Kerkyra doomed to life in the Football League after disappointing campaign

Kerkyra doomed to life in the Football League after disappointing campaign
 

Despite battling to a gritty 0:0 draw with AEK Athens on the weekend, AOK Kerkyra were finally relegated after a desperate season in the Super League. AGONAsport investigates further.

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For the best part of the club’s recent history, Kerkyra have become a stereotypical yo-yo team, so it’s isn’t too much of a surprise to see the Corfu outfit return to the Football League after spending two tough years in the top flight. Last season, the islanders put in an impressive showing when claiming 10th place of the Super League table, but sloppy management and a thin squad have seen Kerkyra doomed to relegation one round before the season’s completion.

Kerkyra were always going to be among the favourites for the drop, but it’s something which was avoidable. Having finished 10th in the 2016/2017 season, the best result in the club’s record books, Kerkyra should have kicked on and improved the squad. Instead, the exact opposite happened, as the club began committing key errors in the summer.

SUMMER ERRORS

Dimitris Eleftheropoulos took over the reigns as Kerkyra’s new boss in August 2017, immediately being asked to keep the squad’s main body intact while adding depth. However, Eleftheropoulos’ short-lived stint in Corfu turned into a complete nightmare. His main transfer target was Erik Jendrisek, but the Slovak had already committed to signing for fellow Super League club Xanthi. The players which Eleftheropoulos did bring in were simply not good enough, and he failed to sign a centre-back, the one position which required serious strengthening.

COACHING MERRY-GO-ROUND

In the end, Eleftheropoulos departed Kerkyra in late August citing personal reasons. Konstantinos Christoforakis became the caretaker boss, running the team until September when Alexandros Vosniadis arrived. To be honest, Vosniadis did a decent job in Corfu, picking up vital points and creating a positive team ethic. His success didn’t last for long though, with Vosniadis shown the door on December 27 after a run of poor results. 

Kerkyra’s gradual demise continued with Sakis Tsiolis. Neither the club’s management nor the players believed in Tsiolis, refusing to show trust in the coach’s ideology and not giving him a chance to make an impression. Tsiolis left Kerkyra on January 25, making way for current manager Giannis Matzourakis to take the job. The experienced 68-year old did what he could to somehow turnaround the situation, but Kerkyra didn’t pick up momentum and the club were officially relegated to the Football League after the draw against champions AEK Athens.

TOOTHLESS ATTACK, SLOPPY DEFENCE

Looking at the table, it’s not hard to see where Kerkyra’s problems lie. In 29 Super League matches, Kerkyra have scored a mere 19 goals, conceding a further 47 to earn a disappointing goal difference of -28. Only Platanias, the other team to suffer relegation, own worse statistics. Kerkyra do possess a talented goalkeeper in Nikos Giannakopoulos, but he failed to make the big saves in key matches and was benched in favour of Fotis Koutzavasilis, who pulled off a number of fantastic stops in Sunday’s 0:0 home tie with AEK. At the other end, German attacker Denis Epstein is the team’s top scorer with six markers to his name.

LIFE IN THE FOOTBALL LEAGUE

Moving forward to the future, very few players of this current Kerkyra squad are expected to stay with the club in the Football League. Figures such as Stefanos Siontis, Epstein, Thuram, Giannakopoulos, Antonis Anastasiou and Fotis Georgiou will all be searching for new clubs, meaning that a huge squad overhaul is on its way. One thing’s for sure - major changes are required for Kerkyra to re-group and prepare for life in the Football League.
 

 
by Shaun Nicolaides
Image Source: gazetta.gr
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