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Five claims to fame: Panathinaikos

Published: Monday 4 August 2014, 9.29CET
Why were the Greens once red and whites? Why is there a shamrock on their shirts? UEFA.com's Vassiliki Papantonopoulou celebrates Panathinaikos FC.
by Vassiliki Papantonopoulou
from Athens
Five claims to fame: Panathinaikos
Panathinaikos boast a number of Greek footballing records ©Getty Images
 
 
 
Published: Monday 4 August 2014, 9.29CET

Five claims to fame: Panathinaikos

Why were the Greens once red and whites? Why is there a shamrock on their shirts? UEFA.com's Vassiliki Papantonopoulou celebrates Panathinaikos FC.

With Panathinaikos FC heading into their UEFA Champions League third qualifying round second leg against R. Standard de Liège on Tuesday with the tie all square, UEFA.com brings you five things you may not know about the Athens team.

Formed: 1908
Nickname: Prasini (The Greens)

Domestic honours (most recent triumph in brackets)
League title: 20 (2010)
Greek Cup: 18 (2014)

They were not always Greens
Panathinaikos's colours were originally red and white – the same combination now synonymous with arch-rivals Olympiacos FC. In 1918, a decade after their foundation, the club's general assembly voted to change to a green strip, though the decision was not down to any clash with their Piraeus rivals since Olympiacos were only formed in 1925. Introduced at the same time as the green kit, Panathinaikos's shamrock logo may have been inspired by Canadian athlete Billy Sherring, who enchanted local sports fans when he won the marathon at the 1906 Athens Olympics while wearing a shamrock on his shirt.

They have a pioneering stadium
Built in 1922, Panathinaikos's home ground – known as the Apostolos Nikolaidis Stadium – is the oldest purpose-built football venue in Greece. All the other stadiums in the pioneer days of Greek football were municipal sports arenas, complete with running tracks around the pitch.

They are Greece's only unbeaten champions
The Greens are the only team to have won the Greek championship undefeated. They achieved that in 1963/64, cruising to the league title with 24 victories and six draws. Their founder, Giorgos Kalafatis, unfortunately did not get to see the momentous triumph, passing away in February 1964, three months before his side sealed the landmark feat.

They played in a European Cup final
Panathinaikos are the sole Greek club to have contested a European Cup final, losing 2-0 to AFC Ajax in the 1970/71 decider under the leadership of one-time 'Magical Magyar' Ferenc Puskás. The Greens' Antonis Antoniadis was the top scorer in the competition that season with ten goals. Panathinaikos are also the only Greek team to have reached the semi-finals of Europe's top club competition – progressing to the last four in 1984/85 and 1995/96 as well as in 1970/71.

They boast plenty of UEFA EURO 2004 winners
Of the 23 members of Greece's victorious UEFA EURO 2004 squad, 11 have a solid connection with Panathinaikos. Ten members played for – or went on to play for – the side: Giorgos Karagounis, Kostas Katsouranis, Angelos Basinas, Antonis Nikopolidis, Giourkas Seitaridis, Giorgos Georgiadis, Panagiotis Fyssas, Giannis Goumas, Dimitris Papadopoulos and Kostas Chalkias. Nikos Dabizas, meanwhile, made his name at Olympiacos, then spent six seasons with Newcastle United FC, but is now the Greens' technical director.

Last updated: 05/08/14 9.37CET

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