enthusiastically and with good transfers, such as that of the Serbian midfielder Dragan Ćirić who was on loan from Barcelona. However, what came next was tragic: AEK was not only eliminated by AIK Stockholm in the Champions League qualifying rounds, but the September earthquake greatly damaged the Nea FIladelfia Stadium and forced the team to move from one home ground to another for a long time. In one of the few matches played on its home ground, it was subject to the criminal decisions of Dimitropoulos, a referee from Patras, in a derby against Olympiacos, and it paid the price for subsequent incidents with harsh penalties both on the team and players (Kasapis).
    In early 2000, the memorable Giannis Pathiakakis replaced Tumbaković and the team showed spectacular improvement, since the season ended with AEK winning the Greek Cup by defeating Ionikos 3-0 in the final at OAKA. That was also the score in the quarterfinals when AEK defeated Olympiacos.
    In the summer of 2000, a top-level NETMED executive, the Dutch Cornelius Sierhuis was president, and Pathiakakis was coach. The team made an ambitious start with important transfers (Tsiartas returned, Navas was acquired, Ruiz came from Boca Juniors and Ferrugem from Palmeiras), but the campaign was not good. The qualification against Leverkusen was just a flash in the pan, since shortly afterwards it was necessary to change the coach, and Toni Savevski became coach overnight having Eugène Gerards by his side. AEK got better, but finished in the 3rd position.
    In the summer of 2001, AEK FC was transferred in the hands of Makis Psomiadis. ENIC continued to hold the shares, but the controversial businessman ran everything. When he was shown to the door in February 2003, after the incident outside the house of the then AEK footballer Demis Nikolaidis, he left having embezzled funds, which brought AEK to the edge of the cliff.
    Among the few good times are the Cup title in 2002 after a 2-1 victory over Olympiacos at OAKA, the championship campaign, although the title was lost to the said opponent after a tie, with Fernando Santos as coach and the six ties in the 2002-03 Champions League group, with Dusan Bajevic as coach, when AEK finished 3rd in its group, however, it made history after the 3-3 at Nea Filadelfia against the "Galactic" Real Madrid of Zidane, Raul, Figo, etc., and the 2-2 that overturned the 2-0 at Bernabeu. The other ties were against Roma and the Belgian champion Genk.
    However, the year-long poor management and, particularly, the tenure of Psomiadis had given rise to serious problems. Summer of 2003 was a season of agony over whether or not the FC would be allowed to compete in the championship. Moreover, the then caretaker president, Giannis Granitsas, decided to demolish the stadium, leaving AEK homeless, unfortunately, to date.
    The Granitsas plan for a multi-purpose stadium having huge shopping areas was hindered by protests of Nea Filadelfia residents and the lack of resources, whereas the then president of Olympiacos, Sokratis Kokalis managed to have the new Karaiskakis stadium included in the 2004 Olympic Games projects in the place of AEK's stadium, as was originally planned. AEK was homeless after 73 years and without having ensured its future home ground, as proven along the way.
    The 2003-04 season was tragic. AEK competed in the Champions League, but only earned two points in a group with La Coruña, Eindhoven, and Monaco, using the Leoforos Stadium as its home ground. In the championship, it wandered between five different home grounds (Nea Smirni, Ano Liosia, Leoforos, Tavros, Kallithea) and faced with huge financial problems, it failed to meet all objectives early on. However, Demis Nikolaidis was already preparing a rescue plan from Madrid, where he was playing for Atlético.
    • A minute's silence for the innocent victims of the NATO bombing from the footballers of Partizan and AEK Athens.
    • The teams of Partizan and AEK ATHENS shortly before the historic friendly in Belgrade. The footballers of the Greek team (standing from left to right) Milovanović, Kopitsis, Kallitzakis, Zouboulis, Maladenis, Atmatsidis, Babunski. Bottom, from left to right: Savevski, Nikolaidis, Katsavos, Ceccoli. Two Partizan's players joined AEK in the future: Vladan Ivic and Nenad Bjecovic.
    • The fans of both teams invade like brothers on the pitch putting an end at the historical game at 68th minute, deifying their footballers.
    • Demis Nikolaidis and Dimitris Melissanidis at the press conference before the trip to Belgrade.

    Belgrade: The mission of peace

    On April 7, AEK celebrates the memory of one of the club's historic achievements, one that goes beyond the world of sports. The club brings to mind a trip of peace and solidarity to our suffering blood brothers.
    In the spring of 1999, AEK announced a friendly against Partizan Belgrade on Holy Wednesday, April 7, during the NATO bombing that had started on March 24, 1999 with a decision by the US President Bill Clinton, because Serbia refused to sign the agreement on the future of Kosovo! The bombing lasted for 78 days and claimed the lives of 500 civilians according to objective sources, while Belgrade raised this number up to 5000!
    The mastermind behind this initiative was Dimitris Melissanidis and with the agreement of the football department and, particularly, the team's captain, Demis Nikolaidis, AEK took a decision that made history. It was a dangerous trip, since the so-called smart bombs dropped by NATO forces on Serbian territory were responsible for lots of tragic mistakes that claimed innocent lives. The Greek delegation's five bus-convoy carrying outstanding figures not related to football, such as Manolis Glezos, could be found at risk!
    On the day before the match, AEK's delegation traveled to Budapest, where it spent the night, and on Holy Wednesday morning, it traveled to Belgrade on a bus, amid continuous cheers by Serbians. Arrival at the country's capital was one of the most fascinating moments, with locals offering bread and salt, a symbol of Serbian hospitality. A short stop at the Presidential Mansion, where AEK conveyed a message of solidarity on behalf of all Greek people and then, arrival at the Partizan stadium, where the management, companions and ultras of AEK, mostly coming from "Original 21", once again received an amazing welcome.
    The two teams entered the field together holding up a banner saying: "NATO stop the war, stop the bombing". The game never ended. Better yet, it ended early when the fans of both teams invaded the field.
    It was the most beautiful interruption to a game in the history of football, since the fans of both teams only waited for 68 minutes before running into the field: the Serbians from the curva and AEK ultras from the centre, hugging each other.
    All together, footballers and coaches from both teams became one. It was a staggering moment. A historical, unique and once-in-a-lifetime moment. It was the moment that put AEK in the hearts of an entire people. It was one more proof of how different, proud, and gracious you feel as an AEK fan.
    Afterwards, however, everybody had to run: the Greeks were to leave Serbian territory before dark and the Serbians had to hide in shelters for yet another night of bombing.
    • Olympic Stadium crowded out of 63 thousand friends of AEK ATHENS during AEK-Olympiacos derby.
    • With this goal Julio Cesar gave AEK Athens the victory against AC Milan.
    • Fernando Santos was the head coach of AEK Athens, the first two years of Demis Nikolaidis Administration.
    • The goal by Nikos Lymberopoulos against Lille was AEK's first win in the Champions League.

    A new beginning

    In January 2004, AEK was in the final stretch of a huge financial crisis that seemed to mathematically lead to dissolution. On January 20, SportFM broke the news that the then player of Atletico Madrid, Demis Nikolaidis, together with a group of businessmen was interested in obtaining the majority shares of AEK FC.
    This is how a season of good and bad times began for AEK, which became the first FC having multiple shareholders and a great footballer as its CEO.
    Demis returned in triumph from EURO 2004 and... rolled up his sleeves having by his side businessmen such as Nikos Notias, Petros Pappas, Polys Chatziioannou, Gikas Goumas, and Takis Kanellopoulos.
    However, his vision was mostly supported by AEK fans. The huge number of fans at OAKA, such as the 63,000 fans in the match against Olympiacos, as well as in other less challenging matches, made history. But, for AEK to survive, it had to be set free from the debts of previous years mostly due to the two-year Psomiadis management. It was considered that the only way out and only solution for consolidation was to subject AEK FC to Article 44, a 1990 law on the consolidation of companies, which mandated 40% of a company's creditors to accept the settlement of debts accepted by the other 60%. of creditors.
    AEK came near the title in the 2004-05 season, presenting with a new team without many star players and with Nikos Limperopoulos and Kostas Katsouranis leading the way, as well as Nikos Kostenoglou in his 11th year with AEK. The technical director was Ilija Ivic and once again the coach was Fernando Santos, and AEK was claiming the title until the antepenultimate match, when it was defated 0-1 by Ionikos, whereas one week later, it failed to qualify for the Champions League by reason of a penalty not awarded by Kiros Vassaras against Panathinaikos at Leoforos. As for the Cup, AEK was also disqualified in overtime of the semifinal return match. In the first game at OAKA, AEK hit the goalpost and crossbar five (!) times and lost by 1-0! In the beginning of that season, AEK celebrated its 80 years of age with a historical trip to Istanbul. A highlight of this birthday trip was the meeting with the Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos at the church of Agios Georgios in Fener. Also, two friendlies against Galatasaray took place in Istanbul and Athens.
    In 2005-06, AEK managed to rand 2nd in the championship and secure its participation in the Champions League qualification rounds, whereas it made it to the Cup final, but lost to Olympiacos by 3-0 at the Pancretan Stadium. Fernando Santos left and the Spanish Lorenzo Serra Ferrer took his place in the summer 2006. This was a renowned coach, who had worked for Barcelona and had a very successful track record with Betis.
    AEK eliminated the Scottish Hearts in the Champions League qualifying rounds and made it to the groups, and almost made it to the round of 16 by achieving its first victory over Lille, among other things, and a true triumph over Milan by 1-0 at the packed OAKA. These were its first wins in the Champions League.
    • The first goal by Ismael Blanco in the historic win 4-0 against Olympiacos.
    • Socrates Papastathopoulos receiving the Man of the Match award from Stelios Manolas, was one of the great revelations of AEK FC season 2007-08.
    • Akis Zikos retires from football action on the day that the fans gave AEK the moral title of the 2008 champion
    • The characteristic raised four fingers of Rivaldo.

    Champions on the pitch

    In 2007-08, AEK was the leader in the field, but not in the championship. However, it made impressive transfers, such as that of Rivaldo who had been set free from Olympiacos, the Villarreal captain, Rodolfo Arruabarrena, and the top scorer in the Primera B Nacional of Argentina, Ismael Blanco; it also sold 25,500 season tickets, but the end was bitter since another title was lost on paper due to the Wallner affair.
    A highlight was the 4-0 victory over Olympiacos at OAKA, with goals by Blanco, Edinho, Limperopoulos, and Kafes, on March 31, 2008. Nikos Kostenoglou was coach after having replaced Serra Ferrer one month earlier.
    However, Olympiacos already had an additional three points, since it had won the game against Apollon Kalamaria on paper, after its defeat by 1-0 on the pitch, because the participation of Austrian forward Roman Wallner was against the rules. In the end, it had ranked one point higher than AEK and thus, won another controversial championship.
    Disappointment was to blame for AEK's poor performance in the play-off games, which resulted in AEK not qualifying for the Champions League. Moreover, there was a fall out between Nikolaidis and several members and sponsors of the group of shareholders.
    Therefore, in mid-June, Demis notified the other shareholders via e-mail that at the end of the five-year term, in May 2009, he will quit from AEK's presidency. However, the fact that his intention leaked in the summer combined with the poor start of the (greatly changed) team under Giorgos Donis, expedited the process.
    On November 2, right after a 2-1 victory over Asteras Tripolis at OAKA, Demis Nikolaidis announced his resignation, whereas two weeks later the contract with the coach was terminated, and Dusan Bajevic took his place.

    • AEK Athens with the heading of Traianos Dellas secured qualification for the Greek Cup Final, winning PAOK in Toumba.
    • AEK celebrates the conquest of the Greek Cup 2011 after the 3-0 win against Atromitos at the Olympic Stadium.
    • The tears of Nikos Pantazis, AEK’s live history, were the finale of the football tragedy that ended with the defeat against Atromitos in Peristeri.
    • Dusan Bajevic passed for the third time the gates of AEK Training Centre at the time as AEK's coach in 2008.

    The dark years

    On November 2, 2008, Demis Nikolaidis, feeling annoyed by the fact that footballers had been heckled, activated his resignation from the presidency. AEK turned a page and its first move was to open up to iconic figures from the yellow-black history. Takis Kanellopoulos and Nikos Koulis took up a leading role and agreed with Dusan Bajevic that the latter was to become the team's coach for the third time, whereas they also asked Stelios Manolas to take over as technical director.
    In early December, the shareholders decided that Giorgos Kindis would become the president of the FC, but before the end of January 2009, the shareholders appointed Nikos Thanopoulos, who was the FC's CEO, as president. AEK made it to the Cup final against Olympiacos at OAK, however this was meant to be a football odyssey of 120 minutes, eight goals and a total of 31 penalty shootouts! Although AEK's Ismael Blanco achieved two goals in the first half, Olympiacos put pressure in the second half and levelled the game. However.... the thriller was far from being over.   In the last minute of normal time, Nacho Scocco made 3-2 with a fantastic personal effort of his. However, in the last play of the match, Matt Derbyshire scored the equalizer for Olympiacos. In overtime, AEK was losing, but managed to equalize the game thanks to another incredible goal by Scocco. In penalty shootouts, AEK was defeated by 15-14.
    Stavros Adamidis became president in March 2010 and immediately closed the deal with Arnar Grétarsson, the next technical director. A year later, at the end of the 2010-11 season, AEK won the Greek Cup. The Spanish coach "Manolo" Jiménez who had replaced Bajevic in September 2010 would lead the team to its first title after the 2002 Greek Cup.
    AEK eliminated Panathinaikos in the quarterfinals, although it took a half-pitch direct kick (!) from Michel in injury time to do so, whereas in the semi-finals it was up against PAOK and the qualification was achieved after a victory in Touba with a header by Dellas. At the packed OAKA, AEK prevailed in the final against Atromitos by 3-0. Nikos Limperopoulos was the one who paved the way for victory and the only title in his career, whereas Baha and Kafes made a triumph in the second half.
    However, as regards the management, things did not get better. The acquisition of Eidur Gudjohnsen was the major summer move, but Scocco and Blanco left. After a bad start, Jimenez also left and Nikos Kostenoglou took over. AEK secured its participation in European competitions, however couldn't get an UEFA license. This meant that AEK would not compete in Europe after 21 years!
    In mid-June, Thomas Mavros took up an initiative and recruited the coach Vangelis Vlachos, who had also been his former teammate in AEK. However, the team was suffering financial difficulties and all experienced players had left. The results were disappointing and AEK only achieved its first victory on the 8th matchday, and after the cooperation with Vlachos had already been terminated (he was replaced by Ewald Lienen) in such a way that Mavros also left too. He was replaced by Andreas Dmitrelos, however, the team's destiny remained unchanged.
    AEK was almost unable to escape the relegation zone and the peak of the tragedy was the match against Panthrakikos that was interrupted due to incidents, when Enosis trailed back. The fatal end was staged on April 21 in Peristeri, when AEK was defeated to Atromitos and was relegated to the lower division.

    • The construction plan of the Centre of Sports, Culture and Memory “Agia Sofia” was presented at the Onassis Cultural Centre.
    • The administrative leader of AEK FC, Dimitris Melissanidis, staring at the model of our new stadium.
    • The away victory against Kifissia at the full stadium of Rizoupoli sealed mathematically the promotion of AEK FC to Football League.
    • • All the great glories of AEK in leadership of the Football Department at the new beginning of 2013: Borbokis, Zikos, Dimitriadis, Lymberopoulos, Dellas and Bajevic next to Dimitris Melissanidis.

    The great comeback

    On April 21, 2013, AEK reached a historical low when it was relegated. However, a year later nothing reminds us of these days.
    The key pillar of this effort is the return home at the Sports, Memory and Cultural Centre "Agia Sofia", in sacred Nea Filadelfia. With "wiping the past out" as his motto, Dimitris Melissanidis approached stakeholders such as Petros Pappas and Polis Chatziioannou and ensured they would be actively involved with the project and the building of the new stadium.
    In fact, he also gave people the opportunity to actively participate in this major "project" through the purchase of season tickets for 2013-15 and 2014-15 by making their holders shareholders to the company "DIKEFALOS 1924 SA", which was established to build the stadium. This major project was presented in a prestigious event at the Onassis Cultural Center on November 6, 2013.
    The first works at Nea Filadeflia had already been completed and it is only a matter of time for construction to begin. Moreover, the team is also reorganised since AEK has already left Football League II behind it and is getting ready for its second and last season away from the Superleague.
    The rebirth of AEK is runned by people who have made history with AEK. Dusan Bajevic is the Executive Director. Traianos Dellas is the coach. The new technical director in the place of Nikos Lymperopoulos, who was among the prominent figures of the new start in 2013, is the club's former footballer Branko Milovanovic and Vasilis Dimitriadis is the General Manager.
    Planning for the Football League has already begun since winter and AEK started preparing with a roster that could not only participate in, but lead the Super League. Besides, this is where AEK belongs: the Superleague and the top. It is only a matter of time for the team to return and make history once again!

    • Olympic stadium of Athens was filled by 65.000 AEK supporters for the Cup game against Olympiakos.
    • Vasilis Lampropoulos is one of the scorers in the 3-0 win over Atromitos for the Greek Cup.
    • ΑΕΚ players are celebrating their return to Super League at Olympic Stadium of Athens.

    The Return!

    Since the summer of 2015 AEK Athens belongs back in Super League. The 2014-15 season, the second of "exile" in the lower categories, resembled as a final rehearsal return after the team made a comfortable path in the regular season and the play-offs and tried its competitiveness against Super League teams during the Greek Cup matches.
    The top moment of AEK Athens were the two matches of the quarterfinals against Olympiakos with the shocking presence of the 65.000 fans at the Olympic Stadium.
    At the same time, of course, the team's administration and technical leadership cared for the " next day." At the end of the period AEK had already football players ready to compete in Super League, but the strengthening of the team will continue as expectations are high.

    Come back with the Cup!

    The new era of AEK FC in Superleague Greece started with lot of new faces. The additions of Simoes, Vargas, Baroja, Buananotte, Didac and Djebbour came to find the existing main squad and to create a quality roster, which brought AEK FC at its usual protagonist role in the League.
    During the first round of the League campaign Gustavo Poyet replaced Traianos Dellas and managed to make the team more effective inside the pitch. AEK FC won all of its three main contenders at OACA (PAOK, Olympiacos, Panathinaikos), with the same score, 1-0. However, Poyet left the club and Stelios Manolas appointed as a head coach during the semi-finals of the Greek Cup and managed to overcome the obstacle of Atromitos and qualify to the Final, where defeated Olympiacos by 2-1 and lifted the trophy after five years!
    In the empty OACA (after the decision of the relevant Minister), AEK FC was superior in every aspect of the game. The goals of Mantalos and Djebbour gave the team a clear advance during the game and even Olympiacos scored with Dominguez for the 2-1, nothing changed. AEK FC won their 15th Cup trophy and proved to everybody that was definitely back in business!

    A tough season with a good finish

    AEK started season 2016-17 with Temur Ketsbaia in their bench and some very important additions to the squad (Chygrynskiy, Almeida, Bakasetas, Barkas, Lescott, Christodoulopoulos, Rodriguez). AEK participated in the 3rd Qualification round of Europa League, after a five-year absence from the european competitions, eliminated to AS Saint Etienne. The 2nd leg at OACA stadium was the No 200 European match for AEK FC.
    During the league campaign AEK FC changed three head coaches, as Temur Ketsbaia was replaced by Jose Morais, who was later replaced by Manolo Jimenez. The arrival of the Andalusian manager combined with the transfers of Adjarevic, Araujo, Vinicius and Melikiotis and the club managed to overturn the bad start of the season.
    In the final stage of the season AEK FC eliminated Olympiakos in the Greek Cup semi-final but lost the Final with 2-1 to PAOK, due to a offside-goal eight minutes from time. The end of season was better, as AEK were the winners of Super league Greece play-offs, securing their participation at the Champions League Qualification Round.
    • AEK FC players lift the 2017-18 Super League Greece trophy
    • Marko Livaja scores the winner against PAOK in the game of the first round
    • Giargos Goakoumakis’ late goal against Olympiakos away was crucial to the battle of Super League Greece title
    • Petros Mantalos celebrates the third goal that completed the great comeback against Olympiakos from 0-2 to 3-2

    Champions of Greece again!

    AEK won the 2017-18 Super League title and confirmed their return to the top stage of Greek football, which it was their main target when the club was re-established in 2013. The most quality and stable team of the league returned on top after 24 years. 

    Manolo Jimenez’s team played a total of 52 matches in Greek League, Greek Cup and Europe (Champions League preliminaries and Europa League group stage and round of 32) with only 6 defeats, despite being deprived the services of captain Petros Mantalos and Jacob Johansson since November.

    The two amazing comebacks against Olympiacos (3-2 home and 1-2 away) the 1-0 home win against PAOK with ten players due to Sergio Araujo’s senting off, the four points with Panathinaikos, the significant away wins against Panionios, Levadiakos, Panetolikos and some crucial home victories between January and April (against Giannina, Asteras, Panionios) were the results that made difference. The 2-0 win over Levadiakos at the Olympic Stadium on April 22 was the one that clinched the title. The trophy was awarded two weeks later when AEK defeated Apollon away and a frenetic party with about 40,000 fans followed in the streets of AEK homeland Nea Philadelphia.

    In the Greek Cup, AEK again eliminated again Olympiacos in the semifinals but lost to the final at the Olympic Stadium to PAOK by 2-0. AEK started in Europe with an elimination to CSKA Moscow in the Champions League qualifiers in early August, but they continued impressively in the Europa League.
    After eliminating Club Brugge (0-0 away and 3-0 home) they were runners-up in the group with Milan, Austria Wien and NHK Rijeka, winning 2-1 at Croatia and drawing five consecutive times! In the Round of 32 AEK played better than Dynamo Kiev in both matches, but home 1-1 and away 0-0 gave the Ukrainians the qualification.

    Along with the team's challenge, the 2017-18 season was marked by the start of the construction of the new stadium in New Philadelphia. In mid-July the building permit was issued and the work started immediately. In May 2018, when the season ended, "Agia Sophia" was already shaped and AEK are looking towards their return at home!

    Four tough years

    AEK eliminated Celtic FC and MOL Vidi in the summer of 2018, in order to return to UEFA Champions League's group stage after 12 years and play against AFC Ajax, SL Benfica & FC Bayern Munich. Manolo Jimenez replaced manager Marinos Ouzounidis in February, after a disappointing campaign at Greek Super League, and the team finished at the 3rd place while also reached the Greek Cup final for 4th consecutive season, losing 1-0 against PAOK at OACA Stadium.

    The 2019-20 season started badly for AEK, as the negative results led to the exclusion from Trabzonspor in the UEFA Europa League play offs , the dismissal of Miguel Cardoso and his replacement first by Nikos Kostenoglou and then by Massimo Carrera. The end of the season (marked by a break due to Covid-19) found the team finishing in 3rd place in the league and participating in another Cup final, in which AEK lost 0-1 to Olympiacos.

    In the 2020-21 season, AEK reached the group stage of the UEFA Europa League, eliminating St. Gallen (0-1) and Wolfsburg (2-1) in the qualifiers. In the league AEK fought until the end to secure a European ticket, something that finally achieved by occupying the 4th place. However, the same did not happen in the 2021-22 season, as the poor results in the championship was sealed with the 5th place.

    Returning home with a double!

    The 2022-23 season started with the long-awaited return of AEK FC to Nea Philadelphia and ended triumphantly with the first double in 45 years! The first celebration was set up at the grand opening event on September 30, 2022, an event that with its historical references impressed and moved the fans of AEK and all Greeks, but the even bigger moments came in May 2023, when AEK won both the Greek Championship and the Greek Cup in just a few days!

    Matias Almeida's presence was to prove decisive and transform AEK FC, combined with the strengthening of the roster and the team's new powerful home ground. From the tragic end of the 2021-22 season with the loss of Europe, AEK reached the top within a year, standing out from the start with their forceful football. Although they spent most of the year in second place, in close proximity to Panathinaikos, it was clear that they were superior. Especially at home (in a game at Rizoupoli and then at the OPAP ARENA) they even managed to complete 15 consecutive wins in the League and Cup!

    The title was also mathematically painted in yellow and black after the completion of the last matchday. After a 4-0 win over Volos, AEK was crowned Greek Champions 2023 in a magical and intoxicating night of triumph at home! A few days after winning the Championship, AEK reached the double with a 2-0 win over PAOK in the Greek Cup Novibet final in Volos.

  • 1924 \\ The birth of a great idea.
  • 1924 - 1930 \\ The early years
  • 1930 - 1940 \\ The football ground and first titles
  • 1945 - 1950 \\ Post-war years
  • 1950 - 1959 \\ The tough decade
  • 1959 - 1968 \\ AEK in Division 1
  • 1968 - 1973 \\ The 5-year spell of Stankovic
  • 1974 - 1981 \\ Glory days under Loukas Barlos
  • 1981-1988 \\ Just one Greek Cup
  • 1988 - 1998 \\ Ten years of glory
  • 1998 - 2004 \\ Little joy, big problems
  • 1999 \\ Belgrade: The mission of peace
  • 2004 \\ A new beginning
  • 2008 \\ Champions on the pitch
  • 2008 - 2013 \\ The dark years
  • 2013 - 2014 \\ The great comeback
  • 2014 - 2015 \\ The Return!
  • 2015 - 2016 \\ Come back with the Cup!
  • 2016 - 2017 \\ A tough season with a good finish
  • 2017 - 2018 \\ Champions of Greece again!
  • 2018 - 2022 \\ Four tough years
  • 2022-23 \\ Returning home with a double!


    The legendary Kostas Negrepontis was the iconic player of AEK in the Interwar years. He was born in 1897 in Smyrna but his family moved to Constantinople (currently Istanbul) where he played for Fenerbahce and the Pera Club (currently Beyoglu), which he co-founded in 1918. While on tour with his club in Europe, following the Destruction of Smyrna in 1922, which had been the climax of anti-Greek feelings in Turkey, he decided to stay in France, where he played for a number of teams before returning to Greece for AEK in 1926.
    History speaks of a rare case of a football player idolised like only a few in the Interwar period. He played for Enosis until 1932, when he won the cup. No sooner did he retire as a player that he moved into coaching his favourite team (1933-1936), whereas he also coached it three more times (1937-1948, 1955-1957, and 1958-1959).
    As a coach, he won the titles he had failed to as a player: two Championships (1939, 1940) and two Cups (1939, 1956) were the outcome of his spell.
    Kostas Negrepontis was also a major asset for our national team. He only put on the national team shirt twice, because he was about to retire when the Greek national team was established, but he coached it for three seasons (1933-1934, 1938, 1948-1950). In fact, his last season began with a historical event. According to official FIFA records, he was the coach when the Greek National Team played its first post-war game against Turkey at the Alexandras Avenue pitch. The final score was 3-1 to our neighbours. Maropoulos and Magiras wore the Greek shirt and Lefteris Kucukandonyadis (Lefter) wore the Turkish shirt.
    Kostas Negrepontis died in Athens on February 19, 1973.

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    He was AEK's most iconic player in the 1930s and 1940s. Born in Constantinople in 1919, he came to Greece after the Asia Minor Catastrophe. He started playing football with the "Green Birds" in Kalamata and Ethnikos Kalogrezas, before he joined AEK in 1934 and start his 18-year spell. It was there that he met Trifonas Tzanetis, also coming from Kalogreza, and the two became inseparable until their old age. Furthermore, they became partners to a sports store in the centre of Athens.
    He was usually playing as a centre forward. His combination of physical skill, technical training, powerful shots, perception of space, his movement with or without the ball and the difficult goals he managed to score made him a top player of his time. The slogan "Maropoulos, you can't" was originally chanted by the opponent's fans, but later on came to be a chant of AEK's fans for the amazing goals he scored.
    Maropoulos also played during the post-war era, until 1952. He won two Championship titles (1939 and 1940) and three Cup titles (1939, 1949 and 1950). He had also won four Athens Championships (1940, 1946, 1947, and 1950), and was the top scorer of the South Group Championship in 1939 and 1940. Overall, he played in 144 matches and scored a total of 89 goals.
    From his first years in the team, he became a leader and the team captain for a number of years. He played for the National Team between 1938 and 1950, and he also captained the team in six out of his ten appearances, in which he scored once.
    After retiring, he was involved with coaching and was a scout for the National Team for a number of years. He also worked for AEK FC and EPO as a member of administration, all while being one of the pioneers of the movement for professional football in Greece. The "Blonde Eagle" passed away in January 1991.

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    One of the colossal figures of AEK, he served the club as football player, coach and member of the management from adolescence to his mature years. He was born in Smyrna in 1918 and came to Athens with his family at a very young age, after the Minor Asia Catastrophe in 1922. He grew up in Nea Ionia, very close to AEK's stadium, and he joined the club in the mid-1930s, after playing for Eleftheroupoli.
    He was related in the pitch and in life to Kleanthis Maropoulos, with whom he remained friends (and also partners to a sports store in downtown Athens) until the latter passed away in 1991. Seven years afterwards, Tzanetis also rested in peace.
    He was a great player and a great man. First, he played as a striker, but later on, he became a central midfielder, when the English coach Jack Bibie transferred him to the back, as part of the WM system followed by him when he came to Greece in 1948.
    His presence was imposing. He was perceptive, sharp, creative and a team player and in addition to being a forward midfielder, he also did well in the defense. During his term in AEK, he won four Athens Championship titles &nbsp;(1940, 1946, 1947, and 1950), two National Championship titles (1939 and 1940) and three Cup titles (1939, 1949, and 1950), he was the top scorer with 15 goals in the 1940 National Championship games, and also made one appearance with the National Team.
    Tzanetis often coached AEK (during several periods in the 1950s and 1960s, leading the team to the Cup title in 1966), the National Team, and other Greek teams and he is the man who primed numerous great footballers, the top amongst them being Mimis Papaioannou.

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    He served AEK for more than 15 years, even if the players of his generation lost many productive years because of the World War II. He was a member of mighty AEK which won Greek double of 1939 and the championship of 1940, although he was not even 20 years old. After World War II he continued playing until 1953, celebrating with AEK the Greek Cups of 1949 - 1950, along with three Athens championships.
    He was born in 1921 and started his career from "Three Stars" football club of Patisia. Michalis Delavinias joined AEK in 1938 and became a regular starter immediately, even if excellent goalkeepers Christos Ribas and Spyros Sklavounos were also in the team's squad. After the war, the "Black Cat" made many appearances for AEK and was also called up in Greece National Team. His best performance was against Olympiacos at Greek Cup's semi final of 1948 (1-0), when he made dozens of incredible saves for the victory.
    He worked as manager after the end of his playing career and passed away on November 6th, 2003, at the age of 82.

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    AEK's star player in the 1950s before Kostas Nestoridis joined the team.  A very skillful footballer gifted with... killer feet, showcased in the 1956 Cup final, where he scored the winning goal against Olympiacos, with one of his celebrated thunder-striking shots, leading to a 2-1 victory. This was his only title with AEK.
    Giannis Kanakis was born in 1927 and started off as a defender for AEK Kavalas, but later on came to be a great midfielder.He joined AEK in 1949 as suggested by Kostas Negrepontis and became one of the team's star players for over a decade. Particularly, in the second half of the 1950s he made up an exquisite duo with Kostas Nestoridis.
    He was established as a player in AEK under English coach Jack Bibby in 1950, and played as a right or left midfielder (inside left or right, in the terms used at the time) until 1960, when he finally retired in the middle of the 1959-60 season after having scored AEK's first goal in the 1st Division, at the opening of the Championship against Ethnikos.  As a matter of fact, he did make it to the first six games (2 goals) in the then newly-established 1st Division.
    He only played for the National Team once, although he was always capped by it. He was also in the National Men's Team in the friendly between France-Greece 1-0 (Marseille, 14-10-1951), whereas he had also been capped by the Greek Military Football Team.
    After the end of his career, he remained close to AEK for several years, as a football department registrar. During his term, and under the management of Loukas Barlos, AEK won the Double in 1978 and the Championship in 1979.
    Giannis Kanakis passed away in 24 March 2016 at the age of 89.

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    One of the everlasting figures in AEK's history, who contributed as a player,&nbsp;for almost two decades, and also as a First Team and development teams coach.
    He was born in 1935 and grew up in Petralona as a member of a very poor family of displaced refugees from Asia Minor. When he signed with Sparta Petralonon, at the age of 15, his contract was annulled over formalities and his father, Dimitris, instantly took him to AEK. There, he was lucky enough to meet a great English master, the coach Jack Bibie, who made sure to make the most out of his talent. But it was the Englishman's successor, the Italian Magnozzi, who introduced him to the roster as a main player.
    Stamatiadis was an explosive winger who possessed the ability to make deadly crosses. During his first steps in 1952, he managed to play together with his great hero, Kleanthis Maropoulos, in two friendlies. From that point on, he began his own career as a star until 1969, having a track record of 600 friendlies and official matches, with 136 goals in official matches and a great many goals in friendlies. With AEK he went on to win two Championship titles (1963 and 1968) and three Greek Cup titles (in 1956, 2-1 against Olympiacos, in 1964 without a final match due to the unrest in Leoforos and also without a final match in 1966, because Olympiacos failed to show up), most of them as the team's captain, since he held this title practically throughout the 1960s. He played in 8 matches with the National Team.
    He retired in 1969, when the then coach, Branko Stankovic, decided to renew the team. His dismissal from the team saddened him, but he immediately began a glorious career in coaching, while he never stopped loving AEK and being at the club's disposal. He returned to AEK as an assistant to František Fadrhonc and remained on his side for three years, and later went on as an assistant to Čajkovski and Puskás. In fact, he had to replace the latter in early 1979 and lead AEK towards a title which seemed out of reach eleven matches before the end of the season.
    In 1992, he was appointed head of AEK Academies and in the following twenty years, he took up several posts under different managements for the club, either as head of the Academies, or at the scouting department.

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    Born in Athens in 1935 to a family of refugees. He passed away in January 4 of 2022. He played for Egaleo Youth Team between 1948 and 1950 and for Apollon Athinon youth ranks for a short time (1950-51), where his older brother Lampis also played, before joining AEK. In AEK he was again teammates with his brother, one of the best strikers at the time, during the 1952-53 season.

    He played for AEK for twenty years (1952-72) and won two Championships as a key player (1963 and 1968) and one as a substitute (1971). He also participated in the team which won three Cups, (1956, 1964, and 1966) in a total of approximately 300 matches. He played for the Men's National Team once.
    Serafidis was among the most reliable and consistent goalkeepers in the history of the Club. Gifted with agility and excellent reflexes, he was famous for his high diving saves under tough conditions.  Despite being short, he managed to become one of the top players in the 1950s and 1960s.

    After he retired, he went on to offer his services to AEK for a number of consecutive years as coach. For many years he worked with the squads' goalkeepers and later on he undertook similar duties  for AEK Academy. He was always close to AEK in home and away matches, whereas he was the president of AEK FC Former Players Association.

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    Kostas Nestoridis was one of the greatest masters ever seen on our pitches. He was born on March 15, 1930, in Drama, but his family was in Athens during the German Occupation.
    At the age of 15, he joined the "Ellada" (Greece) association of Moschato, and in the late 1940s he moved to Panionios. 1955 is the year when he is transferred to AEK. AEK'S president at the time, Dimitris Sevastakis, snatched him from Panathinaikos and Olympiacos, who were holding talks with the management of Panionios, which refused to let him go on a free transfer. Therefore, under the regulations applicable at the time, he was given a two-year exclusion for joining AEK.
    In the years 1955-57, he only took part in AEK's friendlies, but as of 1957-58, he was free to play for his favourite team in official matches. Until 1965, he had scored a total of 224 goals in  Athens League, Greek League, Greek Cup and European games, 141 of which in the A' Division.
    The 1958-59 season found him earning the top scorer award in the Greek League for the first time, with 21 goals in 18 matches. Then, he established himself as an A' Division player being the top scorer for four consecutive seasons (195-63) with 33, 27, 29, and 24 goals, respectively. In other words, he was the top scorer for five consecutive seasons!
    He left AEK in 1966 and later returned as a coach for 15 League games in 1983 and 1984, whereas he has also been a coach at Kallithea and Paniliakos.
    Overall, he has scored 265 goals in 363 matches for Panionios, AEK, and the National team, making him the top scorer of all times in terms of goals per game ratio. He has actually scored five goals in a single game (against Iraklis, 5-0, in 1963), four goals in another game, and twelve hat-tricks. He was the goal-scoring machine, and he is still worshiped and remembered by fans for his achievements.

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    Born on January 6, 1939 in Nea Ionia, he first joined the local Eleftheroupoli FC. In 1961, he joined AEK and became the midfielder that essentially brought new perspective into AEK's way of playing. He was the team's "unflagging water carrier", being insightful and displaying football intelligence.
    In the 1960s, he was among the top Greek players in passes and goal assists. A typical example is that during his first match with AEK ending with an 8-0 victory over Egaleo in Rizoupoli on September 9, 1961, his beautiful assists made three out of the eight goals happen.
    He was a key member of the team when it won three Championsphip titles (1963, 1968, and 1971) and also a favourite of Jenő Csaknády, and appointed as captain by Branko Stanković when the latter succeeded the Hungarian-German as coach in 1968. The player from Ionia stood out for his performance in crucial games and the matches against Panathinaikos and Olympiacos, whereas he was one of the great stars in AEK's course to the Champions’ Cup quarterfinals in the 1968-69 season. He also had a very good game in the autumn of 1971 in San Siro against Mazzola’s and Facchetti’s Inter.
    Until 1973, he had played in 339 matches scoring 19 goals, while he had also won two cups. He was capped 11 times by the National Team. After the end of his career as a football player in 1972, he became a coach for several upper-division clubs.
    He passed away from cancer on June 10, 2009. A few months earlier (January 21, 2009), he made a deeply emotional and unexpected visit to the AEK Veterans' gathering for the New Year, in his capacity as their president, to wish all of them "Health, health, health"! It was the last public appearance of a great fighter of AEK.

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    The top Greek football player of the 20th century, as declared by the International Federation of Football History & Statistic (IFFHS) in 2000, he was born in Nea Nikomidia, Imathia on August 23, 1942. He first played football for his hometown, before transferring to Veroia in 1959. 

    AEK outrun PAOK and signed him in 1962, with a then record contract of 175 thousand drachmas. It would prove one of the most important transfers in its history. He will stay with the team until 1979!
    Together with Kostas Nestoridis, he lead Enosis to winning the title in 1963. His time as the team's leader essentially began in late 1965, when he returned after a months-long withdrawal in protest to the management's rejection of Real Madrid's offer to acquire him.

    After winning the title in 1963, he went on to star in the Championship titles in 1968, 1971, 1978, and 1979, the Cup wins in 1964, 1966, and 1978, and also participated in the quarterfinals of the 1968-1969 UEFA Champions Cup and the 1977 UEFA semifinals. He actually sealed this last qualification since in the quarterfinals against Queens Park Rangers, he scored an amazing header (using his famous ability to stand on air), which was the third goal in the game that led to overtime and penalty shootouts with AEK going through to the next round.

    Papaioannou is AEK's top scorer of all times, with 289 goals in 566 matches. 233 of them were in 480 matches in the 1st Division. He was also the top scorer in the 1964 and 1966 Championships. He played for the National Team in 61 games and scored 21 goals.

    He was established as a central striker. Nevertheless, this left-footed player had all the technical skills needed to stand out both in creativity and in execution.  Despite being short, Papaioannou wrote his own football history pages by scoring impressive headers, a result of his impressive spot jump. 49 out of his goals in the 1st Division were header.

    Moreover, he further proved his skill... over the ground, in a historical match against Olympiacos in Faliro, in the 1968-69 season, being the one who drove home a beautiful direct free kick and sealed the final 2-3 in the 78th minute, while he played as a goalkeeper for the last five minutes of the game, as a substitute to Serafeidis who had been dismissed. He defended the goal twice by impressively blocking the respective attempts of Giorgos Sideris. Mimis Papaioannou ended his career in the New York Pancyprian at the age of 40.

    During his withdrawal in 1965, he followed the great popular singer Stelios Kazantzidis, who was a fan of AEK, to his tour in Germany and performed with him in nightclubs for a period of time (until they eventually returned and his relations with AEK were restored) - Eventually, the most famous song written to be performed by Mimis Papaioannou, later on in 1971, was the Team's Anthem with lyrics by Christos Kolokotronis' lyrics and music by Stelios Kazantzidis.

    He passed away on March 15, 2023.

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    From Agioi Anargyroi region, he moved to Nea Filadelfeia in 1959, when he was 13 years old, and managed to reach Greece National Team. The man who realized the potential of "Baby" (his nickname until now) was Austrian manager Harry Aurednik, who worked for AEK at 1959-60 season, asking the club to sign him immediately.
    He was a member of AEK U-20 squad which won many titles in the '60s, promoted to the first team at 1965 and served it until 1974, winning two Greek championships and reaching the quarter finals of former Champions Cup at 1968-69.
    With exceptional technique, smartness and passing ability, he was superior than all the other defensive midfielders of his era and the fans of AEK loved him. He ended his career with AEK with 270 official performances and played at Greece National Team 12 times, although there were many super stars at his position back then.
    After his departure from AEK, he played at Kastoria for four seasons and finished his solid playing career with Kallithea at 1980. He is currently working for the Academy of his beloved club at the age of 72.

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    Born in 1944 in Nea Ionia, where he was raised, Kostas Nikolaidis was one of the top midfielders of his time. He was gifted with very strong legs, endless stamina and a memorable passion for the game. He was the "other half" of Mimis Papaioannou in AEK's attack (1965-1973) and his career with the team coincided with the era when our side was renowned nationwide for having the most spectacular game.
    This team's glory was largely due to Nikolaidis. In less than a decade of his presence in the attack and without ever being the centre-forward, he achieved more than 100 goals in all competitions, starting a tradition... with particular preference for the matches at the Alexandras Avenue stadium against Panathinaikos.
    He joined AEK in 1965 after being transferred from PAO Saframpolis of the 2nd Division and became a primary player from the very beginning. Physically gifted, with a robust stature and low centre, he was both invincible to and dangerous for his opponents. His memorable jovial character allowed him to become friends even with his opponents on the pitch.
    Although he was only capped four times by the National Team, he is one of the four Greek players to have scored in eight successive (!) Championship matches, playing for AEK, in the 1967-68 season. He belonged to the team which celebrated the Championship titles in 1968 and 1971 and the Cup title in 1966, and was also a member of the team which reached the 1969 Champions Cup quarterfinals.
    After AEK, he played for Apollon and Giannena, whereas for many years, he worked as a coach for amateur clubs and youth ranks.

    GALLERY \\


    One of the most important figures in AEK's history, he has contributed to the club as an athlete, a scientist, and also a member of its administratition. A timeless ambassador of AEK's legacy to the Greek society.
    Born on July 18, 1949 in Ios, Cyclades, where his family resided at the time because of his father's, Konstantinos Nikolaou, professional duties as an obstetrician-gynecologist. However, he grew up in Peristeri and his first team was Atromitos.  He first became known while playing for Atromitos, in parallel to his studies in the School of Medicine. In 1971, aged 22, he joined AEK, the team he used to worship since his childhood.
    Although he started off as a centre-forward, it was in the position of central defender that he built his great career. For three years he played in AEK's attack, but when the great master and reformist coach František Fadrhonc joined the club in 1974, he was moved to the defense, making up a powerful duo with Petros Ravousis.
    He was a key player for the team during the difficult period from 1972-74, but also during its rebirth brought about under Barlos, which led to the team's great performance in Europe in 1976-77, the titles of 1978 (double) and 1979 (Championship), whereas he was also present  the first three years of the difficult 1980s. The last match he participated in was on May 30, 1982 against Kastoria, with AEK registering a 2-1 victory. Overall, he played in 357 official matches and scored 48 goals. Moreover, he participated in 15 matches with the Men's National Team, also during the 1980 European Championship in Italy.
    He was named "Athlete of the Year" in 1974 and 1979, a title awarded by the Panhellenic Association of Sports Journalists (PSAT). He was also in AEK's athletics team and won the 1st place in the triple jump and the 2nd place in long jump during an open Championship. In addition, he was the President of AEK FC for one year (1997-1998). After the end of his career, he devoted himself to medicine and came to be one of the top orthopedics in Greece, also renowned internationally. He has been offering medical services to AEK pro bono ever since he was a player for the team.

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    Born in Jerusalem in 1953, he moved with his family to Nea Ionia at a very young age. He made his first steps in Apollon Athinon, where he remained until 1974. However, that summer, he became one of the first transfers of the new AEK headed by Loukas Barlos, signing an unprecedented contract for five million drachmas.
    He played as a winger but also as a midfielder in his more mature years, during the 80s, while he was also used as a left back by Ferenc Puskás during the 1978-79 season! 
    He is considered as a rare case of genius in Greek football, showing unique technical skill, speed and fitness. Those who have watched him play still recall moments of football magic, when he was dribbling against five or six opponents!
    He made history playing for AEK for 11 years, winning two Championships in 1978 and 1979 and two Cup titles in 1978 and 1983. He played in over 300 official matches, scoring 50 goals. Unfortunately, though, he was unable to participate when AEK played for the UEFA Cup semifinals in 1976-77, since he was suspended by the EPO for a disciplinary offense in a mission with the Greek National Under-21 Team two years earlier.
    He had been capped by the Greek Men's National Team in 43 matches (scoring 2 goals) and also took part with the same team in the 1980 EURO in Italy, and was also called to participate in World XI. He went back to Apollonas to end his career in 1985. After his retirement, he engaged in coaching and was a member of the supervisory team of AEK's youth ranks.

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    Thomas Mavros, the most gifted scorer in the history of the Greek championship, is a footballer still remembered by AEK fans chanting "Pios, pios, pios... O Mavros o Theos" (Who, who, who... Mavros, the God).
    He was born on March 31, 1954, in Kallithea and joined the ranks of Panionios at the age of seven. In less than a decade, at the age of sixteen and a half, the English coach Joe Mallett trusted him enough to include him in the Nea Smirni starting line-up and by 1982, the 18-year old Mavros had already been capped by the Men's National Team.
    In 1975, Loukas Barlos agreed with him that Mavros would move to AEK, however, the transfer turned into a judicial soap opera, since his club would not agree to this. Eventually, AEK won the case in the summer of 1976, thus Mavros went on to have a bright career wearing the yellow-black shirt until 1987. During these 11 years, Mavros: *Experienced the magnificent run to the semi-finals of the 1976-1977 UEFA Cup, where he scored three goals (two of them even though he was injured, at the epic quarter-final second leg against Queens Park Rangers).
    *Celebrated the 1978 and 1979 Championship titles, as well as the 1978 and 1983 Cup titles <br *Scored 220 goals in 344 official AEK matches, being the third scorer of all times in the history of the club 
    *Became (taking into account the goals for Panionios) the top scorer in A' Division history, with 260 goals (174 of which for AKE) in 501 appearances.
    *Became top scorer 3 times (in 1978, 1979, 1985 with AEK and in 1990 with Panionios at the age of 36)
    *Won the silver shoe in Europe in 1979, with 31 goals
    *Scored 11 goals in 36 appearances with the National team and he also played at the 1980 European Football Championship finals.
    In 1981, under the guidance of the German Jupp Derwall, he played for Europe XI against the then Czechoslovakia national football team in Prague. In August 1984, he played in New York (together with Vasilis Chatzipanagis) for World XI in the presence of Beckenbauer, Krol, Keegan, Sanchez, Magath, Kempes, and Shilton, among others.
    For the first half of the 1980s, he was the team's iconic player helping it maintain its high level. However, during his last two years with AEK (1985-87) he suffered from injuries. Most of all, however, he suffered disrespectful treatment by coach Nikos Alefantos, who drove him to the exit in 1987. He played for another four years, for Panionios, proving all those who considered him burnt out that they were wrong.
    In November 1993, in Nea Filadelphia, at his farewell game between AEK-Greek National Team, Thomas Mavros played for sixty minutes for both teams, scored for AEK and was worshiped by fans who loved him like no other footballer. A few years later, in the summer of 2012, he took charge of AEK FC, however, the situation had become non-reversible and a few months afterwards, he was forced to resign.

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    Dušan Bajević was born in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, on December 10, 1948 and started his football career playing for the team of his birthplace, Velez, in 1966. He is of Serbian descent, but has had the Greek citizenship since 1994. The nickname he was given in Yugoslavia, "the Prince of Neretva" (after the river that crosses his birthplace) also accompanied him in Greek football.
    During the 1969-1970 season, he was the top scorer in the Yugoslavian Championship and in 1974, he scored three goals in the match between the Yugoslavian National Team and Zaire for the World Cup title in West Germany. In the 37 matches he played for Yugoslavia, he scored 29 goals.
    In 1977, he was acquired by AEK and remained with the club up to 1981, participating in 106 Championship matches and scoring 65 goals. In 1978, he celebrated the Double win and in 1979, he won the Championship. During 1979-80, he was the top scorer in the Championship with 25 goals.
    He was a member of what was probably AEK FC's best team ever, making up an unprecedent duo with Thomas Mavros. In particular, during the 1978-79 season, the two of them scored 55 out of the 90 goals achieved by the team in the Championship (31 goals by Mavros and 25 goals by Bajević). Moreover, it should be noted that during Bajević's four-year spell  in AEK, the team always had the best attack in the Championship.
    His mark was evident on the Double win in 1978, having scored in all the stages of the Cup and also delivering critical goals in the Championship, although he has not been playing in it until December 1977 due to a knee injury. One of his greatest moments in Europe was the night of the team's 6-1 victory over Porto, where he scored twice.
    From 1981 and for two years he went back to Velez before ending his career in 1983. A year later, he took up the role of coach for Velez, while being appointed coach to the Olympic Team of the then united Yugoslavia. His first great moment as coach was the Yugoslavian Cup win in 1986.
    As of 1988, he is mostly professionally active in Greece, working with AEK on three occasions and winning with the team four Championships (1989, 1992, 1993 and 1994) one Cup title (1996), one Super Cup title (1989) and one League Cup title (1990). He collaborated with Olympiacos two times (1996-99) and (2004-05), winning four Championships and two Cup titles. He also worked for PAOK (2000-2002, winning the Cup title in 2001), Erithros Asteras (2006-07), Aris (2007-08), Omonoia (2010-11), and Atromitos (2012-13).
    He has been Executive Director of AEK since 2013 till 2108, whereas since 2011, he has been a Bosnia and Herzegovina Football Federation executive and vice-president of the UEFA Development and Technical Assistance Committee.

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    Stelios Manolas was born in Naxos in 1961 and was meant to be one of the few football players who played professionally for a single team. He joined AEK at the age of 15 and in January 1980, he signed a professional contract, beginning his career with the team, which lasted up to May 1998!
    Manolas, being the top defender not only in AEK's history, but also in the history of Greek football, became a leader early on as a young player. Owing to his solid technical training, his dynamism and perception, as well as a winning spirit, he was able to offer both in the team's defense and attack. He was the mastermind of the defense and at the same time the one who influenced the whole team more than any other person, boosting the confidence of his teammates. He was a stopper and a libero, although he was first recognised as a right-back, a position assigned to him Miltos Papapostolou. His top moment among thousands of others in his career was when he used his head to block a shot by Lajos Détári in front of AEK's goal line in the crucial game against Olympiacos in OAKA, ending with AEK winning the Championship title in 1989.
    Stelios Manolas ended his career having played 447 matches in the 1st Division, ranking second in terms of appearances behind Mimis Papaioannou and twelfth in the history of the respective division, achieving a to tal of 35 goals in Championship matches.  He won the Championship title with AEK four times (1989, 1992, 1993, and 1994) and the Cup title three times (1983, 1996, and 1997), and also participated in the team which won two Super Cup titles (1989 and 1996) and one League Cup title (1990). Overall, he played for the National Team in 71 matches from 1982 to 1994 and scored 6 goals He was also a member of the National Team when it made its first appearance in the World Cup in 1994 in the US.
    After his retirement, he became a certified coach and worked for many clubs. He won the Greek Cup in 2016 as interim coach of AEK, having been upgraded from U20 team manager to a team A coach. He also worked for the Greek National Under-21 Team. For some time (2008-09), he held the post of technical director in AEK.

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    He was born in Bitola, FYROM, in 1963. He began his career with his hometown's club, Pelister, and at the age of 17, he transferred to Vardar Skopje, which competed in the 1st Division of the then Yugoslavian Championship. There, he was established by Stjepan Bobek, known to Greek fans from his term with Panathinaikos in the 1960s.
    Savevski won the Yugoslavian Championship with Vardar in 1987, whereas in December 1998 he joined AEK after being selected by Dušan Bajević, who was his coach in the Yugoslavian Olympic Team. He stayed with AEK until January 2001, when he ended his career as a player to take over as coach... overnight, after Giannis Pathiakakis was fired. As AEK's coach, his immediate associate was the former coach of OFI Eugène Gerards, and they left their posts together in June that year.
    Savevski was a very fast ledt midfielder. He is one of the top foreign players that ever competed in the Greek football and, even in his mature football years, he was a decisive and irreplaceable player. A role model for fair-play, professionalism and fighting spirit, he was idolised by teammates and ultras, and he was renowned and respected by &nbsp; opponents and fans.
    He won a total of four Championships with AEK (1989, 1992, 1993, and 1994), three Cups (1996, 1997, and 2000), one League Cup (1990), and one Super Cup (1989 and 1996). In total, he played in 357 matches in the 1st Division, scoring 52 goals. He ranks third in terms of appearances in the 1st Division, behind Mimis Papaioannou and Stelios Manolas. It should be noted that in the 1990-91 season, he did not miss a single minute on the pitch during the 1st Division matches!
    He still remains AEK's top scorer in qualifying games and group stage games for the Champions League, as he had scored the goal of the historical victory in Glasgow over Rangers in 1994, and also in the matches against Ajax and Milan that year. He has scored a total of six goals in European competitions. He has played for the Yugoslav National Team in two matches and for the National Team of FYROM in nine matches.
    After his term as coach for AEK, Savevski went to Cyprus (first to Apollon Limasol and then to Omonia Nicosia) and in 2003, he won with Omonia (and with his former teammate in AEK Giorgos Savvidis as technical director) the Cypriot Championship. From 2004, he assumed the post of technical director for AEK's Under-19 Team and he was the initiator of the very successful “Fun Weekend” with the participation of young children. In September 2012, he returned to Omonia as a coach, but left in late 2013.

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    Vasilis Dimitriadis was born in Thessaloniki on February 1, 1966 and started playing football for Aris adolescent ranks. After five professional seasons with Aris in 123 Championship matches, where he scored 38 goals (his first one against AEK, when the latter won a 3-1 victory in Charilaou Stadium on October 26, 1986) and given that he had already been capped by the National team since February 1988, he was claimed by several clubs, but joined AEK in the summer of  1991.
    His presence in the team coincided with its landing on the top of the Greek football, with the team winning three consecutive Championship titles, in 1992, 1993, and 1994. The fans' favourite player triumphed over his opponents, scoring 28 goals in the 1991-92 season and 33 goals (in 33 matches!) in the 1992-93 season. &nbsp;Both these seasons, he was the top scorer in the 1st Division Championship.
    The following season, he played in 33 matches, scoring 11 goals, adding to an overall extraordinary figure of 72 goals in 100 matches during the three seasons!!! The most important of these matches was probably the crucial and difficult victory over Edessa, which essentially determined that AEK won the 1993 title. Another memorable match is that against Eindhoven in New Philadelpheia, which ended with our side achieving a 1-0 win. Overall, he scored 115 goals in official games during the five and a half years he played for AEK and in January 1997, he returned to Aris for five months; however, despite the fact he scored 8 goals in a single round of the Championship series, Aris dropped to the 2nd Division for the first time. His last stop as a football player was at AEL Limassol in the 1997-98 season.
    He was capped 28 times by the National Team, scoring two goals and also participating in the World Cup squad going to the US; the first time World Cup squad in the history of Greek football.
    Once his career ended, he stayed close to AEK and has been the head and general director of the football department in three periods: 1998-99, 2009-2012 and from the summer of 2013 to March 2022.

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    One of the last Greek football masters, with two terms in AEK and great successes with the club and the National Team, with which he won the 2004 European Championship in Portugal.
    He was born on November 12, 1972 in Alexandreia, Imathia, where he also began his football career. As of 1988 and for four and a half years he played for Naousa, a club admired for the upbringing of several talented players from the nearby regions of Northern Greece.
    Tsiartas' talent, though, was remarkable even among a multitude of very good players thanks to his style, passes, shots, set pieces and perception of the pitch, as well as his previously unseen football intelligence. In December 1992, he was acquired by AEK FC, thus, he became a member of a Champion team which would go on to win, with Tsiartas in its ranks, another two titles (1993 and 1994), play in the 1994-95 Champions League, and win the Greek Cup in 1996, following a unique performance in the history of Greek football.
    With AEK he participated in 98 matches in the Championship, scoring 37 goals, 26 of which during the 1995-96 season, when he was also named the top scorer in the Championship. Then followed his transfer to Seville and he was among the first Greek football players to make use of the Bosman Ruling which resulted in the collapse of football borders.
    He returned to AEK in 2000 and played in another 98 Championship matches, scoring 43 goals! He was a primary pillar of the team which lost the Championship on goal difference in 2002 and won the Greek Cup (2-1 against Olympiacos in the final), and also of the team which achieved six ties in six matches in the Champions' League Group during 2002-03, against Genk, Roma and Real Madrid. During these four years, he scored ten goals in European competitions, playing for AEK.
    In the summer of 2004, he left AEK, after winning the 2004 European Championship with the National Team, and played for Koln and Ethnikos. He retired in late 2006 and became involved with the management of football players.  During 2012-13, he was the technical director of AEK FC.

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    Ilias Atmatsidis was born in April 22nd, 1969. He started playing football  for AEP Kozanis and then moved in second-division Greek club Pontioi Verias. In 1992, when he was 23 years old, he joined champions AEK.
    At first he was the back-up of Antonis Minou, but since 1993 he became the regular starter for AEK and brought a modern style of playing, with speed, quick thoughts and risky decisions as goalkeeper, which allowed him to become very special.
    From 1993 until 2003, when he left AEK for PAOK and Dionisis Chiotis took his place, he made 251 championship appearances for AEK (12th at this list) and 50 European competitions performances. He also scored twice, the winning goal at penalty shootout of 1996-97 Greek Cup final against Panathinaikos at Karaiskaki Stadium (0-0) and the winning goal as well, again with a spot-kick, at 2-1 home victory over Xanthi FC at 1999 which allowed the team to perform in the Champions League's group stage.
    The fans of AEK remember him for many astonishing games, such us away victory over Olympiacos (1-0) at 1997 and his amazing double save at Giannis Anastasiou (spot kick) and Nikos Tsiantakis efforts against OFI a few months later. He won the 1994 championship as the starter goalkeeper of AEK, the Greek Cups of 1996, 1997, 2000 and 2002..
    With 47 performances in more than five years for Greece National Team and participation at 1994 World Cup, he decided to retire after referee Dimitropoulos' scandalous performance at derby clash against Olympiacos in November 1999 and did not return to the National Team even when his teammates, Demis Nikolaidis and Michalis Kasapis, changed their minds about that.

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    Michalis Kasapis was born in August 6th, 1971, at Platanaki Voiotias and was a regular starter of Levadiakos at the age of 17, performing greatly as left defender. Five years later, in the summer of 1993, he joined AEK and became immediately a starter, something that did not change until the end of his playing career in 2004, with the Greek championship of 1994 and four Cups (1996, 1997, 2000, 2002).
    He was the one and only youngster of the '90s that manager Dusan Bajevic used as starter almost immediately, since he was a modern left defender with defensive and attacking ability, teamwork player with crosses especially for Demis Nikolaidis.
    Michalis Kasapis made 271 championship appearances with AEK and they could have been more, if he was not punished with 24 games (record suspension) in 1999, when he protested anrily as captain to notorious referee Dimitropoulos for his frustrating performance after home loss against Olympiacos.
    However, he is still the 7th player in the history of AEK at championship appearances and by far the first at european competitions, with 64 matches, while Vasilis Lakis holds the second place with 51.
    He was a member of Europe All-Star Team which played a friendly game for charity reasons at Barcelona in 1995, with legendary Johan Cruyff as manager and many famous footballers as teammates and opponents.
    From 1994 until 2002 he was a regular member of Greece National Team, with 37 appearances, while he has also worked as manager for Fokikos, Kalloni Lesvou and Chalkida, before returning to the family of AEK back in 2013 as Scout.

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    Born in Giessen, Germany, on September 17, 1973, he returned with his family to Alexandoupoli a few years later, where the future player and president of AEK started his career playing for the local team, Ethnikos. AEK had already shown interest in him in 1992, but he went on to play for Apollon in late 1993, before joining AEK in 1996. This was the result of efforts by the team's then chief executive officer, Michalis Trochanas, but also due to the persistence of the player himself, who did not wish to join Olympiacos, with which the then administration of Apollon had reached an agreement.
    Demis had a great seven-year career in football, playing for the club he loved. He became the team's captain and the fans' favourite player, all while making his relationship with AEK and its ultras his top priority. In 1999, he decided to leave the National Team, together with Kasapis and Atmatsidis, in protest to the unfair treatment towards AEK and the ongoing favoritism towards Olympiacos (he rejoined the team two years later). In 2004, he ended his career playing for Atlético Madrid after winning the European Championship with the Greek National Team and moved on to head the effort of the AEK's management to save the
    From 1996 to 2003, Nikolaidis played in 265 official matches for AEK and scored 175 goals. His performance together with his special striker qualities, meant he would be regarded by AEK ultras as one of the greatest football players ever playing for Enosis, despite the fact that he had won no Championship title with the team, since his presence there coincided with the absolute dominance of Olympiacos, both backstage and on the pitch.
    However, he was a member of the team that won the Cup in 1997, 2000, and 2002. He played for AEK in the Champions League, during 2002-2003. He was the top Championship scorer in the 1998-1999 campaign  He also stood out for being given the Fair Play award since, on his own initiative, he informed the referee Giorgos Douros that he had scored using his hand in the Cup final against Ionikos in 2000.

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    Although his name had been identified with a traditional rival of AEK, Nikos Liberopoulos succeeded in being loved by AEK's ultras and experienced great moments with the team during the seven years he played for AEK, in two terms (2003-08 and 2010-12). Besides, it was with AEK that he won the only title in his career, the 2011 Greek Cup.
    He was born in Filiatra, Messinia in 1975 and the local football club, Erani Filiatron, was his first team, before transferring to Kalamata and becoming known. In 1996, he transferred to Panathinaikos (1996). He was acquired by AEK in the summer of 2003 and remained with the club until the summer of 2008, when he transferred to Eintracht Frankfurt. In the summer of 2010, he returned to Greece for AEK and played for the team until 2012, when he quit football. With AEK he played in a total of 264 matches and scored 102 goals. He won one Cup (2011) and was once the top scorer in the 1st Division (in 2007 with 18 goals). That season he won the the best player award in the Championship.
    Among his many goals with AEK, the one that stands out is that for the victory over Lille in Champions League, but also that in the 4-0 victory over Olympiacos in 2008. Both were powerful shots far outside the box. Also, on quite a few occasions, he scored against his former club, Panathinaikos.
    Liberopoulos was capped by all National Teams and made it to the quarterfinals of Euro 2012. He ended his great career after 726 matches and 268 goals, plus 76 matches and 13 goals for the National Team. Overall, he was the top scorer in the Championship twice, since he had also achieved this with Panathinaikos in 2003. During the 2013-14 season, he served as AEK's technical director.

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