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Olympiacos FC: Meet Greece’s Most Successful Club and Its Crazy Gate 7

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Olympiacos
Mark Freeman from Hornchurch, UK / CC BY

Olympiacos Piraeus is the most successful club in Greece. Moreover, they have one of the most incredible fan base in Greece.

Learn more about Olympiacos, the club’s history, and the Gate 7 ultras.

Brief History

Olympiakos FC

Olympiacos was founded in 1925 after the merger of pre-existing clubs in Piraeus. Piraeus is the largest port city in Greece. It is adjacent to the capital Athens.

The club’s colours are red and white. Red symbolises passion. White is for purity. Additionally, the club’s nickname is “Thrylos,” which is Greek for legend. It’s also known as “Erythrolefki” which means “red-whites.”

Due to Piraeus being the biggest and most important port city, it’s no surprise that most of the club’s owners have been the shipping magnates.

Stadium

Olympiakos

Olympiacos FC still plays where their modern stadium was located. It was reconstructed in 2004. The Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium is named after the Greek national icon of the 19th century. The stadium has a total capacity of 32,115. 

A notable feature that can’t go unnoticed about the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium is the tribute to their late supporters. After a match against AEK Athens, 21 fans sadly lost their lives in Gate 7. This happened after Olympiacos FC smashed their opponents by 6 goals to nil. The home fans hastily rushed out to celebrate but a partially closed door led to a pile-up. Death and various injuries followed in what was the worst moment of Olympiacos’ history. The tribute in the stadium now entails 21 black seats that form the number seven near where the tragic incident happened. 

One of the Most Successful Clubs

Olympiacos Piraeus stands among some of the most decorated teams in the world with over 75 titles. The Erythrolefki are also the most successful club in Greece. They have 44 league titles under their belt. To add to this, they have 27 Greek Cups and 4 Greek Super Cups.

One thing that has evaded them is European success. Their best performance in Europe is when they reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League in the 1998/99 season. They lost to Juventus in the last minutes of their second leg fixture. They also lost at the same stage in the UEFA Cup Winners Cup in 1992/93 season.

Gate 7 Ultras

Olympiacos Piraeus has one of the best football atmospheres in Europe. The stadium is their fortress and away teams experience this when they step inside the Georgios Karaiskakis arena. The majority of the fans come from the city of Piraeus while a sizeable number also come from the city of Athens and other parts of Greece. 

After winning consecutive league titles in the 1950s, the club’s popularity soared. They broke many records and attracted many supporters. This made them the most popular club in Greek football.

In the old days, Olympiacos FC mainly had working class supporters. However, that changed over a significant period of time.

Olympiacos have a fierce ultras group known as the Gate 7 that turns up the volume in the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium. The ultras share the same name as the gate in which they stand. Tifos, flags, and flares are seen at every Olympiacos game and the noise can be heard beyond the stadium walls. They have an intimidating atmosphere as some have described it after visiting the Karaiskakis Stadium.

Gate 7 has a close friendship with Red Star Belgrade’s Delije. This is due to Serbo-Hellenic relations. They are “Orthodox Brothers.” Both clubs also share the same club colours. The friendship between these ultras has also grown and it now includes the Spartak Moscow ultras.

Biggest Rivalries

Olympiacos’ arch-nemesis is Panathinaikos. They have had a traditional rivalry that has been there for ages. The two clubs face off in the “Derby of the Eternal Rivals.” It’s the biggest derby in the Greek football calendar.

Panathinaikos and Olympiacos Piraeus are the two most successful teams in Greece and this explains the rivalry here. Cultural, social and regional differences also fuel the bitter rivalry.

The violence at this (and other Greek derbies) has led to a ban of away fans in the Greek Super League.

Olympiacos also has a bitter rivalry with traditional rivals AEK Athens and with PAOK. There used to be a Piraeus Derby. However, this has faded over time due to their local opponents, Ethnikos Piraeus being in the lower divisions.

Midfielder @ Hooligan F.C.

Donald Maloba is a Kenyan football writer and former football player. He eats, sleeps, and breathes football. He supports AFC Leopards.

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