AEK Football Club of Athens

AEK F.C. : Athletic Union of Constantinoupolis

AEK F.C. Foundation: 1924

AEK F.C. Team Colors: Yellow & Black

AEK F.C. Stadium: Agia Sophia Stadium

AEK F.C. History

AEK logo

AEK Football Club, known as Athlitiki Enosis Konstantinoupoleos, is a prominent Greek professional football club based in Nea Filadelfeia, a suburb of Athens, Greece. Founded in 1924 by Greek refugees from Constantinople after the Greco-Turkish War, the club has a rich history rooted in its origins.

In 1929, the Prime Minister of Greece, Eleftherios Venizelos, granted permission for AEK F.C. to build its stadium in Nea Filadelphia, where it had stood for 79 years. Three years later, in 1931-1932, AEK F.C. won its first cup, defeating Aris F.C. 5-3 in the final.

aek football club and image of hagia sophia

AEK in the 30’s

AEK made its way to “double”  in 1939 (the first one in Greece) and they were again champions of 1940 with Kostas Negrepontis to guide them as their coach this time. That team’s route unfortunately ended due to the World War II.

AEK in the 40’s

In 1949 and 1950 with the English Jack Bibie as their coach, AEK F.C. got the Greek Cup  beating Panathinaikos F.C. 2-1 and Aris F.C. 4-0.

AEK in the 60’s

In 1963 AEK F.C. became the champion with the Hungarian-German Geneh Tsaknadi as their coach.

AEK in the 70’s

Loukas Barlos took over as a president in AEK F.C. and together with the Dutch-Czech coach Frandicheck Fadrock “built” one of the best teams in the club’s history. Great players arrived in Nea Filadelphia: Ardizoglou, Dedes, Skrekis and the Germans Wagner, Chanlinder in 1974, Thomas Mavros in 1975 (who played from 1976) and Nikoloudis, Intzoglou and Christidis in 1976.

In 1976-77 AEK  F.C. reached the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup where it didn’t make it to the final eliminated by Juventus F.C. AEK F.C. gained easily the Championship, while for the Greek Cup, AEK qualified over Panathinaikos FC (1-0), and Olympiakos FC (6-1) and dominated PAOK FC at the final (2-0), gaining the “double”.

During period 1978-79 with Ferencs Pouskas as head coach and with a new transfer Mimis Domazos, AEK F.C. managed to win again the championship. Under the presidency of Loukas Barlos, the construction of AEK Stadium was completed

AEK in the 80’s

In 1983 AEK F.C. gained the Greek cup with the Austrian Helmut Senekovic as head coach. The first professional title appeared in 1988-89 with Stratos Gidopoulos as president and  Dusan Bajevic as head coach. In the crucial match against the other candidate, Olympiakos FC, at the Olympic Stadium of Athens, AEK F.C. prevailed with Takis Karagiozopoulos’ goal and won the championship.

AEK in the 90’s

The 90’s was a decade full of titles. The beginning was made in 1992 when AEK FC was crowned champion under the presidency of Kostas Generakis. After that AEK FC with Dusan Bajevic as a head coach created a team that in many people’s opinion played the best football in club’s history. With players like Toni Savevski, Stelios Manolas, Daniel Batista, Vaios Karagiannis, Giorgos Savvidis, Vasilis Dimitriadis, AEK FC dominated in Greece and easily acquired 1993 and 1994 league titles.

In season 1994-95 the two victories against the champions of Scotland Glasgow Rangers, was the ticket to the first appearance in UEFA Champions League competition. In the group phase, AEK F.C. was eliminated by AFC Ajax and AC Milan who both made it to the final.

With the president Mihalis Trohanas and the coach Dusan Bajevic, AEK F.C. won the Greek Cup of 1996. One year later (1997) the success came again but this time coach of the team was Petros Ravousis.

aek football club

AEK from 2000 until today

In 2000 AEK F.C. won the Greek Cup with Ioannis Pathiakakis as head coach. They overcame Ionikos in the final (3-0) with goals from Nikolaidis, Petkov and Maladenis.

AEK F.C. gained the Greek Cup again in 2001-02 with Fernando Santos as head coach. In the final at the Olympic Stadium of Athens won Olympiakos FC with 2-1.

Throughout season 2003-04 economical problems and the demolition of its stadium, made AEK FC struggling for its survival. The club was ready to declare bankruptcy when Demis Nikolaidis and a group of investors took over and started paying AEK FC debts.  Due to a court decision AEK FC depts were reduced as money owed to former creditors were written off.

The team moved to the renovated Olympic Stadium, many players left (Zagorakis. Lakis, Tsiartas, Kapsis, Kasapis, Okkas, Borbokis, Kreek) but Fernando Santos returned with the goal to build the team from the beginning based on young players and lead again AEK FC to the road of victories. AEK FC made a very good season and was one of the three challengers for the championship title. Finally AEK FC finished 3rd behind Olympiakos and Panathinaikos.

A key factor to AEK FC revival was the dynamic fans  come back. AEK FC had an average of  27.500 spectators at the club’s home games.

Despite a setback in 2013, when AEK Athens faced relegation for the first time, the club showed resilience and continued to thrive in Greek and European football.

33 National Titles for AEK

AEK is one of Greece’s most successful soccer teams, along with Olympiacos and Panathinaikos, with a total of 33 national titles.

It has an impressive record as the only club to have won every competition organized by the Hellenic Football Federation, including 13 Greek Championships, 16 Greek Cups, 1 League Cup and 3 Super Cups.

The team has also made its mark in European competitions, participating in the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and the now-defunct UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup. Most notably, AEK was the first Greek team to reach the quarterfinals of the European Cup and to qualify for the group stage of the UEFA Champions League.

Memorable Moments in the History of AEK F.C

AEK Athens F.C. has a rich history with many memorable moments. Some of the most notable are

  1. 1976-77 UEFA Cup Semi-Final: The club’s most memorable moment in European competition was reaching the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup in the 1976-77 season under František Fadrhonc.
  2. Unbeaten in European competition: AEK Athens is the only Greek club to have gone unbeaten in 14 consecutive European matches.
  3. First Greek club to participate in the Champions League: AEK Athens is the first Greek club to participate in the Champions League (1992-93).
  4. Reaching the UEFA Cup Round of 16: AEK Athens is the only Greek club to have reached the UEFA Cup Round of 16 in 3 consecutive seasons (2000-01, 2001-02, 2002-03).
players of aek football club in a match with panathinaikos

Memorable Players of AEK F.C

AEK Athens F.C. has been home to many renowned players throughout its history. Some of these celebrated players include:

  1. Kostas Negrepontis: Originally from the Pera Club of Constantinople, Negrepontis played a crucial role in winning AEK’s first Greek Cup title in 1932.
  2. Thomas Mavros: A pivotal figure in AEK’s victory in the Greek Cup in 1983, Mavros scored one of the two decisive goals in the final.
  3. Stelios Manolas: As captain, Manolas led one of AEK’s most triumphant teams, which secured three consecutive league titles in the 1990s.
  4. Toni Savevski, Daniel Batista, Vaios Karagiannis, Vasilis Dimitriadis, Giorgos Savvidis, Alexis Alexandris, Vasilios Tsiartas, Michalis Kasapis, Refik Šabanadžović, and Vasilios Borbokis: These players were integral to the team that dominated the Greek league in the 1990s.
  5. Demis Nikolaidis: A lifelong AEK fan, Nikolaidis chose AEK over more lucrative offers, becoming a key player during the club’s successful run in the 1990s.
  6. Domagoj Vida and Djibril Sidibé: Known for playing against each other in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Final, both were signed by AEK Athens in the summer transfer window of the 2022-23 season.
  7. Theodoros Zagorakis, Vasilios Tsiartas, Michalis Kapsis, Kostas Katsouranis, and Vasilios Lakis: These players were part of the celebrated 2004 Golden Team that triumphed at UEFA Euro 2004.
  8. Mimis Domazos, Andreas Stamatiadis, Kostas Nestoridis, Mimis Papaioannou, Dusan Bajevic: Also recognized as some of AEK’s greatest players in history.

This list highlights just a few of the many talented individuals who have contributed significantly to AEK Athens F.C.’s storied history.

Memorable Coaches of AEK Football Club

AEK Football Club has been led by several notable coaches over the years. These coaches have significantly influenced the club’s success and development:

  • The club’s first manager was Kostas Negrepontis, a veteran player from Constantinople, who served as player-manager from 1924-1926.
  • Other notable early managers include Tryfon Tzanetis in the 1930s and 1940s who led the club to its first league title in 1939, and Jenő Csaknády in the 1960s who won the club’s first professional-era league title in 1968.
  • In the 1970s, František Fadrhonc led AEK Athens to the 1976–77 UEFA Cup semi-finals, the club’s greatest run in European competitions.
  • Ferencs Pouskas managed AEK Athens for a short period from July 1, 1978 to March 16, 1979. Under his leadership, AEK Athens won the league title in 1979.
  • Zlatko Čajkovski managed AEK Athens in the late 1970s and early 1980s, winning the league title in 1978 and the Greek Cup in 1983.
  • In the 1990s, Dušan Bajević had a very successful spell as manager, winning several league titles and cups in the 1990s. He later returned for another stint from 2008-2010.
  • Other notable managers include Fernando Santos, Ilija Petković, Traianos Dellas, and Manolo Jiménez who have helped AEK win titles and cups over the past few decades.
  • As of 2022, the club’s manager is Matías Almeyda, who took over in May 2022. He led the club to the 2022-23 Super League title in his first season.

In total, AEK Athens has had over 60 different managers in its 98 year history from across the globe, reflecting the club’s rich history and tradition.

Home Stadium of AEK

the stadium of aek football club

Agia Sophia Stadium, known as also AEK Arena during UEFA competitions, is the impressive home ground of AEK Athens FC. Located in Nea Filadelfeia, a northwestern suburb of Athens, Greece, the stadium has an all-seater capacity of 32,500, making it the second largest football stadium in Greece.

This modern stadium stands on the site of the former Nikos Goumas Stadium, the former home of AEK Athens FC, which was demolished in 2003 due to damage caused by the 1999 Athens earthquake.

Agia Sophia Stadium has a number of facilities and attractions. These include a small church of Hosios Loukas, double locker rooms for tournaments, a conference room, VIP and VVIP areas, a cigar lounge, 40 suites, an executive suite, the AEK boutique, the AEK FC History Museum, the Museum of Greek Refugees, an OPAP betting shop, a panoramic restaurant and a traditional coffee shop. The stadium also features a traditional shoe shop & locksmith, a striking double-headed eagle statue at the main entrance and the AEK offices.

The grand opening of the OPAP Arena was celebrated on September 30, 2022. AEK played its first game in the new stadium against AO Ionikos on October 3. The move to Agia Sophia Stadium marked a return to tradition and a symbolic homecoming for AEK Athens FC, one of Greece’s most successful football clubs.

Fans Group “Original 21”

AEK Athens F.C. has a renowned supporters group called Original 21, which was officially founded in 1982. Original 21 was formed by fans who originally belonged to the older “Gate 21” group.

Original 21 has the distinction of being AEK’s largest supporters group, with a diverse membership that spans across Greece and extends to various corners of the world, including Cyprus, London, Sydney and Melbourne.

This group is celebrated for its fervent support of AEK Athens F.C., demonstrating an unwavering passion for the team. Beyond the realm of soccer, Original 21 is also recognized for its active involvement in a variety of social and political causes, demonstrating a commitment that extends beyond the sport and into the broader community.

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