THE HISTORY OF A.O.KAVALA

In 1965 Kavala’s football turns a new page in its history. Heracles, Philippoi and A.E.K. merge into a new team, A.O.K. The Light Briggade of the North, as it is called, sets out for success, which is soon to come. The first director of the club was S.Alimissis, who worked together with selected members of the board of directors of the teams that had merged. The new team’s first coach was Yiannis Voskas. In 1969 A.O.Kavala was promoted to the 1st Division (the equivalent of the English Premiership) for the first time, under the giudance of the Serb Bela Polfy and the direction of the unforgettable Christos Batsis. The roster of the team was undoubtedly one of the best in the country! The club’s first year in the 1st Division was tough and relegation was avoided at the last moment. Some of the players of the team: Moudouras, Patsas, Garanatsios, Karabetakis and the newly-acquired Tatsis and Charalambidis. Kountouras, Paridis (PAOK), Chatziioannou, Michailidis, Seitanidis and Aslanidis had already left the team. The 1974-75 season was a bad spell for the team, since it relegated to the second division, only to return to the 1st right away under the guidance of Kostas Karapatis. New players include Koiveroglou, Vakirtzis, Kapetanidis and Rigas. AOK played in the 2nd Division again for the season 1981-82. The club’s worst season was 1988-89, when AOK relegated to Division 3, but made a quick come back to division 2 in the next season. AOK was promoted to the 1st Division in the season 1993-4, however did not manage to stay there and relegated. Aggelos Anastasiadis was the coach. The 2nd Division, however, does not befit AOK, so after a fantastic season the club was promoted again the the 1st Division, after sweeping everything that came to its path and earning the 2nd Division Championship. In the season 1996-97 A.O.K. had its brightest championship ever and finished 6th! Although at the beginning the coach, the players and the directors predicted a struggle effort to remain in the category, the team’s performance and the results were such that after the 23th round they started talking about qualifying for Europe! Unfortunately, although the team performed great it did not manage to make the dream come true, since there were many factors that prevented it: If this club had a different name and was based in the Athens area, then it was sure to qualify for Europe. This is the best proof of the decline of Greek football and the domination of the Athenian status quo. Never mind, the sixth place and the title of the best peripheral team is a great success. The people who contributed to this excellent season are: the coach, Yiorgos Paraschos, who was the architect of this fantastic feat and earned the love and appreciation of everybody in the city thanks to his kindness and his coaching skills. The players were: Vakirtzis, Papandreou, Athanassiadis, Soukassian, Mitev, Kallimanis, Herndagl, Peglis, Koltsis, Piz, Mallios, Argiriou. Yiannis Papaioannou was the chairman of the directors’ board, which stood by the team in the best possible way, despite its financial problems. At the end of the seasonYiorgos Paraschos decided to leave the club, after two successful years with A.O.K.. Both parts benefited a great deal from this collaboration. His successor was Gregorz Lato, who proved to be not as good coach as a player and left early from the team and was replaced by Kostas Ioshfidhs, who in his first game as AOK’s coach gained the first 3 points vs Athinaikos, but his continuation wasn’t in proportion with the first game and thus he also resigned. After that, Stelios Katrakulakis undertook his place (he was an assistant coach when both Parasxos and Ioshfidhs were coaches), but only stayed two weeks and was replaced by Nikos Gkoulis, who knew well how difficult it could be to rebirth that team, but with his strong will (“tsampoukas”) he succeeded and gained quite quickly everybody’s appreciation.

Nikos Gkoulis managed to lift up the psychology of AOK players and thus received their best performance. In that way, the team was still in the last positions in the rank, but had lots of chances of staying in the first division. The players put an oath that they will make 4 wins in a row “4 out of 4” and that they will fulfil the promise they had given in January. And that’s what happened, because they won in the next three games and the important thing is that they won two matches outside their city. But in the meantime “Macedonian” PAOK …lost from Ethnikos, while Kavala had won Apollon by 0-2 and believed that she has been saved, but was proved false from …Paok. At that time AOK had to win Panaxaikh in Kavala city, a team that was also fighting to stay in the first division. The match was very critical and the whole city was interested in that particular match. So, despite the heavy rain that was going on for two consecutive days, 12.000 fans joined the team and strongly supported our stressed players and the result was, what else, AOK won 4-0!

You may also like...