Ninety-two years "Anagennisi Deryneia"We imagine ourselves back in a time after the end of World War I. Great poverty reigned in the whole of Cyprus. The living conditions were very difficult. In the then small village of Deryneia a different kind of life could not be imagined.
Poverty was accompanied by illiteracy. Few were the people who knew how to read.The words radio, television and telephone were unknown in that era. The only media that existed was the newspaper, but not even that reached as far as Deryneia.In this epoch a single elementary school operated in Derynia and at that school Mr Eleftherios Jacobou was appointed to serve as the first Deryneian teacher.That teacher being interested in the daily news of Cyprus and Greece made sure that he would be getting the only available weekly newspaper at the time from Varosha, called the "Eleftheria". In the evenings the teacher used to go round the coffee houses and read the news to the regulars, who listened to them with great interest, only to pass them on throughout the village the next day by word of mouth.A common interest in the new newspaper started to be aroused and everybody gathered in the coffee houses at most evenings to listen to the teacher or someone else read the newspaper.The law at the time prohibited the gathering of more than five people without permission. Therefore the teacher made the proposal to set up a legally operating readers club with permission of the British Administration. The teacher Eleftherios Jacobou then said in his characteristic manner: "Come on let’s setup a school for the grown-ups, too". The thirst of a lot of Deryneians to learn, their desire for a new world of understanding, for a new life, made them unite with the teacher in the implementation of the progressive idea.In late 1920 a request for the establishment of an association under the name "Omonia" (“The Reader’s Club United”) is sent to the Governor of Famagusta. The vision of the teacher Eleftherios Jacobou and his fellow workers becomes reality on December 1, 1920.Deryneia gains its own association, called "Omonia", destined to play the most important role in the future political, cultural and socio-economic development of Deryneia. It was indeed an important and historic event for Deryneia.Immediately after its establishment the Reader’s Club "Anagnostirio Omonia" makes its first steps and develops an unprecedented range of activities for its time in fields such as studying, track and field sports events and theatre. A number of books were brought from the homes of the members of the association. A lot of books were also purchased from the funds of the Reader’s Club and those, who knew how to read, read them to the others. Along with the studying of books, an interest in theatre was aroused and thus led to plenty of activities by its members also in the theatrical field. Led by their president, teacher Eleftherios Jacobou, they proceeded very quickly towards the organization of the first track and field events. The first Games were organized in 1921!! Poor and uneducated workers and farmers of a small village began to be interested in studying, theatre and sports, while at the same time fighting their bad habits, which for that era were mainly gambling and alcohol abuse.
During the period of the 30ies the club also began to cultivate team sports by setting up a football- and a volleyball-team. The official football team "Omonia" with uniform jerseys was established between 1929-1930, the time when they also began having official encounters with neighbouring villages. From that time the football section of "Omonia” started growing and one of the strongest teams in the area was created. During the same time, between the years of 1937 and 1938, the sport of volleyball started developing in the "Omonia" club, though there didn’t exist serious opponents at that time. It was to become the most popular and traditional sport of all times throughout Deryneia. The sport of volleyball was honoured in Deryneia, but it too honoured Deryneia in its own ways.
A memorable period in the club's history is the period of Palmerokratia during which the club passed through one of the most serious crises in its history, being threatened by disintegration. But it passed through the rough patch and kept alive.
Having the progressive farmers amongst it’s members the Reader’s Club "Omonia" took the initiative to found an Agricultural Association to tackle the many rural problems being faced at the time. The building of the Agricultural Association, named "DIMITRA", was erected south of St George's church.
The choir of "Omonoia" was founded, which over the years has found itself evolving to eventually become today's choir of the Municipality of Deryneia, the pride of all citizens of Deryneia.
In September 1939 World War II started. A radio was bought for the members of the club to listen to the news of the war. In June 1943 eleven of the most carefully chosen members of the Association were integrated in the ranks of the forces of the Allied Army, in response to the appeal of AKEL for voluntary participation in the anti-fascist struggle.
After the war a more active period of the Association began. A billiard table, facilities and equipment for table tennis, checkers, etc. were setup in the clubroom. Stages for staging plays were put up, theatrical performances, cultural events, festivals, lectures, competitions, etc. took place more often. The choir and dance groups were in their heyday.
With the onset of the activities of EOKA the colonial government declared all progressives associations as illegal. Our Association the Reader’s Club "Omonia" could not be made an exception of. After four months, however, a licence for the foundation and operation of an Association with the same members and cadres and a statute, which had the same purposes and objectives as the Reader’s Club "Omonoia", only with a different name, was granted. The application was filed on April 11, 1956, signed by a significant number of young members. The Reader’s Club "Omonia" continued its existence and activities under the name "Morfotikos Sillogos Anagennisi" Deryneia (Cultur and Educational Association Anagennisi). And it had made it through difficulties again.
With the foundation of the Democratic Republic of Cyprus a new era starts for the "Anagennisi" club. A theatre group, a dance group and a choir were established and started to operate on a permanent basis. Events aimed at the preservation and maintenance of our popular cultural heritage, traditions and customs were being promoted and given great importance. Several events, which still take place to date, had been established on an annual basis,: The Christmas and New Year celebrations, the Easter event “Kalifes” with the traditional games, celebrations, dances and other artistic events.
The sporting performances, both in football and in volleyball, grew in number and intensity. In 1975, for the first time in history, the playing field by the association building is declared the headquarters of the Anagennisi volleyball team. This piece of ground of the association was to witness the most emotional moments, the fieriest collisions, the most unforgettable duels, which were written in flesh and blood in the collective memory and conscience of every Deryneian citizen. The works for the setup of the football stadium came along and they started with the voluntary work of building the fence.
In 1974 the most tragic page of the history of Cyprus is written, when the treacherous coup and the Turkish invasion took place. The rooms of the Association, which were looted in the early days of the coup, became the headquarters of that unconstitutional disorder of the unlawful rebels. After the second phase of the Turkish invasion, once Famagusta was occupied, the Turkish troops proceeded to Downtown Deryneia (Kato Deryneia) until reaching the first houses of the village, occupying 75% of the land of the village of Deryneia. Within those conditions the activities in the Association of Deryneia resumed nonetheless. It had passed through the dire straits again.
The Anagennisi Volleyball team becomes one of the strongest teams in Cyprus. They became crowned cup winner for two consecutive years in 1976 and 1977, while in 1978 they fought their way to the final but unfortunately lost. It then gains second place for five consecutive years. In 1987 the Anagennisi team fights for the first time in the Football Championship A division, returning in 1988 and further down the line in the well-known ranks of the B division. Since then, the leading targets are prioritized and the promotion from B to A division has been achieved several times.
A football and volleyball academy within the association is in operation. The academy has 250 junior members, aged between 6 and 14 years old. A new modern heatable billiard table has been bought and a Billiard Club has been established. The Association maintains its own sports facilities for volleyball and football. With the support of KOA it has completed the auxiliary playing field covering it with artificial turf. In 2012 also the reconstruction of the existing natural turf pitch was completed. The general reconstruction of some sports facilities is under submission for review and approval.
Today the Anagennisi Club fights its own battle against a thousand difficulties and adversities within a time of enormous economic struggle, with personal sacrifices from everyone, with no exception of the members of the board, and with the help of all the members and friends.