During this game (or after it) you may have seen an overly dramatic tweet describing the utter destitution of Clarendon Corner on Sunday afternoon.
Let me assure everyone that it was not all quite like that. There were other Clarendon Corner people within the general vicinity of that photo - they were just sitting a few rows further back, in the dry areas covered by the roof.@PaulMavroudis The sole person in Row H today #FightTillTheEnd #HooliganBlood #SMFCvAMFC pic.twitter.com/5BC8Mtv70j— Foti Stavrakis (@FotiStavrakis) August 18, 2019
|Photo: Luke Radziminski.|
When it stopped raining, a few people gradually moved down towards the famous Row H, which for those not in the know, is the row claimed by those of us in Clarendon Corner who do not wish to associate with the nonce brigade which tends to gather in the rows immediately in front of Row H.
And while it's not like no-one turned up, but the low turnout overall, and especially in the areas quasi-traditionally inhabited (since 2012) by Clarendon Corner, created the perfect opportunity for me to enact a performance of despondent human misery.
|Photo: Luke Radziminski.|
Performative, self-preservationist, and self-conscious proto-martyr creating misery works for me, but it's not for everyone. And it's not like there's still not plenty of other naturally miserable looking people at South - especially these days - if you're into that kind of thing.
Some of the players didn't even bother turning up. Peter Skapetis was not present, as he's apparently in Greece. Who knows how long he'd had that planned, but it's good thing we're not in a relegation scrap.
Having said that, some of our injured players did make appearances in and around the ground. Luke Adams was on the South bench, not on the team sheet, but still present to offer support. Brad Norton was apparently seen trying to calm down the very upset Pep Marafioti in the tunnel outside the change rooms. And injured keeper Josh Dorron was seen tucking into a burger in the grandstand, helping put some coin back into the club and advertising the food on offer in the social club.
And can I just say, the quality of the burgers has been steadily improving week by week, even if last week's patty was almost too big too comfortably fit within the bun provided. Now let's have a round of applause for the players that did turn up, and in general put in a solid shift.
Sadly there was a moment of too much pride and passion, which has likely seen the end of one player's time at South. Having created several good opportunities early in the game and not taken them, the team won a penalty, it's second of those in two games. Hey, when it rains, it pours. Credit to Perry "the Pez Dispenser" Lambropoulos for winning the spot kick with some nifty play; I have been one of the people who was less than enthused about his being signed at all, and after that unimpressed with what he offered in the first half of the season; but I am willing to admit that I was perhaps hasty to judge his capabilities, as in general he has been one of our better players in the second half of the season (even getting forward on occasion), and I would not be completely averse to him being at the club next season.
|Photo: Luke Radziminski.|
(and when I say "everyone" here, I mean the small crowd in attendance, as well as the audience watching either from home or from some decrepit gambling den in the Caucasus, Indochina, or Arabian Peninsula.)
They tell me that team morale is good, despite everything that has gone on this year, and certainly light years ahead of last year's mess. And yet only Nick Krousoratis bothered or had the good sense to intervene and try and defuse the situation between his teammates which was threatening to get even further out of hand. He's had a rough season has Nick, but that's the kind of level-headed person I'd want on my team. And for whatever it's worth, I still think he's a very talented player who could still do a lot of damage for our club (rather than against, like some others have done) next season.
|Photo: Luke Radziminski.|
Marcus probably could have handled the situation better, but I suppose he was caught off-guard not having a taser or can of pepper spray on hand to diffuse the man trying to accost him. Maybe he was just as shocked and surprised at the rest of us at the playground antics taking place out on the hallowed turf of Lakeside Stadium. Or maybe this is an argument to go to the practice of netball or basketball, and have whoever was fouled in the penalty area take the penalty?
(at some point around here while typing up this post, whose segments were not compiled in order anyway, I got up to go to a local bakery to get some lunch)
The worst thing that could have happened after all that was for Schroen to miss the penalty, so thankfully he did manage to score the goal and put us up 1-0. I shudder to think what would have happened had he missed or had his shot saved.
As awful as that part of Sunday's spectacle was, I suppose it did at least offer the live-stream commentary team something to talk about in this dead rubber, though I'm slightly miffed now that I wasn't on special commentary for the day, the number of my guest commentary appearances having stalled at "two". Slightly more problematic was the task of the South Melbourne highlights editor, who had to try and edit out as much as possible of the nonsense between Schroen and Marafioti, an impossible task to complete to 100% levels of erasure of important moments of South Melbourne history.
It may have been unprofessional to do it the way I'm about to suggest, but I feel like my video editor friend missed an opportunity to augment the experience with the addition of an obvious yet also classic Simpsons gag.
Anyway, as expected Pep was not out on the field for the second half (replaced by Billy Konstantinidis), and I fancy that's the last time we've seen him in a South shirt. It's a pity that it's ended up this way - for all his character and playing foibles, he was one of our better players this year (though some cruel persons might say that was a problem in itself). But two brothers gone in the one season, what are the odds? And both of them ex-South juniors, which will make the board's aim of a title with 60% of our squad being South juniors a bit of a harder task.
|Photo: Luke Radziminski.|
Heidelberg at home on Sunday afternoon. This will be the final game of the season for the men's team, and I don't think it could come any sooner. Unfortunately, the game also doubles up as an important fixture for what I'm still calling the minor premiership, which Heidelberg are in best place to secure.
After largely going unnoticed in 2019, apparently the club is going to make the final game a bit of a showcase of sorts for the club's 60th anniversary celebrations, so there's that to look forward to I suppose.
Cripes, it'll be the last time some of us will see each other for months! And it'll be the last time we see some or many of these players in a South shirt. I'm getting all misty-eyed. If only we knew who we were planning to turf now, we could have the Streisand backed montage ready to go.
Women stumbling in quest for finals
I was going to go to the senior women's game against Box Hill at Lakeside last Saturday, but got roped into another game instead - see the "around the grounds" section for that story. Anyway, the women lost 3-1 to Box Hill, and made things more difficult for themselves in terms of trying to secure the final spot in the finals. Again, not that any of the three teams (ourselves, the Bergers, or Box Hill) vying for fourth are likely to do any damage in the finals - especially as they'll have to play Calder first up - but it would be nice to at least make it. So the loss against Box Hill was a pretty important one, but not quite the season-ending game it could've been
That probably came yesterday, with the side playing out a 1-1 draw vs the NTC at Knox. I didn't get out there, of course, but I manage to watch the game (or at least most of it) on the stream. It was not one of our better performances, something I could tell from the stream despite it being filmed at ground level, having no commentary or graphics, and with the placement of portable goals all around the perimeter giving poor depth perception having me even bigger problems than usual trying to figure out what was going on.
Skip Fulton graciously let us know that at half time we were 1-0 up, thanks to a Nat Martineau goal, scored before confusion about the stream - which was originally tagged as Southern vs Heidelberg - was cleared up. I did see our late-season replacement keeper save a penalty during the first half, adding to her short-term reputation as being something more than a short-term fix.
The second half was just as confusing to me as the first (not least in part because I was switching back and forth between the stream and another project), because I thought we'd scored a goal from a Leia Varley free kick but then a comment online asked why it was disallowed. When NTC scored, I wasn't sure then if it was an equaliser or just a goal clawed back, and the initial social media response from the club at the conclusion of the game was that we'd won the game 2-1.
That was later corrected (with an apology) to 1-1, with Varley's goal being disallowed at it came from an indirect free kick; a result which sees us sit a point behind Heidelberg, who have a game in hand against Southern United. We play the Bergers in the last round, and the Bergers also have a game against Box Hill whee they could drop points, but at this stage it appears that even if we beat Bayside this Saturday afternoon at Lakeside and the Bergers in the last round at home, it's the Bergers with the best shot of making finals. It's been that kind of year.
More videos uploaded
I've uploaded a couple more hour long compilations of South Melbourne highlights from circa 1988-1992. These come from Banger's collection, and you can check them out on my channel here, along with other South videos. I've tagged/timestamped the individual games in the description sections, but there's often little snippets of other stuff which I haven't bothered to tag - consider them bonus material.
Puskas film update
A few months ago, some readers showed some concern about whether this film was actually still being made. I did not have a definitive answer then. I can say now that 'yes', the film is still in production. Work related and other commitments slowed down the process, but it is still going. I don't have much directly to do with the film's production, but I will do what I can to keep the ball rolling. I'd give you an estimated time of completion, but it's really up to the guys making the film to get the film to a stage where it can be finished and shown to the public.
Around the grounds
Please make this season end
Trundled out to Quarries Park or whatever it's called for Clifton Hill vs Yarraville. You want a game that meant nothing? Here it was. Two teams so bad they deserved to be relegated, but thanks to a mass restructure of the league system coming soon, they've been left to spin their wheels for most of the season, like so many clubs in a similar position. It's half the reason I've barely been to an Altona East game this year. Maybe because it meant nothing, there was hardly anybody there. I was there to watch a friend's son make his senior starting debut as goalkeeper for Clifton Hill. He did OK, but his team still lost 2-1.
Operation Italian White Whale
I've started the idiotic process of trying to update the infamous Victorian Italian club merger chart. It will take a very long time, will probably kill me, and end up being heinously incorrect if I ever do finish it. That being said, if you or someone you know actually knows the dates of Italian club mergers hitherto unrepresented in the current flowchart, please get in contact with me.
I've already had several good leads and prompts, with Anstey Roma's 1970 merger with Triestina, the Cobram split and re-merger, and the Mildura split in 1979/80.
Το καλό πράγμα αργή να γίνει as my old man likes to say.
Forgive the lateness of my reply.