It has been nine years, and yet it seems like yesterday. It is that “huge” sound that the port makes on everything that decides the present and future of Olympiacos. The discussion is about Sokratis Kokkalis who with the passing of time wants to withdraw, but mainly about the new, Vangelis Marinakis, the son of Miltiadis, who was raised in Karaiskaki Stadium.
It was 18 June, 2010. Now it is 18 June, 2019. How time flies… and that is perhaps the greatest indication of his success.
In that nine years a team as big as AEK collapsed into the third category until it could pull its head out of the water. A colossus like Panathinaikos had its own “stone” period. In those nine years Ivan Savvidis took a half-dead PAOK and managed to change its fate.
It was the same years in which Aris went up and down in the elevator until it could stand on its feet, and Iraklis was definitively lost.
That is probably the most just comparison – what others went through in Greece’s toughest post-war decade and how Olympiacos stayed above water, when in the summer of 2010 it was in the toughest positionof anyone. It had a 40mn euro budget hole, with an empty roster and a team that barely managed to placed 5th in the preceding playoffs.
The Piraeans jumped into the water and got out without a drop touching them. The championship with the first match against the “multi-participatory” and finally a draw with its own record of 7 in a row. Great Champions League victories against championship teams of England (Manchester United), Italy (Juventus), Germany (Dortmund), Spain (Atletico Madrid), France (Montpellier), and next (Marseille, Emirates), beyond comprehension. Great coaches who after leaving here reached the elite (Valverde, Jardim, Silva). Greeks who had great careers (Manolas, Mitroglou, Holebas, Samaris, and others). Foreigners who became ours forever (Miralas, Fouster).
If the faces and titles come and go there are other things more important in the balance. Today, 18 June ,Olympiacos has spent a 15,000 duration on the next season. It is the greatest proof of the acceptance, security, and trust people feel.
Today Olympiacos has one of the best athletic centres in Europe which recently made the great Mathieu Valbuena say that what he saw in Renti he did not see at the centres in Lyon and of the French National Team. It is a huge asset that produced Panagiotis Retsos of the 22mn euros whom they put on flight to Leverkusen.
Today, Olympiacos is a model for UEFA as regards Financial Fair Play. It has created a football “showcase” in which West Ham comes with 14mn euros for Fortounis and the answer is “be on your way”. The roster aside from the captain has four or five more players worth over 10mn euros.
The company is extremely strong and thanks to its manner of operation and the link to football the Amateur team (which in the summer of 2010 was 7mn euros in debt) survived and became one of the strongest multi-athletic leagues globally. The recent Polo Champions League Final was Olympiacos 35th!
The Red-and-Whites grew up in Vangelis Marinakis hands and are becoming enormous, evolving into a technocratic power having long transcended the athletic framework. Their cooperation with Harvard and their unforgettable social offering to Greece is the work of Vangelis Marinakis, the man that was chased like no other in athletic society and for whom narratives and machines were set up to stop him but instead made him stronger and more determined tham ever.