Flashback: Summer of 2012, Thessaloniki, Greece. After several months of negotiations, Ivan Savvidis finally gets what he wants. He becomes the new shareholder of PAOK, after investing approximately 12 million Euros.
Flash- forward: the present. PAOK, under Ivan Savvidis ownership, haven't won a title in these two and a half years and maybe the Greek- Russian businessman has taken some controversial decisions about the team, but if someone doesn't know where Savvidis comes from or what he had achieved in his life, then he can't imagine what he is capable of.
Ivan, “Vania”, Savvidis left his house and moved out before he turned 18, just a poor, but ingenious, kid. He studied, while working to pay his tuition and after a few years (in the late 1980's and early 1990's) he was employed at the Don State Tobacco factory in various positions. After 1992's decommunitazion of Russia, the factory was privatized and Savvidis was appointed as its General Manager! In just a short period, Savvidis made it to the Forbes list as one of the wealthiest Russian in the world.
Not a long time after getting “involved” with PAOK Savvidis realized that no matter how much money he spends on his team, success is not secured. He collected his information about football in Greece- and how it “works”- and he came to the conclusion that he must go against the system.
Businessmen of his class always have a plan. And that's why his recommendations are always heard by the right people and have great chances to be followed. And, despite the fact that he had already invested 40 million Euros for a team with vast debts which were created by the previous administrations and didn't get the treatment that he deserves, Savvidis' proposals have reached the Sports Minister's ears.
PAOK owner made it clear that Greek league's problems can't- and won't- be solved by the same people that have created them. That's the reason why he insisted that the Greek government had to interfere in sports, and specially football, and find a conclusive solution.
Savvidis, at his insistence, managed to “unmask” the real issues that plague Greek football and raise public awareness. No one can overlook the fact that PAOK was one of the few teams that made a formal grievance about the situation in the Greek League, a lot before the Media were forced to bring the problem to light. PAOK's proposals were incorporated by Stavros Kontonis, the new Sports Minister, who had decided to suspend Superleague for a week.
With that political “victory”, Ivan has already reached most of his goals- referring to PAOK- in just 2,5 years. But the biggest one of them has not been reached yet: “I want PAOK fans to love me for my leadership skills, not for my money”, were Savvidis words back in 2012, but three years later that hasn't happened yet, although Savvidis has given almost everything to PAOK.
Well, everything? Not everything.
Being as stubborn and determined as Ivan Savvidis is, “everything” means making PAOK the number 1 team in Greece.