Today is the big final of champions league in Athens,so it is time to have some football blogging.It is time to give you some infos about my beloved team,mine and many thousands of Cretans.For a Cretan OFI means Crete,so we support OFI only.
O.F.I. was found in 1925,in a gym in the centre of Iraklion by athletes of athletics,weightlifting,football and many other sports.Iraklion could be considered as one of the cities that football started in Greece becouse of the presence of English army in the first years of the 20th century.
O.F.I. is the first letters of the words Omilos Filathlon Irakleiou which in translation means Club of Iraklion Funs,was the best team of Crete and finally was the first team from Crete that achieved to be in the First Division of Greece in 1968.Unforunately,OFI didnt manage to stay in the 1st division at this year,but in the season 1975-76 was back in the First Division of Greek football for good.Since this year OFI belongs to a small club of 5 Greek teams thatthey are playing continously in the First Division.The other four are Olympiakos,Panathinaikos,AEK Athens,PAOK Salonica.So it is fair enough to consider OFI as the 5th greatest team in Greece.
The "Golden Times"for OFI Crete is starting in the year 1985 when the Dutch trainer,Egen Geralds,is coming as a trainer of the club.Very soon OFI Creta is going to play in UEFA cup and in 1987 OFI is going to be the Cup Winner team in Greece,biting in the final F.C.Iraklis, the team of the greatest ever Greek football player,Vas.Hajipanagis.The game and the extra time had finished 1-1 but in the penaltys,a young Cretan goalkeeper was there to save 3 penaltys bringing the Cup in his hometown.
Another Cup final would follow in the year 1991,but this time the Cretans had to face Olympiakos.Altough they achieve to make the score 2-2,from 2-0 that was in the 1st half,some wrong decisions of the referee finaly gave the Cup to Olympiakos.
The best year of OFI in Uefa Cup would be the year 1993-94.OFI bitted in the 1st round Slavia Prague,which at this time had players like Smither,Kuka,P.Nedved.Then it was time for Athletico Madrid.Although OFI was very good at Vithente Calderon,had lost with 1-0.But after 2 weeks in Iraklion,in a game that nobody that was there would ever forget OFI managed to win 2-0 sending out of Uefa cup the great Athletico Madrid.Next team that OFI faced at this year was Boavista from Portugal.The injuries and the punishment becouse of cards for many starting players led OFI finaly out of Uefa cup,just before the quorter-finals.
On year 1996 something sudden happened.The owner of OFI,Theodoros Vardinogiannis,a Cretan businessman,that love Crete and OFI very much,was dead by heart-attack.The talk of the town was saying that he was dead after a hot night with the sex-symbol of Greece at these age,Vana Barba.The funs of OFI were amazed by the way that the benefector of their beloved team had died,but the most of them didnt thought at all that the bad days were coming.
After 3 years the Dutch trainer decided to quit from the bench.The official reason was his health problems but everybody knew that the real reason was the misunderstandings and the problems that he had with the managers of the team,Papamattheakis and Myriokefalitakis.
The team was still owned by the family of Theo.Vardinogiannis,but his brothers Vardis and George,were prefering Panathinaikosthat their powerfull family owns also.Before we make a report at this doubleownership,unique in world football,let'stay a bit at what Egen Geralds had done.
At his ages in OFI,it was the only time that the National team of Greece had so many players from a club away from Athens and Salonica.Noblias,Machlas,Chaniotakis,Marinakis,Poursanidis,Konstantinidis,Dermitzakis were just some of the National players that they were kids of Geralds.
Many funs in Europe would know some of the kids of Geralds,Machlas has been a top Europe scorer when he played for Vitese in Holland,before he signed for Ajax,Marinakis had played in F.C.Sevilla,Anastasiou is still playing in Sparta Rotterdam,after a great career in F.C.Anderlech ,Ronda and Ajax,Konstantinidis had a great career in Bundesliga before he retired this year after 2 last years in OFI,but the biggest star that came out of Geralds hands is Mohamadu Diara,who is now a starting player in the great Real Madrid,after a remarkable career in OFI,Vitese,and Lyon.
When Eg.Geralds left from the club,he was replaced by his former assistant Vasileiou.That guy hadnt learnt a thing,even if he was for 15 years nex to the Cretan now,as he declares everywhere,Egen Geraldakis,that became his Cretan name.The result was that OFI finaly managed to stay in the First Division,in a final game in Rhodes,against PAS Giannina,where in literal meaning his 3.000 funs that had traveled to took the game before it started.Of course in the middle of this season,2000,the managers had to replace,Vasileiou,and the new trainer G.Samaras,managed to save the team.Next season was much better a step away from Europe,but after that,G.Samara quited,for reasons that the funs could imagine.
The strange relation ship between F.C.Panathinaikos and F.C.OFI.
But this something for my next blog,or even better something that M.Platini and Uefa should research.Unfortunately right now i dont have the time to go on at this blog,but soon much more are coming...