One of the oldest and most successful clubs in Greek football, Panathinaikos have won 20 national championships and 17 Greek Cups. They reached the European Cup final in 1971 and the semi-finals in 1985 and 1996. The rivalry with Olympiacos is known as the “Derby of the eternal enemies”.
There are differing reports as to why Panathinaikos wear the shamrock on their crest with most football fans here hoping for some kind of connection to Ireland. According to some accounts, Panathinaikos chose the shamrock as their emblem in 1918 on the suggestion of an athlete named Mihalis Papazoglou who used to play for another Greek club called Chalkidona, who wore the trifylli, as it is called in Greek, on their own crest. Other reports suggest the player himself wore the emblem sewn onto his own shirt inspired by the Athens 1906 Olympic Marathon winner William Sherring, an Irish-Canadian athlete who wore a white shirt with a green shamrock on it.
Originally, Panathinaikos played in red and white having broken away from the sports club Panellinios Gymnastikos Syllogos in 1908 when it decided to discontinue its football team. The first name of the new club was Podosferikos Omilos Athinon or POA.
The Panathinaikos shamrock bears a closer resemblance to the graphic on the Shamrock Rovers crest than to the more realistic representation of Celtic’s design. The simple crest also features two stars to signify the club’s 20 league titles and the name written in the Greek alphabet.