His enthusiasm for the course of his beloved AEKbut also the creation of the new stadium, he showed Lefteris Papadopoulos.
In an interview with “Naftemporiki” the great lyricist and poet characterized “Vesuvius” the OPAP Arena and expressed the view that it should be renamed to Melissanide Stadium.
At the same time, he deified him Almeida for the team he made, he emphasized that the foundations to be made the best ever and called him “Di Stefano of AEK”. Nestorides.
The interview in detail
My dear beloved, how did you experience the big night of AEK, when it inaugurated its new stadium, “Agia Sofia – OPAP Arena”?
“What are these?” What “Agia Sophia” and “OPAP Arena” are you telling me? This stadium should be called “Melissanideo Stadium”. This man made it from nothing, from the fire, passion and steel he has inside. Pontius. They said it and they did it. It is the most beautiful stadium in Greece.
I propose to call it “Melissanideo Stadium”. This is fairer. What was the name of the stadium of Panathinaikos “Apostolos Nikolaidis”? What was the name of the old Philadelphia “Nikos Goumas”? What is the name of Apollo’s stadium in Rizoupoli “Giorgos Kamaras”? What is the name of “Kavtantzoglio” in Thessaloniki? This is how the stadium should be called: “Melissanideo Stadium”.
AEK won the Championship, the most difficult in recent years, and the Cup. Something like this had been happening for decades. Where do you attribute it?
“In principle, he got it fairly. They were the best team. The most stable. The most aggressive. He played the most beautiful football and has great scope to improve even more and stand out in Europe as well. I believe that. Where is all this due to? First, on the field, which is a “Vesuvius”. He gives energy to the team and the opponents tremble. Then to Melissanidis, who is the soul of everything.”
Which players did you single out?
“Araujo. A leader through and through. Crazy. Kind to opponents, gave it all. Even with one leg. Leader. I liked Gacinovic and Zuber. The defense wasn’t that good, but Athanasiadis pulled the trigger. He is a great goalkeeper.”
And Matias Almeida? Others say that everything is due to him.
“Great. He made them a team. One complements the other. He had a plan from the beginning and he carried it out.”
Is this AEK the best ever?
“It’s not yet, but it could be. And let’s remember the AEK of Fandrock, of Bajevic”.
Who do you consider the best football player in the history of AEK?
“Easy answer. Nestor! The one that Melissanidis also considers. AEK has always had great goal scorers. Nestoridis, Papaioannou, Mavros, Bajevic. But Nestoridis was Di Stefano of AEK. A Messi before Messi”.
From what I read, you first went and saw AEK when you were 6 years old. Your father, who was born in the “holy places”, in Constantinople, where AEK grew, took you. What has moved you the most over the years?
“The stadium, the stadium”!
I have a question, Lefteri. You didn’t go to the opening. Didn’t you want to go?
“I wanted to, the legs didn’t listen! I have always maintained that AEK is more than a team. AEK is an idea, even if we are not afraid to say it. It has so much symbolism that no other group has. Pontius realized this, because he is brilliant. He placed a huge golden eagle outside the stadium, ready to pounce on everyone and everything.
He built a Museum inside, entitled “The Ark of Romiosyny” and, as I read, he also built a church, because there was an old church in Philadelphia. And the suites have been filled with the saga of the refugee. Giant photographs, showing what they took, where they left and where the refugees took root.”
Lefteri, as far as I know there will be your wax figure in the Museum.
(Laughs) “What should I do with the wax figure? These are for Hollywood stars. Let’s make a wax figure of Kazantzidis. Come on Nestor and Papaioannou, those pranksters. On the four peaks of the field, Melissanidis placed the top four in the history of AEK. And he was spot on. First-first is Seraphides. He wasn’t the best, but he was the hardest worker. He breathed his last on the benches. And then he put Papaioannou, Mavro and Nestorides. Everything is fair.”
To understand it passion of Lefteris Papadopoulos for his team, he must ask his wife, Raya. When she was asked the question “who does she consider her most serious rival”, she answered:
“Ah, AEK! I can win with everyone. I will lose with AEK!”.
“History is written by the winners. AEK wrote it at the right time. Now AEK is at its zenith. Melissanidis, however, had taken her from the nadir. This new AEK is a hand-made work, respected by all”.
In a few months, AEK will be 100 years old.
“What a nice, what an attractive coincidence. Everything came together at the right time. I want to live in this moment. Think about our route. From Eleftherios Venizelos, who gave us a small space to build our first stadium, until now. I will be – if the Most High does not close my eyes – 88 years old and at the side of my team for 80 years”.
Lefteri, let’s look at a few cultural issues, which is the field in which you glory. I see the Arts in Greece in great decline. You;
“A turn, I would say, not a decline. These have happened in the past. I cannot fail to consider the great recent losses: Theodorakis, Vangelis Papathanasiou, Mikroutsikos, Markopoulos, Poulopoulos, Rena Koumiotis. Some of them are fermented with my work”.
You didn’t say anything about the lyricists. Who are the five greatest lyricists, including you?
“Gatsos first, me, Eftychia Papagiannopoulou, Manos Eleftheriou, Lina Nikolakopoulou and two more completely different ones: Manolis Rasoulis and Alkis Alkaios. Oh, and Kostas Virvos.”
“Not so fast. It will fly away. However, I have to say something. What my generation was about. When I went out to the square, there was Theodorakis, Hadjidakis, Thodoros Angelopoulos, Tsarouhis, Moralis, Horn, Lampeti, Katrakis, Karolos Koon.
And especially in poetry, which I know you are interested in, about a dozen great poets: Tasos Livaditis, Nikos Karouzos, Manolis Anagnostakis, Michalis Katsaros, Shaktouris, Titos Patrikios, who lives and still produces great poetry, Kiki Dimoulas. I can go on until the morning if you want.”
The song; We loaded it with a lot of music and its face was eaten, as Seferis says.
“It is an excellent observation, but the Greek folk song is immortal. They took care of everyone we have mentioned, as well as the big voices that were there.”
I mean, who?
“At first it was Kazantzidis. I have written a related book, with this title. He never heard such a voice again. But I consider Bithikotsis superior, because he has sung much better songs. Holy things. Axion Esti, Romiosyni, Kaisariani. It cannot be compared to the repertoire of Kazantzidis, nor anyone else’s.”
Now I’m going to upset you. How do you see our profession and the “complications” it goes through every day?
“It’s in a slump. After all, newspapers are in danger of disappearing. And that will be very ugly. I too am disturbed by what is happening in journalism today. The retreat, that is, of the journalist’s independence. It bothers me that if you watch TV for a long time, you have to take a Xanax afterwards to calm down or visit the neighborhood psychiatrist. Those Greeks they speak, with huge tusks, scare me. But there are exceptions, George. Kathimerini is a wonderful newspaper, the best. And I like Papahelas more than the other journalists.
Notis is also there, my beloved son, who is an excellent journalist. But don’t expect to see today’s journalism with your own eyes. You used to go all the way to the depths of Turkey to do an investigation. You were looking to find missing persons from the Turkish invasion of Cyprus. You found terrible evidence, I remember you gave it to Makarios and he testified to it at the Vienna talks. Don’t expect such things. Journalists today don’t investigate. They push buttons to get information.”
My lady, we haven’t said anything about politics and we have so much to say. We who adored Andreas, supposed cradle democrats, how can we stand what is happening today? How do you explain the triumph of Mitsotakis? His big win? And how do you explain the decline of the Center-Left in general?
“Ah, my George, I don’t want to talk about that. We will be upset. However, I will say, making a self-criticism, that our own area is also to blame for many of the country’s ills. If the Greek people were infected by the germ of populism, we probably passed it on to them. However, Andreas thrived. He left great works. I want to close with something optimistic.
They say that constitutional changes will be made by the New Parliament. I would say that only one article should be added. Nothing else. A penultimate article that will say: “The Nation must learn to consider national, whatever is true”. It is signed by Dionysios Solomos. This should be the first and last article.”
While we were talking, we both did not notice that a young lady had entered the room, with a very nice appearance. Lefteris, when we have already saved the interview, monologues, but we hear him:
“I like her… But she belongs to someone else.” And I answer him: “My lord, no woman belongs to anyone. Things have changed, haven’t you taken it for granted? Now a poet you adored is vindicated. Rambo! I will remind you what he had said about women: “When women become completely independent from men, then new beauties and new terrors await us.”
My Lefterakis, he said this around 1890. We live in 2023 and horrors are justified more than beauties”!
Source: Sport Fm
I am currently a news writer for News Bulletin247 where I mostly cover sports news. I have always been interested in writing and it is something I am very passionate about. In my spare time, I enjoy reading and spending time with my family and friends.