Tuesday, 30 October 2012

I Still Call South Melbourne Home

Words by SouthPole

I've been on forums that never close down
From soccer-forum to twg and old smscboard town
But no matter how far or how wide I roam
I still call smfcboard home

I'm always browsing, I love being free
And so I keep leaving the Hellas for Victory
But my heart lies waiting over the foam
I still call South Melbourne home

All the sons and daughters spinning 'round the world
Away from their family and friends
But as the FFA gets older and colder
It's good to know where your journey ends

And someday we'll all be together side by side
When all of the sellouts come back to Lakeside
I'll realize something I've always known
I still call South Melbourne home

But no matter how far or wide I roam
I still call South Melbourne, I still call South Melbourne, I still call South Melbourne home
But no matter how far or wide I roam
I still call South Melbourne, I still call South Melbourne, I still call South Melbourne home

Monday, 29 October 2012

All kinds of awesome

Australian soccer statistician, historian and record keeper par excellence Andrew Howe has really outdone himself this time.

Customised Google Map of all 100 NSL venues.

There'll be corrections and additions to be made for sure, but it's something awesome all the same. There's also a version for all national league venues combining the A-League and NSL, but I don't think it's up to the standard of this one yet.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Late, sloppy rundown of last week's club meeting

With apologies for the very large delay in getting this post out.

Last week's meeting had much to recommend it. The club explained its plans for the social club, elaborated its approach to the FFV's establishment of the National Competitions Review recommendations and sought to explain how our academy system would fit into those plans.

The presentations mollified a lot of the hostility that had been building up with regards to our engagement with the NCR process in particular. Yet there are still questions which remain unanswered, and troubling questions about the conduct of certain board members and their affiliates.

Social Club
The social club plans were the first point of discussion. The lack of a social club facility was a bone of contention among many supporters, for two reasons. Firstly because maintaining control of that space was meant to provide the club with susbtantial income independent of football, and secondly because it would provide the club with a sense of place and ownership over at least part of Lakeside Stadium. Quite a few supporters have made the observation that the venue does not feel like it is 'ours', and the line that it was better to do things right rather than quickly were beginning to wear thin.

Previous presentations on the matter had suggested that a privately operated restaurant/bistro would be accompanied by corporate suites and offices. The plans presented last night were substantially different. While maintaining the bistro element of the original plans, the corporate suite option was excised in favour of a futsal court. I must admit, I was not the only one with significant concerns about this change.

The questions from the audience were obvious. What benefit would we have in operating a futsal court in a precinct which already had five futsal courts? Why go from the corporate suites to the futsal court option? The answers were illuminating, and satisfactory to me at least, though not without concerns about how we go about our day to day business with regards to our presence in the venue.

According to the board, our lease stipulates that we must use our exclusive areas for football purposes. Thus, the option of renting out our revamped facilities to entities such as medical centres etc would be prohibited. A futsal court, which would not only be useful for our juniors, would also be able to exploit the apparently bursting at the seams situation down at the pit lane facilities.

Not everyone was satisfied with this plan, even after the explanation. One time board member George Koukoulas was particularly vocal in his opposition, both to the futsal court itself, and the rationale behind, arguing that the restrictions that the board claimed somewhat forced them towards their direction were not true. He seemed to lose the public battle on that front, for the time being at least, his approach falling flat with much of the membership.

The club is looking to run the futsal and bistro operations itself. One older gentleman objected to this arrangement, claiming that the club had tried taking this route before and it hadn't worked. It didn't seem to wash with most of the attendees. The club is also apparently not looking to borrow any funds beyond the government grant to fund the redevelopment, which raised a few eyebrows.  The board believes its revenue estimates are relatively conservative - opinion on that matter differed within the audience.

Being dependent on a government grant, the plans had to be audited by the relevant authorities. The board stated that contracts have been signed, work is ready to go within two weeks, and they are hoping for a March completion date. I asked if the basic plans/drawings could be put up online, they said yes, but we'll see ow it goes I suppose.

National Competition Review
There has been much exasperation about the board's apparently full steam ahead approach with the NCR. The board reiterated that they would prefer to work inside the tent and assist the FFV is creating a workable reform process. In addition, the board claimed they would not sign anything unless changes were introduced which were in line with our expectations of the future working of this new era.

They claimed that 4-5 other clubs were also taking up discussions with the FFV, though they did not specify which clubs were doing so. I had also heard this rumour before, with several names being bandied about, but with no way of actually confirming the validity of that rumour. If it is true, it seems to be that one club from state league 1, and four or so clubs from the VPL are trying to engage with the FFV. Considering that there have been meetings between the other 11 VPL clubs and an apparent unanimity in opposing the FFV's NCR reforms, that bloc of 11 may not be so united.

We'll have to wait until December/January for the next stage to be clearer about what form this new competition will take, and whether the club will support it.

Additional Concerns
Within what I considered the mostly good news being delivered, I was concerned about several issues. Firstly, that the issue of integrating women's football into the academy system, a key component of the 'Elite' program requirements, was not broached at all. In fact, women's football and our attempts to try and build a bridge with South Melbourne Women's Football Club did not rate a mention. Hopefully there are some significant updates on this matter by the time the AGM comes around. This saga has been going on too long.

The academy system will favour the wealthy. It is hard to know how we will attract the best talent with costs of around $3000, regardless of the possibility of two or three scholarship positions. The board made the reasonable comment that the costs were influenced by the lack of money coming from the top. In Australia, this kind of system of four days a week training, with all the trimmings, is a new concept. The hope was that once the club renovation took place, and surplus money started flowing in, that costs could be lowered. That sounds great, but I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for costs to fall.

If the club chooses to head down this path, it needs to commit to it for a good five years at the absolute minimum. It's likely that we won't get to see the fruit of this labour for some time, until players that have come through the system in its entirety are being produced. Only then can we really ascertain the program's success. In an industry and in a club culture of very short term goal setting, it'll take some holding of their nerve to make it that far.

The attempt to if not shut down debate, then at least try and insinuate that negative or critical comments made on internet forums, did not sit well with me. The club does not and should not control the opinions of its membership. Yes, often times the discussion from the supporters can get out of hand, misrepresent an issue, or paint the club in a negative light - but that's the modern age. If the club seeks to fight back on foreign media soil, it would be best to do that openly, and not hiding behind aliases especially while threatening to reveal the identities of your average supporter. Unfortunately, this subject was also not covered to my liking.

Flattery Will Get You Everywhere Department
Lastly, I was very surprised to see Tom Kalas use a portion of a blog post of mine - from the infamous Kubler Ross Model spectacular - as part of his presentation. It kinda made my head spin for a little bit, not for the fact the he reads this blog, which I was already aware of, but that he saw fit to use it for the purposes of selling our reincarnation, re-interpreting the depressing missive into a justification for change. When Gil Scott Heron said that the revolution would not be televised, some forty odd years ago now, I doubt that he had in mind that it would be blogged instead.

Jerry's Final Thought
I expected a much more hostile and heated meeting. It got tense at times, there was shouting, people talking over one another, but that's not unusual for something like this. To my surprise, most of the attendees seemed open minded about the proposed changes, even if they weren't necessarily convinced by all of them. If that's the least that comes of out of this process, maybe this club does have a worthwhile future.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

1970s Championship Player Bill Hasapis passes away

Taken from the official site.

South Melbourne FC is saddened to learn of the passing of former player Bill Hasapis, who played for the Club between 1972 and 1974.

Mr Hasapis represented South during its 1972 and 1974 Victorian State League Championship winning seasons. He was an integral part of the 1972 side that beat George Cross on goal difference to win the title. He missed a fair amount of 1973 but then returned to play his part in the 1974 Championship winning side that won the title by four points over George Cross. He played with some of South’s greatest players, including Jim Armstrong, Jim Pyrgolios, John Bedford, Steve Walker and Mike Mandalis just to name a few.

South Melbourne FC President Leo Athanasakis remarked that it was "a great shame to learn of the passing of a two-time Championship winning player in Mr Bill Hasapis. He left his mark in the rich and illustrious history of our great Club by contributing to the 1972 and 1974 State League Championship teams. Bill was presented a replica of his playing shirt by the club at the 50th Anniversary Gala Ball in 2009. On behalf of the entire family at South Melbourne FC, I send my sincere condolences to Mr Hasapis’ family and friends in this difficult time."

Sunday, 14 October 2012



NCR debate heating up

Two things to take note of.

Firstly, the club will be hosting a members forum this Wednesday to discuss the social club redevelopment and our engagement with the NCR process. I'm a bit concerned about the crazy rumours that we will creating be a fustal court in our space - what happened to the bistro idea?

As for the  NCR, the board have a lot of work to do in convincing supporters that their approach is the correct one to take. Not that it isn't, or that they can't - I'm waiting to see what their rationale is - but personally attacking concerned members of the club on internet forums isn't the smartest thing to do, especially when you hide behind a veil of anonymity.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Marmaras and Wade inducted into FFV Hall of Fame

No bias involved at all, not like the History Committee gets invited anyway. Wish there was something more significant on the FFV website about this stuff.

Interested in finding out who awarded the Bill Fleming Medal (for media award), win this year by Like Sherbon. Last year it was presented by Michael Lynch. Was it the same againt his year?

SMFC Junior Peter Paganis trials with Panathinakikos

Article from the Wyndham Leader. Thanks to the Kiss of Death for alerting us to this article.

Paganis experiences life as a professional soccer player

WERRIBEE'S Peter Paganis experienced life as an elite soccer player last month.

And the 14-year-old wants to do it all again.

Peter was invited for a two-week trial with the prestigious Panathinaikos Youth Football Academy in Greece and impressed PYA technical director John Samaras, scoring seven goals from as many games.

Discussions are in place for the striker to return later this year and even permanently when he turns 15.

Peter will know if he has earned the green light to return next month, with a three-month all expenses paid trip, including schooling, the carrot on offer.

The MacKillop College student trialled with the PYA last year, representing the Football Star Academy, and scored the tournament-winning goal for his team.

Peter, who plays with South Melbourne Soccer Club and has also earned selection for Central City in the Victorian Champions League, said it was a priceless opportunity.

"I was rapt to be chosen," Peter said.

"Every day we had training and they (coaches) showed us different skills and a different way to use the ball."

Peter's mother, Anna, said his passion for soccer was palpable from a young age.

"Peter was always very serious about soccer," she said.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Happy New A-League Season!

In a way, there are actually two posts in this entry, but I think there's a connection there if you only just believe in it.

After another poor season coupled with the ongoing destruction of the misguided belief of our imminent return to the top flight, more supporters who would have once said 'South wherever, forever', are trying to find an ideological out. All of a sudden 'for life' seems to be an incredibly long time.

Many years ago I had a copy of On Death and Dying  by Dr Elisabeth Kübler-Ross on the chest of drawers next to my bed. I couldn't get into the 'technical' parts of the book, but I would often read the case studies before going to sleep.

For those of my readership who are familiar with that text, well, I'm sure you can now appreciate what a happy go lucky individual I actually am - for that part of my audience who aren't familiar with the book, it's likely they would be aware of the central idea of the book, that of the 'five stages of grief', also known as the Kübler-Ross Model.

The five stages of dying according to this model are Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. Putting aside for a moment whether this is scientifically or even culturally true, we could have a bit of fun by looking at the model in a South context. Doing so could make it could look something like this:

  1. Denial - This isn't happening. There's no way they can have a national league without South Melbourne in it, who will support it? How can you have a league with no history?
  2. Anger - I can't believe they are actually doing this without us! Fucking Jew Lowy and racist FFA Anglos! You will fail, three years tops! We should complain to FIFA!
  3. Bargaining - Let's make our own league, or play in Singapore or New Zealand. Maybe if we change our name, or take over a failing A-League licence, or go into a partnership...
  4. Depression - Woe is me, there's no future for us, why should we bother? Everyone has deserted us, there's no hope, etc
  5. Acceptance - Whatever happens, happens. Let's enjoy the time we have left together.

We're getting to the stage where most supporters are finally moving into stage four, and it's not pretty. You could get all indignant at these people, tell them to harden the fuck up - but who am I to hold someone hostage at Lakeside? If people can no longer cope with supporting us at this level and in this incarnation, they have every right to leave.

And it's not something unique to this club. Have a read of the excellent Maroon and Blue by Adam Muyt, on the social history of the Fitzroy Football Club, and you'll see the same diversity of reactions to a 'dying' club.

Are these ponderings an over reaction to the usual off-season blues? I don't think so. It's more than a matter of poor results. It's the way many of our remaining supporters are seemingly unable to see a future for South that is in any way comparable to our glory days.

And I'm not sure there's anything even remotely on the horizon that could change that perception. A return of the social club may slow down the moroseness, for a bit. The NCR, or its more ambitious siblings the 'summer league' and 'Australian Premier League/Second Division' if they get up (FUCKING LOL), might spark something which will defy history.

Wait and see, I suppose.

Every now and again I've been uploading old South related posts from Supermercado's surviving blogs. It's more some sort of feeble attempt at posterity rather than anything stalker related, and I will be looking for other historic materials from other people to upload. Whatever helps me sleep at night I suppose.

I've been publishing them as backdated posts - that is, using Blogger's ability to post things as actual historical posts, I've put them up under the date they were originally published. Meaning that if a post was originally published on 27th October 1995, that's where you'll find it in my old archives. Considering this blog only started in 2007, there's some interesting and not so interesting stuff that has been uploaded here before that time. It creates a different sort of narrative, working not just forwards, but also backwards.

Anyway, I loved the following passage from this post, just ignore the wild predictions. I mean, who could have honestly thought that the A-League would have lasted this long?

Well there’s a hole in my heart
As deep as a well
For another summer with no NSL
We can’t get in the A-League
So we’ll do the next best thing
Go on the net and WHINGE! WHINGE! WHINGE!

Click on the Supermercado tag to find more South related blog posts from the days when blogging was hip and I was a depressed malcontent who responded to being booted out of Melbourne University, back to back Collingwood grand final losses, and South being banished from the national league, by spending six months in my pajamas watching Jerry Springer, Ricki Lake and Passions.

And finally, just for the record, I would have gone to the 'derby', but Revenge of the Nerds is going to be on tonight, and how often do you get to see a movie of that calibre on network TV?

That, and I'll be recovering from stage two of a root canal procedure.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

RIP Hammy McMeechan

I was sad to hear of the recent passing of 1960s Slavia and Croatia player Hammy McMeechan.

Now Hammy wasn't a South player (more on that later), but I got to meet him once when me and Ian Syson were doing research.

I think that at the time, Syson was writer in residence at the FFV, and I was helping do some interviews. They were fairly ramshackle affairs, interesting, but without a specific narrative emerging.

One of the interviews was with Hugh Murney, which we talked about here. What I neglected to mention at any point after that interview, is that this discussion lead to one of the more crucial moments in Syson's quest to find soccer hidden Australian history, as well as inspiring me in my studies over similar terrain.

The Game That Never Happened - the day Slavia played a charity soccer match against a VFL XI - would have remained forgotten had it not been for our interview with Meechan. Without this meeting and this story, our research efforts would have taken a substantially different course.

We met him at Forest Hill Chase, a shopping centre straight out out of Kath and Kim. We'd been waiting there for a while, at some generic coffee and cake outlet. Eventually this bandy legged old bloke turns up, and we have a wonderful chat lasting, according to Syson at least, for about two and half hours.

We talked about his career, about that game against the VFL players, about what he'd done since his playing retirement - he was still a keen coach of junior players even in his latter days.

I remember impressing him with my knowledge of now obscure Melbourne clubs and their lineages - for once that OzFootball database work came in handy in the real world.

We politely disagreed about the future. He saw something good on the horizon, a new era for the game, a logical continuation of his footballing life. I saw, and I suppose still primarily see, the end of an era, with only a marginal place in the future for me and my club. But he never accused me of selfishness for having that view.

It's a pity that we never got to meet again. His one major regret from his playing career? That he never got to play for South.

“Don’t get me wrong, Ian,” he warns. “I had a fabulous and successful time playing for Croatia and I made many life-long friends there. But what I always admired about Hellas was the crowd: its size, its passion and its noise. I would have loved to have played there every second week with that crowd behind me for at least a season or two.”

For more information on his career, see Roy Hay's obituary on Goal Weekly.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

1960s championship player Vamvakas passes away

The following is all from this official site article.

South Melbourne FC is saddened to learn of the passing of former goalkeeper Harry Vamvakas (pictured second from right in the above picture). Mr Vamvakas was an inaugural member of the first South Melbourne Hellas side that competed in 1960 in the Victorian Metropolitan Division 1 North (modern-day equivalent being State League 1). The side easily won promotion into the Victorian State League (now the Premier League) by winning every single game except for a 3-3 draw with Corio and won the League by 11 points over second-placed Moonee Ponds.

Mr Vamvakas was also a member of South’s 1964 Victorian State League Championship winning side. That season he rotated the goalkeeping with Panayiotis Tsitsos and Sam Kagioglou but still made his contribution as South beat George Cross to the title by a single point to win its second VSL Championship (following the 1962 triumph).

Speaking to smfc.com.au, South Melbourne FC President Leo Athanasakis offered his condolences to Mr Vamvakas’ family and friends. “It is sad to learn of the passing of a former player of our Club, especially due to the fact that Harry Vamvakas was also an inaugural player in South’s first ever season in 1960. We are forever grateful for the contribution that he made to the Club and we are so pleased that he attended the Club’s 50th year Gala celebrations in 2009 to accept his award for playing in Championships for South. On behalf of the entire Club, I wish to offer my sincere condolences to the family and friends of Mr Vamvakas.”

Monday, 1 October 2012

Two years since The World Game Forum was shut down.

Lest we forget. While the community has regrouped somewhat at Football Anarchy, it'll never be the same as the old two bobber. The following was an example of the heartfelt anguish expressed when news of the forum's death sentence was announced.


Dear SBS

I am afraid your dragonion policy of closing down the TWGF forum is inapt and you are just taking forumites negative coments to seriously.

Some of us have been posting anti Aussie sokkah, anti A league posts for ages, but you should not be offended by them. HTFU.

Freaken, Skip, ECP, Benny Hinn, Chips and all the others are actully doing soccer a favor by showing the negative things about the A legue and posting AFL crowd numbers every week.

Some long time posters like Fronty is only joking when he says I piss on your SBS. don’t you understand jokes?
Havent you got a sence of humour. He is just being humerus FFS.

Please rethink your policy and allow us to continue posting.

If you do not, we will have to take more dragonion measures, which I will outine later.

You cannot behave like this without reaper cushions.

Some of our group have powerful contacts in places like Armenia, Croatia, Phillipines, Calabria and Sunshine. This is not be snuffed at

Waiting your immediate action.

This letter has also been posted to SBS Managing Director, SBS Sports, Les Murray and Admin.

Locked Bag 028
Crows Nest NSW 1585