Iraklis’ Tremendous Run to Safety
With the help of gazzetta.gr, AGONAsport.com looks back at how Iraklis managed to pull off the great escape and avoid relegation.
Despite all the problems Iraklis faced throughout the season, the Thessaloniki club managed to pull of a great escape and avoid relegation. A team that seemed “doomed” to fail, even before the start of the season, managed to avoid relegation on the pitch, even though the club still faces financial problems and administration issues. These off the pitch problems must be resolved before their place in next year’s Superleague can be made official.
With the help of gazzetta.gr, AGONAsport.com looks back at the 12 most notable moments of the season for Iraklis in their road to safety.
1. In the opening match of the season, Iraklis fell behind 2-1 to Larissa, but managed to score an equalizer and earn a point at the AEL FC Arena.
2. On October 16th, after Iraklis’ match against PAOK in Toumba, Nikos Papadopoulos, who was the coach at the time (led Iraklis to promotion the year before), resigned from his position as he could not cope with the team’s financial and administration issues.
3. His successor, Giannis Amanatidis, kept his position for only 3 games and was sacked after Iraklis’ 2-0 loss away to Panathinaikos. At the time, Iraklis had only 2 points from 7 matches and were last in the Superleague table.
4. On November 1st, Savvas Pantelidis was hired as the club’s head coach during a time that were relegation seemed certain.
5. On November 30th, Iraklis won their first match of the season defeating Apollon Smyrnis in the Greek Cup group stages. The win came after 10 defeats and 4 draws in all competitions.
6. On December 5th, Iraklis recorded their first Superleague win of the season as they defeated PAS Giannina, showing that they would not go down without a fight.
7. By February 1st, the team had not lost a match to any of the 3 teams fighting for Superleague survival (Larisa, Kerkyra, Veria on two occasion). O Giraios recorded three draws and one win on the road (against Veria) showing that avoiding relegation could be a possibility.
8. From February 13th through March 11th, Iraklis managed to earn 3 valuable points against top opponents like AEK, PAOK, and Panathinaikos playing to a draw in all three games.
9. On April 2nd, an astonishing 3-0 home win over Kerkyra was a critical result for the club’s survival efforts.
10. On April 9th, Iraklis recorded their 3rd consecutive league win for the first time in 10-years after defeating PAS Giannina 2-1.
11. A few days later, the players went on strike as they were owed money and everything that was accomplished at that point was at risk. Yet, the financial instability was not enough to stop the players and they returned to their duties shortly afterwards.
12. On April 23rd, a 2-1 victory over Panaitolikos, combined with the defeat of Levadiakos to AEK, ensured mathematical safety for Iraklis! The players, coaches, and fans celebrated the unimaginable comeback to their season.
Now, it is up to Iraklis’ administration to solve the issues off the pitch and ensure their presence in next season’s Superleague. The players and coaching staff have done what they could on the pitch and the ball is now in the administration’s court to ensure safety.