Thursday, 29 September 2011

Gosch's Paddock Gossip (and other stuff)

So yeah, I was at Gosch's Paddock yesterday with a snow bunny talking about my thesis and paying attention to groins and hamstrings while trying to cope with the overwhelming boganity in the surrounds.

And the snow bunny told me that we had actually hired a general manager, allegedly one Peter Kokotis, local player agent and occasional contributor to Neos Kosmos English Weekly. If this is true, it's an interesting end to the saga which started here and thankfully ended here.

Also rumours flying around that we've signed goalkeeper Griffin McMaster. If this is true, what does it mean for Zaim Zeneli? What does it mean for our youth keepers? And who is taking on the role of football director? Interesting times as per the norm.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

South to host Olympic in Lakeside relaunch?

This is how bored I was yesterday. I went to the Box Hill United vs Whittlesea Ranges State league 2 playoff game at Yarraville's McIvor Reserve. It was cold, and it was windy.

I stood in line for what seemed like forever to get a souvlaki which may have contained some sort of hybrid of chicken and pork. I couldn't tell what it was. At least it was in pita I suppose.

And during this outing, I was told by someone that our grand re-opening of Lakeside will be a match against Sydney Olympic on Sunday December 11th. Make of that whatever you wish.

Whittlesea Ranges won 1-0 in extra time, but Langwarrin should beat them next week.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Some nonsense I whittled two years ago

Neos Kosmos English Weekly used to do this thing where they profile a local Greek-Australian soccer personality. I don't know if they do it anymore, because my folks don't buy the Saturday edition, and I don't buy it unless I've written for it, which hasn't happened for a long time. Anyway, I offered James Belias, the editor of the sports section, the opportunity to take up my profile, even though I don't play or coach or ref or administer - in the real world anyway. He declined to make use of a Hattrick profile answering the same questions. Pity. Well, I have a blog which is sitting idly here doing squat, may as well use it for shameless self-promotion.

Name : Paul Mavroudis
Club : Juniper Hill
Position : Club owner/chairman
Occupation : Associate Editor of Das Libero
Last season : 5th of 8 teams in our division 4 series. Lost relegation playoff 3-0.
Greek clubs played at : None.
Ambition : Get my club as high as possible. Not suck.
Career Highlight : Against all odds finishing fourth in division V.150, even knocking off the top team. A round six cup run two or three season back.
Football heroes : Robbie Fowler, Paul Trimboli
Current favourite local player : Julius Stoker
Current favourite international player: Timothy Dahl
Fav Aus Soccer Moment : 3rd South goal in '99 grand final
Team in Greece : I'd be lying if I said I took Greek football seriously.
Other sports : Aussie Rules and Gaelic football
Away from footy : Reading, writing, blogging, arguing, music, surfing web, collecting enemies
Fave cafe : none
Fave night club/bar : None.
Fave music : Elbow, Eels, The Autumns, Lift To Experience, Manic Street Preachers, Faith No More, Weird Al Yankovic
Holidayed in Greece : Back when I was 12.
Favourite Movie : Millennium Actress
Best thing about being Greek Australian : The incredible achievements completed several thousand years ago by a minority of people that I can attach myself to. And supporting South Melbourne Hellas.
Worst thing : Being associated with Acropolis Now.
Hidden Talent : Ability to tell the truth and not be believed.

Friday, 16 September 2011

And now it's official

Eddie is gone. All these things are viewed best with hindsight. In the end, Eddie was a victim of his inability to stamp his authority on the side. For most of the season, Joe Montemurro and even Ange Dallas were doing most of the coaching, with Eddie cowering on the bench.

Though restricted in the middle of the year by injuries and suspensions, his squad selections at times seemed to favour certain players over others regardless of form or suitability. The side should have finished at bare minimum with a double chance - instead they squeezed into the finals on the final day, and were helped by other teams having points docked.

Where South goes from here is an interesting question. There is still no proper football director to make such a decision; then again, look how far well we've done even with someone in that paid position; The names of former players Peter Tsolakis and Joe Palatsides have been bandied about, while others have suggested that Mike Chatzitrifonas, current coach of Richmond, might be a left-field choice of sorts.

With Eddie gone, which players of his will also go? It sadly seems almost a given that Jesse won't hang around; Topalovic leaving would please a few; the fate of Sebastian Petrovich and even Fernando De Moraes may also hinge on what the new coach has in store. Long off-season ahead of us.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Is Eddie still with us?

Reports circulating on soccer-forum and in Neos Kosmos that Eddie is gone, but no confirmation from the club as yet. Also in Neos Kosmos, interview with '91 championship player and current Mirabella Cup winning coach with Northcote Peter Tsolakis, where he claims he has made no plans on who he will coach next year - but that Northcote naturally has first rights to his services for next year.

Only mentioning it because Gus' name has been bandied about a bit. And look at me go - South of the Border officially into the 2012 pre-season. The Tintin jokes managed a brief moment in the sun.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Pros and Cons of having Greek Tycoons

I've been keeping my ear to the ground, hoping for something interesting to pop up. No sign of coach sacking, let alone hiring. All pretty quiet when it comes to South at the moment. But there have been intriguing rumours circulating that Greek-American tycoon Roberto Rastapopoulos is interested in tipping his money into South Melbourne. Rastapopoulos is no doubt a clever and inventive character, but it's worth weighing up the pros and cons of having such a figure involved at South. Here are some points both for and against having Roberto on board that I came up with at short notice.

Points For
  • Quite wealthy individual, would allow us to start becoming really ambitious about what we could do with the club.
  • Well known identity, one which could garner lots of media attention for South.
  • Well connected individual, especially in the entertainment industry.
  • Has no baggage from previous club administrations. Could be part of a genuine fresh start.
  • Could get us into A-League? They let the Gold Coast in after all.
  • Could help placate those who think South is not Greek enough. 

Points Against
  • His involvement might well mean the privatisation of the club, a move which our members have been historically opposed to.
  • Has no known background or prior interest in sport.
  • His Greekness could be used against us by those who claim we aren't open to others outside our Greek heritage.
  • Alleged links to elements of organised crime.
  • Hostile attitude to certain parts of the media.
  • Is a fictional character from a children's comic book series.

As you can see, there are good arguments on both signs of the ledger. Just have to wait and see what, if anything, comes out of this scenario. There have been similar claims made before that people are ready to come in and put their considerable wealth and business nous to work for the South cause, and so far these predictions have never come true.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

South of the Border Awards 2011

Player of the year: Carl Recchia. This was a close run thing in my mind. Considering how many players were absent for extended periods throughout the season, as well as the fact that we used over 30 players during the season, ultimately I had to look for the most versatile, most determined and most valuable player, and Carl was that person this season. With apologies to Zaim Zeneli, who did a good job in goals as an unknown quantity; Jesse Krncevic, who scored lots of goals but could have scored more had he been on the field; and Kyle Joryeff, who I marked harshly last season, but was this season's biggest improver.

Under 21 player of the year: The Cliff Hussey Memorial Trophy goes to Jake Vandemey and Josh Colosimo. Yeah, I know, ties suck. But also, wow, this was hard to pick again. Despite churning through a few young players, not many of them got an extended go, and those that did - Kamahl Ibrahim and Kliment Taseski - didn't impress me all that much - please no more more loaning of young playesr when we have our talent to draw on. Even the under 21s team went through a mountain's worth of players. Injuries and defections

The reason I pick these two lads, is because even though they spent most of the season not even playing for South, and instead participating in a league several notches lower in terms of standard, their willingness to see their tenure at Hobart Olympia as an opportunity rather than as a barrier to their ambitions to play senior football in the VPL. They certainly seemed to provide a positive influence on a previously struggling Olympia outfit both on the field and off it with their professional attitude.

Goal of the year: Kyle Joryeff, against Bentleigh round 2. The obvious choice would be Jesse Krncevic's effort against Northcote, round 22. There were some good free kicks and such along the journey, but Joryeff's control, turn and shot for what turned out to be the winning goal in the game was an early season highlight of mine.

Best performance: Oakleigh away, during the home and away season. We thoroughly deserved the win, and only conceded a goal from a stupid free kick.

Best away game of the year: Purely from a fan's point of view, and disregarding the result and the frankly woeful performance, the semi-final loss against Oakleigh. A good crowd, and South fans created a terrific atmosphere. It was great to have Lefteri back this year as well. Hopefully we see him at plenty of away games next season also.

Call of the year: "Northcote have received so much money from us over the past two years that they should have 'South Melbourne' on the front of their shirts". Probably a bit harsh, but at least it was memorable and more than just a little insightful.

Chant of the year: Maybe I missed some really good ones not being near Clarendon Corner, but I reckon it'd have been hard to top this one. When Ljubo Milicevic had a decision go against him in the home game against Springvale White Eagles, the chant went up 'the referee's an Anglo'. Classic. Runners up were Clarendon Corner chanting my name early in the season, and MCF's effort against Cobram Victory in the Mirabella Cup. "Give me a 'C', give me an 'O', give me a 'B', give me an 'R', give me an 'A', give me an 'M', what does spell? INCEST!" Crude, tasteless, wonderfully oldskool

Best after match dinner location: Look, it has to be during the season proper. Otherwise the Hellenic Club in Hobart would have won this hands down (and even the call of the year for tha matter). But the Hot Space Szechuan Bar in Russell Street makes a fiery but awesome gung po chicken that even manged to stop Steve from Broady from shoveling it down in his usual reckless manner. How about that? Consecutive years of spicy chicken dishes win this title.

Friends we lost along the way: Aussie Disposals blue/white no.2. What a piece of crap umbrella that was. Carked it upon opening against some team or other. Supermercado; don't think we saw him any any game this year. Wherever you are Mercs, please come home, we miss you.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Lynchy, Lynchy, Lynchy

If you ever get a chance to listen to the Martin/Molloy skit 'Gordon Gordon', a parody of a certain strain of AM talkback radio programming, you'll come across the bit where they have an old fogie of a television reviewer as part of the regular guests.

The catch is, of course, that the quality of the programs he's reviewing are in no way related to what was on screen; rather, all the programs are judged by the quality of the food and wine at the relevant launch, as well as the gifts that all the press members at the launch receive. Hence, a Channel Nine program gets rave reviews, while a Channel Seven program gets slammed because of the crap food on offer and the keyring which fell apart as soon as he got home.

All of which leads to the point of this article. So, after the Twitter stoush between The Age's top-flight only soccer writer Michael Lynch and curmudgeonly academic Ian Syson, Lynch somehow managed to get one over the editorial top brass and sneaked in some VPL paragraphs into his regular reporting. The fact that we were supposed to be grateful for any coverage didn't seem to get past Lynch. It also didn't seem to get past the FFV, who invited Lynch to their Gold Medal night.

The photographic evidence in Goal Weekly seemed to indicate that Lynch had a pretty good time, and they even let him present the Bill Fleming Medal for the soccer press' player of the year to Richie Cardozo. Meanwhile as a holder of a media pass, which includes writing match reports and such, and even the occasional article for Goal Weekly, I'm still waiting for my voting slip. For the record, I would have voted for Andy Vlahos by the way, because of the added coaching responsibilities he undertakes in addition to his excellent season.

Anyway, I'm just about over the nonsensical situation of having a guy who admits he doesn't know when games are on because he hasn't been told - even though he's on the South Melbourne mailing list for example - getting feted like a king by the football authorities. Just about over that is, until I was informed about this little exchange on Twitter.

Michael Lynch @ KopThatWyld 4K for a Grand Final is disappointing. Maybe not the level of support that some assume - or was it just 2 lesser supported team
Ian Syson @MickLynch_Age @KopThatWyld #VPLcoverage ML, you gave some good coverage in recent weeks but 4K to a GF that received nil promo is quite ok.

Ah, Lynchy, couldn't help yourself could you? Nevermind that there was, as noted by Syson, basically zero promotion; that even though the game was played on a catch up week for most leagues, it was still played in direct opposition to most of those catch up games; that an offer of four free tickets to other clubs was only emailed late; that despite having two poorly supported sides in the final, the game still managed to have an increase of about 2000 spectators on the previous season's crowd, which also featured two poorly supported clubs.

No; despite the many things anyone could come up with to mitigate the supposed 'poor crowd', you still felt you needed to put down the VPL to try and score a personal point. And the FFV must feel great for having invited you to their annual aren't we awesome piss-up. Hell, half the people in the FFV offices have probably been to as many Victorian league matches as you have anyway. What you and they do is just a job - I mean, why should anybody working in such a field actually care about soccer after they clock off at the end of the working week?

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Video showing the creation of the track at Lakeside


Wow. Just wow.

So, last night the club MVP was awarded for 2011. And it was a tie. Half of that tie was Jesse. The other half was Topa. Did not see that coming. I know we had a screwed up season, but wow. Might need to add something to the list of dumb AGM questions.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

2011 MVP Night tonight

Late notice I know.

It's on at 7pm at Honey Bar, 45 Clarendon Street, South Melbourne. Entry is $30.

I'm out. Bit sick at the moment.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

FFV works hard for the money

I don't endorse football violence, or referee abuse which borders on the psychopathic, or any other moronic behaviour which brings the game into disrepute. Discipline should be dished out, and goodness knows there are still people out there who just don't get it, and never will get it.

But the FFV, in its self-professed quest to clean up the game, has become increasingly reliant and addicted to the hefty monetary punishments it doles out to clubs, even to those with long incident free stretches, and whose reputations have been sullied not by large scale riots but by the actions of individuals.

If a club can legitimately make the claim that it did all in its power to prevent an issue from coming up, how responsible can they be held for the actions of their supporters, especially infrequent spectators? The question has been asked - how can a club prevent something happening at the potentially half dozen grounds its youth teams in particular might be playing at during any given week?

If fines in the realm of tens of thousands of dollars for first offences become the norm, what can clubs expect for second offences? That's if they survive of course. Clubs at a certain level will be able to grit their teeth and get through, but clubs in the provisional leagues playing in open park lands?

But that's a debate for soccer-forum. What I'm more concerned and interested in is in here.

By 4pm on Monday, 04 September 2011, the Maribyrnong Greens SC shall identify the name and contact details of:

  • (a) The individual who ran onto the ground with a corner flag at the above name fixture.(b) The individual who posted comments on the Facebook page of Abbas Allafta as referred to in this Tribunal hearing (31/08/2011).

Failing either of these the Club will be charged with Misconduct by the FFV.

FFV CEO Mark Rendell; whatever you do, don't fall asleep.
So now the FFV is hunting people down by reading Facebook pages. Well, at least we know what they're doing now when they can't seem to organise a cup tournament properly. The two marquee teams are forced to pull out; you've set aside no dates for the fixtures; you mistakenly put teams from zone into another, despite coming up with the zone system yourselves; you even forget to put one of the entrants into the comp at all; but stalking clubs and people on Facebook? Too easy.

What next? Hanging out in pubs with supporters? Hiring private investigators to play for teams? Find a way of trying to get into people's dreams. And knowing the FFV, it wouldn't be a stylish homage to the late Satoshi Kon and Paprika, it'd be more like an even worse sequel to Nightmare on Elm Street than that horrible Wes Craven's New Nightmare which Channel 9 buried after midnight a couple of times.

Just got to keep watch on what we say and how we say it everywhere nowadays, because churlishness and faux-nostalgia aside, this seems like an organisation willing to go to lengths unknown to achieve its goals, whatever those goals happen to be.