The continous double ownership
After the death of Th.Vardinogiannis,nothing seemed like the typhoon that was coming for OFI Creta.The team,under the training of Eg.Geralds,finished 4th,qualified for another year for Uefa cup.
But behind the curtins,a lot were hiding.The council,that were trusty people of Vardinogiannis family in Crete,had start to have problems and misunderstandings with the Dutch reformer of the team.You see the Dutch,had complained in press a lot of times for the low budget of the team,for his players that were leaving the team suddenly for Panathinaikos,but mostly,he seemed that he had overtaken the council,his requestes were going straight to Vardinogianis family,especialy the head of the family Vardis.That was something that the people of Vardinogiannis in Iraklion didnt like at all,they were loosing their power,but they couldn do something about it.You see,Geralds,had the fans at his side,and who knows what would have happenned if he was fired...
It is time to say,that after the death of Th.Vardinogiannis,protests from the funs were being louder.Protests from the funs have been there always,i remember a year,that OFI was in the 2nd place of the championship,but we were protesting in the streets of Iraklion for the doubleownership.It was the year ,that the rumour for Minon Lines,one of the biggest companys of Crete and Greece,was interested about buying OFI,was passing round Crete.
But the family had never decided to sell F.C.OFI.
I have to mention how OFI Crete went in Uefa cup at the end of the year 97.After a magnificent first round,the second part of this year championship was not that good.A couple of games before the end of the championship,OFI was facing Panathinaikos,that was trying also for Uefa cup,in Athens.OFI was playing for two results,win and draw,but Panathinaikos was wining till the 78th min.Nobody was expecting that OFI would take a result and a qualify from the "big brother",you see the results, that were showing for many years.But suddenly a cross and a header from G.Koutsoupias,a young talent,one of Geralds discoverys with not more than 10 displays,send OFI fans in heaven,and the green fans in hell.That was a year that OFI left Panathinaikos out of Europe,OFI fans were seeing their biggest enemy in the mat.
G Koutsoupias,even though he didnt manage to make a great career after that,he became OFI fans heroe and a song.It was a night to remember...The myth is saying that the manager of Panathinaikos was rebuking the manager of OFI,and the most trusty man of Vardinogiannis in Iraklion,P.Myriokefalitakis at the change room of OAKA in Athens,and he was crying for the disaster that OFI brought to Panathinaikos.The very same night,the team the team was partying in the bouzoukia but without the council that was not that happy.
That incident made the war between Geralds and the council even bigger and slyer.So much that before of the season 2000,Geralds announced that was his last year in the bench becouse of his heart problems.The truth was that he was sicked off the war that taking place,so that was the only way to leave the bench.In any other way,the fans would have pulled down the stadium of OFI.
So in the year 1999-2000,he leaded the team in uefa cup,having discovered again two great players,for very few money,as always,R.GOMEZ,an international striker from Costa Rica,with two displays in world cups,and M.Diara,a gifted midfielder at his 17th year,that now is playing for Real Madrid,after an awesome carreer in Vittese and Luon.OFI finished at this year at the 4th place,having played for another time the most spectacular football in Greece,but OFI was missing ,his reformer from the bench,after 15 years of success.It was the unique time in the history of Greek football that a trainer had been in the sae team for 15 years,something like Guy
Rou,in F.C. Osser,or Brian Claugh in Nottigham Forrest.His achievements were many.Except of players that he had brought out(Noblias,Machlas,Anastasiou,Diara,Konstantinidis,Kounenakis,Chaniotakis,Marinakis,Alexoudis,Stavrkakis,are only a few of them),he had managed to consecrate OFI as one of the best 5 times in Greece,not to forget the magnificent and spectacular football that OFI was playing all these years.As it is considered if that was happening in another country of Europe,Eg.Geralds OFI would have manage to win at least two championships.You see,in Greece,it is not that easy,even the laws are not working equal for everybody,not to mention the referees and the whole footbal league.
The sad thing is that the system is like this,in Greece,the country that has born democracy...
Anyway lets go further...
When Geralds left the bench,his 15 year asistant trainer,Vasileiou, became the head of the football team.
But the protest that the fans were making had led Vardinogiannis family to replace the chairman of the council as well.Instead of Papamattheakis,Kazanakis was the chairman,another trusty man of the family in Crete. But still Vardinogiannis family were continuing the double ownership of Panathinaikos and OFI.
The year 2000-2001,the first after Geralds,was the worst in the recent history of OFI.His replacer,the former assistant coach,was Mr Nobody.Good players had left all the new were a bunch of shit.Is it so becouse they had come from Panathinaikos?After a very bad 1st round,OFI was at the last place for many months,but a new replacement in the bench,changed everything.J.Samaras now was the head trainer,and with the support of the fans he managed to save the team from the 2nd division.At this year the Greek league had put play-offs,for the teams that were trying to save themselves.So after two games with PAS GIANNINA,that finished in equal score,there was the last game in an neutral place.It happened in Rhodes,and 4ooo fans of OFI were there to support their beloved team.OFI won and stayed for another in the first division.
J.Samaras,as i have written before is a special person in the latest history of OFI.He came as a player from Panathinaikos,he became a national player being here,they took him back for some years,and when Panathinaikos didn want him anymore ,he came in Iraklion till the end of his career.After he managed to save the team, as a trainer,eventhough it was in the last place,and that was looking like a miracle,next season was a bright for him and OFI,almost qualified for uefa.But he wasnt the "yes man"that council wanted,especially he had the fans on his side also, so disagreements and problems made him to exit the team.After some months he took his son Giorgos,from the young team of OFI, now player of Manchester City,and his family,going to Holland.It was there that Giorgos became a great player and got transfered to City.
In the meanwhile,the fans were getting more noisy and louder.Kyrgiakos was another player that tranfered for "big brother"that was the most rediculus,and the Chech trainer that had come,Scazni,had admitted soon that his boss is Panathinaikos.The press in Athens,after so many years,was putting on this subject.Thre double ownership of OFI and Panathinaikos.
Except lots of players that left from OFI for Panathinaikos,the results were in the games of the two teams were comic.Since 88-89,OFI has one win against Panathinaikos,in 1996.That is 1 win out of more than 40 games.The most of those games looked like friendly,without a yellow card or even a hard trackling.You see nobody should been injured or punished in a "friendly"game.
As the years were passing by,OFI was changing chairmen,but not owners.Fans have been stroonger,they had weekly 4 pages in the most popular paper of Crete,their tv-show,that everybody who was calling, was stating that Vardinogiannis family should leave OFI alone,and in the stadium was happening a mess.
That made Vardinogiannis changing chairman every year.Till now under the ownership of Vardinogiannis as chairmen were 6 different chairman.The last 5 have changed in 7 years.Even Myriokefalitakis became a chairman,that guy that was crying when OFI left Panathinaikos out of Europe.But Myriokefalitakis is a special figure in recent OFI history.Comic i would definetely say.He came in OFI as a masseur,then he became a head-manager,vice chairman and chairman.
Always listening to the wishing song of the fans to go to hell or to screw himself.As he has told he didnt care about the barnyards for himself,he didnt want to hear barnyards for Vardinogiannis.You see he was the most trysty man of Vardinogiannis in Iraklion.He was in company's like he has borrowed 800.000 euros to F.C.FI.Money that he cannot explain of course in the taxis office of the goverment...
The funny thing about the company's books is that so many years,the council was saying that there are no money in OFI,the team is a step from bankrop,but recently was announced that all these years F.C.OFI is the the most lucrative team in Greece.Especially in the year 2005-2006,F.C.OFI's gaininings were more than 2,7 millions euro.Money that were never invested in the team,for good players or a new stadium,or whatever.
Here is that everybody thinks why Vardinogiannis family is not selling.Of course their official answer is that we keep OFI in memory of Theodoros Vardinogiannis,that was a big fan of the team.
The last two years chairman is Vatsinas.He claims that he is the owner as well,but nobody beleieves him.Even the former head manager of OFI,old player Koronakis,accused him that he is taking orders from Vardinogiannis.Eventhough Vatsinas threat that he is gonna answer in court,he didnt dear something like that.Fans are still protesting,but nothing has changed,or looks like it would.Greek sport laws probably have not the power to face Vardinogiannis.So many years even the laws were unable to change the double ownership.Maybe UEFA,and the new chairman,M.Platini should do something about this double ownership...