The Greek ‘Curse’ on title winning coaches

The Greek ‘Curse’ on title winning coaches

Razvan Lucescu follows a five-year ‘curse’ that has plagued the winning managers of the Greek Super League.

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Are you a coach in the Greek Super League that wants to keep your job for next season and beyond? Do not win the League title!

Razvan Lucescu’s departure from PAOK follows a new trend plaguing the Championship winning coaches in recent seasons. Ever since Vitor Pereira won the League with Olympiacos in 2015, every single manager that has won the Super League has departed their respective clubs.

Naturally, the reasons for each specific departure differ, but here is a look at how each of these coaches fared.

Vitor Pereira (Olympiacos)

The man the “curse” started with. The experienced Portuguese manager replaced the likable Michel in January 2015 and went on to clinch another Super League title for the Reds. When he took the reigns, Olympiacos sat in first spot and that did not change until he left - they finished the season on 78 points (24 wins, six draws and four losses).

Despite this achievement, club and manager parted ways and since then, has coached Fenerbahce, 1860 Munich, and currently on the books with Shanghai SIPG since December 2017.


Marco Silva (Olympiacos)

The Reds once again turned to Portugal and this time hired Marco Silva on a two-year deal. He guided the club to one of the easiest and comfortable League title wins in recent years. The Championship was won with six rounds remaining and this featured a run of 17 wins in a row (a club record). They finished on 85 points - 28 wins, one draw, and one loss.

He quit during that summer’s preseason training citing personal reasons but has since gone on to star in the English Premier League at Hull, Watford, and Everton.


Paulo Bento (Olympiacos)

Paulo Bento became the third successive Portuguese coach at Olympiacos and he followed suit in delivering the club a League title. Ironically, the only difference was in this case, Bento was sacked before the season’s ended. He was shown the door in March at a time when the Reds were seven points clear at the summit and replaced by Takis Lemonis, who saw out the season. Home derby wins over Panathinaikos, PAOK, and AEK in the first half of the season laid the platform for the Championship.

At the time of his sacking, the team was also in the last 16 of the UEFA Europa League and the semi-finals of the Greek Cup. They finished on 67 points, six ahead of second-placed PAOK.

Since leaving Olympiacos, he coached Chongqing Lifan and now manages the South Korean National Team.


Manolo Jimenez (AEK)

The Spaniard came to AEK for his second stint at the club in January 2017. In the following season, he etched his name into the history books at the Enosi by clinching the club’s first League title since 1994 to spark wild celebrations and end an Olympiacos’ seven-year monopoly. In the same season, his team also made the last 32 of the UEFA Europa League.

However, he left as he failed to reach an agreement with the club. Astonishingly he returned for his third AEK stint last season but has again parted ways. In between that he coached Las Palmas.


Razvan Lucescu

The Romanian arrived at PAOK in August 2017 as expectations soared since the Thessaloniki club had not won the Championship since 1985. He came from a great three-year stint at Xanthi and took things to a new level at PAOK. Many deemed them to be the best team in 2017/18 campaign, but point deductions played a huge role in costing them a League title. They won the Greek Cup that season but things went to a new high last season as PAOK were crowned champions for the first time in 34 years (they also won the Greek Cup for the third time in a row). Wild celebrations followed and history was made as PAOK became the first team in 55 years to win the League as “Invincibles” as they went 30 games without tasting defeat.

They finished on a record-breaking 80 points but Lucescu departed after Al Hilal activated his two million euro release clause and an offer too good to refuse was made.


by Nick Tsambouiaris

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