Cypriot hopefuls AEL Limassol FC are expecting bigger and better things this season, especially after the arrival of wealthy entrepreneur Peter Theo.
Theo, a former Millwall FC player who has also worked at Arsenal FC, is hoping his experience in British football will bring some long-awaited trophies into the AEL cabinet. The team from Limassol may boast a huge following but they have not won a trophy since lifting the Cypriot Cup in 1989 despite reaching two further finals in the last five years and earning a UEFA Cup place.
They have won the league title five times but their last success was back in 1968 and recent times have seen them lagging behind the island's other big sides, APOEL FC, AC Omonia and Anorthosis Famagusta FC. However, the arrival of Theo appears to have revived optimism in the Limassol camp - especially among the fans who were initially the ones who approached him and asked for help.
"I was in Cyprus for a short break due to some health complications and while I was here I was approached by some AEL supporters who asked me if I wanted to get involved in the club," he told uefa.com. "I accepted and one thing led to another really." He has since been appointed AEL's director of football and has played a leading role in bringing in a large number of quality players.
Among 15 new signings are Argentinian midfielder Luciano de Brun, Bosnian international Dušan Kerkez, Portuguese midfielder Helio Roque, Ghanaian international Daniel Addo and striker Emile Aiken from Broxbourne V&E FC, the English side which Theo is involved with. Former Arsenal academy coach Peter Mathews has also been brought in to assist AEL boss Eli Guttman.
Yet despite all the changes and high hopes, Theo explained that AEL's feet were still very firmly on the ground. "We are obviously not aiming to become champions immediately. We will be aiming to better our [tenth-placed] finish from last season. We are in the process of buying quality players at the moment and we are aiming to improve on a slowly-slowly basis."
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