Sunday, 10 April 2011

Day of Ghosts - South Melbourne 1 Richmond 0

Well, this was an unusual day.

The weather wheeled and turned the way it used to do in Melbourne. Rain, sun, wind, hot, cold, not necessarily in that order. Got to wheel out the Greek phrase "ο ήλιος έχει δόντια (the sun has teeth)", meaning that even though the sun is shining, there is no warmth. There's apparently also a version of this saying in Albania, so there's a good chance that it's a wider Balkan thing. The second umbrella I bought from Aussie Disposals kicked the bucket about five seconds after I opened it. So it goes.

And Lefteri was back, after years and years away. For the uninitiated - Lefteri was the sound of South Melbourne Hellas for about 25 years. The specific sound was his trumpet, calling ours fans to arms. Even if you didn't know what he looked like, even if you stood in another part of the ground, the trumpet was as much as part of the South Melbourne experience as souvlakia and a long line at the ticket booths two minutes before kickoff.

South fans happy to have Lefteri back. Photo: Cindy Nitsos
There are several rumours circulating about the reasons for his seven year absence. And it wasn't like there weren't several efforts in the post-NSL era to try and get him back. Why did he come back today of all days? Will he be back next week? The week after? Who knows. With all due respect to Bruno, the lad who's filled in on trumpet duties on and off in the year's since Lefteri's absence, it was nice to hear the original, even if it wasn't quite as powerful and fluent as it used to be, and to see him in his vintage vest, loaded with patches. In a very small way, for many it felt like nothing had changed. A quick look around though quickly breaks that illusion.

We started off the game well, dominating the first twenty minutes or so. All our chances went to waste though, and our slicing and dicing of the Richmond defence was all for nothing. The visitors picked up their game, but were still mostly reliant on set pieces on causing us problems. Steven O'Dor was back in this week, but he barely lasted half the game. He came off and Recchia was forced back to the defensive post he held last week. He's doing a good job - it's amazing what decent pre-season can do for a player.

But as the game wore on, we kept losing our shape. The main culprit was Ljubo Milicevic, who whether under the coach's instructions or his own decision to hark back to the days of Total Football, decided his role was to roam across the field, in every position it seemed except for the one he was supposed to be in: centre back. It caused all sorts of chaos on the field, and raised the ire of several of his teammates. And all of a sudden the ghosts of Ljubo's past are coming out again, to the point where maybe a Captain Obvious/Dr Philism comes into play - hey, maybe it's not always everyone else, maybe sometimes it's you.

Where was Simon Colosimo today? Photo: Gains
Anyway, Carl Recchia managed to score the winning goal, from a corner where allegedly the keeper was obstructed. I couldn't see if that was the case from the distance and angle I was at, suffice to say I was pretty confident when I saw the ball dip quickly at the near post with the keeper somewhat stranded. All in all not pretty stuff again for the most part, but good enough. Next week away to Hume for an earlier version of the Anzac Day Cup, one of the so-called 'Great Cups of Cuppage'.

Now for some of the other crap that happened today.
  • Discussing the current status of Greek provincial team Kalamata, it came to my attention that they had been relegated to the fourth division there due to either financial irregularities or mismanagement. Hell, let's just call it shenanigans. Somehow I managed to quip that there's probably a rumour starting over there that the fans are asking whether George Vasilopoulos or his Kalamata equivalent has a mansion in Dromana. 
  • Remember when Tony Free was captain of the Richmond aussie rules club? Hilarious stuff.
  • Dean Uthoff or Shawn Bradley?
  • Now this one's from Steve from Broady, so I can't really ascertain the truth of the matter. All I can say is that it sounds good. Anyway the story goes that former South Melbourne players and current Melbourne Victory employees Mehmet Durakovic and Kevin Muscat were at the game. At half time as Clarendon Corner went past as they were switching ends, Muscat for some reason apparently called us a club run by fish and chip shop owners. I haven't had this story verified by anyone else yet.
  • The "Keeping It Real" fad is getting out of control. I think I'm going to start the Hyperreal faction.


  1. The Fish and Chip jibe from Muscat ever confirmed? :)

    I believe Lefteri made some further appearances since this day. Right?

    1. Yes, some, mostly home games at Lakeside, but not for very long.


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