The moniker “smuggler” has justly been attached to him throughout his long course in the public eye in Greece both in the press at times and among football fans including those of AEK.
That is because he had been remanded in custody for oil smuggling. His companies have paid dozens of fines for such illegal activity and they had to rely on a particular legal provision in order to handle the steep fines.
Investors in the US have accused him of being a “fraudster” as he is implicated in the biggest ever scandal – to the tune of 300 million dollars, connected with the company Aegean Marine Petroleum Network – involving a Greek entrepreneur on the New York Stock Exchange.
Indeed, he has avoided extradition to the US by utilising a loophole in Greek law. Of course, that would be inconceivable in any other European country, including Switzerland, and that is why he does not travel abroad.
“Crab” is another moniker used for Melissanidis by AEK fans as he pocketed the profit from the sale of AEK stock in 1995. He left behind debts to players and the Greek state. When he returned he purchased AEK for a pittance. Instead of paying his debts he preferred to accept the downgrading of AEK to the Third National League.
He is still blamed by all AEK fans and today he is not investing in the team, which is 20 points behind and excluded from the championship and Europe since November.
He was fortunate that COVID-19 is keeping fans out of the stadiums and averting extreme reactions to the mess he has made with AEK.
He is also facing accusations regarding the AEK stadium – the ownership of which raises many questions as it was acquired with other people’s money – and so he is building at no cost to himself the new stadium with regional and Champions League funding.
Today, some people are flabbergasted that Melissanidis broke his agreement with the government to support player Thodoris Zagorakis.
Some people were surprised that he thumbed his nose at the state in order to wreak havoc on the Greek football product as he has done with AEK.
That is what the supposed “tough guy” from Kokkinia has learned to do in football. He acts violently with officials, game observers and even referees by grabbing them by the genitals and lambasting prime ministers!
Yet the supposedly manly “Tiger” did not only break his agreement with the government but he also did not honour his agreement with Zagorakis.
In four meetings, he told Zagorakis he would back him for the post of president of the National Football League and not nominate his own candidate (which he did at the last minute before the deadline).
That is not all.
The Tiger did not honour in a manly manner his commitment to Zagorakis that would back him in the election. He is trying at all cost and with his henchmen Iakovos Filippousis, Alex Dedes, and Nikos Bartzis to kick Zagorakis out of the National Football League, along with all the veterans from the glorious 2004 victory. He blocked their candidacies with various unprecedented pretexts and improper practices.
He has undermined the sole serious effort – by those who honoured the Greek flag and linked their names to one of the brightest pages in Greek athletics – over the last year to change something in Greek football.
He wants to banish Zagorakis, Haristeas, Seitaridis, Kafe, and Papadopoulos, the people who were responsible for the most glorious moments in the history of an otherwise degraded Greek football scene.
Melissanidis has a conclave comprised of Yannakis Papadopoulos (who is implicated in game and elections fixing with payoffs and beatings which are being probed by the Ethics Committee), and Vasilis and Makis Gagatsis (who have already been convicted by the Ethics Committee along with pending criminal cases from felonious breach of trust to forgery).
They want to install their marionettes, such as the incredible K. Nikas whom they brought from the Association of Viotia, the website of which still has an announcement supporting Zagorakis. Nikas as president of the association became their candidate!
Nikas, a Justice Ministry employee (Court of Viotia), has often had his own run-ins with the courts. That is his strongest qualification for supporting Melissanidis and his entourage.
Nikas he demonstrated with his referees/supervisors his faith in the football project of the tiger. It suffices for one to see how many Viotia supervisors are players for his beloved team Ionikos, and not AEK!
He is throwing out of Greek football with no compunction Zagorakis, Haristeas, Seitaridis, Kafe, and Papadopoulos in order to promote as candidates his “employees” and proxies.
Among them are Daniil from the Association of Patras and others who according to testimony before the Ethics Committee have violated the entire penal code in dozens of elections where he appeared along with Dimitriou (who has pending felony cases involving breach of trust and is linked to buried horrid cases in the drawer of Antonis Patatane, an employee of the labour bureau in Athens.
It is outrageous that Melissanidis is kicking out of Greek football Zagorakis and Kafe, who have offered so many cups and joys to AEK fans, in order to bring in Leonidas Leoutsakos, a policeman being paid without working and his son. He is a servant of Yannakis and the Tiger, president of Superleague 2, which he plunged into a cesspool of fixed matches, disrespect, and referee disputes that have drawn a maelstrom of reactions from Superleague 2 team owners.
We should like to hear the views of Mr. Clattenburg and the competent athletics minister Avgenakis about all these sordid disorders that mar the game.
The people involved in this should not only be removed but also completely disgraced in the context of the effort to clean up Greek football.
They want to make a mockery of the government and the PM who made a public commitment to clean up football.
They want to humiliate Zagorakis either by throwing him out of the race or nominating the non-entity Nikas as his opponent.
They want to drag Zagorakis through the mud with “paid”, nauseating press reports in dailies to push Zagorakis to throw in the towel and withdraw of his own accord in order to fool fans of teams that back a cleanup into thinking that they too have the same aim.
They want Nikas at the helm along with the 11 hick presidents in order to avert anything from going wrong for them.
They want people to stop cursing the Tiger for the decline of his team, as they do in Thessaloniki with PAOK.
That is what the “Tiger” is really all about as he has always clung steadfastly to such “values”.
The question is what will the government do?
Will it just sit with its hands crossed and watch the cleanup effort being torpedoed?
Will it retreat and let corruption and a rotten situation prevail, or will the PM keep his word and his commitment and agreement with the rest of the Big-4 forces, not to mention to FIFA
The PM’s commitment is important for millions of fans who truly love football and want it to be clean and transparent, with equal justice and meritocracy.
They do not want straw men as officials who plunge professional and amateur football into a vortex of corruption and disrespect with the sole aim of serving the interests of their bosses.
Enough is enough!