Olympiakos’s subdued party

Olympiakos celebrated on Sunday its 10th title in 11 years, a record for any club in Greece, although this was certainly the most subdued of all. Never before has Olympiakos enjoyed its crowning in front of fewer than 25,000 fans. Last Sunday, as Olympiakos beat Kerkyra 3-1, the Karaiskaki Stadium was far from full, with many seats empty, even in the stands for season ticket holders. Worse still for the champion, its fans are growing ever more upset about the lack of progress in Europe and impatient for more success than what it has earned in the last decade: The Greek league title is clearly not enough for Olympiakos anymore. It is no coincidence that instead of the usual praising of players and the club president, the fans chose to call for new signings and complained about the team’s recent bad performances. All in all this year has not been as successful as the past two for the Reds of Piraeus: With two consecutive double wins in league and cup in 2005 and 2006, Olympiakos was shocked to be eliminated from the cup by PAS Yiannina, which is the first lower-division team ever to oust Olympi- akos from the competition. Europe proved a major cause for concern for Olympiakos fans. The Greek champion failed to score a single win this year and finished bottom of its group in the Champions League, which brought about the departure of Norwegian manager Trond Sollied and his substitution by Takis Lemonis. So how did Olympiakos maintain its domestic reign? That was mainly because its two main rivals, AEK and Panathinaikos, were dogged by such inconsistency that it forced their fans to switch from jeering to cheering and back again several times this season. AEK’s performances in the first two of months of 2007 and those of Panathinaikos in the fall and spring left the Reds without any credible opponent, being by far the least inconsistent team in the Super League. In a bad year for Greek soccer on most fronts, Olympiakos managed to stay afloat. The death of a Panathinaikos fan at the hands of Olympiakos fans last month has also cast its shadow over this season, which will probably be remembered for the wrong reasons, and not for the 10th title for Giorgos Anatolakis and Predrag Djordjevic.

Subscribe to our Newsletters

Enter your information below to receive our weekly newsletters with the latest insights, opinion pieces and current events straight to your inbox.

By signing up you are agreeing to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.