AEK Athens may this season find itself in the third tier of Greek soccer, but has amazingly managed to sell more season tickets than any Super League team, including champion and Champions League contender Olympiakos.
The Yellow-and-Blacks of Athens got relegated last summer from the top flight and decided to dissolve the company that constituted its soccer club, so as to rid themselves of the heavy debts from the past, a decision that has sent them to the the highest amateur division.
However, the vision of the return to glory under new owner Dimitris Melissanidis has seen its fans rally behind their club that has also chosen to stay at the Olympic Stadium of Athens despite its high cost of lease.
The fans’ enthusiasm has grown even greater after the decision by Melissanidis to begin the process for the creation of a new ground for AEK at its traditional base in Nea Filadelfia, and to see to it that half of the receipts from each season ticket will go toward the stadium project. The aim is for the new AEK stadium to be ready by December 2015.
Such is the enthusiasm of AEK supporters that they have snapped up 12,855 season tickets for this year, during which they will not be able to see the likes of Panathinaikos, Olympiakos, PAOK etc at the Olympic Stadium, but instead some amateur teams such as Pannaxiakos and Ermis Zonianon.
However this excitement has not yet translated into any emphatic performances on the pitch, as AEK may be leading its group with seven points from three games, but it struggled to beat previously unheard of Thyella Rafinas 2-1 at the Olympic Stadium and failed to beat AO Peristeriou at the neutral ground of Kallithea last Saturday.
Such is the worry about the performances of the team that there is even talk of replacing Trai Dellas, the AEK coach and a Euro 2004 winner with the national team.