Lots of positives to take from trophyless season
AGONAsport’s Olympiacos contributor, Theo Bouras, talks about the many positive takeaways from the 2018/19 Olympiacos season, despite the club failing to win a title.
During this time last year, things were completely gloomy in Piraeus. The 2017-18 campaign had been one giant train wreck and the administration wanted the summer transfer season to open right away. Fast-forward twelve months later, the team will once again fail to win any silverware. Although the results certainly look the same on paper, the reality is far different.
The 2018-19 Olympiacos season shouldn’t be remembered for the lack of any team accolades. What fans need to take from this season is the beginning of something special. Head coach Pedro Martins has seen his team fight through trying times and come back stronger. In this second round of the season, the team has managed to link convincing wins with stellar football quality. A camaraderie amongst the players has been highlighted throughout the course of the year and the results have spoken. The fans, who even during championship seasons, have voiced their concerns if the team was playing poorly on the pitch, have fallen in love with this version of Olympiacos.
Kostas Fortounis has been an exemplary leader on the field. When the Greek international is in form, the rest of the team seems to follow. Portuguese winger, Daniel Podence, has been a crowd favorite and a player that can certainly make a difference. Team owner Evangelos Marinakis has been vocal of his support for Martins and the core players of this team. It’s no secret that the squad needs some key additions in the summer. A striker that can put the ball in the net with ease is a must, another winger to compliment Podence would be a much needed luxury and a true, general-like, centerback is a necessity if this team wants to return to the top of the Greek Super League.
The Reds have all but managed to win second place and will be trying their luck to enter the 2020 Champions League tournament as of July. The team board has already began their scouting assignments for next season. Ezequiel Ponce, who is on loan to AEK Athens from Roma is high on the Erythrolefki’s radar. The Argentinian has been on a tear for last year’s Greek Champions having netted 15 goals from 24 games played. Another familiar face for the striker position is Marcus Berg. The Swedish international had a successful stay in Greece playing for Panathinaikos between 2013 and 2017. He has also been very good for Al Ain having scored 35 times in 38 games.
It’s the time of the year where the carousel of rumored transfer names will be non-stop. If in five years we look back and the Thrylos has won 3 or 4 straight championships, the 2018-19 season might be looked at as the year there was growing pain, but ultimately, a year that was sacrificed for the good of the future of the team. Then again, this is Greece, and a third straight championship-less year might spell the end of Pedro Martins and a hard reset of the roster in the summer of 2020.
On a personal note, I’m sure that most of you are aware that last week was World Autism Awareness Day. I’d like to give a shout out to one courageous boy from Ontario, Canada, who has the heart of a lion and is also a big time Gavro, Gregory Stavrou. In 2006, doctors told the boy’s parents that there is a very good chance their son will never speak. Nowadays, he can be seen kicking around the soccer ball in his Olympiacos jersey and asking to hear the Olympiacos song on YouTube while chanting. It’s bravery like the one shown by Gregory that we can all learn from.