Ok, so a couple of people at Lakeside today noticed that I wasn't at the women's game today as opposed to avoiding the open forum for fear of idiocy. Well this is what happened. I was at home watching the end of the women's marathon on television, then remembered that the men's 1500 metres swimming final was on, so stayed a bit longer to watch that, so by the time I got to the city the game would have had a half hour elapse and I tend to get disoriented rocking up to a soccer match more than five minutes late. So anyway, I decided what the hell, might as well attend the meeting. And boy was I glad that I did.
For you see, much of the South family had grown cynical. Press releases without anything to back them up, where rumour and innuendo have been king. Time wore on and people had given up on the idea that we could make an evolutionary step forwards, and I don't blame them for a second. I was one of them too. Too much time was being seemingly spent on hedging our bets and still managing to win neither. From today's meeting, if one thing stood out, it was that we won't die wondering. And further to that, even if we don't succeed in making the A-League in some shape or form, it is not the end of the club. That there has been much effort to ensure that the club will survive as an independent and strong entity well into the future was made quite evident today.
The essential details of the meeting were as follows. The South bid team had a preliminary meeting last Wednesday with the FFA, before heading forth and making their official bid some time next week. There are currently two bids for the 2nd Melbourne license, the Southern Cross bid and the Sidwell bid. Should a Southern Cross bid get up, games would be possibly split between the new Bubble Stadium and Lakeside. No investors were announced, but as suspected, South will not be the majority shareholder. The board members who were present at the meeting today seemed quietly confident, and most impressively for mine answered almost every question with a minimum of bullshit. Kudos also to the fans who made the effort to come down early for the briefing, and who listened respectfully and asked some excellent questions, exercising the power they hold as members and supporters of the club in a responsible and intelligent manner.
What the future holds for South is still up in the air. But on some level, there was a feeling that there was a light at the end of the post-NSL tunnel, whether that is playing in higher league or being able to achieve some sort of financial security even if we're only in the VPL. The old South Melbourne arrogance of days gone by was almost nowhere to be seen. Those making the presentation to the fans today seemed to understand that the football landscape has changed dramatically, and where that old arrogance would have been, there was now a quiet confidence.
Now before we all get ahead of ourselves, there are of course things to consider. Firstly, we have not got the licence yet, nor are we a certainty to do so. There will be people within the club who will have legitimate reason not to support any new South affiliated A-League team. There are people out in the wider world who also need to be convinced of our worth and what we can bring to the table. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Our future rests not in the hands of pimply, aggro teenagers of whatever ethnic or footballing persuasion, but in our own.