The best fans in Europe?
Are Aris Thessaloniki fans the best in Europe? It's not often Guardian correspondent, Daniel Taylor makes two references to fans in the first three paragraphs of a match report, but for their recent home game with Manchester City he couldn't help but describe the incredible din and raucous atmosphere at the Kleánthis Vikelídis Stadium.
There can't be a single football fan that has come away from watching a game at Aris, either on television or in the flesh, and not talked about their support. It's fervent, passionate, frenzied, riotous, deafening....(yes, yes, we get the picture, you can put your thesaurus away now - Ed.).
European Football Weekends managed to dial up Chrisanthos Tsaltidis as the Kitrinomavri (Yellow-blacks) boarded the plane to England for the Europa League return leg with City. He quite literally (Jamie) had two minutes before the safety demonstration which, although he'd been a frequent flyer with the team this season, he was still under instructions to pay attention to. So here we have it - 120 seconds with Aris Thessaloniki:
From what I've seen, there seems to be a very special atmosphere at the Kleánthis Vikelídis Stadium. Is it like that for every game? Almost at every game. But our fans prepare some extra events when we play European games
How many fan groups do you have? The biggest is SUPER-3. They have offices all over Greece and also at some other European countries. They have over 10000 members. We also have IEROLOHITES who got their name from the ancient Greek warriors!
Is it easy to get tickets for a match. Can we buy them on the day of the game or do
we need to book in advance? Europa League games nearly always sell out so you need to buy tickets well in advance. For the Greek Superleague games, you can normally buy tickets on the day unless it's a big game against Panathinaikos, AEK, Olympiakos or PAOK.
How much do match tickets cost? Between €15-€60.
What is the allocation for away fans at the stadium in terms of numbers? We have a separate gate for them (Gate 4) that can hold about 1200 fans.
Do fans in the Greek Super League travel in big numbers to away games? Only the fans of the big clubs. Aris fans want to travel everywhere. But in the last few years they've been prevented from travelling by some new government laws. In order to travel the two clubs must first agree, and even then the police have the final decision. And they usually don't let the fans travel.
Who are you main rivals? PAOK in Thessaloniki and the three big clubs in Athens
Do you have a friendship with any other clubs? With many clubs over the world. I think one of the most important is with Boca Juniors. They came over last year for a friendly game in our stadium.
What is the stadium like? It's like a proper football stadium!
Are there any plans to move to a new ground? We would like a bigger stadium, and we have found the space to build one, but again, Greek law is preventing us from getting started.
What is Thessaloniki like as a city? Very friendly. It's a place to drink your coffee by the sea during the day and enjoy the nightlife at the clubs and "bouzoukia" until the morning!
If we travelled over for a match, would we be made welcome and are there any bars we can meet with local fans near to the stadium on match days? Of course my friend, of course.
Thanks, and can we buy a beer in the stadium? Yes, but with no alcohol. Don't panic though, there is a popular bar at the ground called Beer F.C. that sells all types of beers and sausages. We also have large plasma screens showing football, not just on match days, but all during the week.
We're on our way! But before we travel, how safe is it to watch football in Greece? It is safe. Sometimes of course some people make some incidents that can cause serious problems, but that usually occurs outside of the stadiums.
Is there much football violence at games? It depends what you mean. It's not unusual to see bottles or coins flying about, but any actual violence usually happens outside the stadium.
Which other sports are popular in Thessoloniki? Basketball and volleyball. In Basketball ARIS is one of the best clubs ever in Greek sports. They've won three European Cups, and lots of Championships and domestic cups.
Is it true the club has its own radio station? Of course and we are the only club in Greece to do so. ARIS FM 92.8.
And finally, a prediction for tonight? A glorious victory for the Theos tou polemou (God of war) of course!
Like this? Olympiakos fans stake their claim HERE.
Who are the best fans in Europe?
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Feel free to comment below