SPORTS

Mavros and Vlachos herald new era for AEK

By George Georgakopoulos

With effectively a new club chief and a new coach, AEK is undergoing a major facelift ahead of the new season, in the hope of regaining the team's lost prestige following its elimination from the new season's European cups and a ban on new transfers due to debts.

Soccer legends Thomas Mavros and Vangelis Vlachos will become the new honorary president and manager respectively, as the two AEK stars from the 1980s have decided to take things into their own hands in a bid to dispel the gloom that has set in among fans of the popular Athens club.

Mavros is spearheading the effort to streamline the heavily indebted club, starting by trying to find 1.35 million euros by July 9 for AEK to pay off outstanding debts.

Reports suggest he has already made inroads into collecting funds from companies interesting in sponsoring AEK, while the plan he has agreed with club chairman Andreas Dimitrelos provides for the issuing of no fewer than 50,000 season tickets at the very attractive price of just 150 euros.

A bank account will also be created for anonymous fans to deposit any amount of money they wish in order to help their club.

On Tuesday Vlachos is set to visit the AEK training center at Spata and sign a contract to become the manager of the club he made his name at.

Another former player, Christos Costis, will be appointed general manager, while Euro 2004 winner Vassilis Tsiartas will be taking over as the club's technical director, to replace departing Arnar Gretarsson.

Mavros is also considering the appointment of one of AEK's best ever players, Mimis Papaioannou, as the head of its academy.

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