It's almost unbelievable that we're actually seeing it happen. Today heavy machinery began work in the Athens district of Nea Philadelphia, beginning construction of Greece's largest private stadium.
Yesterday hundreds if not thousands of AEK supporters arrived at the holy ground in Nea Philadelphia, where the legendary AEK Gipedo (nicknamed Agia Sophia) once stood. Stage and giant screen were set up to celebrate the eve of groundbreaking.
Didn't they overdo it with the celebratory atmosphere? After all, there's still excavation to go through before actual construction begins. But no, it seems they didn't. AEK has been aiming at a new stadium ever since their former one was closed back in 2003.
For as long as we've been running this website they've always had some plan to return to their spiritual home, while playing official games at the national Olympic stadium. And one after another, each concept they had introduced, had to be scrapped for various reasons.
Even this latest attempt was hanging on by a thread for a long time. Remember, it was supposed to break ground in January of 2014! But since presentation in 2013 a long and arduous bureaucratic battle began to make it happen. For three years AEK have been working on the documentation and even recently some of the antique-styled architecture were demanded by authorities to be changed (renders are thus slightly outdated).
But now it should finally go forward. We say “should” because it wouldn't be the first private stadium project in Greece to be halted during early ground works. This happened to Panathinaikos and their Votaniko stadium several years back.
However, if all goes along plan, within 2 years AEK should have the very best stadium in Greece and the first such big one to open since the 2004 Olympics. The €65-million project will see some covered 33,000 seats and the country's best corporate hospitality sections. With this kind of advantage, AEK should return to glory!