PAOK - Panathinaikos PAOK,a club led by it's own supporters

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PAOK - Panathinaikos PAOK,a club led by it's own supporters

Postby Irascibil » Tue Feb 15, 2011 12:09 pm

At PAOK, the number 12 was retired as a sign of respect for the fans. It may seem a strange thing here in Romania, a place where the stands are almost always empty . I wanted to know why PAOK's fans were so special and , therefore, we went to the derby PAOK - Panathinaikos , to see the place where the fans forces you to win!

"Coming to PAOK's match and not sitting in Gate 4 terrace, is like you seeing a beautiful woman and you want to kiss her cheek not her mouth" explains Leo, a young 22 years, staunch fan of the "Black & white" We quickly became friends and he offered to be our host at the derby: "Before going to the stadium, we need to go to the pub, it's a tradition." The streets around the "Toumba" arena are occupied by bars and pubs full of PAOK fans . The atmosphere is relaxed and has nothing in common with the war like status before a Bucharest derby: "It's this way because Panathinaikos are not coming to the match! Those are the rules here, we make tickets reciprocity only with the smaller teams, otherwise it's gonna be hell" argues our guide.

"You know who is responsible for security? We are!"

In the pub, the number of decibels increases significantly. Greeks are warming to the game and the beer glasses are high in the air. It resembles the famous British pub's atmosphere : "We're going to stay here for a little bit , then we will go towards the stadium. We have a fan club where we all gather." Once near the stadium and the first emotions arise, especially since we had been warned that PAOK's fans aren't the calmer in Greece. But the reality was quite different: "Why should not you be afraid to say You're journalists? You won't have any trouble! In fact, the only drawback is that too many people would crowd to help" Leo tries to reassure us. And it was the truth! At the fan-club under the famous Gate 4, I became acquainted with other ultras of PAOK, who, contrary to our expectations, welcomed us: "Romaniaaaaaaaaaaa! Bucharesttttt Forza, Forza PAOK! . In the bar, alcoholic drinks are served at their discretion, without any restriction, not like in Romania , where, before a football match you can only buy soft drinks and water. It seems that we are in a place where the supporters make the rules: "You know who is responsible for security in the lawn? We are , the members of GATE 4! You think we would have otherwise been allowed to enter with so many bengals and other pyro material? The president Zagorakis left us alone to manage the terrace, and we reward him by filling the stadium at every game. We have 20,000 subscribers to a stadium with 34,000 seats. Not bad, right? "said Antonis, another member the gallery.

No match starts on time

Time passed quickly and only a few tens of minutes separate us from the beginning of the match. The terrace's gates are taken by storm , while from inside the stadium the first chants could be heard . Fans without tickets are climbing fences, while the remaining fans push through entrances too small for a large crowd. Much like in our country.
"In the first ten minutes you won't believe your eyes, rest assured, the two supporters speak in unison. The first bengals lit once players are entering the field, and in seconds the terrace is on fire! On "Toumba, every game is like New Year's Eve. Smoke often cover the entire stadium, players admire the show, and the referee looks at his watch quietly. It's a natural thing that games do not begin in Thessaloniki on time, but no one can fail to appreciate the show from the stands. Here, supporters force you to play and win!

"They are unique in Europe!"

Ilie Dumitrescu trained PAOK Thessaloniki in 2006 and was impressed by the involvement of supporters in the team's life.

Former coach of Steaua Bucharest talks about the atmosphere only on the superlative and recounts several episodes indicative of the fans attachment to the team.
"You can't find this anywere in Europe! Fans live for this team, come and pursue training, and they are actively involved in life of the team" explains Dumitrescu, who recounts an episode occurred before his arrival on the bench of PAOK: "They had a president who they didn't like, and this man could not actually come to the office because of the fans. They devastated everything before he left! Honestly I tell you, you can only see such an impressive atmosphere only in South America " .

Source : ... 12-7977815
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