Wednesday, 26 September 2012

South of the Border Awards 2012

Here are my crappy awards for 2012. I'll also be providing forecasts as to the winners of the 2022 season with my Nostradamus like powers based on the assumption that the National Competitions Review as put forward by the FFV gets up and going.

Player of the year: Dimi Tsiaras. Brad Norton could have won it for inexplicably playing more games then everyone sans Peter Gavalas. Luke Byles would have probably won it if I used a week by week voting system. But Tsiaras when he was playing at defensive mid, seemed to add a bit of cunt to the side. More of him in that position next season please, and less of him pinch hitting in defense as was asked of him in 2012.

2022 winner: Alain Prost Montgomery Trent Spoffington de Beaufort, the latest superstar out of the Xavier/Scotch/St Kevins etc 'my parents were loaded and I play football for South Melbourne' program.

Under 21 player of the year: The Cliff Hussey Memorial Trophy goes to Anthony Giannopoulos. Andrew Cartanos showed something in his stints at the end of the season; I liked Matko Budimir more as the year went on; Nicky Jacobs season was cruelly cut short the week after he bundled in the winner against Southern Stars. But bias propels me to pick 'Gia'. Last year his attitude and leadership qualities stank. This year, he's come along in leaps and bounds in both areas, and he appears to be a less selfish player. I was immensely disappointed he didn't get a run at all in the seniors in 2012.

2022 winner : We won't have under 21s by then. In the words of TISM, if you're not famous by fourteen, you're finished.

Goal of the year: 2012 was a very lean year for spectacular goals at South. So in that spirit, the award goes to Anthony Giannopoulos, for his amazing and sadly not caught on camera scissor against Oakleigh. He could have controlled it, he could have headed it, instead he went for the ridiculous and pulled it off.

2022 winner: After a 55 pass build up, James Spanos Junior, Esq. - inspired by watching Alessandro Del Piero during his Sydney FC stint - will nonchalantly curl one into the top corner.

Best performance: I would have said Oakleigh at home, where we dominated 88 of the 90 minutes, but I preferred Oakleigh away all the way back in round two. After getting beaten up for 30 minutes and being behind, we spent a good hour playing blistering football which made us all think we were due for big things in 2012.

2022 winner : It'll all depend on the KNVB methodology number crunchers.

Best away game of the year: Southern Stars. The chaos when Nicky Jacobs scored the winner was fun.

2022 winner: The Battle of Painkalac Dam against the Elwood City Grebes at the Moggs Creek gala day. Can't wait.

Call of the year: Lot of sadly memorable mentions, mostly originating from the mouth of Steve from Broady - 'the things that keep you up at night', 'get it in the mixer', 'what's for dinner'. But the clear winner had to be 'if they were at Northcote, they would have scored that', said by just about everyone, and by me even in cases and places where relevance was minimal.

2022 winner: In order to facilitate a 'fun, safe and positive environment for our children', all wit, including the sarcastic, withering, snide, sly, offbeat, cynical, existential and beatnik, will be prohibited.

Chant of the year: A few to choose from, but 'quack, quack, quack' from the Mighty Ducks takes the win this season

2022 winner: South Melbourne! (clap, clap, clap) South Melbourne! (clap, clap, clap)

Best after match dinner location: Technically, it was a pre-match dinner location, but Thai Deli on Clarendon Street (next door to the abominable Pizza Hut) was fabulous. Hope be there again soon - being closed on Sundays does make it harder to get there though.

2022 winner : Ontbijtkoek paired with Sisi.

Friends we lost along the way: Clarendon Corner, apparently. I wouldn't write them off so quickly though.

2022 winner : There will be no friends, only parents, and even then, only sometimes.

Barely related to anything highlight of the year: During driveway cricket at Southpole's house, bowling alleged cricket superstar Steve from Broady out for a first ball duck.

2022 winner : Sadly, the above will probably still be the highlight of my miserable existence.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Bill Fleming Medal - who was your player of the year?

Doesn't look like much of a medal. Photo:
Melbourne Knights official site.
After the farce of not being asked by the FFV to provide my nominees for the media's player of the year (and associated awards), despite having an FFV media pass, this year they've sent me the emails for my opinion. Thank Ganesha for that.

They operate via a 3-2-1 set up. Now, I'm not going to tell you who I'm voting for (for the record last year I would have voted for Andy Vlahos, while the winner was Richie Cardozo), but I would be interested to hear who my readership thinks was the player of the year.

So leave your comments - with some supporting evidence if possible - in the comments section. Entries of comedic value from people that only watched South games are welcome, but serious replies are what we're mostly looking for. It doesn't even have to be a South player (guffaw).

There are also awards for article and photo of the year. Again, I have some in mind, but if you've come across any that you think are worthwhile, let us know about them.

Apart from that. let's hope Michael Lynch doesn't get to present the award this year.

Monday, 17 September 2012

A Day To Remember - Heidelberg United 2 South Melbourne 5

Yesterday might not have been an argument for the FFV's proposed National Competitions Review reforms. But it certainly provided a solid argument that something needs to change.

It was an appalling crowd, even taking into account the poor seasons of both clubs, the decline of second tier crowds in general, and the decline of this once great derby. If there were 300 people there as reported by some, then half of them must have been in the Bergers' social club.

The Bergers, as is perhaps becoming the norm with struggling and even not completely struggling teams throughout the divisions, could barely manage to muster a reserves team. Reportedly starting with just nine players, they were 7-0 down before three of their players became injured, and the game was abandoned.

The field was atrocious, one of the worst I've ever seen at this level. Dribbling was almost impossible. Passes were only good if sent skimming across the surface rather than rolling. Players from both sides kept losing their footing, often without opposition interference.

The atmosphere, apart from Clarendon Corner going all out for one last hurrah before moving into at least semi-retirement, was dire. There have been Hellenic Cup matches with more of an edge than this, and not just because of a price hike in the price of souvlakia for the finals day.

The game itself at least had a couple of sides that tried to provide some sort of entertainment value. Heidelberg struggled to get too many chances, but were efficient initially. Some better crossing from our end would have seen a higher score, but who's complaining? Rixon, who came on in the second half for the first time since his six match suspension was ended, smashed a well hit shot against the crossbar. Another goal - possibly in the same sequence of play - was disallowed for offside. But we also had a smidgen of luck for once as well - one of our goals in the first half hit the post, went across the face of goal, hitting the hapless Heidelberg goalie before going in.

It was the first time we'd scored five against the Bergers since the NSL days, and the first time we'd beaten them three times in a row since that era as well. Don't ask for specificities on that though. Shaun Kelly, brought across mid-season for defensive replenishment, ended up as our top scorer for the season with a tally of four goals. Baggio Yousif managed to add his name to the list of South scorers, as did Matko Budimir.

Clarendon Corner had a ten year birthday/reunion celebration of sorts. Word is that the concept is being put into at least semi-hibernation. Six seasons of slop and a lack of new members will do that to people. There were a couple of new banners for the occasion, a march to the ground, solid chanting and some spirited moshpit activity.

Heidelberg Harismidis, in his role as ballboy, had a few chants and cheers directed his way, all in good fun. Somewhere between idiot savant and noble savage, and yet actually being possessed by something completely different altogether, his runs and up and down the sidelines of the VPL grounds will be missed, sort of.

Even George Katsakis, that most diehard of Alexandrians, managed to laugh along with a Clarendon Corner chant at his expense ('my cheesecake shop, is better/bigger than yours', I think it was). Gus Tsolakis pulled out a little party trick with a behind the leg pass from a ball going out of play. It was that kind of day, that kind of season. Both coaches have seen better days.

As far as we have fallen, at this stage at least we have not reached the depths that Heidelberg have fallen to. Yes, we hate them, want to thrash them, but it is also true that upon their eventual demise (should it actually happen) they will take with them a part of us. They are our shadow (our unheimlich, perhaps) - less successful for the most part, a perennial warning to what could happen to us if we ever get too hubristic, which is never too far away at South.

Later this week, we'll start talking about the NCR. Next week some time, I'll dish out my awards and a season review. I don't know about what the Kiss of Death has planned for the finals or for their awards, having being unable to provide content for the last month, and seeing as how they didn't manage to get an awards post up last season.

I can't promise much regular posting after that. Since I actually sorta work now, I have writing and reading that needs to be done for that part of my existence. But the NCR and social club work will keep us all enthralled. There'll be a best and fairest evening and an AGM.

Thank yous of course come at the end of the season, and you can wait your turn.

Friday, 14 September 2012


Once again, no Kiss of Death this week. Something to do with wrinkly fuel hoses or something.

Unlike other weeks where I piss fart around and at least attempt to consider the merits of the other games this round, I can't be bothered this week.

Except for their order, the finals teams are settled, as are the relegation teams.

There has been but one outright positive to come out of this season, and that has been the relegation of Heidelberg.

The fact that some people are too jaded to celebrate even this occurrence says more about them than anything else. That's Generation X for ya though, if you believe in that stuff.

Still, I'd rather win the match, and not just win, but destroy them.

Just an aside, last night I trundled down to the Central Zone forum for the National Competitions Review. Very interesting.

Let's just say for now, that the club has a ways to go before I am convinced of the correctness of the path they are seeking to choose.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Too little, too late - South Melbourne 1 Bentleigh Greens 1

This is really late. I don't even care about the alphabetical gimmick. There's a link to a match report that somebody else did further down.

20 odd other games of slop
That's where the season was lost. Yes, there were injuries, yes, there was bad luck, but there was also a lot of slop provided and bad decisions made throughout the season. Of a possible 30 points against the top five teams, we got 11. Three wins out of those ten matches (Northcote, and Oakleigh twice), and two draws (Bentleigh home, Thunder away). In addition, we dropped two points to the Zebras, three points to Stars, four points to Knights and Richmond - teams that did not make the finals. Got knocked out again by Port in the cup. And gone backwards against Gully.

Francesco Stella
Well done to Frannie, possibly still waiting for an international clearance, but Rangers have agreed to sign him, and he seems confident of getting a go in their first team sooner rather than later. Do your own search for interviews he's given, there's a few out there at the moment.

I don't know how much longer Clarendon Corner is going to last - apparently there's talk of winding it up, and their appearance have been getting steadily more sporadic - but when they try, they can come up with the lols. The latest noteworthy chant?

Eat your own
Yes, we're all frustrated by the way things have gone this season, and we can safely assume that if you're a regular at South you're just as passionate as you ever were, but some people need to act their age. For better or worse means just that. No need to carry on like a pork chop.

One and only
Was the intro script to a home match always like this in 2012? The ground announcer claimed that ' was your only source for South news' or some such comment. Now I know we like to talk about South as little as possible on this blog, what with the space needed to be allocated to dinner reviews and pointless ephemera of the pseudo intellectual kind, but maybe saying your one 'official' voice would have been more tactful.

Heartless George Donikian
Former president George Donikian turned up to the game. Was disappointed by the result, but not so much that he wasn't already looking forward to the next A-League season on Twitter straight after the game.
Absolutely, more VPL fans need to sample A-League if they haven't. Heart FC is the team to embrace.
I don't really care  what people do in their out of South time A-League wise, as long they're open about it. But to try and drum up support for that franchise (which beat a South aligned bid, or have we forgotten?) straight after the game while we are still grieving for a cruel end to another failed season is insensitive at best.

Or to put it another way, fuck your A-League and Heart shit off, George.

Ace Reporter Ian Syson
And he did a match rundown/report of the match!My favourite part?

6.06. Second half underway. 
Got stuck in presidents room.
This lasted for about 28 minutes. Do read it, because I'm not going to bother recounting the day's on field events.

Next Week
Probably the most pointless derby of all time against the Bergers. Win lose or draw, we can't go anywhere important. They're doomed to State League 1 next season. Hopefully play some kids. That Cartanos kid did OK against Bentleigh.Can we at least turn into a carnival atmosphere.

Congratulations to my Perth Glory supporting buddy Chris Egan, who has been selected to give a paper at the Worlds of Football conference in Melbourne in November.

And a huge happy birthday to Tony, no last name required, you know who you are. Good bloke, good friend, who always has my back when I piss off the wrong people.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

I eat too much to die, and not enough to stay alive, I'm sitting in the middle waiting - Round 21, 2012

Apologies first up for the morbid title of this week match preview title.

No Kiss of Death again this week. Just watching the visitor stats fall week by week makes me consider putting the Kiss of Death on as paid staff. Which would be a brilliant idea except for the fact that I have no money, and even if I did, I could not compete with the Kiss of Death's current employer.

20:30 Friday 7th September, Oakleigh Cannons vs Northcote City, Jack Edwards Reserve
I was going to be at this game, seeing as how South's finals chances depend on it heavily. Then Moreland City and Altona East's postponed game got rescheduled for Friday night, and I was off to see that. And the I became a code traitor, thanks to Travis Cloke pulling a finger out of his flat track bully arse and getting Collingwood over the line against Essendon and into the top four, ready for a Friday night spanking against Hawthorn and me $65 out of pocket watching it from the top deck of the Ponsford. Good thing no one reads thing to tell me off. If Northcote can get two wins, they're in. Four points from the last two rounds, and they start worrying about other results. Less than that, and their crappy goal difference will see them miss out, surely. Oakleigh are still gunning for the double chance, so they won't be looking to let up just yet. I don't like them, but the Cannons should do enough here to be able to take their foot off the pedal next week. Oakleigh 2 Northcote 0.

20:30 Friday 7th September, Richmond vs Melbourne Knights, Kevin Bartlett Reserve
The arrival of Alessandro Del Piero is a massive coup for the Sydney FC, the A-League and Australian soccer. Not that I really care about any of those three things, and even less so for risky gimmicks like this which could backfire spectacularly. No, what I found most telling was the rather predictable response from certain bitter individuals, who poo-poohed the idea from start to finish, worrying about the cost, his age, the airy-fairyness of it all. All while neglecting Australian soccer's history of guest stint gimmicks (and even though Del Piero will be at least playing a whole season), including the excitement generated a few years ago by the mere rumour that Greek international and 1998 European Golden Boot winner Nikos Machlas would be coming to South, even just for a little bit. Anyway, both Richmond and Croatia are still in with a remote chance of making finals, provided they win both their matches and everyone else falls over. Meaning that if one of these teams can win this match, results in other games this round could flatten their finals chances anyway. More likely scenario is that it'll be a draw, and both teams will quietly remove themselves from the equation. Richmond 1 Keniggets 1.

15:00 Saturday 8th September, Green Gully vs Dandenong Thunder, Green Gully Reserve
The FFV, in their collective wisdom, have decided to stage grand final day this year after a Melbourne Heart game. And not just any Melbourne Heart fixture - the Wellington Phoenix one. Shades of Melbourne Victory's Parade of Champions farce much? Got to give the FFV and Melbourne Heart credit for trying though. The FFV probably thinks this is the only way to a) get a half decent crowd to watch the game and b) increase the possibility of Michael Lynch and/or David Davutovic being at the spectacle, maybe writing something, getting it published... though I'm not convinced  by the strategy - a similar initiative didn't do too well in Launceston last year - I'm willing to be proven wrong. It doesn't really phase me too much. The whole thing is just about dead anyway, and I get in for free regardless because of my media pass, which I'm actually beginning to wonder 'how the hell do I actually have one of these?'. Do my match reports stack up? Nah. Do my match previews, when I fill in for the Kiss of Death, provide any sort of meaningful insight? Is just commenting on the social ephemera surrounding the game make up for every other thing the blog is deficient in? I'm not convinced it is so. Thunder won the Dockerty Cup last week. Despite dominating, I also felt they were a bit lucky - Port Melbourne really should have pinched it at the end. They've wrapped up the minor premiership, so now the only thing left for them is to decide whether to put the cue in the rack for a couple of weeks. I don't think their form going into the finals should suffer too much if they do take that course. Gully needs just a point to secure a finals spot, but a bit more to get the double chance. Tough call. Gully 1 Thunder 0.

15:00 Saturday 8th September, Southern Stars vs Hume City, Kingston Heath Soccer Complex
Do yourselves a favour, and go and see the Napoleon exhibition currently at the NGV. I used a joint Game Masters/Napoleon ticket, and I wish I had only needed the latter. An incredible human being made for an incredible moment of history, yet the exhibit never neglects his immense hubris. Apart from the overarching story itself, go for the connections of late 18th and early 19th century France to Australia; go for the hat; and go for the metric clock and calendar. As to this fixture, fascinating little game here. Stars nothing to play for. Hume still gunning for finals. Expectation that little Turkish brother will roll over for big Turkish brother. But people are saying it won't happen. By the end of this game South fans, and everyone else, will have a much clearer idea what it will take to make the finals. I think Hume will win this game legit though, being the better team and all. Stars 0 Hume 2.

15:00 Sunday 9th September, Moreland Zebras vs Heidelberg United, Epping Stadium
Good riddance to bad rubbish. Zebras 2 Bergers 1.

17:00 Sunday 9th September, South Melbourne vs Bentleigh Greens
Special treat for everyone next week. This writer's near silence on the FFA and FFV's National Competitions Review will be one step closer to being broken, after I head to the FFV's presentation of the initiative to the Central Zone peoples next week (with Gains!). Last home game for the season. The equation for us is pretty simple. Win this week. Win next week. Hope other results go our way. Make finals. Keep winning. Bentleigh are no pushover though. They aren't spectacular, but they're above competent, and they only need a point to secure a finals place. I see a draw here, 1-1, but goodness I hope I'm wrong and we win and then smash the Bergers next week and go on to win the blessed thing.