The team's traditional colours are black, as sadness for the Asia Minor Catastrophe of 1922 and the end of the Greek presence in Anatolia, and white as hope for recovery. The double-headed eagle was chosen as symbol of the club in 1929. Unlike other Byzantine-style eagles, the wings of the eagle are mournfully closed.[55] Under the leadership of Ivan Savvidis a gold stripe was added to the crest, as a symbol of glory and renaissance of the club.[56]

[61] Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

In 2014, the team reached the 2013–14 Greek Cup final, but lost to Panathinaikos.[47]

PAOK has one of the largest fan base across Greece and majority of them are emigrants and refuges from Minor Asia from the Greco–Turkish war (1919–1922). PAOK has the largest support then any other Greek club[citation needed] from Greek refugees in countries around the world to such an extent that they have created and maintained firms in countries such as Germany, Sweden, Cyprus, Australia and the United States.

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PAOK, through its history, has highlighted some of the greatest Greek players in the history of Greek football, who contributed also to the Greece national team, including Giorgos Koudas, Stavros Sarafis, Christos Terzanidis and Theodoros Zagorakis, among others.

The end of the 2008–09 season found PAOK in second place, eight points behind champions Olympiacos, the best place the club had taken since 1985. This success, however, was short-lived, as the club failed to retain their place in the recently introduced league playoffs, finishing fourth and missing out on the second Champions League berth to Panathinaikos. Nevertheless, PAOK secured a spot in the 2009–10 UEFA Europa League's third qualifying round.

In 2001, the club's first success in many years came when they won the 2000–01 Greek Cup final over Olympiacos, 4–2.[13] In 2003, they won the Greek Cup again after defeating Aris 1–0.[13]

Another defeat against Panathinaikos under Dermitzakis led to his removal on 17 October.[41] His assistant, Makis Chavos, replaced him as caretaker coach. At first, fans were asking for a quick replace of Chavos by a European-range coach, but after a streak of four wins in the Greek Superleague and a 1–0[42] home win over Villarreal in the Europa League group stage, it was decided he would remain.

The plan's first season saw the club eliminated from the Greek Cup by second division club Thrasyvoulos. The early replacement of coach Giorgos Paraschos by the well-known established manager Fernando Santos did little to prevent a ninth-place finish in the league, the worst performance by the club in 11 years.[citation needed]

Six players of the club were members of the first appearance of the national team in a UEFA European Championship (1980): Giorgos Koudas, Konstantinos Iosifidis, Christos Terzanidis, Ioannis Gounaris, Ioannis Damanakis, Georgios Kostikos.

[64] The following managers won at least one trophy when in charge of PAOK:

The two teams were merged in 1929, adopting the still-current two-headed eagle symbol, also in 1929. The eagle symbolizes the origins of the club in the former Byzantine capital, Constantinople, and the legacy of the Greek refugees from the Ottoman Empire.[10]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

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At the European level, the club made its best ever performance after reaching the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1973–74, where they were knocked out by Milan. PAOK also made a memorable appearance against German giants Bayern Munich in the 1983–84 UEFA Cup, where it was knocked out on penalties after two goalless draws.[15][16]

Panathinaikos and AEK Athens are also considered major rivals due to the bitter rivalry of citizens between Thessaloniki of Macedonia and Athens.[54]

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Giorgos Koudas, the great star of the team made his first appearance in 1963. With him, PAOK won their first national titles, the Greek Football Cup, in 1972 and 1974.[13]

A long-time rivalry also exists between PAOK and local rivals Aris,[53] which has culminated in two memorable Greek Cup finals between them, each club winning one. On an annual basis, fierce derbies are contested for the Greek league, sometimes accompanied by violent outbreaks on and off the pitch.

The 2003–04 season was an unexpected success. Batatoudis was no longer the major shareholder, and under the management of Anastasiadis, PAOK managed to finish third in the league and to secure participation in the qualifying rounds of the following year's UEFA Champions League. Unfortunately, the team failed to qualify for the group stages, as they were knocked out by Maccabi Tel Aviv in the third qualifying round.[citation needed]

The 2009–10 season saw the transfer of former Racing de Santander player Vitolo, experienced defender Bruno Cirillo and Vasilios Koutsianikoulis, the club's costliest transfer in many years. Key players' contracts, like Olivier Sorlin and Vieirinha, were also renewed.[citation needed]

In 2010–11, PAOK reached the knockout phase in the Europa League, losing 2–1 on aggregate to CSKA Moscow.[43] In the Superleague Greece, PAOK finished fourth in the regular season and secured a place in the 2011–12 UEFA Europa League third qualifying round by finishing second in the playoff round.

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PAOK

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The club appointed Momčilo Vukotić as coach in October 2006, replacing Dumitrescu, who had earlier resigned.[25]

They won also for the first time the Greek Championship in 1975–76, a feat they would repeat in 1984–85.[14]

In 1996, Thomas Voulinos handed over the reins of the club to Giorgos Batatoudis. Numerous transfers of well-known players such as Percy Olivares, Zisis Vryzas, Spiros Marangos and Kostas Frantzeskos took place under the new administration. In 1997, having served its five-year ban, PAOK qualified for the UEFA Cup under coach Angelos Anastasiadis. The club's reappearance at European level was marked by a victory and qualification over Arsenal.[17]

In January 2009, Zagorakis announced the club's intention of building a new training facility complex in the Nea Mesimvria area of Thessaloniki, owned by the club. The administration had already acquired land from the municipality of Agios Athanasios in the previous summer.[30]

With Dermitzakis at the helm, PAOK faced Ajax and was ultimately eliminated on the away goals rule, managing a 1–1[36] draw in Amsterdam and a thrilling 3–3[37] draw in Thessaloniki. Entering the UEFA Europa League playoff round, PAOK were drawn against Fenerbahçe, also eliminated on the Champions League third qualifying round. This time, PAOK fared much better and after winning the home game 1–0[38] in Thessaloniki, secured a memorable 1–1 draw.[39]

PAOK was established on 20 April 1926 by Greek Constantinopolitans who fled to Thessaloniki from the city of Constantinople (present-day Istanbul in the wake of the Greco-Turkish War. Emblem of the team is a Byzantine-style double-headed eagle, adopted three years after the establishment of the club.

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Since 2013, PAOK maintains a cooperation with Juventus on the academies sector.[62]

Unfortunately, such excellent performances did not continue in the first fixtures of the Greek league. Unsuccessful results included a 0–1 home loss to Thessaloniki rivals Aris.[40]

In the 1950s, the club won the Thessaloniki Championship for four successive seasons. In 1959, their new Toumba Stadium opened.[12]

The club's finances, however, gradually improved, and – thanks to the continuing massive support from fans in the form of season tickets,[26] as well as many new sponsorship deals – the summer of 2008 saw the transfers of widely known internationals like Pablo Contreras,[27] Zlatan Muslimović[28] and Pablo García.[29]

In 2015, club owner Ivan Savvidis paid all of the club's debts to the Greek government, an amount that totalled at €10,886,811.[48] In May, PAOK hired Frank Arnesen as the new club's technical director (sports director). On 18 June 2015, Igor Tudor was hired as the new manager of the club, signing a three-year contract.[49]

The 2005–06 season, despite starting with positive omens, proved to be turbulent.[18] In addition to the return of former captain Theodoros Zagorakis in the summer of 2005 from Bologna, key players like Marcin Mięciel, Fatih Akyel and Shikabala were also acquired.[19]

The old ground of the team was in Fountain Square downtown expropriated for the construction of the Theological Seminary, as the surrounding area was given to Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.