By Chris Wright
AEK Athens are on the brink of being relegated from the top flight of Greek football for the first time ever in their 89-year existence after seeing their penultimate league game of the season abandoned in the 87th minute when AEK fans stormed the pitch after opponents (and fellow relegation botherers) Panthrakikos went 1-0 up through an untimely own-goal.
Seconds after Mavroudis Bougaidis prodded into his own net, incensed AEK fans charged toward the pitch and made a beeline for the players, who in turn panicked and ran for the safety of the dressing rooms. After a 90-minute delay, officials announced that the match was being abandoned.
The match/baptism of hellish fire marked new coach Traianos Dellas’ first game at the helm following the sacking of Ewald Lienen (he of Horror Hair fame), with the former Greek international centre-back telling reporters:
“We are going through very difficult moments right now. I would like to say many things but I do not want to make things worse.
“I know how the real, pure AEK fans feel today and I would like to apologise to them. The others [who invaded the pitch] did not even let us try to save ourselves in the final game next week.
“All I have to say to the fans is to try and stay calm, keep your pride for your club. One way or another the team will rise high again.”
Ironically, AEK could still have mathematically staved off the drop, but the conduct of their fans is more than likely going to leave them with a points deduction that will make relegation a certainly as and when it is administered by the Super League disciplinary committee next week.