So the story's going something like this.
Eddie Krncevic has stripped the captaincy off Ramazan Tavsancioglu and given it to Steven O'Dor, for reasons which have not emerged yet in any official capacity. Since then, the situation has deteriorated so much that Rama is out of the side altogether. Rama is a free agent and assessing his options - with a return to South under Eddie's tenure almost impossible. Naturally this has set off a massive torrent of support for Rama and a heap of abuse against Eddie Krncevic and the board. But it's never so cut and dried.
Eddie's appointment as coach was not a universally popular one. His previous stint at the club back in the NSL days ended in controversy, with rumours of transfer impropriety, which it must be noted, have never been definitively established in the public sphere. More recently, with his work as a player agent, it has been assumed that he would try and get work for some of his clients, even though as a coach he can no longer be an agent. Bringing over his son Jesse, despite Jesse's undoubted quality as a striker and our desperate need for one, is just another target to aim at for his detractors.
In his first stint as coach at South, Eddie took over after Mike Peterson upped and left for the Football Kingz - Eddie was left with a weakened squad, and after the betrayal of a favourite son, was granted a bit of leniency. For his second stint as as coach at South, Eddie has replaced Vaughan Coveny, whose contract was not renewed. This time will not be easier. Of course, Horsey is a 'club legend', and all sorts of rumours started about how he was treated poorly by the club. All this ignores the fact that the style of football we played was atrocious, regardless of earning enough points to finish in the finals.
Add in the anti-board agendas of several groups, of whom few have had the temerity to actually say something at an AGM, where they did actually attend; the fact that before this situation started, half the Greeks of soccer-forum.net and even some non-Greeks wondered how a 'Greek' club could have a Turk as captain, a tune which has now changed to focusing on the club's apparent betrayal of Rama. And lastly for now, the fact that Rama's uncle was providing sponsorship to the club as well, and it keeps getting worse and worse.
Now if Eddie's goal was to stamp his authority on the team - and I seriously hope it was - he's seriously messed up this situation. If it's merely a case of not rating Rama as a player, Eddie has obviously gone about conveying that message in the worst possible manner, and it has only emboldened those who had him as a marked man even when his appointment as coach was still an internet rumour. It's also interesting to note that Rama has still been appearing at our Hellenic Cup fixtures, while at the same time also acknowledging that the rest of the squad has not risen up in rebellion against Eddie's decisions and processes. Why this is the case, I do not know.
For what it's worth, I like Rama. He seems to genuinely care about the club, has improved his disciplinary record a great deal, and the players generally seem to look up at him. However, there is also the playing side, which I;'ve felt for some time hasn't improved significantly. His crossing is still very poor, which nullifies his effectiveness as an overlapping player. And he's still having difficulty judging balls going over his head, as well as getting dragged towards the middle far too often. But Eddie's also cut James Stefanou and Eddie Cetkin from the side, meaning that experienced defensive stocks are thin on the ground, and that perhaps Eddie's squad management and people skills aren't exactly crash hot.
Should Rama not return this season, will it mean more opportunities for players from our youth squad, such as Josh Colosimo and James Riccobene? I certainly hope so. Krncevic, as coach of Carlton, despite having a large budget for which to purchase high profile players, which he certainly did, also gave opportunities to young players such as Marco Bresciano, Simon Colosimo and Vince Grella. Several young players have been trialled against the lesser likes in the pre-season, and our under 21s did of course cruise to the title last season, playing some attractive football. And isn't this what having sttrong junior sides is all about? Using them to rebuild and replace without needing to shop around?
I'd say this is going to be fun, but it obviously won't be. Once upon a time this club even sacked Paul Wade, who was the Socceroo captain at the time. In part this was because the coach at the time, Frank Arok, felt Paul Wade wasn't up to it any more; and surely an additional reason would have been because Arok wanted to create his own group with new leadership. I hope that this is what Eddie has been aiming for, and that his methods are proven right. Getting rid of a captain and player with several years at the one club is never easy, and Eddie's success and legacy may well rest on this issue alone. The old maxim that no player, no coach and no fan is bigger than the club is about to get a massive work out.
Meanwhile, I'm going to be in my bomb shelter until this thing blows over.