Sunday, 30 August 2009
Momentum swung this way and that in the 2nd half, and deep into injury time Sandy put away a goal mouth scramble. About 10 minutes into second half injury time, substitute Jade Barnden got the ball on the counter, with a defender on her inside and the keeper to beat, timed her run/shot just well enough to sneak it in at the far post. A couple of scary moments right at the death as the conditions worsened considerably - that is, it started absolutely bucketing down, and the South keeper dropped one in the six yard box, but we managed to clear it and that was pretty much it.
Sandy will feel hard done by, as they had more than their fair share of the play and chances, but South winning the game was hardly a travesty either. Curiously South's first two goals were greeted by Adelaide Crows style clapping, and Sandy's goals by loud cheers, but the winning goal was a loud roar from the home supporters.
Friday, 28 August 2009
How could I forget about this? We love constructive criticism on South of the Border, and we love a good, honest debate as well. Sometimes these things get a little heated. Last year, the closer we got to having to vote on the Lakeside redevelopment deal, the more angst was thrown about amongst the supporter base, and smfcboard was no exception. The lack of detail given out by the board was a major factor in this - and their reasoning of confidentiality, and the importance of only social club members, was not to the satisfaction. This is an example of one such exchange, between myself and a forumite named Puskas (whom I have never met personally, but am assured by someone who knows him that he's a good guy, and I believe that to be true). The reason I put it up is because of the last line, as you'll see. Did he end up following through with his threat of voting against the proposed deal? I don't know. The members were pretty much unanimous in giving their assent, and in such cases, for better or worse we see the function of a member run club being played out.
Puskas: But then again the majority of the members here bent over willingly and copped it up the arse by Lowy and his FFA mafia.
Me: And please us how the majority of members here took it up the arse but you somehow stuck it to the man? What did you do?
Puskas: The board and members could've made a lot more noise when we lost our status within the football hierarchy of this country. The board should've bombarded the media. The board should've been in everyone's face. Instead it was just a yes man to Lowy. Lets not forget Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane were with us in the NSL and now have A-League status. This club has lost all chance of ever being in the elite competition. Unless the A-League collapses we are doomed to play VPL forever or until we get relegated. Tell Eddie and his Athletics Victoria board to go fuck themselves and I will be voting for that at the AGM. Why don't you stick that in your blog faggot.
As relayed in a previous email, our WPL seniors have qualified for the finals. They finished third on the ladder, which gives us a home final for this must win game. It is an Elimination Final against Sandringham, the fourth placed side, so there are no second chances.
The game will take place at 3pm this Saturday (29th August) at Bob Jane Stadium.
We would love to see as many of you as possible at the ground to give the club your support in this historic game. Given that it is our home game, let's create a hostile atmosphere to strike fear into the Sandringham hearts!
Come down, bring family and friends, wear your club colours, and let's get the team even further into the finals!
Thursday, 27 August 2009
There were people from the state's sport and recreation department, major projects and Parks Victoria. The meeting, which went for two hours, was sparsely attended. All up two South supporters turned up - myself included - one representative from the local tennis club, and at best half a dozen locals, mostly elderly, of various levels of crankiness.
There were several new images of the actual plans, rather than just the artists impression stuff we've been seeing so far. Some of these can be seen on this page. What they show is the plans not just for the stadium itself but for the synthetic pitches and pavilion down Middle Park way. Be aware that as this is a first draft and mostly for public consultancy purposes, the actual finished product may well differ.
There was a decent amount of information, and an apparent willingness to inform the public about what was going on. It will be on again this Saturday from 2-4 at Parks Victoria HQ, which is not too far from BJS. It's certainly worth the effort, and you can pop over to watch the South women play their elimination final which starts at 3. For those who can't make it, the state government has provided some of the information online, as well as an online form to fill out with feedback. Those who submit feedback will get a copy of the independent report when it is complete.
I can't stress enough the importance of getting as much reasonable South Melbourne Hellas supporter feedback to these people. Not that I believe that local residents unhappy with the redevelopment and restructure of their local space will get their way; but rather to start building a culture of South supporters becoming active players in their own club's future. Having spent the better part of two hours there though, I'm happy to provide a general outline of the questions I asked and the answers they provided. Why the club has not been proactive in putting this info up on our website I do not know.
Firstly in regards to the new pitches we've been hearing about down Middle Park way. Four of these will be grouped together, and will be synthetic. Two of these will be grass pitches. The latter will be shared with touch rugby which currently also makes use of the planned area. The site of the new pavilion will be the derelict RSL building, which will be knocked down.
Somewhat closer to home. Parking space will not be increased, but rather the space there will re-designed or redistributed to be more efficient, or words to that effect. There will be some sort of walking track around the venue as well, and more trees, the thinking behind that being an increase of open or green space.
The 1926 Stand will be refurbished with all the facilities that the Victorian Institute of Sport will need. There will likely be some decorative/architectural work to enhance its heritage aspects, but it will not be refitted in order to host stadium seating. The rationale for that was that the line of sight was not suitable for either soccer or athletics. The Sydney Swans will have no place in there. Neither will South have any access to the facilities inside.
Now to the stadium itself. Apart from the track, and the new Northern Stand, there will be a new Athletics Victoria building built adjacent to our social club, in the space currently accessed via the Jimmy Armstrong Gate. There will also seemingly be refurbishment of the changeroom areas underneath our stand as part of this work.
Our social clubs will remain ours, and under the same or similar terms apparently as exist now. This means that any prospective plans for sub-leasing out the social club space to outside groups such as commercial operations would have to go through the same same process. The government agency will take over from us the upper level where the reception centre currently is.
The stadium itself, apart from the running track and new stand, will also have all the other necessary athletic improvements added, such long jump pits etc. It will also receive new lighting and a new broadcast area. And there will also be a new scoreboard with video playback ability. The areas that appear in green on the turn will likely be concrete terracing, and not grass as may be implied from the diagrams. The estimated capacity will be about 8-9k, with about 5k of that seating - though that is a rough estimate at this stage.
With regards to tenancy, usage rights and leases. Lakeside will come under a new trust, while the new Middle Park pitches will remain under the auspices of Parks Victoria. No details about new lease terms were revealed, as these are believed to be still under negotiation and would be confidential anyway. There will be three, what the government calls, 'priority tenants'. These will be South, Athletics Victoria and the VIS. Usage rights will depend on the time of year. The department's representatives said they estimated about 70 athletics carnivals of various types would be held there every year. We would still be able to train on Lakeside's surface. There is an emphasis on opening the space back up to the public, allowing local groups to hire out the venue. The naming rights issue is also undecided. The new trust will take over the stadium costs and maintenance that do not fall under the control of the individual priority tenants.
While all this dependent on planning and administrative processes, the work on the Middle Park aspect could begin by the end of the year. The work on Lakeside itself will most likely begin after next year's Grand Prix, and take up 18 months, with the new track and pitch being done within 8-9 months. The tender for the stadium work has not released yet. On paper it all looks pretty good. The obvious plan form a South point of view is to create a financially sustainable club model, while returning it's local involvement and presence to a pre-BJS era, when we had more fields and local participants. I'm optimistic, but of course caution must be exercised.
Tuesday, 25 August 2009
Player of the year: Sebastian Petrovic. Even George Katsakis was impressed with his performances this year.
Under 21 player of the year: The Cliff Hussey Memorial Trophy goes to James Spanos. Rare for a player to go through an entire season and not make a single mistake, but he did it.
Goal of the year: Goran Zoric's fourth goal against Preston at BT Connor. Flick, volley, from outside the box, top corner, 7-1, good night nurse.
Best performance over a whole match: Bergers away. Too bad we couldn't score a goal to go with it.
Best period of play during the season: Probably the first 20 minutes of the 2nd half against the Knights at Lakeside. We kinda looked like we could do anything then.
Best away game: Richmond. Good company (except for Psile, who was in hiding from Victorious), good food, good win, and the Pies got up by a point as well.
Best call on the terraces: The old bloke who'd fainted/collapsed at the home game against Hume. When the ambulance arrived and he'd seemingly partially recovered he apparently asked them if he could stay to watch the second half. I was saddened to hear that this person, apparently a member for over 40 years, passed away a few weeks ago. My condolence to his family and friends. I hope I still have the same love for this club in 40 years time.
Chant of the year: Come On Hellas! Forza! Hellas!. Yes it's a chant from 2008, but one which was only chanted with any enthusiasm once the bloke who created it fucked off to Poland.
Sunday, 23 August 2009
So what now? Well, on field there's several issues that will need to be dealt with. The keeping situation of course. The parts of the defence that allow those chances. The midfield that gives the ball away cheaply. The players paid to put away chances and yet don't. If this sounds like a plea for a mass cleanout, it's not. Because pretty much the same team also went 10 games undefeated, played some very good football and even scored some cracking goals. Mentally though something switched off at a certain point in the 2nd half of the year. We kept falling behind, kept botching rudimentary opportunities, and seemed at times to be utterly dazed and confused, and that included some of the decisions of the coaching staff.
Now regular readers will have deduced by now that I'm no scholar when it comes to the game. I have players and styles of play that I like more than others, but these aren't necessarily because they are the best, the most attractive or most effective. So I'm not going to really proffer my expertise here, because it would be pointless. I'm just a raconteur, a petty wordsmith with a little hobby and a little bit too much carefully engineered spare time. And besides, there are plenty of soccer professors out there who are far more capable than me of coming up with theories as to where it all went wrong, and more importantly, what needs to be done to get it all right. And even as I type these words to you, they are frothing at the mouth, dispensing their gifts of wisdom like Father Christmas on a commission based wage.
For the time being, I'm going to focus my interests on some of the big off field stuff. Like the Lakeside redevelopment, where the fuck are we going to play next year, constitutional reform, and doing an inventory of all the stuff the club has. Maybe get back to doing some kore historical stuff too. A few loose ends to tie up as well on here like hand out some awards no one cares about, and the women's team playing finals football for the first time in who knows how long. Catching up with people I haven't seen too much of for the past six months, and maybe going to see the odd band or film, or even read a book. And there's my Offset project too and figuring out what I'm going to do next year. But I digress.
So while one season finishes, and in a sputtering fashion at that, there is I believe, something to build on all round for the club. The racist, the solipsist, the professorial and those who can't see beyond yesterday might not be able to see it, but I reckon it's there.
Saturday, 22 August 2009
I was at Altona East today, and after watching two lacklustre games, I figured that I've got my media pass with me, why not watch the qualifying final next door between Altona Magic and Green Gully?
Not a bad crowd considering the small fanbases these two clubs have, as well as the complete irrelevance of this competition to everyone. Some interested onlookers included South assistant coach Phil Peladrinos, two game senior veteran Stefaan Sardelic, spanakopita heir/Heidelberg coach George Katsakis, and remakarbly, even FFV CEO Mark Rendell.
The game being a 6 goal, extra time, penalty shoot out thriller had its moments, but you can read about those elsewhere. What those match reports won't tell you is about how hard Green Gully's fans are doing it in this difficult economic climate. The stimulus packages don't seem to have trickled down to Green Gully Reserve though.
The reason I say this is because rather than purchase any food or drink from the venue - and Altona Magic is one of the cheapest canteens in the VPL - the Gully fans, a whole swathe of them, came prepared with everything they needed. Thermoses full of coffee, a sugar box, paper cups, biscuits, scones. Even the peanut/pumpkin seed man got the short end of the stick, as Gully's fans had even brought their own peanuts (which admittedly some of which they offered me).
My thinking on these matters has always been that either you buy food or drink at the ground, or you take care of all that business before the game and discreetly. The flaunting of their refusal to partake of the local delicacies was most intriguing, and gives one wild ideas about going absolutely nuts with the idea: Clarendon Corner bake sale fundraiser at Green Gully next year?
Friday, 21 August 2009
Hume 1 South 2
Coveny's 100th goal game., and all the nonsense that ensued.
South 0 Hume 1
Not as fun. But it was the informal birth of Turksta aka Kebabsta.
In spite of Hume's loss last week, South would have to go into this game as underdogs. Our form over most of the 2nd half of the year has been patchy at best, with only four wins in those 11 games, and three of those against the bottom three. Add to that no wins against the other finalists in that time frame, a habit of falling behind - 12 times in games this season. No point either in talking about what might happen in the finals, because this is the game of the moment. The boys can take out the title or they can go bust in the first week. I think Hume are that bit more consistent, but here's hoping for an upset anyway.
Thursday, 20 August 2009
State Sports Facilities project
The State Government has committed over $50 million to the State Sports Facilities project which will deliver new and improved facilities at Lakeside Oval and Albert Park for sporting clubs and the wider community. Lakeside Oval will provide a new home for athletics in Victoria with the development of facilities for training and competition at all levels, as well as administration facilities for Athletics Victoria.
The 1926 heritage grandstand will be restored under this project and become the new home of the Victorian Institute of Sport. This project will also support the current tenants of Lakeside Oval, the South Melbourne Football Club through improvements to soccer competition and administration facilities.
The project will:
redevelop Lakeside Oval to provide an international standard athletics track, improved facilities for South Melbourne Football Club and new administration spaces for athletics and the Victorian Institute of Sport
improve training and competition fields for touch football, soccer and other users in Albert Park
Public display and feedback
The State Sports Facilities project’s draft design will be on public display from Monday 17 August until Monday 7 September 2009 at the Parks Victoria office in Albert Park and the South Melbourne Town Hall.
There will also be two public information sessions to be held at the Parks Victoria office in Albert Park on Wednesday 26 August (6 to 8pm) and Saturday 29 August 2009 (2 to 4pm).
The public displays will be open at the following locations:
South Melbourne Town Hall
208-220 Bank Street
Melways: 2K F2
Open: 8.30am to 5pm
Parks Victoria Office
By appointment on 03 9695 9000
31/35 Albert Road Drive, Albert Park
Melways: 2K E6
Open: 9am to 3.30pm
Email: Major Projects Victoria at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel: (03) 9655 8622
Feedback can be lodged at the above locations or via our online form.
Stuff that happened today that demonstrates that world is getting krappier and a little bit more insane
- The video of Fernando scoring that cheeky goal has now surpassed 100,000 hits on youtube. Kinda insane, considering the viewership of the actual highlights of the games is at something like 400.
- The FFV's Gold Medal Night will apparently be hosted by Santa Cilauro. Proofreading overboard.
- Former defender Arthur Tsonis has won the South official tipping comp. His prize? A signed 2009 jersey. Ironic? Maybe. I say maybe because what is irony these days in this postmodern irony filled hell (Pope John Paul II 'separation from God) hole? That, and according to my brothers I'm apparently losing the ability to tell identify sarcasm and irony, akin to one of Sheldon's (The Big Bang Theory) issues with humanity in general. Which bring me to the next item.
- There was this Asian guy on the train - I only specify his ethnicity because it may give a clue as to what's going on, though I'm not sure - and he was wearing a blue adidas jacket. On the back it had 'You'll Never Walk Alone'. On the front it had the Liverpool insignia and the word 'Reds' in yellow. I have no idea what's going on there. Some sort of post-modern commentary on football colour schemes and merchandise? Someone still pining for the days of Everton Athletic and Football Grounds? Or just a clueless fanboi who hasn't even been to a game, like, ever?
- Someone has just now decided, four weeks into semester 2, that my placement for the stupid placement subject can't be the same thing as my special project.
Tuesday, 18 August 2009
Sunday, 16 August 2009
Within the context of the behaviour expected by years of unspoken soccer precedent, De Moraes' actions are not justifiable. Within the actual rules of the game, there is nothing wrong at all; nothing for a referee to deal with except to signal a goal and get on with the game. And thus both sides of the issue have their merits. Ultimately though, the incident speaks to a deeper problem within the game, that of exalting one type of sportsmanship to the exlcusion of all others.
Throughout our post NSL existence, the era of the club I have watched with the most attention by far, I have seen the following. Hideous tackles, both deliberate and otherwise; frequent disrespect for referees; inciting of crowds; deliberate handballs; and perhaps worst of all, the condoning of all such behaviour under the guise of 'it's a man's game', or 'it's a passionate game', but mostly because people are prejudiced towards their clubs, against other clubs, but who need to appear unbiased to give themselves some sort of credibility.
To be perfectly blunt, this sort of sportsmanship nonsense irks me no end. If a player is seriously injured the referee has discretion to stop the game. Most of the time though, these instances contain at best very minor injuries, sometimes even to the extent that players will deliberately exaggerate their injuries to curb the other team's attacking momentum. The point being that, really, play should continue until such time as a natural stoppage comes up, or the referee deems the injured player's health to be in such jeopardy tha the game should be stopped.
For the record, yes, I cheered for the goal. It was no 'Hand of God' moment. Neither will it go down as one of the greatest moments in South history; I certainly hope it doesn't, anyway. And I'm not sure how Fernando will feel about it in years to come. But as someone who has for a very long time actively disliked these phony and mostly unnecessary stoppages of play, I hope that it may finally put an end - at this level at least - to the whole charade. Somehow I doubt it though. The hypocrisy the outrage is built on has been built up over many years, and its cultural foundations run deep. This incident will be a one off. The other types of poor sportsmanship - the lack of duty of care to fellow players, disrespect to the officials, taking advantage of the laws of the game for purposes other than which they were intended - will be repeated week in, week out, and barely a whimper will be raised in the manner it was raised for this incident.
Away to Hume next week. Zoric had missed a sitter before that goal, Sunshine showed very little, the wind played mayhem with the keepers and general play, but Sardelic replacing Tommich in goals did more than enough for me for him to keep his place. Not heading into the finals with anything remotely like devastating form, but all that's behind us now, and who knows what will happen from here on in? The first disaster was averted, that of missing the finals for the third consecutive year and in our anniversary year too. The next phase begins now.
Could South Melbourne's Bob Jane Stadium become the home of Victorian soccer, rugby union and even rugby league?
South Melbourne's new president, television newsreader George Donikian, reckons it can - if the State Government gets together with the sport's controlling bodies and unites to give the Albert Park venue a multimillion-dollar make-over to increase its capacity and refurbish its office and entertainment areas.
Donikian, who recently took over the top job at South as part of a wholesale revamp of the club's management and committee, says a refurbishment program at the South Melbourne ground would add significant value to an existing community resource.
It would allow it to be used as a multisport venue and come at a much cheaper price than a redevelopment of Olympic Park, the other stadium that has been mooted as a candidate for a rework to accomodate the likes of new A-League soccer club Melbourne Victory or a rugby Super-14 team.
"I have approached Ron Steiner at the Victorian Rugby Union and talked to him about the possibility of playing at Bob Jane if the stadium was upgraded and reconfigured for rugby as well as soccer," Donikian said yesterday.
"Might it not be worth looking at the possibility of spending, say, $35 million, on turning this ground into a 25,000 to 30,000-seater venue for soccer and rugby rather than spending a lot more at Olympic Park?
"The atmosphere would be very good, Melbourne Victory would find it a better fit for them in the new A-League than Telstra Dome. I am approaching Craig Bellamy (coach) at the Melbourne Storm to see if there might be interest from rugby league.
"The way we used to do business at this club (South) is long gone.
"We need to go forward, find ways to make better use of the facilities, attract new supporters and improve the place so that clubs like Melbourne Victory could also look at playing here.
"Let's not worry about the development of footy grounds like Punt Road and Optus Oval. We need a ground like this to be improved and it has a lot of advantages. It's in a great location - Albert Park is right near the centre of the city, has tram and light rail links, is close to Clarendon Street and its shops.
"Why couldn't this become another sporting precinct. We could upgrade and build administrative offices here, put in a sports medicine clinic, build a new grandstand on the far side of the ground, put boutique-type stands up behind the goals.
"It's already very close to Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre, so the links could be further developed."
While it is the new A-League club Melbourne Victory that will be the city's premier soccer side, Donikian and a host of new South Melbourne committeemen say they are determined to ensure that South's future does not lie all behind it.
The club - along with another former NSL side, Melbourne Knights - will make its Victorian Premier League debut in January and its new administration is adamant its long-term aim is to rebuild South, so that, if and when the Australian Soccer Association decides to expand the A-League, it is at least in a position, both financially and on-field, to lodge a credible bid for inclusion. That may be in five or 10 or 15 years, but, insists the new president: "We are not just going to be satisfied with trying to win the Victorian Premier League all the time.
"What we did in the past, how we marketed and sold the club, was not good enough.
"If it was, we would be in the A-League ourselves now, and we're not. So everything we do now has to be based on the committed premise that we eventually want to be in the A-League.
"That has to be our main ambition long-term, how we keep the fire in the belly of players, administrators and supporters."
As part of its new branding, the club has made a small but subtle change. No longer South Melbourne Hellas, or South Melbourne SC (for soccer club), it has changed its name to South Melbourne FC (for football club).
Because of its financial problems earlier this year, it has been unable to retain many of its former stars so new coach John Anastasiadis - himself a former NSL title winner with the club - is being forced, in the main, to rely on youngsters such as former Melbourne Knights player Billy Natsioulis and leading Victorian junior Evan Karavitis, an under-17 Australian representative.
Friday, 14 August 2009
Rounnd 11, 2009, at Chaplin Reserve
Sunshine George Cross 1
South Melbounre Hellas 1
The pitch was a mess, which suited the home side whose physical style got them an early lead. South hit back not too long afterwards though, and the rest of the game was mostly a dour midfield stalemate.
It's pretty much like this. Shamelessly stolen from the South official site.
With all sorts of combinations possible, the scenarios have been broken down below with the VPL ladder.
2. Hume City - 37 points +24 GD
3. Altona Magic - 37 points +10 GD
4. Green Gully - 35 points +7 GD
5. South Melbourne FC - 34 points +18 GD
6. Heidelberg - 34 points +10 GD
7. Sunshine GC - 32 points +1 GD
South will finish 2nd if:
* South beat Sunshine by 3 goals or more
* Hume loses to Oakleigh by 3 goals or more
* Altona loses to the Melbourne Knights
* Green Gully draws or loses to Richmond
South will finish 3rd if:
* Hume draws or wins against Oakleigh
* South beat Sunshine
* Altona loses to the Melbourne Knights
* Green Gully draws or loses to Richmond
South will finish 4th if:
* Hume and Altona draw or win their matches
* South beat Sunshine and Green Gully draws with Richmond
South draw with Sunshine and Green Gully loses to Richmond
South will finish 5th if:
* Hume and Altona record a point in their matches
* Green Gully, South and Heidelberg all win or draw their games
Green Gully earns at least a point and both South and Heidelberg draw their matches
South will MISS the finals if:
* Sunshine beats South
South draws to Sunshine and Heidelberg defeats Dandenong
Or, The Law of Diminishing Returns
Or, If replying semi-curtly once a year to a jaded VPL fan who has just snapped his journalistic undies is as hard as it gets, then Michael Lynch's job perhaps isn't that hard after all.
Every now and again, The Age and other newspapers likes ot have a bit of an online blog thingo where peeps send in questions and others answer them. Apparently The Age's soccer and motorsport writer Michael 'Glenda' Lynch had a go today. He got the following question from a South fan. Before you get to read it, let me just say that it doesn't differ much from the answer he gave to an angry tirade of mine that I sent to him some time back.
In fact pretty much the only difference is the mentioning of the online stuff - which considering we're in the year 2009 CE, just goes to show that in addition to providing only a very narrow - albeit popular - range of news and information, that the dinosaur print newspapers still haven't come to grips with the possibilities of the information age.
You know, I have nothing specific against the print news media - rather it's a long list of socialist cliche complaints - but it's not like I'm itching to see them die. But die they will. Because, if they haven't twigged yet, people, especially younger people, are aware that they have the ability to choose their own information. Choose what is relevant to their needs. And whatever the ethical implications are of that, chances are the oldschool print media will suffer.
And in a small way, not giving people want they want will have been a part of their downfall.
Did you realise that the VPL still is being played in Victoria?
Thanks for the continued coverage, all clubs appreciate it! NOT!
Yes, I am aware. One of my good friends has coached the club that has set the pace all season.
I would like us to cover the VPL, but it suffers the same fate as so many second or third tier competitions in the Australian media.
Firstly you have to understand that Aussie Rules will be guaranteed to take up half the space available, at least. I don't like or agree with that, but its not my decision. (The proportion is pretty much the same at the Herald Sun too, if not even more sometimes).
That means everything else, from F1 to world championship boxing, Football to Rugby Union, Rugby League, cricket (even the Ashes is subordinate to the demands of footy), horse racing, tennis, golf (even the Masters and British Opens) etc all have to be squeezed into the other space.
Effectively, that means second tier competition is not covered. We don't cover the District cricket. We don't cover the second tier basketball. Huge as footy is, we only give a cursory wrap to the VFL. And space means we haven't got much, if any, room, for the VPL. We hardly cover boxing, kick boxing, polo, three day eventing, motor sport (bar the V8s and F1) either.
Online does represent an avenue for coverage, and I will try to ensure we get some VPL stuff up online during the finals and perhaps next season on The Age.com.au Its just a question of resourcing.
Hopefully your sardonic mood is now mollified slightly. You might not be any happier, but you may be wiser.
- Michael Lynch
Thursday, 13 August 2009
- Ricky Diaco did not eat all the pies.
- There are still Peter Buljan/General Diagnostic Laboratories mousepads in existence.
- Neos Kosmos does not require secret cash payments in order to boost the coverage of your club in its pages.
- There are not dozens and perhaps even hundreds of South trophies and other artefacts in people's houses across the country, which were allegedly looted at various stages of the club's history.
- The overwhelming majority of South fans would be happy to pay $2 for a copy of a matchday programme.
- Old Greek guys drinking coffees at cafes in Oakleigh/Northcote/Yarraville/insert own proximate centre of local Hellenism are the best source of information about the inner workings of South Melbourne Hellas, especially if they haven't stepped inside the place since 1998.
- People would like Jimmy Armstrong more if he was Greek.
- You cannot make another search so soon after your last.
- Hulk Hogan got to be the way he was by doing his exercises, taking his vitamins and saying his prayers
- South Melbourne Hellas is the biggest soccer club in Australia.
Wednesday, 12 August 2009
The really good thing was that I got to choose the vast majority of the music - shame about the bass on Ian Syson's car stereo being adjusted to such an extent that it was negligible, and thus the poorly recorded bass part for The Autumns' emo/dreampop/shoegaze anthem Embracing Winter didn't have the requisite effect.
Anyway, we drove up to Mildura primarily to investigate two points of interest. One, the state of soccer up that way, and two, to investigate more closely, by way of examining cenotaphs and such, names, deaths and records of war service of local soccer players in the First World War 1. I'll say this for roadside country cafes along the road though. They obviously don't think they can make any money on a Sunday morning, because most of them are closed, and those that are open, seem to be run by people who are confused by the very notion of customers.
The eight or so clubs that make up Football Federation Sunraysia almost all train and/or play on the eight or so fields of their local soccer complex. They're the first soccer grounds we've seen in the 600 kilometres we've driven. They're in decent nick considering the amount of use they get - helped by the use of reclaimed/recycled water. We get there early enough to see several juniors and womens games in action. It's apparent pretty early on the piece in that even the senior game or two we're going to see are going to be largely participatory events, with few spectators. Our discussions with the majority of locals with though are eerily positive, as if not to be is somehow sacrilegious. Thy don't get much money or respect from the local council, but they're happy with what they have - but still harbour resentment at what some other sports get. Crowds are virtually non-existent, but participation numbers are 'good'. It's only in hints within lengthier discussions that different feelings emerge. The tyranny of distance from Melbourne, and from any other footballing centres is palpable. Senior competition is limited - opportunities for talented juniors are negligible, except with the undertaking of high risk and drastic options such as moving an entire family closer to Melbourne.
The summer league - or champions league as it's calling it self now - doesn't do the job required. There is scant funding for the substantial travel costs required. The local federation has considered fielding a combined side in the metro leagues, but concerns about resources, the integrity of the local competition, and the ability to compete are high. But again there is a dogged optimism - the game is stronger than it's ever been. There are constant references to the absence of ethnic clubs - all of the local essentially having lost or thrown out any ethnic baggage or history, or had it negated by the original club creators.
So after watching few of the early games, we get taken on a bit of tour of some of the spots we're interested in. One is the possible location of the first soccer venue in Mildura, next to railway track. And then to various cenotaphs, looking for names of fallen soldiers - there are plenty of these monuments, but they each seem to specialise in a particular sort of list making enterprise. The are odd inclusions and exclusions, strange omissions of entire wars, and perhaps most strange, the inclusion of a guy our records say made it out of the war, but whom one of the local plaques has as dead.
We make it back in time for what is to be our feature match, Irymple Knights - nee Zagreb Soccer Club - against Three Colours, a southern Italian mob by birthright, but as mentioned earlier no longer very much aware of concerned with its origins - something seen as a strength by the locals. The ages of the players have great variation. There are older heads, and there are those who are comparatively still wet behind the ears The standard veers between kick around amateur and something provisional - but the very essence of its player make up, the narrow field, and the lack of any tactical orientation makes such judgements quite prone to error. That, and most of the forays forward come from counter attacks.
The lack of an edge is perplexing to me. The whole day seems far too social, as if there is little up for stake, and it gives the impression somewhat that the local clubs, rather then being sworn enemies, are more like a party of a larger whole, and that games are more like intraclub matches. That illusion is temporarily broken by a behind the play incident that leaves one Irymple Knight down, and players both from sides and a fair chunk of the few spectators at the game looking for someone to hit, push, or get out of harm's way - both protagonists get sent off, and we later learn through fragments of speech that the instigator more or less had it coming to him. So, while the spectre of soccer violence visited this field too, it was still somewhat different from what we're used to, in that it was strictly an individual thing and not a club thing.
We stroll over to watch the last few seconds of the Mildura United - Nicholl's Point game, which finishes quite quickly. We start a conversation with Chris Tsivoglou - manager and seemingly main man from the club. It used to be a Greek team - Chris claims it dates back to 1916, a date which both astounds and arouses obvious skepticism. That there were Greeks in Mildura at the time is not really in dispute - certainly, when asked of their origins, Chris provides the adequate and safe answer that they came from Egypt and the Greek Islands - like most of the early Greeks in Australia. And there certainly were Greeks in the area by the early 1920s. But still, it goes against so much of what we think we know about the situation. The end of all soccer in the area during the war, the near twenty year gap to the next known Greek-Australian club, Apollo Athletic, born in a much more fertile setting, in terms of both soccer and proximity to Greeks.
The other side of Chris's discussion relates to his and the clubs efforts, with the decision made some years ago, to try and include local indigenous kids in the game. It's an uphill battle. Apart from the costs needed to kit them out - most of the kids coming from a local mission and from situations where they cannot afford it themselves - and the discipline need to make them come every week, as well as the near impossibility of keeping them once aussie rules comes calling. Chris is also the first person we meet who bucks the optimistic trend - he says that the game has gone backwards, the standard, the crowds, and just the overall interest and continuity. People come to the game, primarily for their children, and when their child's tenure is up, leave the game entirely.
It's not a phenomenon unique to the region to be sure. The same thing is happening across the country, but with the sheer weight of numbers many Melbourne clubs for example can hold on - in a place already struggling for players, sponsors and political clout, amongst other things, this lack of continuity compels clubs to stay small scale, and provide a particular kind of soccer experience - transient and fleeting. The visit to the Irymple Knights' clubhouse emphasises this. They're proud of their set up and what they've managed to do - as they should be. But there are few people in attendance around the searing bonfire - some talk about the old days - in this case the 1970s and 1980s - with an odd mixture of nostalgia, regret and dismissal. It was good, but it must be let go - things are better now than they ever were. It's a refrain that contains echoes of New Dawn ideology, but it is in equally large debt to the game's isolation from all sorts of mainstream - soccer, sport, location, importance, relevance.
Monday, 10 August 2009
Saturday, 8 August 2009
Lousy beyond your wildest imagination - Magic 3 Some team posing as the great South Melbourne Hellas 0
There was little zip, pep, energy, maybe one shot on target, a lot of Joel Bowden, to Deledio back to Bowden defensive 50 kick to kick rubbish and far too much of can't score a goal from your own innovation, here have one on the house, and another because I like the cut of your jib.
At least the under 21s won 4-0. With some sort of miracle they could yet win the title, being equal first but with Heidelberg still to play a couple of games and our boys just one. At least there was evidence of players that could shoot, pass, run etc.
Friday, 7 August 2009
South 2 Magic 0, Round 10, 2009 at Lakeside.
De Nittis and Nunes scored. For some reason I can barely remember this game.
Well, win this and we're pretty much in the finals and still in line for a double chance. Lose this and we're not of the finals, but it adds unnecessary angst to the final round. I don't know what happens in the even of a draw. But there's more important things to think about.
The players should be aware that Clarendon Corner is currently going through the process of voting for its player of the year. Quite a few people have already voted. I haven't. Quite likely this game could make me forget the rest of the season entirely, and someone putting in a good performance might earn themselves three votes just for playing one good game. How about that? Of course, the far more prestigious South of the Border awards, which are so prestigious in fact that they are known only to the 5-6 readers of this blog and contains no trophy - the reasoning being, how could one capture the awesomeness of them? - will be based upon on an entire seasons work. Even better if there's some finals eaction.