Monday 23 April 2018

Who are Paok Salonika?

They are the main club in Greece's second largest city, Thessaloniki, and have been in the country's top flight since 1926. Although they have only won the league twice, they have never been relegated.

Their league wins came in 1976 and 1985. However, they are professional bridesmaids, having finished runners-up a record 12 times.

PAOK have consistently competed in European competition since 1965. Their best run came when reaching the quarter-finals of the Cup Winners Cup in 1974.

They competed in the UEFA Cup for nine successive years between 1997 and 2006 and only missed out on the 10-in-a-row due to massive debts which resulted in sanction.

The club have played at the Toumba Stadium since 1959. Their support are renowned for creating a hostile atmosphere, which should be familiar to the Shamrock Rovers players who lined out in Belgrade in August.

PAOK and Partizan Belgrade fans have a special relationship. They wear the same colours -- black and white -- and share a similar ethos.

PAOK's Romanian coach Laszlo Boloni has managed a variety of clubs around Europe. They include French club Nancy, where he signed up a certain Tony Cascarino (left).

Boloni was delighted to hear Cascarino's name yesterday and was surprised to learn of his poker playing exploits. He said that the ex-Irish striker was one of the best players he worked with because of his work ethic.

Irish Independent

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