It was a really strange moment when earlier today, just before I opened AEK365 to read the headlines, I imagined in my head reading about Dellas leaving. Sure enough, I open AEK365 and see the headline saying “End of Dellas at AEK”…
Kind of surprised, but also not surprised on the other hand. I could see it coming, teams in Greece are never very patient when it comes to coaches and poor performances and AEK has certainly proven to be no exception to this in the past. But I also thought things would be different with Dellas, I thought he would be given more of a chance than other coaches we’ve had in the past. Sure he’s made some mistakes so far this season, but its his first season as a manager in the first division, and he hasn’t exactly had the best team to work with. Regardless of tactical choices in our games against Olympiakos and PAOK, it was clear to me that far more was needed from our players, and not our manager.
From what I’ve been reading, it sounds like it was Dellas who resigned, rather than management getting rid of him, but I cant help but feel the pressure has piled up on him following our disappointing performances lately. I personally find it a bit unfair that he received the criticism that he’s had so far, but I suppose in a way its better he leaves now before things get even worse. I would have been truly disappointed to have seen him stay on all season only to endure more poor results, bad press, and complaints from the supporters. At the end of the day, and regardless of what results we’ve had under his leadership, he really is an AEK legend, one of the best players we’ve had in recent years, and I’d much rather he be remembered for his wonderful contributions as a player than a few bad results as manager. He stuck with the team, as player and manager, through some of our worst seasons, always giving everything he could without ever causing any trouble. He clearly loved the team, and I hope all of our supporters realize what a privilege it was to have someone like him be involved with our team the way he has been. We’ve had a lot of centre backs come and go over the years, but he will always be one of the few that I really remember bringing a sense of calm and organization to our defense whenever he was involved.
What our next step will be I couldn’t say. Rumours have it that we’re looking at bringing back Manolo Jimenez. Not sure if this is the best option for us, but its certainly not the worse. He was the last coach we won a title with afterall, and if he makes it until next season, and we actually sign a strong squad, I think he can be a very good person to have in charge. Hes familiar with the country and the league which would help considering things are pretty urgent.
Aside from Jimenez, I’m not really sure what other options are available. And I’m not even sure if we’d be better off with a Greek or foreign coach. At least Jimenez would be good with our Spanish speaking players, but I’m sure having Dellas around was a boost to our Greek players and I would hate to see them lose the experience they were getting so far.
Regardless of what happens, all I can say is thank you for everything Dellas. A lot of players come and go, but its the guys like Dellas, Georgeas, Libe, and Zikos that you really remember. Players who play for AEK because they understand the history and what it means to play for a team like AEK.
I’ll try to post any updates as soon as I can.