The history of the Panathinaikos FC from 1908 until 2009.
Vangelis Fountoukidis, Aristeidis Kamaras, Yannis Papantoniou, Panos Dafnos, Kostas Dafnos, Vangelis Panakis, Giorgos Kourtzidis, Lakis Proyos, Mimis Domazos, Antonis Antoniadis, Frangiskos Sourpis, Kostas Eleftherakis, Takis Loukanidis, Vassilis Konstantinou, Manolis Mavrommatis, Juan Ramon Rocha, Christos Sotirakopoulos, Jacek Gmoch, Nikos Sarganis, Velimir Zajec, Yannis Kallitzakis, G.Ch. Georgiadis and Giorgos Karagounis.
In the case of the Panathinaikos football club, we reflect upon the club’s European DNA, on the one hand, and on the curse of division, on the other.
Early on, we discuss the case of Angelos Messaris, the leading player of the pre-war era, who quit football unexpectedly, aged 22. According to popular belief, he had a clash with the club’s powerful board member, Apostolos Nikolaidis. It was a move that upset and divided everyone and affected decisively the course of Greek football, as Olympiacos took the lead over Panathinaikos. It was during that period (between 1932 and 1939), when Olympiacos was given its nickname, “Legend”, due to its consecutive wins in the Greek championship.
Later on, on the episode, we probe into another period of great division, the famous “Rejuvenation” that took place between 1966 and 1968, while 10 years later (in 1977-1978), it was resumed with the dismissal of Domazos and Antoniadis.. Next came the great division and the squad was dissolved after their defeat from Olympiacos, at the stadium of Rizoupoli. The fans held rallies against the Vardinoyannis family, that led to the introduction of multiple shareholders.
On the other hand, we examine the club’s glorious history in the European championships, focusing, of course,
on the match at Wembley, that covers an important chapter;
on the road to the semifinals of the European Cup, in 1984-1985;
on the great achievement during the UEFA Cup, in 1987-88;
on the even greater achievement, in 1995-96, where a goal scored by Krzysztof Warzycha against Ajax almost got them to the Champion League Finals;
and of course on the golden years between 2000 and 2003.
And in-between, we examine Panathinaikos’ great squads, the extraordinary players, the championships and the Cups, the destruction of the stadium in 1963, the minor and unknown stories.
Among the numerous great accounts, I list only a few:
I had insisted that Yannis Papantoniou, the forgotten playmaker of the 1950s, be interviewed, since I believed that he had not taken the place he deserved in the history of the club. He talks about the championships that were lost to Olympiacos, in those years. He attributes them to the unfair system that had the ‘greens’ face powerful opponents in the early rounds of the local championship (AEK, Panionios, Apollon, Asteras, Fostiras) and get to the Greek Championship completely drained out; at a time before the game went professional.
Giorgos Kourtzidis, an entirely neglected figure of the same period, talks about the outstanding wind-assisted goal he scored, in the victorious final against PAOK, at the Avenue stadium, in 1955.
I remember vividly that when we wrapped up, the ever so kind Kourtzidis, a man with old old-fashioned manners, returned with a box of sweets, as a thank-you gift for doing him the honor of filming him....
The Dafnos brothers were an original note; one was a Panathinaikos supporter and the other, a fan of Olympiacos. They spent the 50s and 60s fighting over their teams, both at home and during the matches.
The "green" Panos Dafnos, a doctor of Philosophy, joined the filming at the Avenue stadium, where he met for the first time his old-time idol, the famous Vangelis Panakis. It was a very emotional meeting.
Mimis Dimazos discussed an incident, when during a derby with Olympiacos, one of his opponents, the great Thanassis Bebis, who had been Mimis’ idol, at the end of the game gave him his cross and chain thus, naming him his successor...
It is an episode with great archival material and a lot of emotion.