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Panathinaikos fans vilify new politician president

14 July 2010 21:20

ATHENS (AFP) - A decision by Greek football champions Panathinaikos to appoint a former leftist leader as their new chairman has sparked sarcasm and surprise among media and fans.

"Red leader takes over Green club," To Vima daily noted on Wednesday in a pun on the colours of the Athens powerhouse, while Kathimerini said Panathinaikos fans were "stunned" by the move.

The Greens' fans were not quick to welcome Nikos Konstantopoulos, ex-leader of the leftist Synaspismos party, with some noting that the 68-year-old lawyer has rarely seen the inside of a football stadium.

"This man has nothing to do with football, he has never set foot inside a stadium," one fan wrote on the sportdog.gr site.

"A black day in the history of Panathinaikos," wrote another supporter.

Others noted that the demure former politician, who made his name resisting a Greek army dictatorship three decades ago, will cut an odd figure at football league meetings where insults and shoving matches are not uncommon.

Five years ago, a Greek club chairman floored another team bigwig in a league board meeting.

Notable characters attending these gatherings have included nightclub owners -- some with prior court convictions -- crooners and retired football stars.

Panathinaikos won the domestic league and cup double last season for the first time since 2004.

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