Monday, March 25, 2013

25 March 1914 - Ares Would Be Proud

On 25 March 1914, Aris FC, owners of an impressive home unbeaten streak in UEFA competition, formed in Thessaloniki, Greece.

Taking their name from the Greek god of war, they helped found the regional Macedonian Football Clubs Association in 1923 and went on to win that league's inaugural title in 1924. For the 1927-28 season, the regional Greek leagues started an official Panhellenic Championship (replacing an earlier unofficial tournament), with Aris emerging as the first winners.

They repeated as national champions in 1932 and 1946 and also won another thirteen regional titles up through 1959. They have not seen as much success since, however, with their only other major honor coming in 1970 when they won the Greek Cup over local rivals PAOK.

Despite the lack of silverware, however, Aris have regularly qualified for European competition, leading to their remarkable performance at their Kleanthis Vikelidis Stadium. After losing to Ujpest there in the 1968 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, Aris have gone unbeaten in 26 consecutive home games in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, the Cup-Winners' Cup, the UEFA Cup, and the Europa League.

That run includes wins over Benfica, Red Star Belgrade, and Atletico Madrid, as well as draws with Chelsea, Roma, and Bayer Leverkusen. The most recent match in the streak was a scoreless Europa League draw with Manchester City in 2011 (though Aris lost the away leg 3-0).

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