OPINION

Parallels in green

PASOK and Panathinaikos share more than their green color. Both «clubs» have been beset by crisis for years, their images being equally tarnished. PASOK, which is mired in internal conflict, faces the prospect of defeat at the coming elections, while Panathinaikos (PAO) – also caught in a civil war between fans and its administration – has weathered many lean years. They both dream of being at the top, and face similar problems in getting (or staying) there. PASOK and PAO have recently resorted to shake-ups and transfers to change the climate. Hence the promotion of the amenable Michalis Chrysochoidis as general secretary on the one hand and, on the other, the recruitment of coach Itzhak Shum, a similar sort of character. Moreover, both sides ejected historical cadres (PASOK replaced historical leader Costas Laliotis, while Panathinaikos let go of Nikos Lymberopoulos, its emotional leader. And they did so on the same grounds: the Doliana-born politician was criticized as the «engineer of defeat» while the Filiatra-born player was denounced as «fatalist» and «defeatist.» In order to fill in the gaps, both clubs resorted to recycling – and let down their followers in the process. PASOK took on board cadres that failed to impress in previous terms (Kimon Koulouris and Alexandros Akrivakis), while Panathinaikos took back players who had been loaned out to others to get some experience (Derek Boateng) or recruited mediocre players who can barely win in the league such as Erol Bulut, a Turk, whose transfer equals PASOK’s naming of Vassilis Kontoyiannopoulos, a former conservative, as a deputy minister. And the naming of Nikos Bistis, leader of the AEKA splinter group, was as stunning as the transfer of the Lithuanian Raimondas Zutautas. With such preparation, triumph seems very unlikely for both; they will probably blame murky interests rather than themselves.