Nikos Youtsos is asked to score the most crucial goal of his life.
The veteran ace of Olympiakos is hospitalized in the intensive care unit of “Metropolitan” and as we were informed by his close friend and former reporter of the team, Kostas Mylonas, he was intubated the day before yesterday. “We are praying for a miracle,” emphasizes Mr. Mylonas and adds: “He has been suffering for about a month with his respiratory problem. Due to pulmonary edema, he was admitted to the ICU and is now intubated.”
Nikos Youtsos, who was also the president of OPAN of the Municipality of Piraeus, wore the red and white striped shirt for the first time in 1964. He played for Olympiakos until 1974 and scored 100 goals in 276 appearances. He won the Greek championship in 1966, 1967, 1973 and 1974, while he won the Greek Cup with the red and white team four more times (1964, 1968, 1971, 1973). He ended his career in the other team of our city, in the National team, in whose colors he played for two years.
“Enter Yutso”: The story of the legendary Olympiakos player
The story of a Greek who was born in Kastoria during the difficult years of the occupation, grew up in exile in Hungary due to the civil passions and returned to triumph in Greece, could well be a script for a movie.
But it is a reality and is a story of the life of one of the leading and most spectacular football players of the Greek fields, the legendary Nikos Youtsos, whom on a day like today, on January 10, 1965, the Greek fans saw for the first time unfolding on the playing field the his rich and inspiring talent.
For a decade he offered magical moments and goals, won titles, glorified and glorified like few in the world of Olympiakos, while due to his advances towards the opposing home, his name became a legend and the phrase “Enter Yucho” continues to this day !
THE YEARS OF EXILE
He was born in 1942 in Makrohori, Kastoria, and as a child he found himself in the “heart” of the Civil War battles. “Our parts were controlled by the rebels. At some point when the big operations were going to take place in Grammos and Vichi, they told the villages to leave the people and to come back when the storm passed. Well, we came back grown up now, after many years”, he himself has described this hard time.
With his parents he found himself in Hungary and there, in a Greek team created by the exiles, Olympos, the young Mlos (Nikos in Hungarian), will begin to show the first signs of his football talent. So much so that he immediately attracted the interest of the people of Chapel, who rushed to acquire him.
Thus, the 18-year-old Greek found himself in Budapest playing in the “living rooms” of Hungarian football. His performances were impressive, people were happy to see him and the then federal coach Laios Baroti asked him to get Hungarian citizenship, so that he could be included in the national team. Young Yutsos refused! He did not want to uproot Greece from within himself!
Already in 1964, however, his name had begun to be “whispered” in Greece, mainly by people who traveled to Hungary and were excited when they saw him bewitching with the ball at his feet. One of them told the doctor and AEK agent Vassilis Hatzigianni, another told the publisher of the newspaper “Fos ton Spor” Theodoros Nikolaidis. Olympiacos and AEK were interested, but the luck for the Piraeus team was that at the time they had a Hungarian coach on their bench, Nandor Cierna, who of course also had similar connections in his homeland. And the “red and white” administration also had a “trump card”, Aris Chrysafopoulos, the team’s pre-war international ace, who was now one of the close associates of president George Andrianopoulos. Chrysafopoulos was well-acquainted with a high-ranking figure in the Hungarian Communist Party hierarchy from the time when both were prisoners in the Dachau camp. An executive of EDA, a fanatical fan of Olympiakos, also got involved in the case, and thus the transfer started to flow, despite the myriad of bureaucratic difficulties.
But it was then that “riskology” broke out in Greece. The opposing teams, and especially a major player of Panathinaikos, started talking about a “plan to repatriate the communists to Greece” and that Youtsos was just the pretext to open this “backdoor”! In fact, the issue reached the Parliament and some newspapers of the time, in tune with this spirit, began to ostentatiously write him “Yuchov” (even though the ending “-of” does not exist in Hungarian) just to remind … Soviet Union!
Youtsos couldn’t even understand all this the day he arrived at Ellinikos airport. Elsewhere he climbed himself… When he was given a tour of the team’s facilities and changing rooms and saw the clothing and the “outdated” training equipment, he wanted to put it on his feet! Nothing to do with all that he left behind, in a country that at the time was a leading player in world football and had advanced infrastructure. He had also left his wife Liana in Budapest, pregnant waiting for their child and immediately ran to the embassy to get a return visa! But he didn “t make it!
Finally the transfer was completed, no “communist repatriation plan” was confirmed and Nikos Youtsos developed into one of the top footballers of this place, a “flag” of Olympiakos and a great contribution to the National team.
Precisely because of the bureaucratic procedures that arose both in Hungary and in Greece, as he came from a communist country, the debut of Nikos Youtsos was delayed. And it happened on January 10, 1965, inside the Alexandra Avenue stadium, against the team that tried to block his transfer, Panathinaikos. Result 1-1, but Yutsos himself had something else to remember…
“I am bitter because I hear unacceptable vulgarities being said to me such as ‘old communist today you will die’ and some other dirty things that I am ashamed to say. Of course, many players try in every way to irritate their opponents, but I don’t think that what is happening to me has a precedent”, he will declare in one of his first interviews.
However, by the end of the season, one of his dreams will come true, for which he had sacrificed a place in the great Hungarian National Team. Yutsos will be called up for the first time to the National team and will make the first appearance with the national emblem on the chest on May 23, 1965, against the Soviet Union.
We are in a time when Olympiacos “suffered” six years without a championship, but the scene will change radically that summer of 1965 when Marton Bukovi will go to Piraeus. The Magyar “teacher” will create one of the most spectacular and aggressive teams that Greek fans have ever seen… Bukovi’s team! Jucsos was to become a “driving force”, as Bukovi, taking advantage of the multiple gifts of his footballer, “set up” that team on and around him, much like he had done with Nandor Hideguti in MTK and the Hungarian National Team. The title came from the first year, even if it was taken from a thriller film and bore the signature of Nikos Youtsou.
Three games before the end and the “eternal” rivals are clashing at the top of the standings, with Olympiakos having to do “3 out of 3” if they want to be crowned champions. Panserraikos was the first obstacle and as it turned out it was also the most difficult, even if the match took place at the Karaiskakis stadium.
Sideris quickly scored the first goal, but Serrai equalized and from there on the drama began. Olympiacos shut down Panserraikos in their area and “bombarded” them from everywhere, but no goal was scored. The chances were lost, the goalkeeper caught the elusive ones and had the goalposts as an “ally”, which shook twice. And as the end drew near, anxiety and agony had covered the phallic field.
First minute of stoppage time and another period in the small area. And suddenly Yutsos did an incredible action, avoided the goalkeeper and entered the net with the ball! If you ask those who were on the pitch that afternoon today, they cannot describe Yutsu’s energy exactly. They almost didn’t understand how it happened… But everyone remembers this explosion of emotions that they experienced at that moment. They say that no other goal in Karaiskakis has been celebrated more and with greater intensity than that historic goal of Bukovi’s team. An unforgettable goal by Yutsou in stoppage time, which changed history, as it brought Olympiakos out of a “stone” six years and gave them the first championship since the establishment of the A’ National Division.
In the coming years, the attacking triplet “Youtsos-Botinos-Sideris” will spread “terror” in its wake, offer a rare spectacle of high quality, prove to be an unstoppable goal-producing “machine” and write its own “golden” page in history of Olympiakos and Greek football.
Explosive footballer and passionate fighter in the game, Yutsos, keen dribbler and scorer, with shrewdness and rare intelligence in his game, will stand out for his “galloping” in the axis of the field and for his frontal attacks, which often ended in to pass the goalkeeper and enter the net with the ball. That’s why when he got the ball at his feet, the whole stadium stood up and started shouting “Come in Yucho”!
“FLAG” OF THE OLYMPIC
In total, he played in 499 official matches and scored 211 goals, of which 101 were in the league, which puts him in the “closed club” of footballers who have scored more than 100 goals in the A’ National Team. Among them the “frame” he scored on 21/12/1969 in the 4-2 victory over Panachaki.
When Giorgos Sideris left, Youtsos became the leader and “flag” of the club. And he was lucky, together with Yiannis Gaitatzis, to be the only ones who experienced both “golden eras” of the team, that of Marton Bukovi in the 60s and that of Nikos Goulandris in the 70s. Youtsos was the “connecting link”, as he remained under Goulandris a key “cog” of the legendary team, which broke all records. And among all that, it also offered a historic qualification to Europe.
In 1972, in the UEFA Cup, Olympiacos faced the then mighty Cagliari, which had in its ranks “stars” such as Gigi Riva, Domengini, Cera, Maraschi, Nene, Albertosi and a year before had won the only championship in its history. With goals from Youtsos and Yv Triantafyllos, Olympiacos won 2-1 at the Karaiskakis stadium. And in the rematch in the hot “San Elias”, Iotsos, in one of the best games of his career, will score the goal of the historic 1-0 victory, the first achieved by a Greek team in Italy.
At the end of the 1973-74 season, the 32-year-old ace will clash with coach Lakis Petropoulos and in a gentlemen’s agreement with Nikos Goulandris, he will leave as a friend and go to Ethnikos. He will play another year there and hang up his glorious football boots forever.
He was rooted in Piraeus and was one of the close associates of Sokratis Kokkalis, when he first assumed the presidency of the club. After all, the two of them were connected by years of friendship. In fact, in 1994, although he didn’t want to, he found himself for a month performing the duties of a service coach, when Kokkalis asked him and Sideris, as general captain, to “sort out” the situation in the team, until a new coach was hired. He was also involved with the public affairs of the city, as in 2006 he was elected a municipal councilor of Piraeus, with the combination of Panagiotis Fasoulas.
In his rich career he won 4 Championships (1966, 1967, 1973, 1974), 4 Cups (1965, 1968, 1971, 1973) and is Olympiakos’ 5th all-time leading scorer, behind Sideris, Anastopoulos, Alexandris and Djordjevics . In his “awards” and the statement in the “Sports Echo” of the great Ferenc Puskas, while he was coach of Panathinaikos… How Youtsos together with Domazos are the best Greek footballers!