Auguri ai Verdi di Grecia, 106 anni!
Podosferikos Omilos Athinon
According to the official history of the club, Panathinaikos was founded by Giorgos Kalafatis on 3 February 1908, when he and 40 other athletes decided to break away from Panellinios Gymnastikos Syllogos following the club’s decision to discontinue its football team. The first name of the new club was Podosferikos Omilos Athinon (POA), the colours of the team were red and white and its home ground was in Patission Street. Oxford University athlete John Cyril Campbell was brought in as coach. It was the first time that a foreigner was appointed as the coach of a Greek team.
Panellinios Podosferikos Omilos
In 1910, after a dispute among a number of board members, Kalafatis with most of the players – also followed by Campbell – decided to pull out of POA and secured a new ground in Amerikis Square. Subsequently, the name of the club changed to Panellinios Podosferikos Omilos (PPO) and its colours to green and white. By 1914, Campbell had returned to England but the club was already at the top of Greek football with players such as Michalis Papazoglou, Michalis Rokkos and Loukas Panourgias.
In 1918, PPO adopted the shamrock as its emblem, as proposed by Michalis Papazoglou. In 1921 and 1922, the Athens-Piraeus FCA organized the first two post-WWI championships, in both of which PPO was declared champion. By that stage, the club had outgrown both the grounds in Patission Street and Amerikis Square, due mainly to its expansion in other sports, and began to look at vacant land in the area of Perivola on Alexandras Avenue as its potential new ground. After long discussions with the Municipality of Athens, an agreement was finally reached and in 1922 Leoforos (“Avenue” in Greek) was granted to the club.
Panathinaikos Athlitikos Omilos
The move to a permanent home ground also heralded another – final – name change, to Panathinaikos Athlitikos Omilos (PAO), on 15 March 1924. However, the decision was already taken by 1922.
In 1926, the Hellenic Football Federation was founded and the first official Greek Championship took place in 1927. Panathinaikos won the Championship in 1930 under the guidance of Joseph Kinsler with Angelos Messaris as the team’s star player. They beat rivals Olympiacos 8–2, a result that still remains the biggest win either team has achieved against its rival.
In 1931, a serious disagreement between leading board member Apostolos Nikolaidis and Messaris, which lasted two years, damaged the club and led to a counterproductive period. In the meantime, the HFF Greek Cup had commenced in 1932. The last bright moment for the Greens before World War II was winning the Cup for the first time in 1940 against Aris (3–1).
Until 1965, Panathinaikos had won 8 Championships (1930, 1949, 1953, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1964, 1965) and 2 Cups (1948, 1955). In 1964, they won the Greek Championship without a loss, with Stjepan Bobek as coach and great players such as Takis Loukanidis and Mimis Domazos. Panathinaikos is the only team that has won the Greek Championship undefeated. Moreover, they were crowned back to back Champions in 1969 and 1970 and won 2 more Greek Cups in 1967 and 1969.
European Cup 1970–71 finalists
In 1971, under the guidance of the legendary Ferenc Puskás Panathinaikos were 1970–71 European Cup finalists, losing 2–0 to Ajax at Wembley Stadium. In the road to the final they eliminated Jeunesse Esch, Slovan Bratislava, Everton andRed Star Belgrade. Antonis Antoniadis was the leading scorer in the tournament scoring 10 goals.
During the last amateur years of Greek football, the Greens won one Championship in 1972 and the Double in 1977. Another important moment for the club was winning the Balkans Cup of 1977.
Giorgos Vardinogiannis era
The transformation period lasted a few years but in 1982 their first professional era trophy, the Greek Cup, put everything in order and they would go on winning 2 Championships (1984, 1986), 4 more Greek Cups (1984, 1986, 1988, 1989) and the Greek Super Cup in 1988.
European Cup 1984–85 semi-finalists
In the 1984–85 season, Panathinaikos with coach Jacek Gmoch and big stars Dimitris Saravakos and Velimir Zajec made an impressive run in Europe, eliminatingFeyenoord, Linfield and Göteborg to reach the semi-finals of the European Cup. In 1987–88, they made it to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup, eliminatingJuventus, Auxerre and Budapest Honvéd.
The 1990s were an even more successful period for the club, both nationally and internationally. 4 Greek Championships (1990, 1991, 1995, 1996), 4 Greek Cups (1991, 1993, 1994, 1995) and 2 Greek Super Cups (1993, 1994) were awarded to the club.
In the 1991–92 season, the Greens reached the last 8 of the European Cup and took part in the first ever European tournament to have a group stage.
Champions League 1995–96 semi-finalists
2000 and beyond
In the summer of 2000, president Giorgos Vardinogiannis resigned from his duties and passed his shares to his nephew Giannis Vardinogiannis, who changed the style of the club’s management.
With the arrival of coach Sergio Markarian, Panathinaikos reached the quarter-finals of the 2001–02 UEFA Champions League, being eliminated by Barcelona. In the 2002–03 season, they lost the Championship in the last two games by arch-rivals Olympiacos. In Europe, the Greens were eliminated in the UEFA Cup quarter-finals by eventual winners Porto.
With Itzhak Shum as new coach, Panathinaikos managed to win the Double in 2004 after almost ten years. New players like Ezequiel González, Lucian Sanmartean and Markus Münch were signed the summer before. However, Shum was unexpectedly fired early in the next season. Zdeněk Ščasný succeeded him on the bench.
In 2005, major changes were made in the team’s roster. Many stars like Angelos Basinas and Michalis Konstantinou departed, while others like Flávio Conceiçãoand Igor Biscan arrived. Ščasný gave his seat to Alberto Malesani. At the start of the 2006–07 season, Malesani left the team and he was replaced by the lackluster Hans Backe, who left only three months after his appointment. Víctor Muñoz then came. For the 2007–08 season, Panathinaikos hired José Peseiro.
On 22 April 2008, main shareholder Giannis Vardinogiannis gave a press conference in which he announced the decision of his family to reduce their share in the club to 50% – after 30 years of full ownership – through a €80 million increase of the company’s capital stock. After the negotiations and the share capital increase, the Vardinogiannis family would hold 56% of the club, Panathinaikos Athlitikos Omilos 10% and the other shareholders 34%.
Following the major changes in 2008, Panathinaikos hired Henk ten Cate as coach and bought many expensive players such as Gilberto Silva from Arsenal and Gabriel from Fluminense. In the 2008–09 season, the Greens proved that they could hold their weight in the Champions League by reaching the last 16. However, they disappointed in the Greek Championship finishing 3rd in the regular season, though they managed to come 2nd overall after the playoff mini-league.
The 2009–10 season was successful for Panathinaikos. During the summer transfer period the club bought Djibril Cissé from Marseille, Kostas Katsouranis from Benfica, Sebastian Leto fromLiverpool and various other players spending more than €35 million. Henk ten Cate left in December to be replaced by Nikos Nioplias. The team managed to enter the last 16 of the Europa Leagueand win both the Greek Championship and the Greek Cup – beating Aris in the final on 24 April.
In the summer of 2010, Panathinaikos signed Jean-Alain Boumsong and Sidney Govou from Lyon as well as Luis García, Damien Plessis and goalkeeper Daniel Fernandes. The fans showed their support by rocketing their own previous record of 26,002 season tickets to 30,091. However, due to bad performances Panathinaikos didn’t manage to protect their title and they were knocked out from the Group Stage of Champions League.
In 2011, due to financial problems, Panathinaikos sold Djibril Cissé for 5,800,000€ to S.S. Lazio and first-choice goalkeeper Alexandros Tzorvas to Palermo in order to reduce the budget. New players came like Quincy Owusu-Abeyie, Toche, Vitolo and Zeca. The club also changed their president and chose Dimitris Gontikas to be the new chairman. Panathinaikos failed to qualify to the Group Stage of Champions League as they were knocked out by Odense BK (4–5 on aggregate). On 5 September 2011, Giannis Vardinogiannis announced that he intended to leave the club.
On 2 July 2012, the Panathinaiki Symmahia (Greek: Παναθηναϊκή Συμμαχία) – or Panathenian Alliance, as one would say it in English – finally opened to the public so that everyone could contribute a desired amount in return for some privileges, such as cheaper prices on the season tickets – provided that one contributed at least 175€. If one contributed 20€, they would have a 10% discount at the Panathinaikos F.C. stores. After a few weeks of operation, 3,531 members had signed up, some of which were current or former Panathinaikos players (Boumsong, Ninis, Gilberto Silva, Cisse). These 3,531 members had in total contributed 1,833,465€ till then.
The 18 July 2012 marked a historical day in Panathinaikos history, as Giannis Vardinogiannis gave his shares – 54.7% of Panathinaikos F.C. – to the Panathenian Alliance, thereby allowing Panathinaikos to have a fresh start, with their own fans at the steering wheel.
The first season with the Panathenian Alliance at the helm was nothing short of abysmal for the club. While still enduring financial troubles, Panathinaikos finished 6th in the championship and failed to qualify for the European competitions for the first time in 16 years.