Sunday, 31 July 2011

Job half done - Dandenong Thunder 0 South Melbourne 1

First things first. Elbow, Wednesday night, tremendous. Randy Newman and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra on Friday night, equally tremendous. Metro and their stupid revised timetable, not so tremendous. Still, thanks to Randy I was singing and humming 'Short People' for most of the game yesterday. Decent song, but there's no many other better ones why was that one stuck in my head? At least the trip to Dandenong by rail and bus was nice and efficient.

Anyway, to the day's events proper. One could, even at this early stage of what will certainly be another poor match report, start theorising about what could happen next week. But I hardly see the point just yet - Heidelberg still has two games to play before the final round, and while they will be expected to take all nine points from their remaining matches, a slip up in either of the two games before the final round will have significant consequences for everyone else.

Suffice to say that while the results didn't necessarily go our way yesterday, we at least fulfilled our part of the bargain - well, for this week at least. Despite the Thunder's loss of several players, as well as the consequent damaged morale from being docked six points - been there, done that - they still had a chance to play finals football, no matter how much the old Albanian guy munching on pumpkin seeds next to me had already given up the ghost.

And for that, I'm grateful that we started off well, even though we had to rely on desperation and luck to get us over the line. Still, it was nice to see that kind of hunger out there at all, from a team that has been in constant upheaval this season, on and off the park. For the second week in a row, post Joe Montemurro's departure, we moved the ball well and reasonably quickly, used the width available, and gasp, had Eddie barking out orders from the bench.

Eventually our pressure paid off when one of our numerous crosses found a target - this time Jesse Krncevic, whose diving header was angled perfectly into the corner of the net, out of Stuart Webster's reach - to give us a well deserved one nil lead. Thunder should have equalised however, when they somehow managed to hit the crossbar from close range, and the aforementioned old bloke told me to buy a lotto ticket. His whole life in Australia he's been probably waiting for South Dandenong to reach the Victorian top flight and maybe win a title, and I'm destined to never see my team in the true top-flight again. Somewhere in there is an ignoble futility expressed exceedingly poorly. Too many adverbs, perhaps.

The second half was more of the same - hard tackling, wasted chances and a difficult pitch to play on, wet, slippery and with several dead spots where the ball instead of bouncing would get stuck in the mud. Having made the switch to the opposite side of the ground in the second half, it was hard to tell exactly how close the Thunder got to scoring, but from the reaction of the crowd, it was pretty bloody close. Rhodri got caught in the wars again, the recipient of another bruising and probably illegal challenge that wasn't called up - but we hopefully have enough depth now, with most of our squad in reasonable fitness to cover should he not be available next week.

But not close enough, and thus we managed to get the three points and take it to a final round showdown with Northcote, which will hopefully utterly destroy our faux sister club relationship of the past two seasons. What the FFV was thinking when it placed two Greek clubs against each other in the final round I don't know. They probably don't read the papers, because if they did, they might just realise that no one gives a stuff about this league, and that there's probably more worthwhile ways out there of earning a living. Maybe they should ask the owners of the garish mansions around George Andrews Reserve how they make their living.

If I could make any sort of rational sense of this season, I would - though I get the feeling that if we lose to Northcote next week, it'll become perfectly clear, unlike the two messages I got on my phone telling me to be at the MCG today by 12:30 and to remember to grab my beers. What that's all about I do not know.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Kiss of Death, Round 21, 2011

I’m back. Two regular season games to go, and the finals begin. Who will secure their top five position and who won’t? Will South miss out on a finals series two seasons in a row? Will Oakleigh miss out, or will they make it and choke? This week's Kiss of Death has all the answers.

Scotch Watch
Two games to go, and the contest is still very much wide open. South has Dandenong Thunder and Northcote to play; Bentleigh has Northcote and Green Gully, so obviously no easy games for either combatant. South was in second place but wins to sides with games in hand has seen us slip down to fourth.
  • South Melbourne, 4th place, 37 points, goal difference +5
  • Bentleigh Greens, 5th place, 36 points, goal difference +8

Green Gully vs Springvale White Eagles
3rd v 12th. This one should be a no brainer. Springvale have secured their spot in next seasons State League 1 competition, while Green Gully make their traditional late run into the top five. Green Gully should win barring any surprises by Springvale. Green Gully 2 – Springvale White Eagles 0.

Hume City vs Oakleigh Cannons
1st v 2nd. Hume lost in an upset at South Melbourne two weeks ago, while Oakleigh continues to play unimpressive football and continues to chug along in second spot. My crystal balls tell me that Hume will beat Oakleigh and give them the heeby jeebies. Hume City 2 – Oakleigh Cannons 0.

Northcote City vs Bentleigh Greens
6th v 5th. Here’s hoping that Northcote beat Bentleigh for the sake of Scotch Watch. We all know by now that if Bentleigh scores, you can’t break them down. Johnny A has them playing a normal game up until they score or take the lead, then it’s park the bus time. Seriously annoying, yet effective. Northcote City 2 – Bentleigh Greens 1.

Richmond v Melbourne Knights
9th v 10th. Only Richmond is of finals contention in this fixture. They still can make the finals from 9th spot barring a miraculous goal scoring spree. After the midweek Mirabella Cup victory over Cobram, the Knights will be going to Kevin Bartlett Reserve with tired legs. Richmond 2 – Melbourne Knights 0.

Heidelberg vs St.Albans
7th v 11th. Another somewhat dead rubber. St. Albans have joined Springvale in State League 1 next season, while the Bergers will be in the top five of the VPL. The only team with a game in hand, and that’s against the shit idea that is the VTC. Heidelberg 3 – St. Albans 0.

Dandenong Thunder vs South Melbourne
8th v 4th. Not sure if I'm going to be at this one, as I have other commitments on the day. Even with a loss Dandy and South can still make the finals, dependent on results and next week's final round. Interesting times at South lately with Joe Montemurro being released from the coaching panel. A lot of changes at South throughout the season, but the team seem to be travelling OK. Not good, but OK. It just goes to show how poor the VPL has become when only one team has stood out this season and that is Hume City. South Melbourne have never lost at Dandenong, and they don’t need to start doing that now. Eddie has a pretty much full squad to choose from with Matthews, O’Dor, and Junior all back. Do you change a winning lineup?Dandenong Thunder 0 – South Melbourne 2.

The table after this weekend will look like this leading into the final round.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

This week's game against Dandenong

Two things should be noted about this Saturday's game against Dandenong Thunder, to avoid any confusion.
  • The game is open to the public.
  • The game time is 3pm not the usual 7pm.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Notes from an almost South-less weekend

Don't know about you, but for once it wasn't too hard to find things to do without the eight hours I usually spend on a Sunday in the cause of watching South, which involves public transport, the ressies, the main game and a quite dinner with Gains and Steve from Broady, preferably at somewhere good and cheap.

On Friday night I became the victim of public transport crapness but still managed to catch about 70 minutes of the game between Port Melbourne and Fawkner. Port dominated the match, but ex-South goalkeeper Stefaan Sardelic had an excellent game, making several vital saves, including some excellent double saves. Would have been nice to see him receive some more encouragement from his teammates. I also saw someone get clocked in the head by a falling branch while standing behind the Plummer Street goals, thankfully no damage done.

Also got a call asking if I could fill in again for writing the state league 2 and under report for Goal Weekly, and I said yes. Then after my driver stopped for fuel and a sandwich, I somehow ended up in Oakleigh for a gin and tonic. Maybe because it was my birthday and people just about begged me to go outside of the house.

On Saturday afternoon I trundled over to Paisley Park for the state league 2 north-west match between Altona East and Westgate. Had a great souvlaki and saw the reserves snap an eight game losing streak by managing a 1-1 draw, and joined by Ian Syson, watched the senior match which was OK I suppose, a lot of effort but not a lot of method, before East got on top in the second half and probably should have won by more than the 1-0 margin. Overheard someone going on about the World Club Championship money, again.

Fahrudin Mustafic volleys home Singapore's third goal. Photo: PoHui Ko.
Felt like the supporter of an unpopular club when I had to listen to the Pies on the radio instead of watching them on free to air television. Became satisfied that the game was done and decided to watch the Singapore vs Malaysia 'Causeway Derby' World Cup Qualifier, Asian Zone, Second Round 1st leg tie. Stream was choppy but worked well enough for me to see all eight goals. Spent Sunday morning writing the state league report and a match report for the Singapore match and round up of other related results, which you can read here.

Olympia's Joshua Colosimo clears ahead of Devonport's Brad Chilcott. Photo: Walter Pless.
Then I watched about five minutes of the season 1996, round 22 match between Hawthorn and Melbourne, then had some lunch. Checked Walter Pless' blog for discussion of Olympia's win over Devonport City, which sees them through to the state wide cup final against South Hobart. And then went to Aldi and bought a lot of junk and a couple of bottles of cider. Oh and courtesy of Oakleigh's win today, we slip down to third. Joe Montemurro apparently got the sack as well. And rumours are circling that James Spanos is due to fly in this week from Greece to resume his South career.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Wilhelmina vs Hellas, Round 1, 1962

I recently found these two photos in the National Library of Australia's photo archive. As hinted at in the title of this post, they're of the round 1, 1962 Victorian State League fixture between the Dutch backed Wilhelmina (now known as Ringwood City) and our very own South Melbourne Hellas, which coincided with the opening of Wilhemina's Jubilee Park. The NLA's description reads as follows.
Unidentified Wilhelmina and Hellas players
contest the ball at Jubilee Park's opening.

Badsmen…marching girls..cheers..They were all part of the scene when Wilhelmina Soccer Club officially opened its new stadium in picturesque Jubilee Park, Ringwood, on the outskirts of Melbourne, in brilliant sunshine on March 31. The stadium, which took two years to plan and build, has been called a dream ground for players and spectators alike. Wilhelmina and South Melbourne-Hellas players vie for supremacy on Wilhelmina's new ground. South Melbourne-Hellas fought every inch of the way-and Greek supporters danced for joy when Hellas opened the scoring.

Like Ringwood City itself, which is now languishing in the bottom rungs of the Victorian soccer hierarchy after a disastrous fall from grace, Jubilee Park itself has apparently also seen better days. By repute, once one of the best soccer grounds in Melbourne has deteriorated to the point where the much loved grandstand is now closed off to the public for safety reasons. My father, a carpet installer, recalls installing carpet in the social club in circa 1978, and marveling at the set up that Ringwood City had, in particular in comparison to many of the Greek clubs.

As to the result of this match, despite South opening the scoring through George Papadopoulos, goals to Jan Bons and Leo Beerendonk saw Wilhelmina secure the win by a score of two goals to one. South would win the return fixture in round 13 by the same scoreline, and go on to win the 1962 Victorian State League title - its first in that competition - by two points from Juventus and Wilhelmina, remembering of course that a win back then got you two points instead of today's three.

An unidentified Hellas player beats his Wilhelmina opponent to the ball.
Wilhelmina had won three consecutive promotions in the 1950s, and snared their one and only State League title in 1959 after having won the Dockerty Cup the previous year against Juventus in a replay. They remained competitive for many years, until eventually falling by the wayside along with other outer eastern suburbs clubs such as Croydon and Mooroolbark. Their last season in the Victorian top flight was in 1990.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Sturm und Drang - South Melbourne 3 Hume City 1

After everything that has happened this week, let alone this season, it was nice to see the under 21s again. And they didn't disappoint, taking top spot from Hume by beating them 1-0, after holding out against a strong wind in the first half. That a certain former South youth player with red hair, who crossed over to Hume halfway through the season missed a sitter to level the scores must have made the win just that little bit sweeter.

Somehow, we're second on the table. Of course it helps when other teams drop points, as Oakleigh did today against Richmond, where Ricky Diaco had a penalty saved in the second half with his side trailing 2-1; and it also helps when sides have games in hand to play, such as Oakleigh, Heidelberg and Northcote.

2-0 and down to 10 men as Lou Acevksi gets sent off. Photo: Cindy Nitsos
But you can also make your own luck. When Stephen Weir's free kick deflected off the wall into the space in front of Hume City substitute goalkeeper Kenny Gerohristodoulou, it was Jesse Krncevic, back today after a long spell on the sidelines with suspension, who reacted fastest and swung the ball into the corner. That was 3-0, and more or less the game wrapped up.

It wasn't a good day for the Hume goalkeepers in general, as first Daniel Dragicevic slid the ball past Lou Acevski from a tight angle, into basically the only space available to him; and then when Sebastian Petrovic headed home South's second soon after, Acevski was given a straight red card for kicking a ball into a South player.

Five different ways to stand in a wall. Photo: Cindy Nitsos.
Later, Gerohristodoulou, whose choice of shorts left little to the freeballin' imagination, pushed a South fan who was giving him back the ball for a goal kick, which fired up the crowd behind his goal. Hume City had a bad day at the office, but handled their emotions poorly. South by contrast had its best performance for some months now, without Tom Matthews, Steven O'Dor and even Joe Montemurro on the bench.

Discounting the most recent VTC match, it was the first time we had scored two goals in a match since the round 13 loss against Green Gully, and the first time we'd scored three since that fabulous 15 minute spell against Melbourne Knights all the way back in round six. We had several chances to add to our tally, before taking the foot off the pedal in the last 20 minutes or so and allowing Richie Cardozo to net a consolation goal for Hume.

Daniel Dragicevic leads the celebrations after scoring the opener. Photo: Cindy Nitsos.
After the first goal, someone ripped a flare at a South league game for the first time in about four years. There goes $500, or $1500, or whatever it is now, and another reason for the FFV to get on our back, like we needed one. I wonder if the perpetrator realised that the FFV were filming the game for their live stream? Somewhere at South there must be a communal self-destruct button that I haven't found yet. When I do find it, I'll either rip the bloody thing out, or press it with such conviction that the earth opens up and swallows us whole, leaving scant trace of our existence.

And then there  was the moment when myself and Ian Syson were discussing getting someone like Southpole to provide a guest lecture for Victoria University's 'Poetry and Poetics' class, to discuss the process of oral compositions, non-literary working class adaptations and such. Clarendon Corner's rewording of Frozen Tears 'South Melbourne', was just tremendous, bitter, resentful and yet full of wit.

Did I mention that we're second on the ladder? Heinous, isn't it.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Kiss of Death, Special Edition - The Kliment Taseski Fiasco

How could I not come out of my shell for this one.

The FFV are slowly becoming the game's worst enemy. They wrote the rules, but fail to interpret them as written. How the hell do they expect clubs and their 'associates' to understand them?

I am talking about the FFV's brainy idea to deduct Oceania Club of the Century South Melbourne three points for allegedly fielding an 'ineligible' player in Kliment Taseski, who is on loan from A-League club Melbourne Heart. It seems that within 48 hours of making the moronic statement below in a smartarse kind of way on Facebook, they have decided that they made an 'error' in regards to the rules and have reversed the minus three points deduction, as of 4:43pm today (Friday).

Let this be a lesson to the FFV.
a) Do not use a social media tool to make smartarse comments.
b) Read the rulebook that YOU wrote and understand it.
c) Do not deduct points on a whim, as this happens nowhere else in the world of football.
d) Scrap the whole points deduction 'scheme' and let clubs play the game on the park and not off it.

Finally, I believe Oceania Club of the Century South Melbourne FC, deserve both a written on paper, and a written on Facebook apology. Its fans and other footballing fans alike deserve better from the Federation that is administering football in this state.

South get three points because we didn't field an ineligible player

Turns out Kliment Taseski has a dual registration. So, to reiterate.

Ange Dallas, not as incompetent as he was made out to be by everyone else except this blog. We've always stuck by you Ange, you handsome devil!

FFV just as incompetent as ever, not even knowing their own rules.

If only we'd won the game last week. Oh well, small mercies and small steps I suppose.

Revised/Updated Scotch Watch standings
  • South Melbourne, 3rd place, 34 points, goal difference +3
  • Bentleigh Greens, 6th place, 33 points, goal difference +7

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Kiss of Death, Round 20, 2011 - On Strike

The Kiss of Death is on strike indefinitely - read on below to find out why.

Scotch Watch
In a normal world, Bentleigh's win last week coupled with South's loss would have seen the Greens draw within a point of South in this contest. But this is Victorian soccer, and therefore we are in a permanent state of being through the looking glass. And thus courtesy of being deducted three points for a fielding a player in a game they lost anyway, South finds itself behind and on the ropes.

  • Bentleigh Greens, 5th place, 33 points, goal difference +7
  • South Melbourne, 7th place, 31 points, goal difference +3
Kiss of Death on strike
Hello fellow readers.

I have received countless emails this week by people (big betting sharks) requesting that I withhold publishing more Kiss Of Deaths, and they stop betting on the VPL due to the way it is run by the people who supposedly run it. In other words, I am on strike along with others.

I will however give the people who run the VPL a bit of a serve. I know you people read my column, I know you people read this blog, and I definitely know that you people have no clue. A background of myself. I have been following this game for over 29 years in Australia and have been involved with various clubs in all capacities.

I’m going to start with the FFV’s Customer Service Charter. Particularly point 1 under Section 4, “FFV will be seen in and engage with the football community”. Absolute bullshit. The only time you people are around the “community”, or the grounds is when it’s finals time and you get the gate. Other than that, I am yet to see anyone from the FFV at any VPL games, or at any lower league games.

Next is the ‘Abuse you may Lose’ campaign. Another bullshit idea to come out of headquarters. How can a spectator be responsible for causing a team to lose three points, if all they are is a spectator? How can a club control a person from doing something that isn’t foreseen? I wasn’t aware that clubs had mind reading abilities, or that clubs were required to have a minder for every spectator that entered a venue. This is a bullshit policy that cannot be policed. This is a policy that must be dropped from the game unless it is an easily identifiable person who is associated with the club in an official capacity. A simple spectator who pays his $12 entry fee cannot be responsible for a club being docked points. Points are won and lost on the field of play, not on the terraces or tribunals. I don’t know any other league or situation where a club has been docked points for the acts of fans, other than in Victoria. This is an absolute disgrace. Drop it now! Along with this way to lose points, is the administrative points deductions. How can a club be deducted points for late payments? Fucken ridiculous.

Run the FFV like a business, but don’t let it impact on the team ladders. Players train and play hard, all for the FFV to deduct points because of some crappy rules. Have you people ever thought of running a survey on the players and seeing what they think of the idea of losing points? I can guarantee that you will see that even the players don’t agree with what you are doing. Go on, ask them what they think.

Finally, the tribunal process. What a joke this is. For those of you who have had the pleasure of sitting in on the most mundane, ridiculous and boring tribunal hearings, that are staged at the FFV, you will know where I am coming from. Independent tribunals, eh? Is that why after all the arguments are heard, the parties are asked to leave the tribunal, while the FFV staff stay in there with the 'independent' tribunal? How about revamping the tribunal with people who understand the culture of the game, and who understand how the game works?How about accepting precedent, and being consistent when handing out judgements?

South deducted three points for fielding ineligble player

Things go from bad to worse. The club has been deducted three points for fielding an ineligible player in last week's 1-0 loss against Richmond. The relevant player is Kliment Taseski, whose loan period with us apparently finished on July 4th. We were apparently notified of this on July 5th, but proceeded to play him on July 9th anyway.

The one slim chance of having this overturned is that during the transfer window, we applied for an extension to his loan. Logically however, I would imagine that the loan period would have only been extended to this point in time. I mean, surely even the FFV could not be that incompetent to have not accurately read its own player data?

So, taking that into account, and assuming that the FFV did not make an error, the blame must fall on the people responsible. The pretend coach Eddie Krncevic, the real coach Joe Montemurro and footballer director Ange Dallas. Because it's their job to know who's right to play and who isn't.

You wouldn't knowingly play a suspended player. And the responsibility for getting a team on the park is their job. No one else's. It's what they get paid to do. They've been delegated that task because that's how it all works. And if they're not held responsible, then the whole lot of them, from top to bottom, should probably be thrown out.

All the facilities, hard work and scrambling to stay alive is pointless if we don't have the merest hint of respect for ourselves and our primary purpose which is, after all, to play football and be pretty damn good at it. And to be brutal for a moment, we've sucked balls for most of the past five years. Something has to be done.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

The Late Report - Richmond 1 South Melbourne 0

You can make up your own mind about this image. Photo: Cindy Nitsos.
The lack of angry emails suggests that no one's been slashing their wrists at the lateness of this match summary.

Which is fine by me, because really, what could I write about this game anyway? That we took 60 minutes to get started. That we overpossessed the ball? That we had, on several occasions, two of our own players bumping into each other because they didn't know where to go? That we went round and round and round and round in ever dizzying circles? That despite all of this, we could have stolen a point late if Carl Recchia had managed to keep his shot low from barely six yards out?

We went behind five minutes into the game. A free kick that I didn't think was there, because I thought the ball hit the player's face rather than the South player's foot, but regardless, Richmond had two goes at it and scored from the second after we didn't seem to want to clear it out of our box with much urgency and paid the price for it.

Zeneli could have given away a penalty, but I'm not sure if he got a hand onto the ball after his fumble - in any case, the referee booked the Richmond player for diving. Likewise, I was on a crappy angle to see how far offside Recchia was when he headed the ball over Richmond's goalkeeper Stephen Gal and into the back of the net. The crossbar also saved Richmond in the second half when a deflection from a free kick landed on it. I wish Stephen Weir would just let Vasilevski take the free kicks.

Anyway, all the kranskies and slices of cherry cake with whipped cream on top couldn't make up for the slop which was dished out by our side, again. And instead of going close to cementing a top three spot and the double chance, we'll instead have to fight and scrape our way into the finals, if we're lucky.

I suppose the one measly positive you could bring to the table is that despite our rancid run of form, we're not getting belted. It's all 1-0 wins, or 1-0 losses or the odd draw. Oh, and Jessie Krncevic is due back this week against Hume. And our under 21s, if they can beat Hume this week, will be top of the table with two games to play. It looks like it'll go right down to the wire against Northcote in the last round. Just our luck - the only that's beaten us in our two year stint at John Cain Memorial Park, that is of course, provided Hume doesn't give us another spanking this week.

This banner, which lasted three minutes at Knights Stadiumm lasted a fairbit longer on the Heyington rail bridge. Photo: Mark Boric.
Polish, the language
Southpole, your attempts to convince me that Polish is an easy language to learn were not helped by being unable to convince me that the letters 'szcz' found consecutively was a logical way of writing; nor were your mate's crazy Polish tongue twisters; but especially not when you and said mate were disagreeing on the pronunciation of certain words and the meanings of basic phrases.

Some new, specially imported South Melbourne Hellas stickers have hit the streets. Look out for them in unusual public spaces.

Irony, or the lack thereof
'The bitches go off' - didn't think I'd ever hear that comment made without at least a knowing wink.

Czech Beer and Soft Drinks
Beer, good; soft drink, meh.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Kiss of Death, Round 19, 2011

Scotch Watch
Bentleigh's atrocious defending cost them last week against Richmond, while South squeezed past St Albans to extend South's lead in this contest back out to four points.

  • South Melbourne, 3rd place, 34 points, goal difference +4
  • Bentleigh Greens, 6th place, 30 points, goal difference +6

Melbourne Knights vs Heidelberg United
9th vs 4th. Looks like the Knights are hitting their straps and making a late surge for the finals series. Mathematically they can still make it. In the last two weeks they have beaten two Greek teams, and this week come up against another Greek team in Heidelberg. Can the Knights make it three against their Orthodox rivals? I think they can, and hope they can against Heidelberg. They have played a very compact game and come up trumps. Heidelberg should be without their coach George Katsakis who received a red card last week against Northcote. Heidelberg will also be without first choice keeper Griffin McMaster who received a fracture last weekend, and most likely this will affect their finals aspirations. Melbourne Knights 2 – Heidelberg Utd 0.

Hume City vs Bentleigh Greens
1st vs 6th. Hume City will go into this game full of confidence. They are on a roll and are on a ten game unbeaten streak. The last time they lost was in round eight, 4-1 to Bentleigh of all teams. Bentleigh will not be good enough at Hume this weekend. The home loss to Richmond 2-3 last weekend has most likely screwed with their heads. On another note, I urge the FFV to change this fixture to the weekend of the 17th July and reverse the fixture to be played at Bentleigh Greens. Why? Because the 20th July marks the illegal Turkish invasion of Cyprus and why shouldn’t it be remembered in the same way the Anzac Cup is with South Melbourne as the away team at Hume? Hume City 3 – Bentleigh Greens 0.

Northcote City vs Green Gully Cavaliers
7th vs 5th. Northcote had a 2-1 loss at Heidelberg last weekend, and Green Gully beat Dandenong 1-0. Northcote beats Gully and they take their spot in the five. Northcote loses to Gully and it makes it harder for them to enter the five. I think Northcote will beat Gully and beat them convincingly. Northcote City 3 – Green Gully 0.

Dandenong Thunder vs Springvale White Eagles
8th vs 12th. Both these teams have turned to shit. Dandenong has gone from good to bad to woeful. Springvale started not bad, but after round six have just gone really shithouse. Springvale knocked Dandenong out of the Mirabella Cup midweek, and I think they’ll continue this run this weekend. Dandenong Thunder 1 – Springvale White Eagles 3.

St. Albans Saints vs Oakleigh Cannons
11th vs 2nd. It’s that time of the year where Oakleigh start choking. They lost 0-1 to the Knights last week, and St. Albans played very well against South Melbourne in their 1-0 loss last weekend. People will laugh, and people will think I’m crazy, but St. Albans will beat Oakleigh. Oakleigh big signing Richard Offiong has broken his leg, and he has become money well spent… pfft. St. Albans is blooding youth in the remaining games and getting ready for State 1. St. Albans 2 – Oakleigh Cannons 1.

Richmond vs South Melbourne
10th vs 3rd. A less than convincing South beat St. Albans last week, and Richmond had a surprise win at Bentleigh. With four games to go, it’s now all about securing a top five spot for South. I expect them to go closer to securing that spot with a win over Richmond on Saturday. Richmond has had a rough and tumble season and have been pretty bad. I can’t see them springing any surprises over South. But, it’s been a long season and they way South has been playing, anything can happen. Richmond 0 – South Melbourne 4.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Graeme Hocking and the story of his local club - now updated!

Recently one Graeme Hocking wrote to club historian John Kyrou, to talk about his time as a schoolboy footballer for South Melbourne United, and John was kind enough to pass along the letter and photos of Hocking's team medal and personal medal - which Hocking has donated to the club - to South of the Border.

Graeme was a member of United's 1951 Dunklings Shield winning team, which was a schoolboy competition which had run since at least 1934, but rather was confusingly also the name given to trophies for several other sports. including rowing and life saving.

In previous discussions (here and here) on South Melbourne United, we noted that members of United's junior wing left in the mid 1940s to form the Park Rangers club. United's continuing success in junior soccer indicates that there was a healthy soccer playing community within the South Melbourne/Albert Park/Middle Park area.

Hocking was the captain of the side, and his dedication to his teammates and the game can be seen by the fact that even when his family moved from the Middle Park area, first to Upper Ferntree Gully, then Castlemaine, he would still make the trip down by steam train to Melbourne to play for his team, arriving home at 7:30pm after having gotten up at 4:00am to perform his duties as an apprentice baker.
Graeme Hocking captained the side, and can be seen seated behind the Dunklings Shield. On his left, seated behind the small trophy, is vice captain Don Dodds. The goalkeeper behind Dodds is Del Mannering. The gentleman in the dark suit is Alex McFadyen. The suited man on the right hand side is Jack Olsen. The rest of the people in the photo Hocking does not remember the names of. Mannering would go on to play senior football with Melbourne Hakoah, playing in the state league for several seasons in the 1960s. Prior to that he had played with George Cross, and in the early 1970s it seems also with Wellington Olympic.

Update! With thanks to Ted Smith and Graeme Hocking for the additional info.
  • After playing senior football for South Melbourne United, goalkeeper Del Mannering played for Hakoah, George Cross, Makedonia, and in the early 1970s it seems also with Wellington Olympic.
  • Alex McFadyen, the man in the dark suit, was a coach at both South Melbourne and at the South Melbourne Technical School. Ted Smith recalls "Mr. McFadyen also set up a St. Kilda Junior team which he asked me in 1957 to coach, and I had them all them in my first car – a 1938 Ford – including Mike Mandalis, Attila & Joe Abonyi who had just arrived from Hungary."
  • The suited man at the opposite end of the photo is Jack Olsen. He was secretary at South Melbourne United in its early days. According to Ted Smith, Olsen was also heavily involved with the VASFA's junior setup, which is corroborated by a 1950s Soccer News article listing him as the secretary of the Victorian Junior Soccer Association.
  • While he is not this photo, Graeme Hocking has noted that Frank Crean, then president of the club, "lived next door to our cake shop and house which was located on the corner of Mills and Richardson Streets, Middle Park, directly opposite what was Middle Park Central School (likely now Middle Park Primary School -ed), which I attended.

Monday, 4 July 2011

South literally squeeze through - South Melbourne 1 St Albans 0

It wasn't pretty, again. Stephen Weir opened his South Melbourne account, by beating the offside trap, squeezing the ball underneath the Dinamo keeper, and having the presence of mind to follow up the shot which had hit the post and tap it in, instead of going off on a premature celebration.

The rest of the game is hardly worth talking about. An atrocious crowd, numerous botched chances to St Albans, including one memorable howler where the ball went in exactly the opposite direction of where the striker intended, and the odd occasion where South stuffed up what were meant to be gimme goals. The replay may also show that St Albans may have been hard done by with a couple of penalty decisions for handball, but they were at the opposite end of the ground to me.

Kliment Taseski was probably our best. Zaim Zeneli showed what you get when you have even a merely adequate and stable presence in between the sticks (though he was better than that), while Fernando De Moraes came off the bench again and looked distressingly un-Nando-esque by demonstrating poor touch on several occasions. Here's hoping he's back to his normal self next week in what will be his 150th appearance for South (League, State Cup and Singapore Cup).

And yet, somehow, still third with four games to go, and a good opportunity to get a double chance provided we keep winning. And despite how poorly we are playing, there are perhaps only one or two sides - Hume and Heidelberg - who I think we are outrightly inferior to if we play to our best.

Next Game
Against Richmond, but not a Friday night, as the FFV has deemed their lights as not being up to scratch. So instead, it'll be a Saturday afternoon - disappointing some, but not me, as I prefer Keven Bartlett Reserve (and most grounds, to be truthful) in the daytime.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Kiss of Death, round 18, 2011

Scotch Watch
With Bentleigh winning and South losing last week, the Greens have drawn to within a point, and it looks like it will go right down to the wire.  

  • South Melbourne, 3rd place, 31 points, goal difference +3
  • Bentleigh Greens, 4th place, 30 points, goal difference +7 

Bentleigh Greens vs Richmond
4th vs 10th. It is imperative that Richmond stop Bentleigh's run and secure my bottle of scotch for season 2011. Both teams won 2-0 last week against their Balkan opponents, but Bentleigh is on the up and that is somewhat worrying. Hopefully Richmond can hold them back abit with a draw. I don’t care how many goals each team score, as long as they score the same amount. Bentleigh Greens 2 – Richmond 2.

Oakleigh Cannons vs Melbourne Knights
2nd vs 9th. Oakleigh were lucky against Heidelberg last week and didn’t impress me at all. Melbourne Knights looked rather compact against South and were able to beat them 1-0. I see Oakleigh having trouble tonight in containing the Knights. Oakleigh Cannons 1 – Melbourne Knights 2.

Green Gully Cavaliers vs Dandenong Thunder
7th vs 8th. Well. The bubble has finally burst down at Dandenong. Chris Taylor resigned on Monday night and six players walked out of the club due to alleged money issues. Looks like that FFV fine has finally started to bite. Green Gully copped four at Hume City, and Dandenong was walloped by a rampant Northcote 0-6 last weekend. I see Gully handing Dandenong another walloping this weekend.
Green Gully 4 – Dandenong Thunder 0.

Heidelberg United vs Northcote City
5th vs 6th. Northcote is knocking on Heidelberg's backside this weekend. If they win, then they take Heidelbergs spot in the top five. Bergers were unlucky at Oakleigh last weekend, and Northcote taught Dandenong a thing or six about how football is played. One question I’d like answered from George Katsakis. Why did Osagie play out wide on the left against Oakleigh? Surely he should’ve at least been moved to his striking role in the second half, and not with 15 minutes to go. George, if you read this blog, can you post a comment and answer it for me. Cheers. Northcote is travelling well, and should have a good game at the Village. Heidelberg United 3 – Northcote City 3.

Springvale White Eagles vs Hume City
12th vs 1st. Hume will have absolutely no issue in dispatching Springvale back to division one this weekend. I am so confident of Hume winning that no one can talk me out of it. Springvale had a mass exodus of players midweek and that will only kill the club's ambitions of staying up. What was an exciting team who went unbeaten during all their friendlies pre-season, has shown that they are just not up to Premier League standard at the moment. Hume is currently the benchmark team. Banging goals in left, right and centre. They will have a field day at the Srbski Sportski Centar, and annihilate the Eagles. Springvale White Eagles 0 – Hume City 8.

While almost certainly relegated, Dinamo are unlikely to have it rubbed in their faces like this.
South Melbourne vs St Albans
3rd vs 11th. What should be a regulation win for South, sadly will be made into a struggle for the three points. We have been in third spot for weeks, if not months, and seem to be stuck there. Teams above and below us are dropping points every week, yet we can’t seem to capitalise on it. They lose, we lose. They draw, we draw. They win, we win. We struggled at St. Albans on a compact ground, against a team that was happy to park the bus for 90 minutes. We played well against the Knights and copped a goal against the run of play. This week Eddie should have all the squad at his disposal and any injuries should be non-existent, unless I’ve missed someone. The only one who by my book won’t be available is Jesse who is currently suspended. This weekend is our chance to somewhat break away from fourth spot. Out of the next five games, only one team is currently in the top five. We need to collect at least 12 points from those games to be a serious finals contender, and not one that will drop out in the first game. South Melbourne 4 – St.Albans 0.