Some would argue that the Toumba in Thessaloiniki, where PAOK FC play their home matches, provides the best atmosphere for a football match in Europe. The flared up display in the stands certainly fired up the home side, winning the most important match of the year for many – beating Aris 4-1 in the Derby of North Greece.
It’s been quite a start for PAOK this season, winning four of their first five matches, putting them in second positions, three behind Olympiacos (who else). Liam Lawrence, who arrived from Portsmouth, has scored two goals so far, including the opener in the derby, only to be sent off, along with Giorgos Katsikas, in the final minute of the match. Derby days are always heated affairs, even when you’re crushing your biggest rival.
Another top performer has been Stefanos Athanasiadis, the 23 year old striker who had his breakthrough season last year, so far scoring four league goals, including the final nail in Aris’ coffin in the 4-1 win. As in many matches, the PAOK performance in the stands might have been even better than what went on the pitch, mostly thanks to Gate 4 members.