Although his main task was growing the digital presence of the club, he admits that magazines were his weakness. “For me, a magazine is romantic,” he says. “The first and basic difference is the smell of the paper. You cannot touch, feel, or smell a digital copy. Even if almost all of us are used to reading on smart devices, holding your own personal hard copy is totally different.”
Rather counter-intuitively, given his role, he proposed the idea of a football magazine to the PAOK board. “Toumba was born to prove that good quality, hard copy magazines can not only survive in a digital era, but thrive.”
While the main inspiration is the club itself and its culture (the title comes from PAOK’s Toumba Stadium), Aroniadis acknowledges the ambition for it to sit alongside “a lot of really great magazines”, including Soccerbible, Rabona, Panenka, Eight by Eight, Howler, Pickles, Mundial and Glory.
And, as a marketing exercise, there is something subtler going on.
“For PAOK FC, Toumba is an extra tool to come closer to our fan base and expand it worldwide,” he says. “We wanted to show that in Greece there is a team that can compete with the major league of world football in terms of design and visual communication. It’s a big honor for us, and me personally, that there are people in Europe that know PAOK FC because of Toumba.”
While he admits “it’s a bet to survive in a digital era and attract sponsors and readers from all over the world”, it’s one that seems to have paid off: they not only take third-party advertising but are able to be selective in what they carry. “We want to keep high-quality standards even for our ads,” says Aroniadis. “It’s good for sponsors as well, since they’re sure that their brand is in good hands.”