The official beginning of the new Football season 2015-2016 for the newly founded St. Panteleimon FC had happened on Wednesday 12th August 2015, when Fr. Anastasios D. Salapatas blessed the Team and its sport facilities in Harrow.
The Blessing was attended by many Players of our Team, our Manager Gary Karsa, the Chairman George Frangeskou, Committee Members, Sponsors, and others. Mr. Tony Kleanthous, Chairman of the Barnet FC, whose facilities will be our home ground, attended the ceremony and gracefully greeted our Players!
Fr. Anastasios had written and read the following prayer for our Team:
“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”.
At the end of the ceremony Fr. Anastasios greeted everyone with the following words:
“Welcome and a big thank you to everyone for coming here tonight and being a part at this historic moment of the official beginning of our St. Panteleimon Football Team.
This is a new endeavour, which has at its centre the Youth of our Society and the Young Adults. It is a place and a space for all of you to compete, to socialise, to develop your personalities and to grow, both bodily as well as spiritually.
Our local Church and Community of St. Panteleimon by establishing a Football Team is following the tradition of many other Parishes around the country, which had established Football Teams in the past. From what I know most of the major Teams have been established by Churches. If I am not mistaken the first Football Team in England was Derby County FC and it was established by its local Church.
The name of our Team is SAINT PANTELEIMON, which is the name of our local Church. I am going to give you today a small icon of St. Panteleimon, for you to see who is the Saint that you play for, and also to pray to him when needed.
I would also like to offer our thanks and gratitude to Mr. Kleanthous for being so open and welcoming to us, in these excellent sport facilities, together with his staff here. We all wish you Mr. Kleanthous a great and victorious season at Barnet FC this season.
I cannot thank enough our First Team Manager, Gary Karsa, the best man for the job, a man of Premiership status, who is respected by all of us, especially by his Players.
I am Indebted to the Chairman, Mr. George Frangeskou, the Committee, our main Sponcors, Savvas Andreou and Panayiotis Argyrou, as well as the rest of the sponsors.
Above all I would like to welcome with an open heart, with friendship and love our Players and to thank you all for your commitment and dedication.
I really look forward to the start of our season, and I hope and pray that we shall have a successful year, with many joys and victories.
God bless us all !”
Then he offered an icon of St. Panteleimon to Mr. Kleanthous. All Players and all those attending came forward, kissed the Holy Cross and were blessed with the Holy Water.
The following Sunday, 16th August 2015, we had the first ever game of our Team. It was a friendly game, against Pantel FC, a colleague Team from KOPA League. We won 4-0! The best start we could've ever dreamed for!
It was obviously quite a stressful game as it was the first ever time that those Players had played a competitive game together. At the first half the score was 1-0. The score remained unchanged until mid - second half, when our Players felt quite strong and in great shape and form, moved forward the scored three more goals.
The goal scorers were: Demetris Parpottas, Alex Dimgkioka, Nick Salapatas and Costas Mina! Our talented goal-keeper Antony Ioannou had kept a clean sheet!
It is worth noting that numerous supporters had gathered to watch the match and encourage our Players, by chanting their names!
We’ve started our history with a victory!!! We really look forward to a great and successful season!