The Community Football Team
by Fr. Anastasios D. Salapatas
Saturday 16th May 2015 was a very beautiful and sunny day in London. It was also an historic day for St. Panteleimon Greek Orthodox Community. A Football Team was established with the name of “St. Panteleimon FC”! It was decided to compete at the Cypriot Football League of London, called KOPA! The KOPA Registration was confirmed at its AGM on Sunday 14th June 2015.
This endeavour brought together many people who love the “Beautiful Game”, especially the young generation! Over the next few weeks as many as 60 young people came to train and tried to be selected for St. Panteleimon Fc First Team.
The Team was honoured to have Gary Karsa as its first Manager. He was No. 2 Manager at Aston Villa (English Premiership) until recently. George Frantzeskou accepted to be the Chairman, and later on when Gary Karsa resigned he took over the Manager’s post as well. The other members of the Committee are: Chris Andreou Vice-Chairman, Savvas Andreou Treasurer, Panayiotis Argyrou Assistant Treasurer, Soteris Merentitis Public Relations Officer, James Neofytou Twitter page administrator, Dr. Serafim Kiriakidis and Soteris Pefanis members of the Committee. The Parish Priest of St. Panteleimon Church Fr. Anastasios D. Salapatas is the Chaplain of the Team. Savvas Andreou & Panayiotis Argyrou are the senior sponsors, accompanied by the generous financial support of various other individuals and companies.
The Emblem of St. Panteleimon FC is based on a Fr. Anastasios Salapatas’ idea. The motto “Faith First” was suggested by the Captain of the Team Nick Salapatas and all the artistic work was done by a dedicated member of the Community Mrs. Evie Efthimiou. The Emblem contains the following details:
1). The name of the Team at the centre.
2). The colours of the Byzantine Empire (purple), of Greece (blue) and of Cyprus (yellow and light bronze).
3). The motto FAITH FIRST, with reference to our Christian Faith as well as to the faith in victory that the players should always have.
4). The symbol of the Holy Cross (referring to our Christian identity).
5). The emblem of the Hellenic Nation (top left).
6). The ancient column (referring to the Classical Civilization of both Greece and Cyprus).
7). The emblem of the Byzantine Empire, with the ball at its centre (referring to our Greek Orthodox Civilization in connection with football).
8). The year of founding -2015- on the top of the column.
This Logo is to be used for all purposes, in relation to the operation of St. Panteleimon FC.
His Eminence Archbishop Gregorios of Thyateira and Great Britain, as soon as he was made aware of the founding of St. Panteleimon FC gave his Blessing, in the form of the following letter:
“Dear Fr. Anastasios,
We received your epistle of 22nd May 2015, by which you inform us of your intention to establish a Football Team at your Community, and thank you very much.
We offer our blessing to this fine endeavour of the Community, which will attract the Youth and it will create attractive conditions for sports and not only.
We congratulate you for this initiative of yours, and wishing health to you and to your associates and the supervision of the Holy God in your projects, I remain with warm wishes and with love and honour in the Lord.
London, 2 June 2015
Archbishop Gregorios of Thyateira and Great Britain”
In regard to the venue and the sporting facilities for the Team, it was thanks to the generous sponsors (Savvas Andreou and Panayiotis Argyrou) that we had secured at the first season the use of the great facilities of Barnet FC, which was very close to the Church of St. Panteleimon & St. Paraskevi, only 1.8 miles away (The Hive, Camrose Avenue, London HA8 6AG). For the second season the Team has moved to even better facilities, at the Silver Jubilee Stadium, 2 miles away from our Church (Townsend Lane, London NW9 7NE). Thus, St. Panteleimon FC is having the best sporting facilities in the KOPA League.
The vision of St. Panteleimon Football Club is to develop, build and maintain a high quality, transparent and holistic program that provides a quality sporting and social environment where everyone feels welcome to participate and has a strong and proud association with its Community. To provide also an inspirational and motivational environment where preparation, practice and hard work generate legitimate opportunities for success, while emphasising the importance and development of fundamentals and techniques necessary for positive experiences in football and in life, creating a consistently exciting and entertaining program that generates a wave of support, pride, and tradition for our entire Community to share.
Our principal philosophy is the provision of a safe and supportive Community based setting, which encourages skill development, fitness, fair play and teamwork. We are also looking to create an environment that allows our members to develop and progress their football skills whilst remembering that participation for all is more important than winning for a few; an elite environment that attracts retains and develops top quality players of all ages to participate and compete in the KOPA League and beyond and in addition creates supporters, who will be a benefit for the future of the club itself.
By our adherence to such high standards we believe that we will be providing the sporting community as a whole with worthy contributors who will enrich our Community’s sporting and social scene.
Our commitment both to the local Community and the region as a whole will manifest itself in the promotion of, and the adherence to, the highest standards of behaviour in the manner in which we pursue our responsibilities and execute our duties. Such standards will be applicable to both players and staff.
From the beginning of the founding of St. Panteleimon FC great interest was shown by the local as well as the international press. Many important individuals had sent their kind massages, good wishes and congratulations.
It is worth noting that the new season of 2015-2016 had started with the Service of Blessing, which Fr. Anastasios had celebrated. The special Prayer for the Team read at the Service is the following:
“Heavenly King, who through Your Holy Cross and the Glorious Resurrection smashed the devil and having abolished the death gave life to us, You granted health and strength to our body and healed our illnesses, and You have also provided those we struggle the good fight and with honesty complete their way with the crown of victory.
You, our Lord, bless this Football Team, its Managers, its Committee, its Sponsors and those who assist, and above all its Players to receive strength with the force of Your power, in order to exercise their bodies and souls and worthily achieve the prize of victory.
Make these sports facilities an arena of noble competition and legitimate exercise, and to all those who practise sports here, send Your blessing.
Thus, we beseech You, make us worthy of Your calling and grant us health and prosperity making us good imitators of our Patron Saint, Saint Panteleimon, the Great Athlete and Healer, who fought the good fight and was glorified by You.
For You are a merciful God Who loves mankind, and to You we send up Glory, to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen”.
Then the football season started and St. Panteleimon FC had an excellent year, by winning promotion to the Premier Division of KOPA League, as Champions of Division 2. The talented Players of the Community Team had also managed to win the Cup of the KOPA Division 2. Now we are looking forward to even more successes.
In regard to membership, anyone can be a member of St. Panteleimon FC.
There are actually three categories of members:
1). Regular Member
2). Silver Member
3). Golden Member
All those interested are invited to give their financial help by joining our membership scheme and paying a sum that you can afford each year; this will be used for the running of our beloved Team.
For the Regular membership you give £100 a year and you get FREE access to all our home games.
For the Silver membership you give £150 a year and you get FREE access to all our home games, plus a FREE scarf or a mug with our Team’s name and logo.
For the Golden membership you give £200 a year and you get FREE access to all our home games, plus a FREE scarf or a mug with our Team’s name and logo, plus one FREE ticket at our Team’s annual Dinner & Dance.
For more details you may communicate with Fr. Anastasios, by sending him a letter (St. Panteleimon FC, 660 Kenton Road, Harrow, Middx. HA3 9QN) or an e-mail (AnastasiosDS@aol.com).
CLUB HISTORY AND HONOURS
- Established 2015
- Double Winners 2015/2016
- Champions: KOPA Division 2
- Cup Winners: Division 2 Cup
- 2016/17 season
- Finished 4th, KOPA Division 1
- Runners-up in the pre-season 7-a-side tournament
- Home grounds
- 2015/16 – The Hive
- 2016/17 – Silver Jubilee Stadium
- 2017/18 – North Greenford
- Nickname: The Saints
- Team Colours
- Home: Yellow and Blue
- Away: White with Blue stripes
Our Club news can be followed at: –
- Twitter – https://twitter.com/StPanteleimonFC
- Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/groups/948167395214080/
- Instagram – stpanteleimonfc
- Community website – http://www.st-panteleimon.org/