Sunday, 6 May 2012

Friday Night Farce - South Melbourne 0 Southern Stars 2

That was pretty dispiriting stuff. Here's this week's rundown.

Advice on Nutritional Supplements for Athletes
Valium is probably not the right thing to be taking before a match.

Beanies
They're navy blue as opposed to our more traditional royal blue (but since there's no official national blue on the Greek flag, it kinda fits that we chop and change), but they're a good size, and when your head is cold and you've somehow lost your previous much loved beanie somewhere on the corner of Kevin Bartlett Reserve and Night Time Junkie Boulevard, you hand over $15 and shut up.

Chants
When you're playing as poorly as we were last Friday, the gimmick chants come out thick and fast, and why not? Pretty much the only worthwhile thing to come out of the game

'You only sing about kebabs'

'Souvlaki's better than kebabs'

'We love our gimmicks when we're losing'

Credit Where It's Due
Everyone predicted that Southern Stars would come out and stack the defence, and while that was certainly true once they were 2-0 up, they had a good 25 odd minutes at the beginning of the match where their clear and simple game plan - which is not a criticism - was working well for them. So well, that they should have scored early on.

At times they strolled past our midfield, who didn't even know how to jockey or hold them up. They played to their strengths, and looked less like a team that was headed straight down from whence they came, than one that would comfortably avoid relegation even if they weren't in finals contention.

Friday Nights
I don't mind them - the stadium looked magnificent under lights, but it's not good for the kids apparently - once again we have to pander to families, even though single people are the largest demographic in the country. We have one more Friday night home game left this season, but I have a hunch we won't be seeing them much next year, if at all.

Gallows Humour
One supporter mentioned to me after the game, that one day we'll probably score the greatest tap in goal of all time.

It's a reminder that at the end of the day, we are playing football, not gymnastics. There's no bonus points for perfect landings, extra twists or degrees of difficulty.

The aforementioned greatest goal of all time will still count the same as every other goal. I'm sure Trent Rixon and his possible probable internet alter ego would agree.

Game Plan
Are we going for the VPL title or a Nobel Prize?
Speaking of style over substance, where's the beef?

Rumour has it that Gus Tsolakis' whiteboard inside our rooms is full of ink. Slathered in it, apparently, so one can scarcely make head or tail of it.

Now, tactics and playing style are important, but it is possible to over think the game, to walk before you can crawl.

There's something to be said for the almost Zen quote attributed to Melbourne Croatia great Josip Biskic: 'put ball in goal'. (from the infamous 'Australian Soccer This Is Your Life' list).

We have one of, if not the widest field in the league. We have the best surface in the league. Yet, we seek to inch perfect football, trying to place passes on dimes, as if we we're playing on a field with the dimensions of a futsal court.

Positive Spin, with Steve from Broady
He's been so demoralised by recent performances that he's gone back to eating Maccas, even after he said he'd quit. His 'Positive Spin' segment has struggled to get off the ground, and yet this should be his milieu.

So I'm just going to do it for him to get him started, by putting into the digital sphere at least one of his utterances about that game. The best he could come up with was that there's always next week. Before adding, we'll get smashed five or six-nil.

I sometimes worry about the effect I've had on him.

Silver Surfers
Rumour has it that the players chose to wear the silver away strip at home because they viewed it as some sort of good luck charm.

Here's how it works, boys. We are blue, and we are white. They are our home colours, and our away colours when there's no clash.

And another thing, I know athletes of all stripes are superstitious gits, but the bottom line is make your own luck. If we're relying on particular to get us over the line, we're stuffed.

True Supporters
What an elusive concept. A lot of abuse was directed at the players and the game plan, especially after the game. Some of it was completely over the top, however , did the players expect to be clapped off?

There are other clubs where people will be satisfied with a good effort, or who will clap their team off regardless of the result. This isn't one of those clubs.

Trent Rixon got fired up, and started dishing out some of his own abuse at the end of the game. Can't fault his efforts during the game, as he looks to be playing at considerably lower than full fitness - a pity though that the same urgency wasn't apparent in the rest of the team.

A woman at the end of the game had the gumption to yell out that those supporters should be ashamed of themselves, that they weren't true supporters. And while, as noted above, that the abuse was sometimes over the top, her assertion really annoyed me.

Since our demotion from the national spotlight, our supporter base has been decimated. Now I'm not arguing for allowing an anything goes approach, whereby no one gets banned, or sanctioned.

But accusing people who've been at just about every game and every ground in this part of our history, of not being true fans, is just ridiculous.

Who made the 16 hour round trips by bus to Canberra to watch a goalless 80 minute match?

Who makes up the 50-100 diehards at a freezing Epping Stadium night match?

When there's no glory of point left at the tail end of another wasted season, who's making the trip to Western Suburbs to watch the youth players get a gig to save on wages??

When the rain and wind bites cold, and the away support is huddled together on the muddy Anderson Road hill at Chaplin Reserve, are you there? Or are you at home in front of the heater, with nary a thought about the match?

And the blather about people being brought back to the club, and being appalled by such behaviour, and therefore never coming back, is nonsense. People like that are soft, and looking for any excuse to avoid going to South matches. Of course, similar behaviour at an A-League or AFL match doesn't prevent them from making repeat visits.

Assuming also that some of these players have ambition of playing in higher ranked leagues, they better get used to dealing with that kind of scrutiny. If they can't handle 20 odd angry men, how will they cope with a few hundred?

The flip side to copping such abuse, is that when the players do good, or at the very least leave nothing out on the pitch, we will shower them with praise. Witness the defence, then praise of the players at the Oakleigh match this season.

We weren't in the game for half an hour, and we were being hacked to pieces as well. The supporters tried to encourage the players, and defend them from the ill-treatment in the only avenue open to them.

And when they came out in the second half and destroyed the home side with scintillating football, we cheered and admired their persistence and their performance, without reservation.

It's not fickleness per se; it's the natural emotional response from a segment of the faithful, some of whom, like myself, have nothing else worthwhile in their lives.

Zenith
I wish we could forget, but we can't. See all you true supporters at Epping on Friday.

3 comments:

  1. Rixon's internet alter-ego??

    ReplyDelete
  2. There's a stream of thought out there that 'therewasalittlefrog' on soccer-forum is Trent Rixon, or at the very least, someone close to him.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Invite him onto smfcboard.com

    ReplyDelete

While I like people commenting on the blog, it would be useful if different posters could at least leave some sort of nickname to make it easier to sort through all the different 'anonymous' posters. If your post doesn't get approved straight away, it's probably because I haven't seen it yet. Lastly, just because I approve a comment for publication does not mean that I endorse its content.