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Interview with a member of the fan club Gate 4 (PAOK Thessaloniki)

This time we interviewed a fan of one of the most famous teams in Greece. Two-headed eagles Thessaloniki  are one of the symbols of the city, along with the White Tower. This team was created by migrants from Turkey, people affected by genocide and nationalism. PAOK fans are known throughout Europe as one of the craziest, and the stadium in Tumba Derby Day turns into hell. Ladies and gentlemen, today we will focus on the black-and-white heart of Macedonia, the legendary club PAOK Thessaloniki.

 

- Tell us about your city of Thessaloniki. What football traditions in your city? How many soccer clubs in Thessaloniki?

 

- Thessaloniki is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. People here, are cool and they are still, humans because of the rhythm of life. You can visit White Tower (blood tower), "Kamara"(arc of Galerius), ancient city (underground), various churches, and 7 towers (upper town).

General in grecce the 90% of men watch football. Here we love football and a lot of women of course watch football from tv and sometimes from stadiums.

There is only one big team in Thessaloniki, and is PAOK. There are Aris and Iraklis too, but they are not like PAOK. PAOK has more fans than any other club in Greece -except Olympiakos fans, and this is normal because Olympiakos is the team of the “system”. They are a team with political, backstage, referees, judicial system, police etc. The team of state. PAOK is the only team in Greece against this rotten system. Is the club that always taste injustice and inequity. The most of PAOK fans love our team because of this special matter. We don’t are PAOK for the championships and cups, we choose this team, because of the idea that represents… because everything we won we deserved it, 100%.

                                                                    

- Tell about history your club.

- About 1875 in Constantinople (Instabul, now) founded a club which called “Ermis” (Hermes). Later, the years of Kemal Ataturk is forced to rename to “Peran Club”. This club was the foundation of PAOK. At 1920-24 our grandparents were brutally forced out of the Turkish territory by nationalists neo-Turks. At 20th of April 1926 is found at Thessaloniki by immigrants from Constantinople, PAOK. PAOK was founded from refugees people that were kicked out from Turkey. They were Greeks, and were badly welcomed in Greece, because the local communities thought that they were Turks.

 

At 2nd world War many PAOK players killed in battle fields. Many of them in Greek army and later, as partisans. Is worth to say the story of how we build our stadium, Toumba. Toumba is build by PAOK fans. About 1958 PAOk fans, after their works every day, they came to Toumba and by their own hands, brick by brick were build the famous, Toumba stadium.

 

- That was with PAOK in the junta?

- In Junta period in Greece, all teams (except Panathinaikos and AEK) were down. PAOK in 1968 was 9th place. In 1969 5th place. Junta steal from us, cups and championships, because they support Panathinaikos and AEK they tried to steal from us, our best player, Giorgos Koudas (for Olympiakos favor) . We were the best team in Greece, and we won, nothing. After 1970 we won 2 cups in 1972 and 1974 and one championship in 1976.  Off course Junta is never ended. Now exists the junta of banks.

 

- Tell us about the history of your group. How did Gate 4?

- Gate 4 is the basic club of paok fans. Gate 4 is the first fan club of PAOK as we know fan clubs, today. Is founded in April of 1976 and the purpose was to support PAOK team, everywhere. That’ s the purpose of existence of gate 4, to be always on tour! Everywhere. Gate 4 didn’t afraid to go against presidents of fc PAOK in the past, lots of times. Under the principles of self-organization and solidarity among our members are non- negotiated. In the past we had newspaper, radio show etc but consciously we stopped those attempts to inform people. PAOK is not only a football club, PAOK is a social movement. PAOK is an idea!

 Our website http://www.paokgate4.gr   

 

- What is Gate 4A?

- Gate 4 is named all the curve. Gate 4a is part of gate 4, in the right (as you see the stand). Is smaller but historically, is the most “wild” part of our stadium. To go there you must be naked and singing loud all the time.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wx1X5sC3xXE

 

 

- What a performance you prepare for a match? Whether using pyrotechnics?

 

- Of course we use pyros. We want to make our stadium look like hell. UEFA does not agree with that and often, we get punishments from them.  We sing for 120 minutes in every stadium. Our preparation is nothing special. We singing and drinking, we paint our slogans, we hide our pyros, we take the drums and banners and we go to the stadium to give our decibels, our contribution to our squad. The sound violence! Now, we are separated. And we’ve lost our dynamics. Many brothers are not in the stadium.

 

- What does your club name - PAOK?

- PAOK means Panthessalonikeios Athlitikos Omilos Konstantinoupoliton (sport club of Thessalonica’s people from Constantinople).


 

- What achievements in your club?

 

- As I said to you before, PAOK taste the injustice from Greek state and greek burgoise. There were decades that PAOK had the best team in Greece and he won only 2 championships of Greece (1976, 1985) and 4 cups (1972,1974,2001,2003). PAOK has the reputation of team which received the biggest inequity in Greece. We have the record of 12 (!) lost finals in Greek Cup. Most of them were in Athens or Piraeus and a settled job from the referees. Our Basketball team counts 2 Greek championships (1959,1992), 3 Greek cups (1984, 1995, 1999), 1 Cupwinners cup (1991) and one Korac cup (1994). But we are not PAOK for the achievements of the club, we are PAOK because of the history, the struggle, the idea beyond this team.

 

- Which clubs have friendly relations? What fans hate? Do you make friends with clubs from other countries?

 

- In Greece, we have good relations with OFI Crete and Panionios fans. Because of their solidarity in various cases (for example a match in Nea Smyrni (the home of Panionios), the police attacked us for no reason and Panionios fans, opened their gates in order to help us. Since then, we are friends. We have good relationship, but nothing special.

 

Aris fans and Olympiacos fans are our rival enemies. With Iraklis fans in the past existed a relation, but now, I cannot tell that we have good relations. Apollon Kalamarias is a team that is made by people from Pontus, immigrants like our grandparents from the East. This is the reason that we have very good relations.

From the outside we have a brothership with Partizan Beograd (Serbia). First connection were about 1999 (the war) and later 2005-06, begins the brothership.  Most of them are non-political beings. Some of them, right-wings and some others, antifa(the history of partisan is Antifa). Greeks with Serbs have connection, since the Ottoman Empire era, since 16-17th century.

 

We like besiktas  them (because they are antifa & anarchists) and they are like us, too but is very difficult to occur a real brothership between Greeks and Turks. We had war for over 7 centuries.

 

- I heard fans of Proodeftiki is fans of PAOK. It's true?

 

- Some of them yes, is the same neighborhood Toumpa. Proodeftiki Toumbas is an anarchist amateur team. Lots of our fans go to their matches.

 

 

- What are your political views? You take part in the parliamentary elections?

- Of course not! Here in Greece every party is corrupted. So we don’t participate in elections and we are not support any party. I think the most of PAOK fans are anarchists, even if they don’t know about Marxist ideology. I am sure that many of them don’t like labels (and propaganda in Greece is very powerful), if you ask they say: PAOK above everything. But you can see the most of them participating in social actions, help the poor and weak, rioting against the state, fighting the police etc. Of course we have a huge core in Black Block and we are antifascists to the bone! If you ask me I said that I am an Internationalist! (Anarchist for sure!) I was with some other guys from gate 4 it is from athens riots in 29/6/2011 against imf presence in Greece. Our fucking fascists government against anarchist. In greece also many anarchists, fans and active society members are in prisons.

- What is Los Solidarios?

- Los Solidarios of PAOK is an antifa fan club is PAOK of Lamia city. Is founded in 90s.

 

 

- You take part in parlaiment elections?

 

- Never in my life. They are all corrupted. Even the lefts…

 

- What do you feel about KKE and SYRIZA?

 

- Sometimes hate, sometimes nothing, sometimes i feel sorry about the people who follow them. I can’t handle their conformism. They are part of the system, unfortunately… 

 

- How to relate to the civil war in Greece in 1946?

- Big conversation. In general, in the greek civil war the rebels were the winners during the german occupation and they lost after the freedom of Greece. The winners in the battle lost in the papers and the political meetings. Very sad story

 

- Many people in Thessaloniki who support Chrisi avgi?

 

- According to the elections about 7-8 %, but they do not have power in thessaloniki. You can not see them in the centre of the city never.

Hlias Kasidiarhs a deputy of Chrisi avgi, Olympiakos fan. A nazi scum he has a nice body, as all the nazi scums want to have but the most possible is that he only beats women in tv shows...

 

 

- Do your fan clubs in other cities of Greece and in other countries?

 

- Off course! Paok fans exist in all over the world. In Germany, in Australia, in USA. The mass immigration in 70s, lead lots of PAOK fans to go away of their country, in order to find a better future. The results of this situation is shown today, with (for example) over 7(!) fan clubs in Germany! We have also fan clubs in Switzerland(2), Belgium, Cyprus… etc.

There are some fan clubs in Australia, but there are paok fans all over the world, Latin America, China, Norway, everywhere.

PAOK fans exist in all over Greece. Mainly in Macedonia, but we have fanclubs everywhere in the country. In Crete (2), in Peloponissos,2 in Athens (10 years ago we had 4{!} fan clubs in Athens). To give you an example the PAOK fans from Athens are about 5000! And they are a hardcore unit. As I said to you PAOK fans are everywhere in the country, even in the smallest village. 

List of fan clubs: http://www.1926.gr/links.php

 

- Are you involved with St. Pauli fan-club Thessaloniki? How do you feel about Agrotikos Asteras, Makedonikos?

 

- Some of our fans involved with St.Pauli fun club in Thessaloniki, even in Athens! We have very good relations with those clubs. You can add Apollon Kalamaria, fans to them. Agrotikos Asteras and makedonikos have left-wing fans, and we go well with them.

 

- Are there many in Greece at the moment fascist fans? In Thessaloniki many fascists and the golden dawn?

 

- We have an open war with Golden Dawn, in all over the country. The past autumn one of our players uploaded to internet a photo with a t-shirt of UCK. He is from Albania and his name is Ergys Kace. Later, he apologized and he said that he didn’t know about this nationalist organization (and criminal, too). Golden Dawn took the opportunity to exploit the event, but we answer them with the right way. First, they tried to fishing votes with a nationalistic press text. After our social and historically correct answer we went to their offices and gave them a lesson. We had 46 arrested fans that day. Off course they protected by hundreds of cops (as always). Now, everywhere in the country where meet those Nazis, we go to “see” them.  Unfortunately, fascist propaganda is covered Greek media and many Greeks voted for them, but are not real fascists… you can said that they are not appropriately educated (even socially). The real core of Golden Dawn are 200-300 persons. The State promote them, systematically. And the “ships” bait. We will brake them!

 

- What do you think about the murder of Pavlos Fyssas?

- We expressed our solidarity in Toymba Stadium and gate 4, with a written slogan “with blood of Pavlos, will be written your end” and singings about this terrible matter. We hate Racists, Fascists and Nazis!


 

- Do you have a girl on tribunes?

- We have girls in our stands, but not leaders. Greeks are like Arabs, they cannot accept a woman leader  especially in fan clubs, where to became a leader you must prove first your value in fighting!

 

- What is your relationship with the players and club leadership? What is your financial situation, as stated on your club greece economic crisis?

- We don’t have good relations with the club’s leadership. Most of PAOK fans (me, included) are doing an abstention. We don’t go to the matches, because leadership treats the team like their own store. They are bringing their friends (managers, coaches and players), they are involved in fixed matches, they are expelled our leader (Pablo Garcia) 2 times, they are responsible for imprisoning of our brothers, and generally, they are trying to misquote the idea of PAOK. Pablo Garcia (our favorite player), he is a communist. He has left-wing ideology (he is Bolivarian), he is from Uruguay. We respect only players who honor our shirt, and players this year don’t. They play only for themselves and we don’t accept, this. Of course there are exceptions (like Brazilian left back, Lino-for example)!

 

Most of PAOK fans are very poor. This crisis, is destroying several weak parts of our society. Our club is presented with no financial problems, but we cannot believe this. This promiscuity and impunity by PAOK leadership (especially in those dark days) is evocable! It is unacceptable this “irresponsibility” by leadership. This is very suspicious.

 

- What do you think about Dimitris Salpingidis?

- Most of our players, are just newly-riches (millioners) and they are looking only their bank accounts. Salpingidis was a player from our academies. At 2003 Panathinaikos wanted him, and our president (Goumenos) wanted to sell him. People of PAOK gets the money (from a huge campaign) in order to pay Salpingidis's contract and to stay. He told us, that he was going to stay after the money got to his account. We learn from newspapers that Salpingidis was player of Panathinaikos (he betrayed us). Some of us, forgive him, some others, don't.

 

- What group of fans there Gate 4? I understand Gate 4 - an association of different groups

- They called us, Turks, because of our origin. But PAOK fans are many and you can find anybody among our fans. Gate 4 has everything inside. It is an association of different groups of people. You can find here, any Loum-pen you can imagine! We have also ROMs, prisoners and any part of the proletariat. In gate 4 you can find any member of Greek society, (lots of races). We are black, brown and whites, we are poor, but honest people.   

 

- Tell about Greece ultras-scene. What is the ratio of right side and left side on the terrace?

- Our enemies, fans of Olympiakos gate 7 is transformed to Golden Dawn’s puppet. In the past they were not, but the last years, manipulation where catch them. Now, we hate them, 2 times! Most of fans in Greece are not of right-wing. The previous 6-7 years we eat from mass media systematically, propaganda, in order to keep people, separated. Fascists,except gate 7 of Olympiakos, they are gathering in Greek National team’s matches. We traditionally, are against our national team. And we beat them, every time that we meet them. And an advice if you want the most anarchy team in greece is Asteras Exarxeion.

 

- You take part in streets protest action? I saw a march PAOK in Thessaloniki arrested by fans. What do you think about the development of gold in Halkidiki?

 

- All the time. We are against the state and we participate to this struggle. You can find PAOK fans in any riots. In any prison. Personally, I‘ve meet PAOK fans, even in Genova (G8/2003). Halkidiki is a PAOK area. Skouries and other villages around (and not only because they are planning development of gold in other places of Macedonia) are homelands of many PAOK fans. We express this statement, everytime with singings and slogans in the stadiums. We are proud to join people who fight for their freedom! We support pays-Basque, we express our solidarity to Palestinian people. We support any weak in this world.


- In Greece have strict laws for the fans?  Are there any fights with the cops?

- Yes, the laws here are very strict for the fans. We count hundreds of innocents fans in our prisons. The state has prohibit fans moving. But, we go. With pigs, we fight every game. Every time that we go somewhere, we have some story to tell. Cops are hate us, because we have humiliating them, lots of times.

 

- How often drive on tour? In what city in Greece you are driving on the game? What is your further trip in Greece? Drove you to the European Cup matches?

- Paok fans go everywhere, when we have tickets. Sometimes we go to stadiums, even without having tickets. Personally i go to away games of the team since 2000. Holland 3-4 times, Romania, Russia, Chech republic, Serbia, Italy, Hungary, Norway.

 

We drive on tour in thousands, every Sunday! We go anywhere, sometimes even without tickets. In Greece and in Europe! Anywhere! We take our buses and travel to every town, everywhere plays PAOK. I will answer which is the most further trip in Europe: in Kazakhstan with Shakhter Karagandy. 6 fans PAOK from club “Northerners” trip with minibus 5900km for Astana with minibus. Some with airoplane (10 fans) and from Russia some fans.  12000km Thessaloniki-Astana and Astana-Thessaloniki, 2 weeks, crazy trip.

We’ve been 7000 in Udine, 6000 in London, in Turkey etc. In Greece of course the state had forbid the fans moving. But we always find a way to get our destination. In any ground, in any stadium, in any town, in any country.

 

- What is your relationship with radical FANS united ? Do grassroots organizations in Greece against modern football?

- Unfortunately, we don’t have any special relationship with RFU. Every team fan club does its own organization. PAOK Ultras are totally against modern football.

 

- On what do you spend the stadium matches? How much is a ticket to the game? Can I get for free?

- A ticket costs from 10 to 20 Euros for gate 4. Is tradition in our stadium to get in for free (especially in gate 4). In the past, we get thousands, more in the stadium. Now, things are more complicated, because fc is a company and hires security crew to stop us. Thought, Toumba is our home, so we have a handicap.

 

- Do you participate in other sports?

 

- Yes, we go to Basketball, Volley, Handball… always on tour!

 

- How many Nazis in PAOK? Do fans of PAOK political conflicts and fights?

 

- There are no Nazis in PAOK. At least they cannot expressed themselves. Even in the past, I haven’t ever seen, either one of them inside the stand.

 

“Northerners”, are a patriot group (the only one). A group of paok fan clubs from cities near thessaloniki more strong. In the past there were some rigt wing people there i do know now probably they are not.

Of course, because of the real huge number of our fans and because of the geographically position of Macedonia, we meet some fans with patriotic feelings. Northeners are a big group and some small group in this team are antifa like veria club but, now Northeners are in gate 7 not in gate 4. And they cant have fascists banners. We dont allow them.  

 

Strong group the big group in gate 4 are Abalaea Gate 4, Kordelio, Neapoli, Eptalofos toumpa, Athens club and these clubs are general antifa. Neapoli and Eptalofos apolitical group, but the guys the most of them are against nazi. We attack to golden dawn offices in Thessaloniki, Kilkis, Komotini and Serres. And from other cities Drama, Veria and a lot of clubs are against nazis an golden dawn and general racism and fasicm. We dont have club with fasicm ideas. And carsi fans have come in our clubs in our stadiums and we go to taksim square and in there clubs in Eupore they come with us on tour. And omonoia fans come gate 4 2-3 times and we go st pauli and some of them come in gate 4.

 

And something else that. In general, Aris is the team that the welathy residents of thessaloniki support, the rich. When the refugees came from istanbul, that is between them the founders of paok the residents of thessaloniki treated them badly and called them "turks". Until now, aris fans call paok fans turks. So i do not know how much antiracist. Is this a fact that aris played friendly games with the german troops in the era of german occupation in greece 1941-44.

 

- I listen that Olimpiakos buy championship in this season. It's true?

 

- They have the best team, but they also have the best referees.

 

- I heard, that Aris cooperating with cops? It's true?

 

-Sometimes in the past they did but in the past they were strongly connected. Giving names to police of paok hooligans, protecting aris fans with much police.

 

- I heard, that fans Aris beat womans and childrens. It's true?

- Some incidents in the past beating 13-14 year old but that is not the rule

 

 

- How serious confrontation with teams from Athens?

 

- Among PAOK fans there is a slogan: PAOK against all! As I said to you before, we hate Olympiakos for many reasons. Of course they are afraid to travel, here. We are against the 3 teams of Athens, Panathinaikos, AEK and Olympiakos. Because of their participation in greek football mafia. Yes, in August of 2012, in UEFA cup we were playing Rapid Wienna. Rapid and Panathinaikos fans have a brothership, and they came together in Toumba with pyro launchers. We answered to them by invading the ground and throw pyros and stones, back. This is a very strange story, which made us very suspicious about our leadership and police. They got in our stadium, without any control from the police. We received this as instigation or provocation from the state (who knows?) even from our leadership “company”(fc).

 

- How do you feel about the fact that Aris and Iraklis depart from the Super League? So will not the city of Thessaloniki derby.

 

- To tell you the truth, for me, personally, the fact that Aris and Iraklis will not be in Superleague, is not a good thing. We will miss a derby, next year. For Aris among my co-fans, there is big celebration for 3rd time that Aris goes down to 2nd league.

 

You can see that, for example, the capacity of aris stadium is 22.574 and paok stadium is 28.700. You can see that the fans or Aris together with the fans of Iraklis are a little bit more than half of the paok fans in Thessaloniki. The 60% of Macedonia is PAOK fans. And in Thessaloniki the 60-65% also are PAOK fans.

 

- Do you organize social proect?

 

- Yes, we are organizing social action very often. Lots of our brothers are active members of those squats. They are participating to riots and protests against the state.

 

-    What do you know about squat "Delta" in Thessaloniki?  The cops made an operation a few years ago

-    It does not exist anymore. I know some people that used to stay there.

 

- What do you think about Ivan Savvidi? He gave PAOK lot of money, but was forced to Pablo García

 

- I think that you must tell me, about Ivan Savvidis. He was a politician under Vladimir Putin’s wing. We welcome him like a Messiah. But he introduce himself not in a good manner. First of all, the arrests of hundreds of our fans from greek police the June of 2012 (first days of Savvidis in Greece). Then, the subject with Pablo Garcia, our captain… which is treated like enemy by leadership of fc PAOK. They don’t respect him and we will not forgive them. That was definitely a betrayal! And at last, the fixed matches in Greek championship! We know about the relation of mr President with politicians of the gonverment (especially New Democracy party/ conservatives of the right wing). Yes, like a good Capitalist he spend lot of money with no reason. We don’t agree with that, because if he will left us a debt (like every president we had in the past), we will pay, once more. Ivan come with big promises, but till now there were only words…


 

- Are you fighting knives and guns?

- No, we not fighting with knives and guns. We have a strict ideology about violence and fighting among our fans. If I can say that, we have ethical codes, for example we don’t attack if our enemies are less than us. We have the worst reputation among Greek supporters, they describe us, as barbarians, valdals etc. that is not true, we are fighting often, because we learned the way of… fire! The way of PAOK fans against all: police, state, opponents. A way full of fights. Something like warrior's way (bushido).

- Do you use alcohol marijuana? Do fans of PAOK skinheads and punks?

- Haha, yes. As every fun in the world who respect himself. If you come to Thessaloniki I will treat you our drink! Is called “TOYMBA LIBRE”, the cocktail of PAOK fan, cheap wine (Retsina) and cola. Fans of PAOK are many, so we have everything in our gate: Junkies, cocaine addicts, alcoholics. Of course we have punks and skinheads in our gates, lots of them. In addition we have Metal music sympathizers, rockers, ravers, hippys, hardcores, folklores any fruit you can imagine! But hooligans, above anything.

 

- What do you know about russian fans?

- Unfortunately, we don’t know lot about fans from Russia. Some of our clubs have connections in Russian clubs. For example with CSKA Moskow, but last autumn I saw a match of CSKA Moskow and I saw a slogan for Golden Dawn. That was very annoying and I must tell that if they are Neo-Nazis then they are our enemies! Russia fans - good support but many into far right. I have many friends from Russia (Greek citizens) which are PAOK fans. We have some brothers there a small club paok and our brothers are antifa

I was in russia in 2010 we played against cska. We were one bus from gate 4 we stayed one night in kiev, one in moscow and one in odeca. Fuck putin and all president all world.

 

- What are your plans for the future of your club?

- First of all we must get rid of the team’s debt. We have to recruit new generation members with the same values as our grandfathers teach us. Then we must clean Greek football from Mafia. Then we must think about a championship. In basketball, we must find the old way of glory.

 

- Your wishes Russian autonomous antifascists

- First of all we have to express our solidarity to our brothers. Keep strong and destroy the puppets of bourgoise’s bosses. Fight hard with courage that fascist pigs, and you must know that you are not, alone! No passaran… Venceremos!

 

Symeone 4 (fan of PAOK)

 

 Left Side Terraces 

 

 















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Respect for GATE 4 from an

Respect for GATE 4 from an anti-fascists Partizan Belgrade fan. ПАОК - Партизан - антифашизам!