Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining
AGONAsport’s Olympiacos contributor, Theo Bouras, explains how Olympiacos can learn from this past season’s mistakes in hopes of building a team that will return to the top of Greek football.
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There’s an old saying that says every cloud has a silver lining. This happens to be particularly accurate when discussing Olympiacos’ preparations for the 2018-19 campaign. The utter disappointment that was this past season is now in the books, and the fans of the Thrylos are looking at the road ahead.
The Missing “Greek Core”
It’s no secret that in the past few years, constant transfers; be it arrivals or departures, have led to the club losing its identity. Fans have long wondered where the Greek core that the team often had has gone. With the acquisition of Lazaros Christodoulopoulos, Olympiacos didn’t only get last season’s Superleague MVP. The team got a quality winger that it desperately needed and more importantly, a Greek international. Now it would be ludicrous to think that Christodoulopoulos can repeat the season he just had for AEK, but by making the acquisition, Olympiacos showed that they are still the big boy on campus.
Andreas Gianniotis had a very solid year for Atromitos, and the goalkeeper’s starting spot seems to be his. By the looks of it, another familiar face will be returning to Piraeus, Giannis Fetfatzidis is expected to be back in the squad after a 5 year absence. The administration is slowly piecing together the roster. Unlike previous summers where they wouldn’t get as much as a second glare, many loanees will be returning to the Renti Training Facility and they are expected to be given a real chance at cracking the team.
Soak In It, Coach
Pedro Martins was officially hired on April 9th, but instead of putting him behind the bench in a lost cause, the board decided to let him take in all of the action from afar. To compare, Marcos Silva was only appointed team manager on July 1, 2015. Victor Sanchez received the reigns only when Silva decided to take off in late June 2016. Besnik Hasi last year, was hired on June 9th. Martins, on the other hand, had the luxury to really evaluate last year’s team and should be in good shape to keep who he deems necessary.
Like many Olympiacos fans, I was not exactly thrilled when Martins was hired as the team manager, but Marinakis and company seem like they want to give him a real chance. Of course, he’ll be quickly judged when the team plays its Europa League Qualifiers in August.
The Missing Thirst
The fans at Karaiskakis had become a little spoiled when it came to championships. Having won 7 consecutive Greek League titles, it seemed like they became a little disinterested with just winning the league. Of course, many fans have taken to social media and Greek radio stations to comment on how disappointed they were with this year’s 3rd place finish, but you still have to wonder if it takes a lackluster season to get the fans excited again. The team went through small rebuilds like this in 2004 and 2010. Both times, they came out of the gate running and new dynasties were built. Fans barely had time to sulk; before they knew it, the team was back to where it belonged, in first place.
At this time next year, we’ll know if the Greek movement worked. We’ll know if Martins was the right man for the job. For Olympiacos, the team’s administration, and the team’s fans, one year without a championship is disappointing. A second consecutive year, which hasn’t happened to the club since 1995 and 1996 would be a colossal catastrophe.