Panathinaikos To Learn Off Inspirational AEK
AGONAsport’s Panathinaikos contributor, Nick Tsambouniaris, explains how a troubled Panathinaikos can learn from an inspirational AEK team that overcame all obstacles and as a result, are close to this year's Superleague title.
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AEK have one hand on the trophy and have proved to be worthy winners this season. They have the most balanced side, held their own in Europe (and could have gone further), and are still alive in the Cup. However, it has not been smooth sailing for the Enosis as they had to fight their way back to the Super League after relegation to the third tier due to financial problems. This makes their road to redemption even better.
In fact, their situation is eerily similar to that at Panathinaikos at the moment. Sunday’s loss for the Greens should prove a timely reminder that all hope is not lost moving forward, the club as a whole should learn from AEK’s plight. It goes without saying the club needs a saviour in the mould of Melissanidis, fingers crossed Giannakopoulos is successful with his “Athens Alive OAKA” bid, but the playing group should stick together and not give up hope. History can never be replaced, Panathinaikos is still a massive club, better times will come.
As for Ouzounidis, it would be great to see him remain at the club and lead the team to glory. He deserves it more than anyone. He has led us through our darkest days admirably and to see him guide us back to the level we belong would be beyond satisfying. Who knows in what shape the club would be in this season if not for him.
New management can also learn from AEK. Melissanidis has invested significantly but modestly at the same time. You will not see AEK splurge out on big money signings. Lyberopoulos, formerly at Panathinaikos also deserves credit. Smart recruitment has played a vital role in their rise but the biggest thing to take away is patience. AEK have been back in the top flight for a few seasons and have built this squad gradually over several transfer windows. This approach works wonders in Greece as it brings stability not seen at many clubs and guards against financial problems.
AEK players displayed their class at full time respecting Panathinaikos and Melissanidis said post-game, that Panathinaikos is a huge club and not having them in the Super League next season would be a huge loss. This is how champion teams carry themselves, not in the manner we have seen at the other big clubs in Greece.
Their feel-good story will end a nightmare season for Greek football. Patience, persistence and hard work has paid off. Amid all the corruption, violence and other innuendos, we will have a worthy and classy winner. Exactly what Greek football needed. It will also end Olympiacos’ dominance and hopefully it carries onto next season as it brings excitement and interest levels will rise across the fan bases of all clubs.
Well done and congratulations AEK, now for Panathinaikos to rise again by using this title run as inspiration during the dark times.