AEK 3-0 Panaigialeos

Not the greatest of days for a football match in Athens today thanks to what appeared to be a pretty nasty storm. I heard it was bad but it wasn’t until I watched the highlights that I realized just how bad… Thunder, pouring rain, and some decent sized chunks of hail falling from the sky.

As result of the weather, the match was delayed but it did eventually get under way. Unfortunately for our players, the downpour that had occurred earlier left the field, leading to yet another match played in less than ideal conditions.

There were some rather frightening moments in the first half as Panaigialeos came close to scoring on a couple of opportunities, though keeper Anestis was thankfully in form today. Despite the water clogged pitch, we did eventually manage to score before the half, with Aravidis heading in a Mantalos free kick. A number of other close chances for us were had before the first 45 minutes, but the half came to an end 1-0 in our favour.

Our second goal came in the 66th minute, again an Aravidis header though off of a nicely placed cross into the box by Soleidis. 20 minutes later, Aravidis, who had been in fine form all match, finished off his Hat trick with a lovely one time shot from just inside the box.

AEK365’s critique of the players varied significantly with three players (Lambropoulos, Sarris, and Johansson) receiving a rating of 6 out of 10. Unlike previous matches, it seems our defense, or our two centre backs at least, were not in their best form today. I suppose the condition of the pitch couldn’t have helped, though they made a few significant mistakes from what I saw in the highlights.

Three players on the other hand received rather high ratings, with Anestis, Soleidis, and Aravidis receiving 8, 8, and 9 respectively. Judging from what I could see in the highlights, the favorable ratings were well justified.

I suppose at least partly as a result of the weather, our attendance was unfortunately quite low, though I would personally like to point out the supportive gesture by the travelling Panaigialeos fans, who placed a large banner from their stands calling for an AEK stadium in Nea Filadelfia. Certainly nice to see, and from what I could gather the gesture was received enthusiastically by AEK’s supporters.

The standings in the league after today’s match are quite comforting as we are now 9 points ahead of Panachaiki (who have played a game less). I hadn’t realized this at first, but its actually pretty important that we finish with as many points as possible seeing the difference between us and whoever is in 3rd place determines how many points we start with in the playoffs.

I’m not sure how many of you had been following Greece’s election yesterday and over the past few weeks, but the result from yesterday doesn’t put AEK in a comfortable place. I’m not sure how the new Syriza coalition government will benefit the country, and whether it will be in a move in the right or wrong direction (though I guess realistically its hard to get any worse than how things were before yesterday), but as many of you already know, Syriza are quite against AEK’s proposed stadium.

The reason behind them being against the stadium is apparently mainly due to the fact that we’ve requested permission to cut down some trees along side the stadium grounds (reports I’ve seen have suggested the number of trees to be cut down will be as low as 15). I would like to make it clear that I appreciate the fact there are very few green spaces left in Athens, and the city, municipalities, and people need to do as much as they can to ensure what is left remains. I really do. When I lived in Athens, I took part in a number of tree plantings on Pendeli myself, and when I went walking and hiking on Pendeli, Parnitha, and Imittos, I saw firshand the destruction humans had caused to the trees that are so vital to keeping Athens a healthy place.

However, Melissanidis has agreed to replanting 200 trees elsewhere in Athens to make up for what would need to be taken down, and I believe either the environment for Athens, or the environment minister for Greece had already approved the plan. Still, however, Syriza and the Syriza backed mayor of Nea Filadelfia refuse to allow the stadium construction to go ahead.

Why?

I don’t know. We aren’t tearing down historically significant sites (for anyone who has seen the land where our stadium once was, you would remember how the place is literally a pit of dirt in the middle of Athens). Perhaps if the plans were to build a boutique hotel, or luxury shopping mall, I could understand some opposition. Instead, this is what AEK wants to bring to Nea Filadelfia:

-A high quality stadium, something which Greece desperately needs, especially if we are ever to host a Euro.

-A museum dedicated to the refugees from Asia Minor, something which will benefit not only the local citizens, but also visitors from all of Greece and abroad.

-A path, also dedicated to the refugees, from Iralkeio metro station (I believe its the Irakleio station, but I could be wrong).

-Jobs, not only during the construction, but also once the stadium is built.

-An attraction to help bring life back to Nea Filadelfia and hopefully revitalize the surrounding park which has, unfortunately, become rather neglected over the years and only a shadow of what it once was.

What we have is an owner who is willing to invest the money in something that will benefit AEK, its supporters, the residents of Nea Filadelfia, and Greece in general. How often does a country in such poor economic shape as Greece is in right now get someone willing to invest in something like this? Normally, an opportunity for the area and the country like this would never happen with the economy being the way it is, yet now that the opportunity has finally come, a few individuals seem determined to make sure it never happens. I feel hesitant to support a party which refuses to allow an opportunity that would only benefit the country. I try, and I try, but I fail to see how this stadium is bad thing for the country and Nea Filadelfia.

Who knows what will happen…

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2 Responses to “AEK 3-0 Panaigialeos”

  1. The mayor says he doesn’t oppose the stadium as long as its build as is, meaning, within the same parameters as the old stadium. The problem with that is that it will limit us to a 22K stadium. What AEK wants, and was approved by the previous govt and became law, is to take 2.2 stremata, not sure what stremata is, maybe 2 acres? Anyway, within these 2 acres lie 47 or 48 trees. AEK has proposed to replant these 48 tress by 5000 trees else where in Athens. I think they also offered to clean up the park which is in a disgraceful shape right now. In addition they will build the museum and the walkway from the Perissos train stop, closest one to the stadium. A survey was done and 100% of the businesses support the stadium. It will bring life back to the hood, and rejuvenate the area.
    I remember going to the park when i was a kid, it was a true park, very green, full of life, a small pool, a small zoo, i remember seeing camels there for the first time in my life and other wildlife, full of families, kids. I took my kids there hoping to show them the same but instead I saw a dead park, with dried up vegetation, dried up pool, rusted old city machinery sitting there adding to the decay, and of course at night full of addicts shooting up their heroin and crack. Not to mention what else goes on there at night. I was nervous walking through the park during the day i can imagine at night.

    So far this mayor has done absolutely nothing for the park, least he could have done is remove the city’s machinery but he hasnt even done that. All he has done so far is fight AEK and the fans. I dont know if he has even done anything for the hood so far. He has been very disrespectful of the hood’s history and the people that have built it. I know he is a gavro, i dont know if he is from Nea Filadelphia, how can you be from Nea Filadelphia and a gavro? I find it hard to believe. Anyway, i dont know much about him and i dont want to know. A lot of people are wondering if Marinakis is behind him, who knows. A lot has been written about him, he has been portrayed as one that wants to follow in Tsipras shoes, go from a mayor of a small town to big time politics, who took on the big time businessman and won.

    Unfortunately, this is one of the reasons that Greece is in the state it is, selfish politicians. They cant put the common good ahead of their own self interests. Some did it for money, others are doing it for political prestige, they all have their reasons. I am sure this guy can see the benefits the stadium will bring to the hood, but, all of a sudden we are shedding tears for 48 trees. Yea right!!

  2. Btw, our next game is Thursday at 5PM (Athens time) against Kerkyra, a cup game.

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