The history of Aris FC, from its foundation until 2009.
Alketas Panagoulias, Leonidas (Palermo) Pozanis, Kleanthis Vikelidis (archival footage), Nikos Christidis, Alekos Alexiadis, Theodoros Pallas, Takis Loukanidis, Dinos Kouis, Giorgos Zindros, Vassilis Dimitriadis and Christos Sotirakopoulos.
Screenplay/Historical Documentation/Directed by
If PAOK FC represents refugees, Aris is the symbol of the old middle class in Thessaloniki. It emerged from within Iraklis and it represents the professional-managerial classes.
As I had the chance to find out, working also on the episodes about PAOK and Iraklis, the players of Aris had something noble, pure and perhaps more sincere, compared to the ones from Athens or Piraeus.
In this picture about Aris, we focus on the great team of the 30s and 40s, backed up by a rare period interview of the late, legendary Kleanthis Vikelidis, at the Harilaou stadium, in 1977.
Alketas Panagoulias talks about the tough years before the early 60s, while Leonidas Pozanis is moving and impressive.
Pozanis worked for the electric company (later renamed DEH) and participated in the vast enterprise of re-electrifying the country (and especially Northern Greece) after the network had been destroyed during the occupation and the civil war.
All week long, he spent every day in a different town, climbing poles and in the afternoon he practiced with the local football teams, either Doxa Dramas or some team from Serres, Xanthi, Alexandroupolis, Kilkis, Veroia, etc.
On Sundays, without having practiced even once with his teammates, he played for Aris and excelled. An ever absent, ‘phantom’ player both for his mates and his team in one of the most unbelievable and touching stories about football.
Next comes a chapter on the great squad, that won the Greek Cup in 1970, defeating PAOK by 1-0. It is the only title Aris had won since 1946.
There is great vintage newsreel footage and amazing interviews by Nikos Christidis, Alekos Alexiadis, Takis Loukanidis and Thodoros Pallas.
I should say once again that Christidis is an extremely collected man and a very eloquent speaker, while Alexiadis, is one of the major and most underestimated centre forward strikers in Greece and a genuine working-class person.
Moving on to the renewal in 1974. It is discussed by Alketas Panagoulias, who as the coach had an important role in it.
That gets us to the great squad of the late 70s and the early 80s.
I was old enough to remember that squad.
They played a really modern game, with ball possession and a true team spirit, and had star players, such as Kouis, Zindros and Pallas. All three talked very emotionally about the season 1978-79, when Aris defeated all their opponents at the Harilaou stadium, about the great season they had in Europe in 1979-1980, eliminating Benfica and Perugia and, of course, about the painful lost opportunity, the play-offs at Volos when they lost the first professional championship to Olympiacos. A defeat that determined the team’s history.
The film ends with Vassilis Dimitriadis, a representative of the new generation.
The documentary about Aris has left me with a sweet and splendid memory.