Derby of Eternal Enemies. Olympiacos FC 2 - Panathinaikos FC 2
9 December 2012, 12:30 pm. Olympiacos FC Supporters Club NY, Astoria Queens
The incredibly heated Greek match pitting Olympiacos FC against Panathinaikos FC is also known as both the “Derby of the Eternal Enemies” or “The Mother of All Battles.” These descriptions are rather apt, especially considering some recent matches, and capture the enduring rivalry and the emotions wrapped up in it. The derby between the Red-Whites and the Greens is a social, cultural, and regional rivalry. Both of these teams are the two major clubs in Greece. Panathinaikos FC (PAO) was founded in 1908 and is located in the center of Athens. PAO is one of only two supporter-owned football clubs in Greece. They are considered the classic representative of the old upper class society of Athens.
Olympiacos FC, founded in 1925 and located in the port city of Piraeus, just outside central Athens, represents the working class citizens of the city. Olympiacos is the most successful club in Greek football history winning 39 league titles. Both fan bases hate each other whenever they meet regardless of if it is in Athens or in Astoria.
The Olympiacos FC Supporters club has been in New York for 16 years. Located on 30th Avenue in Astoria, Queens conveniently above the Acropolis Meat Market, the members only fan club has been central to the large community of Greek immigrants living in Astoria. It was filled on a recent Sunday afternoon for the Derby with Greek men drinking coffee and cheering on their team. The atmosphere was amazing and became even better after Olympiacos scored two first half goals after being one down to take a 2-1 lead before the break. Panathinaikos leveled in the 67th, but the draw didn’t dampen the mood too much among the Olympiacos fans as they sit comfortably at the top of the league and a massive 16 points ahead of their arch rival.
At the Olympiacos supports club, after we assured them we were not undercover FBI agents, we even had the opportunity to sit in the VIP section that included a small office and one flat screen TV after being invited by George (the club’s main caretaker/one of the head honchos) and Alex (an avid supporter). A special thanks goes out to both of them for their gracious hospitality during the Derby of Eternal Enemies.
"Panathinaikos (PAO to its friends, vasles— from Vaseline— to its foes) is not simply taken as the team of the city (a point of identification) but also as a point of distinction between bourgeois Athens and proletarian Piraeus and its team Olympiakos (Thrylos— legend— to its friends, gavroi— smelts— to its foes). This, of course, does not mean that there is a monolithic devotion of the citizens of the two cities to their respective teams. The devotion of an individual to a team many times is superseded by an alliance of a different order, always ad hoc and largely unclassifiable ."
- Neni Panourgia, Fragments of Death, Fables of Identity: An Athenian Anthropography