The first PAOK's Home
The ground where the Syntrivani Stadium would be built became a cause for yet another conflict between PAOK and AEK Thessaloniki in 1928. It was situated near the Children’s Asylum, right where the Theological School is based today. Securing this specific ground had turned into an attempt to lure more fans, although the football team of AEK had already ceased to exist since autum 1927.
The ground was not that vast in order to accommodate a football field and was given eventually to AEK Thessaloniki in order to stage their athletics sections.
On 25 June 1928, AEK Thessaloniki held the inauguration ceremony of the ground. After AEK got absorbed by PAOK in March 1929, both clubs joined forces in an effort to develop the ground.
On 12 December 1929, just two days before the municipal elections, the foundation stone for the construction of a football stadium at Syntrivani was laid.
Construction works lasted for more than two-and-a-half years, as they needed to deal with several challenges: they had to come up with an underground escape route for the Evangelistria water stream, rectify the incline of the ground and the neighbouring fields and also raise a wall on the hillock to prevent fans from watching the match without paying a ticket.
In March 1932, PAOK’s Board of Directors announced they would allocate the construction of iron and wooden stands to the lowest bidder. The “Double-Headed Eagle” also informed that, instead of the annual ball, they would hold two plays in the White Tower Theatre, with the income boosting the cash funds for the stadium construction works.
The first football ground of PAOK was inaugurated on 5 June 1932 with an encounter against Iraklis corresponding to the Thessaloniki championship. PAOK rushed to a 3-0 lead in the first half and the visitors managed to reduce distances to 3-2 after the interval. Iraklis filed an appeal for deficient goalposts and lining of the ground, but it was dismissed.
PAOK’s home ground went on to become the meeting point of all refugees from the city centre, as well from Kalamaria and all areas surrounding Syntrivani.
This football ground was the stage of PAOK’s celebration when they landed their first EPS Makedonia league title in 1937, followed by the ones of 1940, 1948, 1950, 1954, 1955, 1956 and 1957.
On 17 July 1952, the friendly encounter against Panionios became the first one held under floodlights in the history of PAOK. Syntrivani Ground was the first field in Thessaloniki to have floodlights and the second in Greece, after the stadium of Leoforos Alexandra.
The last official match at Syntrivani Ground was held on 31 May 1959, a 3-2 defeat by Olympiacos for the Greek league. Despite moving to Toumba Stadium, the “Double-Headed Eagle” didn’t stop using their old ground and went on to play several friendly encounters there in the early ‘60s.
1928 The 12th of October is the inaugural date for the athletics sections of AEK Thessaloniki.
1929 PAOK absorb the sections of AEK Thessaloniki and plans for a football field at Syntrivani start to emerge.
1929 A friendly encounter between PAOK and Aris is held on 12 October. The gate income is given for the construction of the Syntrivani football stadium.
1929 The foundation stone for the stadium construction is laid on 12 December, two days before the municipal elections.
1932 The inauguration of the new football ground is held on 5 June, with an encounter between PAOK and Iraklis (3-2).
1939 PAOK defeat Ethnikos 4-0 on 14 May for the semi-final stage of the Greek Cup, to advance to the competition’s showdown for the first time in their history.
1952 The friendly encounter against Panionios on 17 July is the first one played under floodlights in the city of Thessaloniki.
1959 The 3-2 loss to Olympiacos on 31 May is the last official match PAOK played at Syntrivani Stadium.