Monday, 30 June 2008

Preston overcome the odds - South Melbourne 1 Preston Lions 2

Today saw a big disappointment in South. According to past results and recent history, it looked as if South had a really good chance at winning. We went into the game confident. Preston with their new coach Markovski who could spice things up a bit, but nonetheless it was looking good for us. O'Dor was still out though, serving his second game for his suspension, but he still made the effort to come and watch the game along with Mitchell Langerak (Former South keeper who was on loan from current team Melbourne Victory).

The first half was really close, seeing a stronger Preston than usual and them trying very hard to prevent us from scoring. There were quite a few chances, but not much action to write about, and we saw a 0-0 end as we went to the break. Early in the second half we saw a goal for Preston scored by an almighty free kick by Michael Bosevski, leading to Armenian being brought on and Adem Tavsancioglu off in hope of a goal like Hamlet's goal against Oakleigh but to no avail. The next 15 minutes saw us trying to pull ourselves together and really get an equalizer at least, in which we did when we hit 70 minutes and a nice cross was sent in for Nathan Caldwell to hit a beautiful header into the net past Acevski who made every effort to get it but was in fact too slow for the speedy shot.

Another 15 minutes later and we had Preston's sealer from Tony Sterjovski, which I believe was tapped in after a missed chance and a clearance although I could be wrong. This lead to Goran Zoric and Sam Poutakidis going off and youngsters Robby Wynne and Antonio La Verde coming on. The last 5 minutes saw a million pauses in which we failed to get that last minute chance on goal. The end saw the little of the Preston fans behind the goals celebrating with the players and the rest of them leaving as did the South fans. The fans side of things wasn't big at all. All out we had a few hundred supporters max, not a big crowd at all.

All throughout the game, we played fairly well but Preston really lifted for this game and it showed. There were 2 spots where we had disallowed goals for offside too, and as usual, we had a typical FFV ref who let every handball go whichever the team.

Aw well,
'Til next time ;)

Rama's goal disallowed for offside:

Sunday, 29 June 2008

Mesh that baby up!

Ok, ignoring the game for a moment, which will be covered by my buddy Cliff in due time, how awesome was that mesh? I'll tell you how awesome. Really awesome. The club has not done something this right since... well, borrowing those Frankston Pines players in 2006. Not only does it block the views of nosy freeloaders, but they actually put it far away from the fence so it doesn't get cut up by said dicksplashes. But the best thing about it was its usefullness as a windbreak. Standing at the scoreboard end can get quite cold when the wind blows through, but this solved that problem almost entirely. Hopefully when Lakeside is redeveloped, we won't need it, but for now it's just peachy.

Fold that baby up!

Ever had to sit around for hours, folding paper up into three equal parts rectangularly, so that correspondence fits inside envelopes all nice and neat? Nah, me neither. But every time you get mail from the club and it's all nice and neatly folded, with you perhaps thinking it happens oh so naturally like the paper somehow managed to fold itself, it was actually painstakingly folded by hand by dedicated volunteers. Until now.

Meet the club's new Ledah folding machine, which took up residence at the club's office last Tuesday evening. It can fold up to 4 sheets at once, virtually in the blink of an eye. Just to be smart we tried it out with 5 sheets and it seemed to pass that test with flying colours. And best of all, it was donated by the supporters group, which will now enable both the staff and volunteers to accomplish that mind numbing task much faster, and also be able to put their time towards more useful pursuits. If only they came in blue.

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Canberra Trip Part 3 - Dodgy Asian betting and the ride home

So we're on the bus trying to figure out where the ground is, getting directions from a couple of kids that came up with their dad in their own car - one of which I was doing one of those vocalised/mouth noise guitar solos to Frozen Tears - but were hitching a ride with us to the game. Good thing they were there too or else we might've still been looking for the place. We eventually find the place, and we're early enough to co-ordinate a dramatic entrance - by Canberra standards - and take up a position on the hill. Except of course that I was roped in to do the dodgy Asian betting thing. So I'm off to the halfway line.

To explain what that's all about, as best I can. Betting firms of indeterminate legality in a place which or may or may not be called China hire people to hire people to 'call' or 'commentate' VPL games. Except that it really isn't commentating in an Andy Paschalidis kind of fashion, more stuff like 'away danger', 'home corner', etc. There's different levels of detail for different companies, but the main thing is that the gamblers and those listening to your commentary don't care so much about South Melbourne or Robbie Wynne (for example) as individual entities, rather as part of an over the phone, online, and imagined tug of war .

I had agreed not only to do one game of commentary with one guy on the line saying 'ok', but also have another guy on another phone just listening - and if he was to talk tome, my instructions were not to talk to him - which all got a bit difficult when the game was delayed because not enough pegs were holding the goals, something that would usually be checked during half time in the reserves, except that the AIS's reserves play in Victoria, and they're not really their reserves, they're just the VIS. Anyway, the guy who I was talking to seemed to understand that there was a delay - which just kept on dragging on - but the listener kept asking for information who was attacking and such.

He must've hung up as I then received a call from my boss for the day, some guy called Jerry, getting stuck into me, telling me that I wasn't doing a very good job as his client wasn't getting information on who was attacking and such. A little miffed because I've been telling one guy on the hands free and one on my own phone that game has been delayed and the reason for it. Explaining it to Jerry his tone changes fairly quickly, and we're back in business. The game eventually gets under way, and apart from a few early teething problems, the sun in my eyes, and a linesman doing his best to block out my view, it's going ok.

At the end of the first half, which at that moment I didn't realise had gone only 40 odd minutes, I noticed that my battery had gone down to one bar. Would it last to the end? A mad rush to find someone to swap sim cards with ensued; incompatible carrier; seemingly impossible to release sim card; I decided that I would just try my luck with what I had. Of course the confusion caused by the 40 minute halves started kick in during the second half. My 'listener' called in a few minutes into it, and my talking 'ok' guy dropped out entirely, and didn't call back. Persevering to the end, seeing the game in only a limited palette, I wondered whether it had all been worth it, and would I get paid? The players go over to the supporters and high five, shake hands and say thanks for coming, and despite coming in a little late, I get a gloved hand to Goran Zoric, and then get my head shaking in annoyance on camera at the farcical situation of it all, having driven eight hours up and with another eight to go, for 80 minutes of football.

Time to get back on the bus, with the previous night's missed sleep starting to catch up with me. There's still the travelling humour, but people are more tired, and sleep takes over. Even I start drifting in and out of consciousness from Albury onwards. Easy listening music drifts across, most of it dross, but there's the brief flicker of outstanding respite when Springsteen's 'The River' comes on. More Acropolis Now episodes get played, with at one stage the DVD stuck at the menu screen and playing the theme song about 12 times in a row. Most of the complaints are coming from the back, the hellish torture of the the song itself magnified by the fact that there's almost no way of getting past that many arms and legs stretched into the aisle in order to turn it off.

We stop at a few places, service stations, roadhouses. I buy myself a bag of marshmallows and the most crappy banana flavoured milk I've ever had. Not wanting to get a carton which I know I'll spill over the seats, it's the only thing in a bottle that isn't some variation of coffee. Someone as a joke buys a forbidden dim sim. Just outside Seymour a car is flipped onto its roof, a police car behind it. Someone gets dropped off in Wandong. Someone else on High Street. Finally back to where we started from, a quick clean out of the bus, and them time to go home. I'm going to catch a taxi, but it's insisted that I get a lift with someone. That someone turns out to be a person who can't quite grasp the purposes of speedbumps and roundabouts, but there's no complaining, as I'm expected to be grateful. And when I get home in one piece, I am.

- This would have been better had I taken notes, but perhaps it would have lost some of its charm. With thanks to everyone involved on the trip, but especially Michal, Eamonn and Tony.

Friday, 27 June 2008

Canberra Trip Part 2 - Canberra sights and sounds

It's before 7am when the announcement is quietly made. We're in Canberra. I'm wide awake, but that's no defense against the near freezing conditions that are present. It's worse for those who didn't plan on bringing enough warm clothing, or who happen to be coming down from the artificial warming effects of a night's alcohol consumption. A barbecue on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin sees people huddled under one of the park's gazebos, trying to find some sort of shelter from the cold. Sausages, bacon, bread, sauce, orange juice. Maybe it's my being a morning person with their senses fully intact, maybe it's memories of sausage sizzles at Melbourne Uni, but I restrict myself to a cup of juice. A small kick around in one of the sunny spots helps warm up a half dozen or so people, but care must be taken not kick the ball too hard or in between two people as the ball will find a way of running away. I don't suffer the fate of needing to chase, and that's a good thing.

Somewhat fed and a little less cold as Sol eventually gets to work, the group then proceeds towards Canberra International Airport, in the hopes of greeting the team who were due to arrive that morning. There is scoffing at the smallness of the facility, somehow not befitting that of a capital, though I'm about to learn that Canberra is a capital in the sense of an American state capital; somewhat in name only, akin to an Albany or Annapolis. We pass a very small group of Melbourne fans who've come up for their game against Sydney at Manuka, and families waiting for diplomats or whatever to turn up. The squad is just about to leave the departure area, and the fans chanting with the last vestiges of sleep still manage to turn a few heads, and mingle briefly with the players, who appear to either a little confused or completely at ease with the situation, though Sam Poutakidis is more than at ease. Supporting South is a state of mind perhaps now more than ever. Early morning airport sojourn dispensed with, it was time to see more of what the city had to offer.

For the benefit of international readers, Canberra has a reputation as a more liberal town, where the purchase of items such as fireworks and pornography is legal unlike in the rest of Australia. So off we went to one of the two districts which can legally sell porn, Fyshwick, which some of the more juvenile travellers had been looking forward to for awhile. Parking in front of one these infamous sex shops, it comes as little surprise to me, but perhaps more so to others, that it's juts like any other adult superstore type place that exists. More sterile than a hospital ward, which at least has plenty 0f signs of life, I wander the aisles trying to figure out what the fuss was all about. Is it perhaps the lack of stigma attached if you visit a sex store 500 kilometres from home? Isn't this stuff available on the Internet at comparatively next to no cost? Or am I lacking the connoisseurs eye? The highlight is the group photo outside the store, with one of the more creative minds inside the window display, wrapping a South scarf around one of the mannequins.

The next stop on the itinenary is a visit to Parliament House. Throughout our travels in the city, the lack of traffic is one of the things that stands out. Yes it's a small city, it's winter, and it's a Sunday, but there's still for me a slightly unnerving lack of people, of movement. After having taken the requisite group photos, some supporters had a six in six soccer match on Parliament's front lawn under the watch of the Australian Federal Police, while more highbrow fans decided to take a tour of the building. This is my time to duck out and see Eamonn so we can do my radio spot. After a quick scan of the periphery, I ask some AFP bystanders the way to the nearest taxi rank; somewhere within the underground carpark where the bus was parked. Walking for what seems a while in the massive underground space, I eventually find the payphone/waiting bay. I make the call and wait.

A white haired British Isle accented driver picks me up and we start chatting, but it's one of those forced conversations that you have with a driver so he doesn't think you're a serial killer. He parks in the driveway, and Eamonn's already there, and reimburses my fare. A good start. Inside the studio, I get the rundown, a quick practice run to make sure everything's recording, and then we're away. Going through the past, present and future, all in ten minutes, microphone slipping, Gary Hasler mentioned alongside Trimmers and Boutsi, but at the end of it, a good feeling, I didn't say anything stupid, and that my voice was made for radio anyway. Filled with a quiet sense of accomplishment, Eamonn drives me back to Parliament House, where people ask where I've been.

This was followed by a long lunch held at the Hellenic Club. Some people allegedly couldn't handle the long line - which really wasn't that long - and opted to go buy food from elsewhere. For what it's worth, the 'Mexican' chicken I had was quite nice, and we had a prime spot along the window, with plenty of natural light which wasn't as bountiful as in other places. Overall I found the decor and environment all a bit gauche to be honest. I suppose they had to include the 'Greekness' in somewhere, but it just didn't fit naturally for me. Supposed to have been on the bus by 2 O'clock, but we only at about about twenty minutes after that. Left us in a little bit of rush to get to the ground.

Just another game really - Round 19 - South Melbourne vs Preston Lions

Last Time They Met

Round 6, 2008, at BT Connor Reserve

Preston Lions 1 South Melbourne 2

Two goals in two 2nd half minutes saw South take all three points after trailing at half time, continuing South's excellent record at the ground.


Preston are up against it at the moment. A coaching change which hasn't seemed to quite kick in yet. Sitting very close to that 4th relegation slot. But once again, the occurrence of another of those interminable 'derby' games comes along, which evens up the odds a little. South for their part has been improving on an almost weekly basis since Michaelokopoulos took over, and the return of Scot MacNicol has also done wonders, strengthening what was largely an ineffective midfield. But despite the steady improvement and decent recent run of results, South is still up against it to make the top six, and a win here is of the utmost importance. For Preston, the finals are gone, and avoiding relegation is the only goal, a task John Markovski has become used to in recent years. He managed to take the three points at the same ground last year in a similar situation with Sunshine George Cross, but this year's South's is a different proposition to the one that limped to the finish line last year, and it's hard to see Hellas getting beaten.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Canberra Trip Part 1 - Night journey through frost

Plans fretted over for weeks were finally in place. Bus booked, an itinerary of sorts planned. The Hellenic Club of Canberra informed of our needing 40 odd seats for lunch. A date with Eamonn of Football In The Capital set up. No turning back now. Skipped the Altona City-Altona East derby game in order to rest up a bit for the overnight coach ride. There's meant to be a small gathering at a pub beforehand, which turns out to be just that; three of us, a bowl of fries, and drinks. Somehow this is where I get roped in initially to helping a mate do his dodgy betting syndicate work. But more on that later.

After having a drink at the Water Rat, we rock up to Lakeside a little early, and see only a few recognised faces there, and a bus which may or may not be ours. About 10 metres away another group of people stand around, like us, waiting, but I'm not sure what for. They're probably thinking the same thing about us. Slowly more people start to arrive, and then we figure out that, yes, that is our bus. Moving across we greet those already there. The last one to arrive is of course a boardmember. Parking permits handed out, names checked off, banners and eskies are loaded onto the bus, finally on our way, Australian banner with South logo draped over the back seat.

I take a spot right at the back, with space next to me, and away from the majority of those intending to drink. The climate control chucked it in early. Frost blocked whatever view one could have seen, on a dark and overcast night. Not sure if anyone can see the flag out the back, but not sure that it matters anyway, more symbolic than anything perhaps. The first part of the official in-flight entertainment are highlights of South's early 90s years. From the back of the bus, it's hard to make out if people are appreciating what's being shown; while there's no pressure of course to make people watch, I wonder what all the complaining is about. If football didn't start in this country in 2005, did it start in 1996? Perhaps I'm too harsh. Perhaps I have too much reverence for that era. Perhaps people were busy enjoying themselves in other ways.

We stop at places with names and others, like Avenel, where it doesn't seem to matter either way. Like my trip by bus to the Gold Coast back in 1999, with so much of it night, it's hard to tell whether there's any civilisation connected to the petrol stations. And hard to tell what's on the other side the embankments, apart from shadowy black hills. The highlight of the stops was a McDonalds somewhere still in Victoria, possibly outside Wangaratta where one cook and one worker on the register were suddenly faced with the prospect of feeding 30 hungry South fans on what was probably meant to be quiet night at work. People patiently lined up, ordered, stood to the side while their meal was prepared, ate. It all went rather smoothly.

At every stop, getting off means getting the blood flowing again, staving off a sleep that won't come anyway for a little while longer, waiting until morning. It also means dodging cigarette smoke and toxic and noisy bursts of flatus. While the early part of the trip is lively enough, with the highlight being the necessary 2am phonecall to a supporter who pulled out to due to illness, and HFC chants while travelling through their Northcote heartland, eventually most people end up getting some sleep. I'm hoping to see at least some of the sunrise, but the frost, the mountains and the constantly shifting direction of the bus as it winds through looking for an entry point to Canberra defeat me. All in all, the journey was a blast, even this review may not seem indicate it was. How can you communicate the already forgotten conversations, the in-jokes, the hilarity of the moment which can't be transcribed, only experienced. Oh, and the multiple renditions of Frozen Tears' 'South Melbourne', which everyone gets thoroughly sick of by the end of the trip, but will treasure in their hearts regardless.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Arrangements for the Preston game this week

In case you can't access smfcboard, and don't frequent the South official site for whatever reason, and have been wondering what the arrangements will be for the unfortunately high risk fixture against the Preston Lions, the club has released a press release on the issue, as can be seen below. Bolded bits are mine.

South Melbourne FC - Official Media Release v Preston Lions

Entry and Ticketing Arrangements for SMFC v Preston Lions

Foxtel Cup Fixture (R19) @ BJS
Following recent discussions with Football Federation of Victoria, Victoria Police, Preston Lions FC, South Melbourne FC and relevant security personnel, all patrons are advised of the following entry arrangements for the upcoming match @ Bob Jane Stadium on Sunday 29th June 2008 at 3:00pm.

Pre Purchased Ticketing Arrangement
This match will be held according to a pre-purchased ticketing arrangement in that tickets will ONLY be made available for purchase by both sets of supporters three days prior to kick off. Tickets will be on sale at the SMFC ticket booths located on the SE side of BJS on the following dates and times:

Thursday 26th June: 11am – 3pm
Friday 27th June: 11am – 3pm

Note: No Tickets will be sold on match day

Pre Purchased Tickets will only be available on the following conditions:
The patron must provide relevant photo ID to be photocopied upon which he/she will receive one (1) ticket. No multiple sales will be permitted

The purchaser of the ticket is the only one who will be allowed to use this ticket upon match day (Not Transferable).

Only children’s tickets (U/14) will be available at the ticket boxes on match day provided an adult is present and able to provide proof of a pre-paid ticket.

ONLY Forms of PHOTO ID Accepted

Current Vic Licences;
Concession Cards

SMFC Members and Sponsors
2008 members and sponsors of SMFC are exempt from pre-purchasing tickets yet will be required to supply photo identification upon request. They must also possess and show their current 2008 hard card in order to be issued an admission ticket for the day.

FFV Passes
2008 FFV season pass holders, media pass and other accredited FFV passes are exempt from pre-purchasing tickets yet will be required to supply photo identification upon request. They must also possess and show their relevant 2008 accreditation in order to be issued an admission ticket for the day.

Major Events Act
Patrons are advised that the Major Events Act will apply to areas within and surrounding Bob Jane Stadium in addition to regular FFV Conditions of Entry.
These measures aim to ensure the safety of participants, match officials and spectators.

Here's my two bob. Good effort by the club. How effective it is will only be known on matchday, but if this stuff sticks, it should dissuade a few people from turning up, particuarly those of the defending-national-honour-on-foreign-turf-in-which-they-will-probably-end-up-being-buried-persuasion, by making it impossible or highly difficult for them to do so. Hopefully segregation will also be in place. Despite the FFV's professed antipathy towards segregation, it was allegedly in use in the recent Heidelberg - Preston game, and unsavoury a concept as it is, it should be used for this fixture. Hopefully South win by a few and no clowns fuck shit up, from whichever branch of clown they happen to claim to hail from.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Postecolgou in Australia, looking at the local talent

For those can't read Greek or simply refuse to learn how - and you really should, it's a tiptop language, second only to English - the following is a Q & A with the great man, as seen on the Panachaiki official site. The gist of it is, he's in Australia, he's looking at 10 players, at most of which only 1 will be lucky enough to try their luck in the Greek Gamma Division - that's 3rd division for everyone else. There's 7 Greeks and 3 non Greeks. He'll have finished all his transfers by 10th July, and be out of the country by the 30th June. No South players are mentioned, and one would assume that by of those two dates we'll know if any the 10, if indeed he's taking any players at all, are from Lakeside.

Ποστέκογλου: "Όλα θα κυλήσουν ρολόι..."

Νέα - Ειδήσεις - Παναχαϊκή

Ο Άγγελος Ποστέκογλου μπορεί να βρίσκεται στην Αυστραλία όμως δουλεύει καθημερινά για την Παναχαϊκή, μιλώντας στην εφημερίδα Ημέρα έδωσε το στίγμα για τις πρώτες κινήσεις:
«Το πολύ-πολύ να φέρω έναν παίκτη από την Αυστραλία. Θέλουν πολύ προσοχή οι επιλογές. Είμαι σε επαφή με γνωστούς μάνατζερς και θ’ αρχίσουν να κλείνουν παίκτες μετά από μια εβδομάδα…».

Με ποιον τρόπο θα «φθάσετε» στις επιλογές σας;
«Χωρίζονται σε δύο κατηγορίες οι υπό μεταγραφή παίκτες. Αφενός οι κοινοτικοί και αφετέρου οι Έλληνες. Δουλεύω με μάνατζερ. Υπάρχουν ποδοσφαιριστές που τους γνωρίζω και άλλοι που τους βλέπω σε κασέτες. Έχω στη διάθεσή μου 50 DVD. Μην ανησυχείτε λοιπόν, όλα θα γίνουν στην ώρα τους…».

- Πόσοι παίκτες θ’ αποκτηθούν συνολικά;
«Δέκα φθάνουν. Τρεις κοινοτικοί και 7 Έλληνες. Να ξέρετε ότι θα χαμηλώσει αρκετά ο μέσος όρος ηλικίας της ομάδας».

- Θα γίνουν όλα στην ώρα τους κ. Ποστέκογλου;
«Μέχρι τις 10 Ιουλίου θα έχουν ολοκληρωθεί οι μεταγραφές. Στο Ελατοχώρι θα πάμε πλήρεις. Η σοβαρή δουλειά θα ξεκινήσει από την πρώτη μέρα της προετοιμασίας».

- Εσείς πότε επιστρέφετε στην Ελλάδα;
«Θα είμαι στην Πάτρα την Δευτέρα 30 Ιουνίου. Ωστόσο οι συνεργάτες μου δουλεύουν στην Πάτρα και έως τότε θα έχουν ολοκληρωθεί αρκετές μεταγραφές».

- Βγήκε κάποιο νέο από τη χθεσινή (προχθεσινή) συνάντησή σας με τον κ. Μακρή στη Μελβούρνη;
«Όλα κύλησαν όπως τα περίμενα. Ταυτίσθηκαν οι απόψεις μας για τους υπό μεταγραφή παίκτες, έχω το απαιτούμενο μπάτζετ στη διάθεσή μου και όλες τις δεσμεύσεις ότι όλα θα κυλήσουν ρολόι. Έμεινα απόλυτα ικανοποιημένος από την συζήτηση με τον μεγαλομέτοχο».

Monday, 23 June 2008

Results round up

The women's seniors lost 2-1 to high flying Sandringham. The reserves lost 8-0. The state 3 side lost 6-1 to Doncaster Rovers

The under 21s lost 2-0 to the VIS. The under 18 boys handed Bulleen a chance to go outright top of the table after coming 3-3 away to Springvale White Eagles.

But despite all these setbacks, South's senior and reserves women's teams managed to pick up three points each after the Eastern Lions pulled out of the competition, gaining 3-0 wins on forfeit.

8 hours up and 8 hours back for 80 minutes of football - AIS 0 South Melbourne 0

The story of the trip will be serialised in a hitherto unknown timeframe. Anyway as for the game itslef, owing to the AIS not having enough pegs in their goals, there was dleayed start of about 20-25 minutes, the game was cut to 40 minutes halves, the AIS got better as the game went on, but we were unusually organised all over the field, and had by far the better chances.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

One last thing before I duck out of here

As part of the Canberra away trip bonanza this week on South of the Border, I'm taking a guest stint on Football In The Capital's The Weeekender segment. It's a quick piece going over the anomalies and conundrums brought up by having the AIS in the VPL. As far as I know, I won't be in tomorrow, so enjoy your weekends, and everyone coming up to Canberra, I'll see you there.

The Weekender: Should the AIS stay in the VPL

Also cool that I am now a category on Eamonn's site. Every step is one closer to being cited in an academic essay, surely the holy grail of such things. In theory I was this (use your imagination) close to being listed as part of the bibliography of a mate's essay. In theory.

Friday, 20 June 2008

Capital bound - Round 18, Australian Institute of Sport vs South Melbourne

Last time they met:
Round 5, 2008 at Lakeside Stadium, aka where was my freakin free BBQ?

South Melbourne 0 Australian Institute of Sport 2

Uninspired stuff from both sides early on before the AIS stepped up a notch in the 2nd half. Fernando put a 1st half penalty wide which would given Hellas the lead and perhaps changed the game. As it was, the visitors' highly rated Jason Naidovski was best afield, scoring a double, including a cracker for the sealer.

Away trip hurrah! Well no actually. Ever get the feeling that the meticulous planning that goes into something like this will end up being unappreciated by some person or people? Who will go out of their way to fuck it up for everyone else? I don't know why, but that's the feeling I'm getting. Call it my cynical streak or woman's intuition, whatever it is, it's tempering the excitement that I'm feeling. Maybe I'm too bourgeois? But you know someone will probably over consume glorified urine. Partake of poisoned truckstop fruit. Blow off a useful limb or burn off an eyebrow or two. Lose their temper and be unable to find it. Make a costly mistake. It's all fun and games... ta polla gelia telionon sta klamata... have fun everyone... I'll try my best not to be that person, and I hope that you do too.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

All about Canberra

Finally managed to graduate to the big leagues and be listed alongside some of the great blogs of this or any other universe. That's right, South of the Border is now on the awesome Football In The Capital blog honour roll. And even better, Eamonn's put up my projected version of our travel itinerary, and there may be a further surprise if we can organise it. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

New contributor to South of the Border

If you're wondering what the hell is going on with this blog, well we have a new contributor whose work you should already be familiar with. Cliff has already provided a few videos for your entertainment, and will be contributing match reports for us from here on in. That doesn't mean that I'll stop doing them, indeed there may be times where Cliff isn't at a game - like this this week for example, though why should that stop anybody from making stuff up - but he seems more keen on writing them up, and who am I stand in the way of the younger generation? Cliff may add other stuff, subject to my iron fist editorial judgment, but for now enjoy the enthusiasm of youth, and think about contributing to the blog yourself.

Hamlet on the ball; Hellas 3 - Okli 1

Well, sorry for the late post, but here we go. Sunday provided us with a very entertaining match, one of our best all year. Was my first time seeing new signing Tommi Tommich in action, and he is a killer goalkeeper. We hit 1-0 in the first 30-40 seconds, with Zoric getting the final touch to send it in after a missed shot.

Oakleigh had a free kick early in the game, with Damianos sending it just over the bar but Tommich in position anyway. The 2-0 wasn't long after, where we had a ball going into the box, and Fernando was just there to tap it over the keeper.

Cagalj was taken off pretty early in the game; Having started the match with the flu and a bit of a cold, he got to the point of not being able to continue, and was replaced by a second keeper who did fairly well for them.

During the second half, we started to see a stronger Oakleigh who were desperate for at least a point, and after a strong shot by Munoz which was deflected nicely by Tommich, but Drakos got a touch straight after to send it in before Tommich could get up... Just unfortunate that there were hardly any fans to witness it and be behind the goals to cheer for their side.

Towards the end of the match though, in what appeared to be our corner, the referee awarded a throw-in which had alot of us puzzled... And not to mention the bit where we were about to take a corner and we just cop a yellow while our player was getting ready, might upload the video later on.

Then right at the end, after a very hard fought contest between the two sides, Poutakidis hits a nice ball into the box right outside the goals, and right off the bench is Armenian, who taps it in to steer clear of a draw.The end of the match saw the players come and embrace us in celebration, as we are really looking to head up the ladder now. Good luck boys! For some reason the embed code for the ending to the match won't work, here's my work of Hamlet's tap-in anyway...

And the clip of after the game can be found at:

We have a big game this week, where we shall face off against the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra, which will see a hard game for both sides. We need to come back from that 0-2 loss earlier in the year, which also saw Fernando miss a penalty sadly. :(

Take it easy y'all!

Get your free Frozen Tears

Now you could of course do what I did and buy a physical copy of the Frozen Tears 'South Melbourne' EP, or you could just download the various versions available on the South Melbourne official site, but whatever you do, you really should have a copy of at least one version of the song. Sure it's a bit cheesy, and all a bit circa 1984 (via the mid 1990s) but unlike the obviously AFL market oriented and tacky 'Victory The Brave', it's got genuine heart and a kick arse chorus. One day I'll make scans of my signed copy, but for now just enjoy the song for what it is and the time it represented, a time when Australian soccer culture looked towards itself for inspiration and not to the EPL and Serie A and Youtube for ideas and a script.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Postecoglou's Panachaiki win last match of season, finish 5th

Well Ange's season has finished in Greece, (yes this is a week old, but still), and if you're asking why it took so long, it's because of the strike that was held by clubs in the lower Greek divisions which went for awhile. Anyway, Panachaiki beat Panetolikos 1-0 away and doesn't Ange look so much happier then when he started.

What a difference a few weeks makes, eh? He's even paying attention now! Imagine how happy he'll be if he gets them promoted and SBS will be compelled to do a 30 second piece which will make that other clown who sits on the couch every Sunday stroking his magic pointing stick and never having the guts to actually try and put his ideas into practice in a situation where he may actually have to be accountable look like even more of a tool... but this is about Ange, so yeah, good luck to him for next season.

Monday, 16 June 2008

South step up when it counts - South Melbourne 3 Oakleigh 1

Impressive victory. 2-0 up within 15 minutes. Played with 10 men for majority of the game, and yet still managed to stifle Oakleigh, who created little. Refereeing was fucking crap. Our attacking play was wonderful to watch, as was the rock solid goalkeeping of Tomich. Scored a goal off a short corner. Time to retire them now.

Hamlet Armenian's sealer at the end, courtesy of Cliff. Great to see Hamlet get his first goal at long last.

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Women, Youth, mixed results

Senior women had a 4-0 loss to Preston. Reserves however had a 7-1 victory. State 3 women lost 2-1 to Richmond. Under 21s drew 0-0. Under 18s keep up their good form with a 4-1 win over Kingston.

DAS LIBERO looking for contributions

A message from your friendly neighbourhood Das Libero editor in chief.

The second issue will be out before the A League season begins and we're looking for contributions, book reviews etc.

Here's the site

email contributions to

Did you heed the words of last week's call to submit to the 84th Minute? No? Then maybe you should go highbrow and think about submitting to Das Libero? As associate editor and provider of that site's best work, I'm here to help you get your work published, as long it's coherent, sensible, and well thought through.

I can't promise you fame and fortune in writing for Das Libero. I don't know who specifically reads it. I do know that South of the Border is read by governments, opposition fans, the South board, interstate and international readers. So even if you think that your little piece may not make an impact, give it a go anyway. You may be pleasantly surprised at the feedback your receive.

Saturday, 14 June 2008

As requested, pic of beanie

As asked for by Vicroty Noob, here is a pic of the beanie I was talking about on Wednesday.

If you want to see it on my scone, you'll need to either turn up to a game and try and pick out who I am, or try and figure out my traveling patterns. The photo has some clues. The books from the left hand side up to Tennessee Williams are all high school texts, with the exception of The Removalists and The Blinder. The two thickish books in the middle are from my cheap books from the Reject Shop phase, a long time ago. There's some poetry books there, The Inland Sea by John Jenkins, Abena Busia's Testimonies of Exile, Thom Gunn's The Sense of Movement, and Tim Thorne's brilliant Letter to Egon Kisch. The books which are facing the wrong way are Christos Tsiolkas' Dead Europe - fucking read it if you haven't already - Death of the Lucky Country by Donald Horne, and Self Publishing Made Simple by Euan Mitchell. There's also on the right hand Neil Boyack's Transactions, and Paul Mitchell's Dodging the Bull, both more than worth a look.

And if you were wondering how did that soft beanie stay upright like that, well inside it was being held up by this thesaurus in picture below with some more books there, with more clues.

Friday, 13 June 2008

Shake your Marinis, baby!

Bresciano, Grella back A-League bid

Peter Desira
The other two bids are headed by Colin DeLutis and Jim Marinis, but neither was willing to reveal details because they are yet to meet the FFA to make their official pitch.
Marinis is a former director of South Melbourne soccer club but said his bid had no association with South and no ethnic association.
Marinis has six partners in the bid.

Well, isn't that fabulous. Eh? What? Oh, just a short entry while I'm procrastinating to let everyone know that at least Desira is on the ball, in that he has Marinis as a former director of South rather than as a former president. And he spells Marinis correctly. Paying attention Silkstone? Anyway, this just looks like further proof that Marinis isn't in it for South any more. Indeed, rumours flying around indicate that Marinis is keen on getting to the A-League with or without South in tow. So now that looks to be all sorted, and that he probably won't get the Melbourne license anyway, good luck to him. As long as South is still here in some shape or form, why should anyone hold a grudge against the dreamers of dreams? They do make the world a more interesting place after all.

Round 17 - South Melbourne vs Oakleigh Cannons

Last time they met

Round 4, 2008, at Jack Edwards Reserve

Oakleigh Cannons 1 South Melbourne 0

South showed plenty of spirit, but could not pull back an early goal conceded from a failed clearance. Late chances for South were impeccably denied by Cagalj in the Cannons goal.

A big day for South as they wine and dine everyone and try to make seem certain something which as yet is only in principle. Anyway on the field these two teams never let anyone down, and this week should be no exception. Expect free flowing attacking football, with a bit of bite to it. Oakleigh isnt the team of old... a little less skill perhaps (though still plenty in the bank) but a hell of a lot more fight in them. MacNicol and Kelly play against their old team just a couple of weeks after former in particular was made to earn his passage back to Lakeside. Lagana, who has been brilliant for Oaks this season will miss the game through suspension, while Steve O'Dor will be fired up in his 50th game for Hellas. I'd like to say South'll take the points but I reckon we';re not quite there yet. If we can get 4 points out of the next two games, it's long step towards challenging for the finals.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Goal Weekly gets a new site...

... and what an improvement it is on the old one. Now if you register on there you can get access to the various features such as match reports, and hopefully more stuff becomes available as they get the site together. It's linked for your convenience on the right hand side.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Beanies, good for keeping your head warm

Remember this post, about how I wanted to buy a beanie on the Family Day but couldn't because they didn't have any? Well they're now back in stock. In fact, I'm, wearing the one I bought yesterday right now, and I gotta tell ya, it's freaking sweet. So warm, and not at all too small for big heads like mine, unlike the previous supporter made version which while nice and waterproof, was a little too small, and too navy. Perfect for the Canberra trip, and doesn't make my head look like a blue balloon like I envisioned it might. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

A website is for life and not just for Christmas

Another for the lost and found files. This one had a bit more effort put in than the last one, there's player lists, some info on the ground, with some strange references to the building of a two tier grandstand holding 6,000 patrons on the outer side.

Again, I'd like to know, did you make this? Or do you know who made this? I actually used the background as my wallpaper a few years ago. Also, another one whose construction was never seemingly completed, which is a shame. Actually, looking at some of the categories included, I have a feeling I know who may have made it...

Monday, 9 June 2008

Premier League Women Take Another Week Off

Lazy so and sos. Senior women's team and the ressies too, for reasons unbeknownst to me, didn't have a game this week, with their crucial game against GSL rescheduled for some time in the distant future. I'm sure our good friend anonymous who likes to fill South of the Border in on specifics to do with the women's branch will come up and enlighten us.

But there was one women's team who battled it out, the State League 3 South East team, who came 3-3 with Ashburton. Sounds like a cracking game, especially in comparison with the senior men's clash.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Draw: At Last! - Western Suburbs 0 South Melbourne 0

Only took about twenty or so league matches but we finally got there. We had chances to pinch it, but nothing too clear cut most of the time. In fact, considering that we're not a team suited to playing on small grounds, I'm quite happy with the point. Reserves lost, fluffed their chances in the first half and paid the price. Some things worth noting:

  • what was it with the Altona East contingent out there yesterday? Is Suburbs their 2nd team or something?
  • the soundtrack to the slightly off the wall fillum Waking Life is freaking sweet.
  • no bullshit, driving up Fitzgerald Road on the way there, I saw a tumbleweed go past!

Drilling For Oil In Somalia and Other Wacky Adventures

... I had said that if Whitlam won the election I would cry in front of the television set. In victory one should cry because of the perils of success; one should laugh in defeat. A friend said I'd better start laughing...

- Donald Horne, Death of the Lucky Country

By now this will have been plastered on every forum causing smallspread despair and widespread jubilation.

FFA snub angers South Melbourne

Dan Silkstone, June 7, 2008

SOUTH Melbourne Soccer Club has accused Football Federation Australia of running an unfair bid process for the expansion of the A-League.

South vice-president Jim Mellas said FFA had ignored an expression of interest from the club in joining an expanded elite competition. The club's treatment was in stark contrast to the treatment that Gold Coast United received before it accepted the competition's ninth licence yesterday.

He said FFA chief executive Ben Buckley had not returned several telephone calls made by club representatives in the past fortnight.

"We wrote them a letter two weeks ago," Mellas said. "We found out accidentally they had opened up bids. I'm not sure how we were supposed to know. We have heard nothing back."

Iron ore baron Clive Palmer signed the provisional agreement on behalf of Gold Coast United. Then he declared he would be disappointed if the new club failed to win the A-League in its debut season.

Palmer arrived at Skilled Park at Robina, where Gold Coast will play its home games, by helicopter. He said his three private jets would be on call for the team, which will play in the A-League in 2009-10.

Mellas has requested a meeting to make a presentation to Buckley. "It's clear they don't want to know us," he said.

"It is the perceived ethnic background of South Melbourne and the old NSL, but it is very unfair. For the past couple of years, we have worked to broaden our base and become more professional."

Buckley said last night a letter would be sent to the club, inviting it to make a bid. "They will get an opportunity to make their presentation to us," he said.

Mellas said South Melbourne directors learned that a process was under way only when reporters rang to ask if they had placed a bid.

On Tuesday, FFA announced that 10 bids had been received, including three from Melbourne. The fourth bid, from South Melbourne, will now be considered.

With AAP

First, the La La Land version. As we should all know by now, one time South board member Jim Marinis, he who ran the football department - thanks for 2006 Jim! - has been the brains, heart, lungs and pancreas of the so called South Pirates/Southern Cross bid for the 2nd Melbourne based A-League licence. Somewhere in the back of people's minds, we always knew that South Melbourne Hellas/FC as it was could never get in as itself, for reasons of both character and money - signs of the times we live in. But it was assumed that with a professional front and a small stake of say, about 15%, that South could perhaps be part of a larger thing, semi-sold out but with its own VPL team kept separate to remind us of our roots and for use as an escape pod, Heidelberg/Collingwood Warriors style. While there was never any direct evidence of this scenario occurring - whispers and hopeful suggestions by the South Board and Internet snooping not counting in my book - still the people clung on to the belief that it could be, nay, was true.

And so we went along with the plan, the Great Idea, to borrow from history another great folly of the Greeks. Twisting and turning, rationalising how we would be missed, then how we were missed; how we would be sorely needed, then how we were sorely needed; and asking everyone and ourselves where could they find enough fans for any new broadbased Victory like franchise - they couldn't and therefore we were in. The consortium would use Lakeside as a training and administrative base. Over time we'd buy our way to full or at least majority ownership. We'd even play in the original South Melbourne Hellas shirt with the red 'V', do whatever it took. And then the thudding back to reality.

Because unless this is some massive ruse, designed to divert attention from the fact that the Southern Cross bid is a South Melbourne bid in disguise, courtesy of its association with Jim Marinis, I feel obliged to say that ladies and gentlemen, we've been had. Not by the FFA necessarily - anyone with mind half open and not drugged up on our previous glory could see that we were only being paid lipservice - but by Marinis himself. A libelous statement? Perhaps. But where is the definitive proof that we have anything to do with the Southern Cross Pirates? If that smoking gun, or camel tracks in the Iraqi desert does exist somewhere out there, it's keeping a very low profile. Trade confidentiality? Possibly. But Sidwell and De Lutis, and other bids from across this big brown land have been more forthright with everyone, saying we have x amount of dollars, or this plan, or these people and this will likely be our name etc. The Southern Cross Pirates bid by comparison, has seemingly been pushed to the sidelines, as almost an afterthought. Once touted as a likely candidate, its appearance now takes the form of outsider. And if Southern Cross Pirates is an outsider, then what is South? A footnote, and not an important footnote that will be turned into a concept album by some prog rock behemoth; rather one of those boring ones that only come up in obscure doctorate theses, read by - and I have a human footnote who can prove this - on average 5 people worldwide.

So looking back on the post-NSL supposed temporary exile journey, was it all worth it? Hard to say. There were fun times to be sure. Rocking up late to Kevin Bartlett Reserve in 2006, in the first week of the Pirates craze, and hearing the pirate-esque 'arrrrggghhs' of the Clarendon Corner crew; the Jolly Roger hanging off the fence; the coincidence of the South coterie membership name being changed from Hellas 1oo to Southern Cross; that press release. And of course the Victory game, which was like a Sweet Sixteenth, Quinceañera, Debut, Graduation and Funeral all rolled into one. But all good things must come to an end. The Greek saying goes, too much laughter ends in tears, or words to that effect. And so the wild trip comes to an end. We're stuck in the fucking VPHell, and it's about time the club, all parts of it, got used to it. Scarcely no one has missed us; scarcely anyone remembers who we truly were, including our own supposed loyal fanbase, those 6,000 or so people who disappeared into the aether. And it's been that way ever since we were 'left out'.

This post is not meant to justify the thoughts of certain Greek ultra-nationalists, who will possibly point and say haha, you sold out and look what happened. Hardly. The club never truly sold out, it just evolved, with the key factor being the move from Middle Park to Lakeside, but that's a story for another day. Neither is it to justify the prejudices, soft and hard, of A-League fans, in particular those Bordeaux Monkeys from the Phone Dome. They got what they wanted, but because they can't see the forest for the trees they then complain about the lack of tradition in the game's new era; again a story for another day. This piece is meant only as a quiet lament , looking back with semi-fondness on all that we came and saw. And that from now on it should be back to business, our true business, of winning games in a tin pot suburban league, a shadow, but nevertheless ourselves, and not anybody else, enjoying what we have, what he had, and pitying the poor fools who have what they want and still find no pleasure in it. It's a tough ask I know. But I think we can do it. After all, what else we can do?

Now in the doctor's waiting room, I read the detailed poll figures. The people had not responded. I shut my left eye and with my right looked at the page: the grey blindness had spread half across the eye. Now the figures were obscured. That was better.

- Donald Horne, Death of the Lucky Country

Saturday, 7 June 2008

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Okay, the following is not from me, it's from Neil Zimmerman who runs the Victory In Melbourne blog. Don't roll your eyes at me like that, he's got something important to say, so pay attention.

Looking for contributions

I’m currently in the process of putting together an online magazine covering all aspects of Australian football - its fans, players, stadia, teams, etc from every level of the game. It is be called “the 84th minute” in honour of the Socceroos’ first ever goal at a World Cup.

As part of putting together the 84th minute I am looking for contributors. I am looking for writers with perspectives missed in the mainstream football media.

Areas that are to be covered in the 84th minute include:

- Analysis
- Opinion
- Reviews
- Local Game
- Femme Futbol
- My Favourite Ground
- Fan Culture

To sign up as a regular contributer or to send any one-off pieces, email Please note that not all submissions will be accepted and all are subject to editing.

Ok, back to me again. I know you folks aren't the best contributors in the universe. My many appeals for you submit anything to South of the Border have gone almost completely unheeded - thanks again by the way to Jim for his FFV correspondance, George for his logo, and everyone who has left a comment in the, er, comments section - so maybe this whole entry was rather pointless. But it seems like a sincere enterprise, and when I find some time after my assignments and exams, my doomed Neos Kosmos English Weekly stint, Canberra trip and visits to the Melbourne International Animation Festival and Game On exhibition, I too plan to submit stuff. 

Also, don't forget, if you don't want to contribute to Neil's enterprise for whatever reason, there's always the good old Das Libero which is always looking for quality contributions. Don't be shy.

Friday, 6 June 2008

Cage Match - Round 16 - Western Suburbs vs South Melbourne

Last time they met

Round 3, 2008, at Lakeside Stadium

South Melbourne 5 Western Suburbs 0

Suburbs had more or less one chance for the entire match, as South cruised to its first win of the season. Fernando's goal into a previously unknown crevice was the undoubted highlight.


South should win this. Suburbs had been making a turnaround in form recently, with unlucky draws against Coburg and Green Gully, but last week ended up losing to fellow relegation struggler Fawkner. Whether that was just a hiccup on their way to digging themselves out of that hole remains to be seen. For their part South, South has at least been putting away the relegation threatened teams, even if not always convincingly. The addition of Kelly and MacNicol should help in breaking down Suburbs on their tiny ground, which doesn't suit fancy wing play.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

South of the Border Temp Agency

Have been asked to write stuff for Neos Kosmos English Weekly over the next five weeks in the absence of one James Belias. We'll see how I go.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

There was movement at the station

Head to this site for info on our supporters trip to Canberra for the AIS match on June 22nd. Then ponder why the SMFC Board won't put it up themselves.

Did you know?

That former, sorta, kinda maybe still is South Melbourne board member and third world exploiting (perhaps) mining non-magnate Jim Marinis was actually a former South Melbourne president? No? Well The Age says he was, so it must be true. Amongst other crap in that article Southern Cross, like its namesake constellation, keeps moving across the sky, this time from inner Melbourne out to Casey Fields. Less development equals less light pollution equals easier to see? Not from where I sit, which for your useless information happens to be in the western suburbs, with 12-14 townhouses which somewhat block the sun in the summertime, but have less impact in the wintertime. Want more clarity? Go visit the Victory forum, where the paranoid Bordeaux monkeys are usually first with all the latest news, making sure that South, nor any ethnic club but especially South, have anything to do with them.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Lost and Found Department

Hi everybody. Is this yours?

What happened? Run out of time or just got bored? Are you still following Hellas, left the game entirely or gone to greener, more franchise flavoured pastures? Anyway, I like your site banner, and hope you're still with us in some capacity.

Monday, 2 June 2008

What some of the rest did on the weekend

South's under 21s lost 2-0 to Coburg United, not an unexpected loss considering one is third and one is third last. While the women's seniors and ressies took the week off, the women's thirds - oops, can't call them that, FFV might get angry - lost 2-0 in their derby game against league leader Albert Park WSC. Lastly the under 18s had a win, 3-1 over Brunswick City, maintaining top spot for now, which is dependent on Bulleen Royals' result in their game tonight, goal difference and all that.

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Rather good overall - Coburg United 2 South Melbourne 3

Copped first and last goals of the game. You get the feeling that Coburg could play better, but that for some reason they won't, but they'll still survive you'd think. MacNicol made a fair difference in the middle of the park. Finishing still not up to scratch, but at least last night luck went our way somewhat. Now within striking distance of 6th spot, a game against Western Suburbs which we really should win before a couple of crucial games against Oakleigh and the AIS.