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Full Name A.C. P.A.O.K.
Official Emblem PAOK Athletic Club emblem
Founded 1926
Club colours Black and White
Chairman A. Katsaris
FC Chairman Zisis Vryzas
BC Chairman M. Kanotas
Website [1]

A.C. P.A.O.K., the Panthessalonikios Athlitikos Omilos Konstantinoupoliton (Pan-Thessalonikian Athletic Organisation of Constantinopolitans), is a sports club in Thessaloniki, Greece. The club is home to several teams, including football, basketball, volleyball, handball, water polo, swimming, wrestling and weightlifting. PAOK was founded in 1926. Because of its crest, it is also known as the "Two-Headed Eagle of the North", in contrast with AEK Athens, the "Two-Headed Eagle of the South".



PAOK is the historical continuation of the ‘Hermes’ Athletic and Cultural Association from Constantinople established by Greek residents of the city in 1875 in the very heart of the city in the Pera area. The need of Constantinople's Greek residents to express and support their Hellenism within Turkey was what led to the creation of this club. In 1923 following the failed Greek invasion of Asia Minor and the agreed population swap between Greece and the newly established Turkish republic, the Greeks of Constantinople renamed their club Peraclub in line with the new constitution adopted by Kemal Atatürk. Despite this blow to Hellenic culture in Turkey, which was forced to take the path of the refugee and to abandon its traditional home, Peraclub continued its sporting struggle, promising to continue to do so as long as there were Greeks left in Constantinople. The club won cup after cup proving that although the Greeks were a minority they continued to have a strong presence in the sporting sector. However, that situation did not last long and most players were forced to flee, leaving behind a team consisting of residents of Constantinople renamed Politakia. Those who fled settled in Thessaloniki and in 1926 established PAOK, retaining the symbols of their ‘Greekness’, the twin-headed eagle of the Byzantine Empire combined with mourning black to symbolize the tragic history of the Greeks in Turkey and white, the color of optimism, a window onto the future, symbolizing their struggle for tomorrow and the victories they intended to win. This club history stretching back to the 19th century in effect makes PAOK one of Greece's oldest athletic clubs but also means that it shoulders a heavy historical burden.

The club's first charter was approved on 20 April 1926 by means of decision of the Thessaloniki Court of First Instance (No. 822).

The club's founding members were A. Angelopoulos, A. Athanassiadis, K. Anagnostidis, M. Ventourellis, F. Vyzantinos (second Chairman), A. Dimitriadis, D. Dimitriadis, N. Zoumboulidis, M. Theodosiadis, T. Ioakimopoulos, P. Kalpaktsoglou, T. Kartsambekis, D. Koemtzopoulos, K. Koemtzopoulos, P. Kontopoulos, K. Kritikos, M. Konstantinidis, P. Maletskas, I. Nikolaidis, L. Papadopoulos, F. Samantzopoulos, T. Tsoulkas, M. Tsoulkas, S. Triantafyllidis, T. Triantafyllidis (who was also its first Chairman).

PAOK's first Board of Directors serving between 1926 and 1927 consisted of :

  1. T. Triantafyllidis (Chairman),
  2. P. Kalpaktsoglou (1st Vice-Chairman),
  3. A. Athanassiadis (2nd Vice Chairman),
  4. K. Kritikos (Hon. Secretary),
  5. M. Tsoulkas (Secretary),
  6. T. Ioakimopoulos (Treasurer),
  7. A. Angelopoulos (Football Steward),
  8. M. Konstantinidis (Director) and
  9. S. Triantafyllidis (Director).

After 2 months of preparation by the team following the club's establishment it was decided that the team should compete against the other teams in Thessaloniki. The desire to see the new team compete led many to the Iraklis Football Ground on 26 July 1925 where it won 2-1.

The vision of the club's founders and fans of the team of establishing a home base became reality in 1928 following much effort and thus on 12 December 1930 the Syntrivaniou Football Ground was officially opened. This was followed by a friendly match against ARIS with the home team winning 2-1.

The first professional contract was a document of historic importance. It was signed by the Club on 5 September 1928. The contract stipulated that the footballer Etien who had come from the Constantinople club Peraclub would be paid 4,000 drachmas per month. The contract was signed by Dr. Meletiou (PAOK Chairman) and Mr. Sakellaropoulos, Hon. Secretary.

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PAOK's main foes are the teams of Aris, Olympiacos, Panathinaikos, and AEK.The biggest rivalry is against the arch-rival Aris. The derby against Olympiacos is the fiercest, representing more than any other the animosity between Athens and Thessaloniki. The rivalry started in the 1960s when Olympiacos tried to acquire Giorgos Koudas, one of the best players of his time, from PAOK, through direct negotiations with the player.

See also


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