Read Dan Silkstone's Knights go from A-League to B-Grade in The Age. Wait, I bet you already have; and what's more, you've also split yourself into our self satisfied groupings of bitter and new dawn. Well done. What I will say about this article, and the academic works which most of my audience doesn't get to see, is that it's part of a curious trend - in academic circles at least - where there has been a recent swivel and turn towards documenting what has occurred to the 'other' side of the Lowy reform machine - that is, people like us. It's quite late in the piece; it's taken five or six years to get here. It's not necessarily too well informed; even the academic works seem to let people from both sides get away with too much of their blame shifting, defensive, self-promoting rhetoric. And it doesn't really, definitively tackle the core issue, although some have started skirting around it - Australia's attitudes to pluralism and multiculturalism. It's fair to say we're still some way off making that 'discovery', which like all hidden things, is actually there waiting merely to be 'seen'.
So, now for a different tangent perhaps. The war of attrition. And yes, there is one - it is closely tied to the struggle for relevancy. A-League clubs would not have been able to survive five minutes in the situation we and the Knights found ourselves in, and one could make the reasonable argument that they would not even try - playing on behalf of a community, within the community, is not what they were built for. See this post from all the way back in late 2009 for slightly more in depth analysis of reasons for being. But back to the war of attrition. Being effectively barred from even considering applying for the A-League. Not being allowed to play in the 2004 VPL season. Not even getting a phonecall or a note to say to say yeah, we've received your expression of interest in actually applying for the A-League. The media starvation, the covert and overt denigration and the re-writing of history - and yes, I acknowledge that history is always being re-written. All part of the game being played, to wear us down, until we wither and die, or give up, and tell the world, heads bowed, that we are nothing, we were nothing, and we were a burden on the game and the nation.
OK, step back a bit. The thing is, it's easy to get worked up about all these things, like I just did. The point is, as I've mostly said, to focus most of your energies on what can be done to salvage, secure, and re-commit to the task of making South Melbourne a great football club again, and I honestly think we're on the right track. Whether we'll ever get to the storied heights of just a decade ago, is doubtful, but no one but the most realistic of us ever thought we could be in the place we found ourselves in mid 2004. So while giving ourselves a pat on the back for 'keeping it real' is great, there's still a job to do, and with the ignorance and manifestos that prevail in this society, it's an uphill one.