It's like that bit in Pleasantville where Tobey McGuire and Reese Witherspoon find out that if you go past the end of Main Street, you only end up back at the start of Main Street
So, after all that, we're back more or less where we started from. There were rumours about ten teams, twelve teams, not enough teams; a Monday announcement, an April start, a summer comp; and somewhere in the middle of all this, one particularly belligerent-verging-on-vengeful state federation.
In a past life, it would have been exhausting trying to keep up with all the gossip. Nowadays, I no longer have time to dedicate anywhere near as much effort keeping tabs on the old socials. When I'm in court, my phone is on silent, and I don't have reason to touch it for hours at a time. Sometimes at lunch, I might even read a book instead; I will get through Ulysses one day.
A good thing that Football Australia were kind enough to provide official clarity - while the successful bidders would be informed and/or announced soon, the commencement of the National Second Division would be delayed until 2025. Cue then what I assume was a degree of frothing at the mouth by who I assume are still the usual suspects, and maybe among some others a degree of relief. Feel what you want to feel I suppose.
For mine, insofar as I'm not engaged with this like I was with our last A-League bid, the delay to the commencement of the NSD is both a letdown, and also probably the right thing to do. Clearly there are still some significant organisational and political obstacles to overcome, some of which could not be ignored while charging headfirst into a very novel enterprise. But whether you are for or against the NSD concept, especially as it relates to South's participation in it, the fact that the question still hasn't got a definitive resolution means that we are due for another season of everybody marking time.
I am a long-term sceptic when it comes to the NSD, but I have also gradually come to the accelerationist position that for our club, the NSD has to happen, and that we have to be in it. With participation in an NSD, we will at last get the answer that I think many South fans have in the back of their mind, whether they choose to acknowledge it or not: can this club if not the force it once was, can it at least be something more than it is right now?
If the club can function in a more professional format, that's terrific; all the years of post-NSL struggle will have been worth something more than the stoic glory of the self-righteous martyr. If we can't do it, than at least we know where we stand once and for all - that we are a spent force at anything above this state league level, and that so far as the senior men's team is concerned, we might as well pack it in.
They say that familiarity breeds contempt, and boy, is there a lot of familiarity about the place at the moment
There have been several coaching changes about the NPL, including one with quite the salacious story, but so far as South Melbourne senior men's team goes, it appears as if we will be making no change at the very top. Would a 2024 NSD have caused a shift? We will never know.
One thing which has been confirmed has been the addition of ex-South NSL player (season 199519-96) Agim Sherifovski as an assistant coach. According to his LinkedIn page - where the news of his appointment was found - Sherifovski has spent the past five and a half years in coaching roles at Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City, which implies he's not joining us on a part time basis. LinkedIn also tells us that before taking the plunge into full time soccer coaching, Sherifovski worked at a bank, much like some other former coach of us - you know who I'm talking about.
As for players, ins and outs are being thrown about; Sawyer, Bonada, Cuba, some Wollongong keeper in; Elmazi out. But we have to wait for the club's social media guy to come back from overseas and get over his jet lag before we can actually start getting some proper, official announcements.
Now how are we supposed to watch this cesspool? In person?
Cluch TV, the company which provided streaming services for many community sporting organisations, has gone into administration. It remains to be seen how this effects the broadcasting of the NPL Victoria competition, and what consequences (if any) it has for the broadcasting of the National Second Division.
When's the next AGM?