In the summer of 1972, he moved to PAOK from Korinthos where he had made his first steps in football. In the beginning of the season, Les Shannon would trust Savvoulidis and then Chatzioannou with the goalkeeping spot, but, since mid-December 1972 until the end of the league, Stefas would be the starting goalkeeper of PAOK. He featured in 23 league encounters and in five of the team’s six Greek Cup matches.
He defended goal for PAOK in the final of 1973 at Karaiskakis as well. His misjudged decision to come out of his goal area in the 46th minute proved costly, as Angelis took advantage of the sloppy save -as newspapers characterized it- to beat Stefas with a powerful long-range drive.
But PAOK’s goalkeeper got the chance to redeem himself in the Greek Cup final of 1974. In the 66th minute, Karavitis was presented with the opportunity to score Olympiacos’ second of the evening and restore their lead after Paridis’ equalizer (51’). Giannis Stefas saved the spot kick that had been awarded for Gounaris’ handfoul. He didn’t need to put too much of an effort during the penalty shoot-out, as Olympiacos’ players fired two of their three shots wide.
PAOK had been planning on signing him since 1966 and have him in their youth squad, but Aris’ and Olympiacos’ intervention meant that Stavros Sarafis would remain for one more season at Anagennisi Epanomi. There were so many offers coming in for the Greece U21 international that it looked as if his transfer would be delayed even further. His appendicitis surgery and PAOK administration taking care of the hospital bill proved the turning point in his situation.
Due to the pressure of Aris, the administration of Anagennisi Epanomi raised their demands for the player’s fee by 100.000 drachmas. As a result, the transfer procedure got stuck again on the eve of 15 August 1967. The deal went eventually through when PAOK secured a deadline extension by the Greek Federation and submitted the player’s registration on 16 August.
He was an undisputed star of PAOK’s triumphs in the ‘70s, took part in all finals of the team and celebrated the club’s maiden title, the Greek Cup of 1972. In 1974 he was one of the main reasons for PAOK glorious run all the way to the final. Apart from his crucial goal against Pierikos in the Kaftanzoglio semi-final, his role in the team’s creative play was pivotal. He scored in the last 16 tie against AEK Athens and also netted his spot kick in the final’s penalty shoot-out.
At the age of 12, he had signed for AE Kavala, with the club just having to provide him with his daily fare of 10 drachmas. In 1965 he made his 2nd-tier debut for AOK against Aspida Xanthi who fielded Antonis Antoniadis in their attack. It was the first time that two of the ‘70s Greek football stars would meet on the pitch.
He signed for PAOK in 1968 for a fee of 150.000 drachmas. He settled in the starting line-up from his first season at Toumba and conjured up 7 goals in 29 appearances. He was a vital cog in the team’s attacking deployment in the ‘70s and his input would grow with each passing year in the Greek Cup competition.
He scored twice in 5 Cup encounters in 1969-70 and netted five times in as many matches the following season. In 1971-72 he was not a regular in the competition and started only twice, scoring once. In 1974 however he got to play in all six matches and scored five goals –one of them, the equalizer in the final.
Born in Kalamaria, he joined PAOK in the summer of 1968, at the age of 18. He got playing time from his first season at Toumba and featured in his first Greek Cup final in 1970, PAOK’s 1-0 defeat by Aris in Kaftanzoglio. He was also present in the trophy showdown of the following season, when the “Double-Headed Eagle” lost 3-1 to Olympiacos.
In the 1971-72 season, he was a starter in PAOK’s final win and was substituted by Giannis Mantzourakis in the 76th minute. In the 1973 final (1-0 defeat by Olympiacos), he came off the bench to take Lazos position after 73 minutes of play. In 1974, in his final appearance in a Greek Cup final with the “Double-Headed Eagle”, he was in the starting eleven and retired in the 5th minute of extra-time, making way for Angelos Anastasiadis.
With four appearances and two Greek Cups to his name, he came a key man for PAOK during their golden ‘70s years. He remained at the club until the summer of 1976 and, after winning the Greek league, he moved to Athens and signed for Panathinaikos. He contributed 12 goals in 22 Greek Cup matches for PAOK.
He kicked off his career at the youth ranks of PAOK and started featuring in the senior team’s matches at the age of 18, in 1971. Les Shannon gave him playing time in official encounters since the beginning of the 1973-74 season and he made his PAOK debut in the 3-2 victory over APOEL, coming off the bench. He got to appear in 10 league encounters and 2 Greek Cup matches that season, but didn’t score.
In the Nea Filadelfia final, he came on the pitch in the 5th minute of extra-time, taking Achilleas Aslanidis’ place. His introduction was dictated by the fact that the team needed fresh feet and a reliable and cool-headed penalty taker, as the match was heading towards a penalty shoot-out. Indeed he got to take the last but one spot kick, right after Koudas and before Koulis Apostolidis.
Apart from the 1974 Greek Cup, he also won a league title with PAOK (1976), before leaving in 1981 to join Panathinaikos for three seasons. In 2003 he led PAOK to the Greek Cup triumph, becoming the only one to have won titles both as player and as coach with the Thessaloniki club.