Paok Football Club of Thessaloniki

PAOK Football Club

PAOK: Panthessalonikan Athletic Club Of Konstantinoupolis

PAOK F.C. Foundation: 1926

PAOK F.C. Team Colors: Black & White

PAOK F.C. Stadium: Toumba (Capacity: 28,701)

paok football team logo

PAOK Football Club, also known as PAOK Salonika, is a distinguished professional football club from Thessaloniki, Greece, founded on April 20, 1926. The club’s inception can be traced back to Greek refugees who settled in Thessaloniki after fleeing from Constantinople during the aftermath of the Greco-Turkish War (1919–1922) and the population exchange. It stands as the oldest department of the prominent multi-sport entity AC P.A.O.K.

Paok is the historic continuation of Hermes Sports Club, the Constantinopolitan Athletic and Cultural body which was created by the Greek inhabitants of Pera, in the heart of Constantinople in 1875. The desire of these people to express and support their Hellenism within Turkey, drove them to the creation of this body.

In the aftermath of the 1922 Asia Minor catastrophe, the Greeks of Constantinople, Ionia and the rest of Turkey renamed the club from Ermis to Pera Club in line with the new constitution imposed by Kemal Ataturk. Despite the constant attacks the Greek population was subjected to, which ultimately forced them to flee the lands of their forefathers, Pera Club continued to succeed while Greeks remained in the city.

old photo of paok football club team

The team boasts a significant presence in European football, having participated multiple times in the UEFA Europa League. Remarkably, they reached the quarter-finals twice in major European competitions: during the 1973–74 European Cup Winners’ Cup and the inaugural 2021–22 UEFA Europa Conference League. As of August 3, 2023, PAOK proudly holds a unique record among Greek football teams, with a European match history featuring more victories than losses (81 wins, 63 draws, and 76 defeats).

The Paok’s emblem has evolved over time. Initially, it featured a horseshoe and a four-leaf clover, but in 1929, following the merger with AEK Thessaloniki, the emblem was changed to a double-headed eagle. This symbol reflects PAOK’s deep-rooted Byzantine and Constantinopolitan heritage.

PAOK FC’s history is enriched by its roster of notable players and coaches. Kostas Andreadis, the team’s first coach, is remembered for his dedication, having served for five years without remuneration. The current team includes talented players like Ivan Tarek Fjellstad Näsberg, Konstantinos Koulierakis, Giannis Michailidis, William Troost-Ekong, Tomasz Kedziora, and others.

Ownership of the club changed hands on August 10, 2012, when Ivan Savvidis acquired a major share for €9,951,000. As of June 21, 2022, an ambitious project was launched in collaboration with SALFO, a domestic engineering and consulting firm, and Populous, a global architectural design company, to develop a master plan for a new stadium. The construction is anticipated to span three to four years.

PAOK FC enjoys widespread support, especially in Northern Greece, drawing fans from across the country and the Greek Diaspora. The club’s traditional fanbase is rooted in its home city of Thessaloniki, extending throughout the Macedonia region and Northern Greece.

Toumba Stadium

toumba stadium of paok football  club of thessaloniki

Toumba Stadium, also known as PAOK Stadium, is a remarkable football stadium located in Thessaloniki, Greece. It serves as the home ground for PAOK FC and has been the venue for numerous matches of the Greek national football team.

The stadium’s journey began in 1958 and culminated in its completion the following year. The stadium initially had a capacity of 15,000 spectators, which was soon expanded to 20,000. By the mid-1970s, extensive renovations increased the capacity to 45,000. The record attendance of 45,252 was set during a match between PAOK and AEK on December 19, 1976.

Following the Karaiskakis disaster in 1981, safety measures necessitated a reduction in capacity to 41,073. Subsequent installations of plastic seating and further safety protocols have since reduced the stadium’s capacity to 28,701.

In 2004, the stadium underwent extensive renovations in preparation for its use as a training venue for the 2004 Olympic Games. These upgrades included a new four-story building, a rebuilt west stand roof, seating upgrades, dressing room improvements, a new pitch, and reinforced concrete columns under the north curved stand.

Additional upgrades took place under Ivan Savvidis’ ownership of PAOK FC from 2012, focusing on improving areas such as the dressing rooms, entrance, offices, meeting room and presidential suite.

In April 2022, the Greek Council of State gave the green light to a proposal for a comprehensive redevelopment of Toumba Stadium, following the presentation of an architectural study by the PAOK administration.

the stadium of toumba during a match between paok and olympiacos

Current Composition of the PAOK F.C

The current composition of PAOK FC, as of November 10, 2023, includes a diverse roster of players from various nationalities. The team consists of goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders and forwards.

The goalkeepers are Zivko Zivkovic, Dimitrios Monastirlis, Dominik Kotarski, Alexandros Tsioptsis and Konstantinos Balomenos.

The defenders are Ivan Tarek Fjellstad Näsberg, Konstantinos Koulierakis, Giannis Michailidis, William Troost-Ekong, Tomasz Kedziora, Lefteris Lyratzis, Abdul Rahman Baba, Joan Sastre Vanrell, Luis Rafael Rafa Soares and Charis Tsingaras.

The midfielders are Giannis Konstantelias, Soualiho Meite, Thomas Murg, Adelino André Vieirinha, Stefan Schwab, Magomed Ozdoev, Giorgos Vrakas, Andre Miguel Lapa Ricardo, Kiriakos Giaxis, Filipe Miguel Barros Soares and Marcos Antonio.

The forwards are Taison Barcellos Freda, Andrija Zivkovic, Mbwana Ally Samatta, Brandon Thomas Llamas, Kiril Despodov and Stefanos Tzimas.

It’s important to note that the composition of a soccer team can change frequently due to transfers, injuries, and other factors. For the most up-to-date information, it’s best to check the official PAOK FC website or other reliable sports news sources.

Famous Players of PAOK Football Club

Here are some of the most famous and notable players in the history of PAOK FC:

  • Giorgos Koudas – Attacking midfielder and striker from the 1960s and 1970s. He is PAOK’s all-time leading scorer with 136 goals and over 500 appearances. Considered one of the greatest Greek players of all time.
  • Stavros Sarafis – Prolific forward from the 1970s who scored 134 goals in 358 appearances. PAOK’s second highest scorer of all time behind Koudas. Key member of the title-winning teams of the 1970s.
  • Theodoros Zagorakis – Defensive midfielder and captain of PAOK’s 2003 Greek Cup-winning team. Also captained Greece to victory at Euro 2004. One of PAOK’s most iconic players.
thodoris zagorakis captain of the greek team in euro 2004
Thodoris Zagorakis – Euro 2004
  • Kostas Iosifidis – Defender of the 1970s and 1980s, captain of PAOK’s 1985 Greek championship team. Holds the record for most appearances for PAOK with 397.
  • Dimitris Salpingidis – Attacking midfielder in the 2000s and 2010s. PAOK’s third highest scorer with 90 goals. Greek international who was part of the Euro 2004 winning squad.
  • Zlatan Muslimović – Bosnian striker was PAOK’s top scorer for three consecutive seasons from 2009-2012. He scored 54 goals in 107 games.
  • Stefanos Athanasiadis – Goalkeeper who holds the record for most appearances by a PAOK goalkeeper with 353 matches between 1993-2003. Won several titles.
  • Pablo García – Spanish midfielder who was the engine of PAOK’s midfield throughout the 2000s. One of the most influential foreign players.
  • Fernando Varela – Key defender and vice-captain of PAOK’s invincible league-winning team of 2018-19. Was a rock at the back during that historic season.
  • Dimitris Pelkas – Winger who has been instrumental in PAOK’s success in recent seasons. Won the league title in 2018-19 and earned a big money move abroad.

Famous Coaches of PAOK F.C.

PAOK FC, a prominent football club based in Thessaloniki, Greece, has had a number of notable coaches throughout its history. Here are some of the most famous:

  1. Kostas Andreadis: He was the first coach of the club and spent five years on the bench of the team without demanding payment[2].
  2. Les Shannon: He is the longest-serving manager, having served for 3 years and 8 months. During his tenure, PAOK won 2 Greek Cups[1].
  3. Angelos Anastasiadis: He is the longest-serving manager overall, having served for 4 years and 2 months in four different spells. He also has the most matches in four different terms (211)[1].
  4. Gyula Lóránt: He led the team to win 1 Greek championship. Unfortunately, he suffered a heart attack while still working as a coach and died during a game[1].
  5. Fernando Santos: He is a well known established manager who served the team from 2007 to 2010[2][3].
  6. Răzvan Lucescu: He served as the team’s coach from 2017 to 2019, and then again from 2021 to 2024[3].
  7. László Bölöni: He was appointed as the club’s head coach for the 2011-2012 season. The team qualified from the UEFA Europa League playoff round and reached the group stage under his guidance[2][3].
  8. Igor Tudor: He was hired as the club’s new manager in 2015, signing a three-year contract. Under his guidance, the team pulled off a shock 1-0 away win over Borussia Dortmund at the Signal Iduna Park[2][3].
  9. Walter Skocik: Under his management, PAOK won their second championship in the 1984-85 season[2].
  10. Pál Csernai: He was the coach of the team from 1981 to 1983[3].

These coaches have contributed significantly to the success and reputation of PAOK FC over the years.

Important Moments in PAOK’s History

PAOK FC has played several famous matches in its history. Some of the most important ones are:

  • 1973 Greek Cup Final – PAOK defeated Panathinaikos 2-1 to win the Greek Cup for the first time. Giorgos Koudas scored both goals in a dramatic final.
  • 1974 Cup Winners’ Cup Quarter-finals – PAOK reached the 1974 Cup Winners’ Cup quarter-finals, defeating Legia Warsaw and Lyon before losing to AC Milan on two legs. The 4-0 home win over Lyon was a historic result.
  • PAOK vs. FC Barcelona (1975) – In the UEFA Cup, PAOK defeated FC Barcelona 1-0 at home, with Giorgos Koudas scoring the only goal of the match.
  • 1976 Greek League Title – PAOK won their first Greek league title in 1976 under coach Gyula Lorant. Key wins over rivals Olympiacos and Panathinaikos helped secure the title.
  • 1985 Greek League Title – PAOK secured their second league title in 1985 with a team led by captain Kostas Iosifidis. A 1-0 win over Larissa on the final day of the season clinched the championship.
  • PAOK vs. Arsenal (1997) – In the UEFA Cup, PAOK pulled off a shock 1-0 away win over Arsenal at Highbury, with Zisis Vryzas scoring the winner.
  • 1999 UEFA Cup – PAOK recorded their biggest ever European victory when they crushed Lokomotivi Tbilisi 7-0 in the first round of the UEFA Cup.
  • 2003 Greek Cup Final – Zagorakis captained PAOK to a 1-0 Greek Cup Final win over Aris at the Toumba Stadium in 2003 to lift their first trophy in 7 years.
  • PAOK vs. Borussia Dortmund (2015) – In the group stage of the UEFA Europa League, PAOK secured a 1-0 away win over Borussia Dortmund at Signal Iduna Park.
  • 2018 Greek Cup Final – PAOK won the Greek Cup in 2018, defeating AEK 2-0 in the final to begin a run of consecutive Cup triumphs.
  • PAOK vs. Ajax (2019) – In the third qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League, PAOK drew 2-2 with Ajax in Thessaloniki and 3-3 in Amsterdam, with the Dutch side qualifying on the away goals rule.
  • 2019 Invincible League Season – PAOK incredibly went the entire 2018-19 Super League season unbeaten, winning the league title for the first time since 1985.
  • 2022 Europa Conference League QF – In 2021-22, PAOK reached the quarterfinals of the inaugural Europa Conference League before being eliminated by Marseille.

PAOK FC’s Biggest Win in the Super League

PAOK FC’s biggest win in the Super League was a 7-1 victory over PS Kalamata on January 28, 2001. This is the largest margin of victory the team has ever achieved in the top flight of Greek football.

It’s worth noting that PAOK FC has a rich history in the Super League, winning the championship three times in 1976, 1985, and 2019. They also have the distinction of being one of only three clubs in Greece to have never been relegated from the top flight.

PAOK Website:

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