Panathinaikos, the absent giant, Gate 13 and their passionate support

Panathinaikos, a 20 league title winning club has not been able to win the Championship since 2009/10. Financial difficulties, disqualified by UEFA and boards being shipped out, made this giant sail into a life of mediocracy.

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Despite being among the top teams on occasions during the last ten years, they have sailed into a life seen as problematic, looking at their domination in the years before. To see Panathinaikos in the middle of the table or further down is strange and not normal.

Their current ban from Europe will of course be a problem, and despite probably being able to compete for the title again, with some very promising signings in front of this season, they will of course suffer if they would not be allowed to compete in the Champions League.

Other clubs such as Olympiacos, AEK Athens and PAOK er the three sailing in front at the moment, wining those domestic league titles since Panathinaikos last one the trophy of the Greek Super League.

The are still the best team from Greece, looking at their past achievements in Europe, being the only team from their country to play in a European Cup final, back in 1971 being defeated by Ajax.

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They are known for bringing in stars from abroad and by that dominating Greek football. In the last Championship winning season two great stars had found their way to the club. Gilberto Silva and Djibril Cisse were both influential imports, that flourished and dominated with their presence.

Gilberto Silva joined from Arsenal, Djibril Cisse arrvied from Marseille. The duo made it possible to win, and they both stayed on for the next seasons, but it was never a chance to win another league trohpy, with a financial situation that did not secure a chance to buy superior players and big stars from other nations.

Cisse and Silva both left Panathinaikos as the Gate 13 faithfuls did see their team loosing track and failing to fulfill their dreams. Gate 13 is the oldest foundation of a supporters team in Greece, going back as far as 1966. They are not only passionate about their own club but are seen to make friends with other supporters around Europe, one of them being Shamrock Rovers of Ireland, and travels are often arranged to support their friend clubs as well.

Hopefully Panathinaikos will be able to grow out of their current status and again become great and part of the European competitions, this is a club that definitely should be participating in the “big stages” again.

They are not favorites for the title this season, but hopefully they can be among the top six and give everyone a notice of their existence and will to bounce back from previous times.

The former Blackburn Rovers, Sheffield United and Huddersfield Town midfielder Giorgos Donis is their coach at the moment, being appointed in 2018 and hopefully can steer the club to a healthy position, after finishing 8th last season.

 

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