Do What Needs to be Done and We Will Stand by You
AGONAsport’s Olympiacos contributor, Theo Bouras, discusses what is at fault for this year’s downward spiral season for the Erythrolefki and what needs to be done this summer to bring Olympiacos back to the top of Greek Football.
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Evangelos Marinakis has been under a tremendous amount of scrutiny this season. The team is underperforming, there seems to be no clear direction from the administration, and the hope for an 8th consecutive League title is gone. After yet another disappointment this past weekend in Livadia, the boss had enough; he was going to make some radical changes. Players, coaches and the entire personnel team would be completely re-evaluated. We’ve already seen some players being kicked off the time, but looking at the 2017-18 season, you can’t help but be amazed at how everything went so south for the Erythrolefki.
Summer of Champions League
The Champions League was the main priority this past summer for the administration. Besnik Hasi was hired, with an uninspiring résumé, but with a good Champions League qualifying track record. Many who followed the team in the summer noticed how the pre-season training was abysmal and wondered how the team would fare in the long-run. After successfully qualifying for the Champions League group stages, the team quickly began to struggle and Hasi was released.
Losing your DNA
It seems like every summer, the team is selling half a dozen players and signing new ones. People call it the “Porto” style of transfers and have attested how well this works for the Portuguese giants. The major issue with that, though, is that you will never build a good team core. Players began playing passionless, and dull soccer. The dynasty from the late 90s and early 2000s team was spearheaded by Socrates Kokkalis who signed the best Greek youth that was available, and complimented them with a handful of talented foreigners.
Today’s roster has a ton of mediocre foreigners, with a few Greeks who also seem to be indifferent. Marinakis needs to unload all the albatross contracts he has, he needs to load up on Greek talent and sign a few selected foreigners who can really make the difference. You don’t need Seba who is possibly the only Brazilian winger in the world who is unable to take on a defender one-on-one. You don’t need an Alberto Botia who can’t keep up with the play and needs to constantly foul his opponent. You don’t need an Omar Elabdellaoui who seems like he’s trying to learn the right-back position every time he steps on the pitch. You don’t need a Guillaume Gillet who has obviously ran too many miles and is out of gas. You have a ton of Greek kids who you have loaned out and who would be more than capable of filling these positions!
See ya, Kosta!
Another frustrating part of this season has been the awful showing of Kostas Fortounis. The attacking midfielder was supposed to be this team’s leader, yet his lack of passion and poor play has led to him being demoted to the bench. Reports have suggested that when Oscar Garcia asked Fortounis to begin warming up last Saturday against Levadiakos, the Greek international seemed aggravated and didn’t appear to look like he wanted to be bothered.
For me, this is a case where you make an example of Fortounis. Here is a guy who is playing for the biggest team in all of Greece and even though his play has been slumping for two years, the fans and the board have stuck by him. Is this a way to repay them? Fortounis clears just a little less than a million Euros a year. We don’t need Fortounis, or any prima donna player who doesn’t want to be here. The team crest in the front is a hell of a lot more important than the name and number on the back!
You’re not alone
This summer will certainly be unparalleled in the Red camp. Many players will leave the team, many will join and loanees will return. After such a horrific campaign, nobody’s future is safe, and that’s the way it should be for a club with a “championship or bust” mentality. Darko Kovacevic and Francois Modesto are on the hot seat and Oscar Garcia was just shown the door. Marinakis knows that he has the supporters on his side as long as he rectifies all the mistakes that were committed by the administration these past two years. Olympiacos fans don’t want to hear excuses, silverware is all that matters, and if next season turns out to be a nightmare like this one, it’s Marinakis who will be the one chased out of Piraeus.