Friday, 13 September 2013

These Previews Are Getting Worse By The Week - Round 21, 2013 - South vs Hercules

A reminder that this week's game is on Saturday at 8:00, not Sunday as has been the case for most of our home matches this week.

Before getting into this week's preview, a little bit from my tortured adolescence. In the myriad stereotypes and boxes one can find oneself put in during your secondary school years, one of the epithets I managed to drag around with me through six years of high school was of the guy that had 'potential'. And while I suppose there's worse things that can happen to a person - and hell, some of those have happened to me - each person has to carry their own cross, no?

For a long time I've realised that the problem with high expectations is that you're supposed to live up to them, regardless of who created them. Perennially shithouse, that's the way to do it - aim so low that no will care if you miss. That's what this blog has been about, plodding away in obscurity, with the occasional flash of what others may or may not consider brilliance. Attempts at owning those alleged moments of brilliance by building upon them are mostly disregarded. Happily pottering away in my tiny corner of the internet has always been more satisfying, or so I keep telling myself.

And yet, when it comes to park footballers, specifically the park footballers who represent the club that I support, here I am expecting semi-professional, work by day, train by night footballers to produce consistently excellent work on a weekly basis. And then berate them, and chastise them and yes, even abuse them when they fail to live up their potential, regardless of what their potential as individuals and as a unit may realistically be.

Part of it is due to Seneca's collision of a wish with an unyielding reality, something that so many sports fans have to deal with, and yet a mistake that keeps on getting made. Still, there is hope for individuals, if not the collective, as long we keep working on acknowledging that the world owes us no favours, and that there is no divine right granted for our team to do better this week than they did last week.

One of our readers and occasional accidental contributors, Pavlaki, had an interesting exchange on the matter of this week's game against ladder leading Northcote. On, Pavlaki predicted, perhaps out of a genuine belief in its occurring, or because perhaps because he felt the call of the absurd, that we would beat Northcote 5-0 this week. He was called out on that claim, and subsequently adjusted it, acknowledging that 2013 South keeping a clean sheet is beyond absurd.

Like pretty much any of our impending fixtures on the run home, nothing can be taken out of our performances from the first half of the season. Totally different team, different situation. We need six points from our last two games to make a certainty of making the finals. Expecting a lot of attacking football, lots of mistakes, and a lot of tension. In that spirit, I'm breaking my habit of not making predictions, and tipping a 6-4 win to South, if only because I don't want to outdone on the absurdity stakes.

Under 21s Fixture Time Changed
It has been moved back from its original 6:00PM kickoff time to 4:00PM. The curtain raiser to the main game will be apparently be some cops vs SMFC legends game or something.

2013 MVP Night
Scheduled for 22nd September, after the match against Port in the final round. More details here. We really need to make finals now, or else how messed up will this function be?

NPL Victoria - Nick Monteleone Fires Back
Finally back from an overseas trip, FFV president Nick Monteleone has sent out this address to the Victorian soccer community.

There are several items worth nothing from this piece. Firstly that the FFV claims to still have the support of the FFA. The clubs at one stage were claiming vociferously that if anything, it was the clubs who had the ear of the FFA, not the FFV. Though those claims still emanate from some quarters, they no longer seem to be coming from the coalition of the unwilling. A change in rhetoric, or the realisation that they overplayed their hand? The FFV has also claimed to have sorted out the issues with regards to representations made to them by Parks and Leisure Australia.

An apparent clarification of the zonal system. This is a bit of straw man argument from the FFV. I assume that everyone knew that senior recruitment can occur from outside the zone. The two actual issues here a) are that junior zoning means that some zones will be naturally weaker than others regardless of how standardised the coaching becomes, and b) that the player points system compels clubs to use their own youth products, who come from where? Their own zone of course.

The bank guarantee claim is interesting. Here, Monteleone makes the claim that this is standard practice, and not mandatory in case. The issue though leads into the fact that the clubs will be expected to move into a licence agreement as opposed to an affiliation agreement.

I'm also interested in the small sided football and junior fee claims. There's an acknowledgement of the fact that all the other states do their thing differently when it comes to small sided football, and that the FFV is able to go its own way - and they've explained in the past that it's about separating community and elite clubs and eliminating selection bias.

There's no acknowledgment of the fact that clubs will be decimated by this approach though. Not just financially (though that's obviously a factor), but culturally and socially. But at no point do the FFV give any leeway on this issue. On this matter the two sides are at an ideological impasse.

When it comes to fees, and the viability of the clubs going forward, there is little detail other rhetorical skirmishing. The successful licensees will sort themselves out. No mention though of why the FFV decided to budge from it's original maximum fee plan of less than $1,000, to the now $1,700 mark. That's a massive increase. Considering the financial chaos that the FFV has found itself in of late, I'm wary of taking anything they say on viability at face value.

The question that must be asked for me, and I don't see it being asked by people supporting the coalition of the unwilling - what if the FFV are right? Not on all or most issues, but on the issues that count? What happens then? The cockiness from the anti-side has been disturbing from the get go, though it's been toned down a smidge from official channels.

Equally disturbing has been the way that South has tried to claim the public face of the anti-crew. Now, I was quite happy with the way South were dealing with this matter initially - the whole work with the authorities approach, then make a judgment as if it's best for us to go into this thing, and if not, work with the other clubs with a certain sense of humility. I guess I was expecting too much.

Now, both sides of the issue want to put out their propaganda any way they can, with the requisite spin, omissions and obfuscations. One of the more curious aspects of this situation though are those South fans who fall outside of the official anti-NPLV/FFV channels, who prior to South changing its mind on the NPL Victoria process, were dismissive of the other clubs and their lack of progressiveness - and who have now moved so far into the opposite rhetorical branch that their credibility (such as it was) has been rendered entirely worthless.

However there are South people who have been good on this issue - I think Benjamin (of the FourFourTwo forum) and Arthur (FourFourTwo forum and have been excellent, maintaining a literate, balanced and thoughtful approach to the issues throughout their development. There are others, though, who have not covered themselves in glory.

My fear is that perhaps I've been one of them. Hoping that this isn't the case doesn't mean that I have been perceived in that way. So while there's obviously the larger scale issue of what will happen to the clubs and the competition itself, there's also the narcissistic side issue of the credibility of individual contributors - and how we'll come out of this after the war is won, whichever side wins.


  1. I've found the SotB NPLV stance to be pretty considered and reasoned (tho', that might be because it reflects my own view, and I live in hope that I may be considered somewhat reasonable).

  2. I've always been anti NPL. Usually when I'm anti something, or someone, I stick to it for life, as people who know me will attest.

  3. Another enjoyable post on the local game and the NPL-V in particular. I have been caught up in the 442 debate also. While I broadly support the proposed approach I have concerns about 3 specific aspects. However, as I have said over at 442 I don't believe are unresolvable.

    I broadly agree with the characterisation of both sides and some of the failings each have demonstrated and the rhetorical games they have played. Importantly though, you also raise an interesting question - what happens if the FFV are right?

    There are two main aspects of this debacle on which either side can be 'right' or 'wrong'. Aspect 1 is the make-up of the NPL-V. On this matter each side has a preference and there may be room for negotiation and resolution either by informal means (rationale people from the ‘Anti-group’ allowing?) or CAS mediation which is scheduled soon upon the request of the plaintiffs (who also needed time to better prepare their court documentation by some credible accounts?) Ultimately this is a matter is for the parties to the dispute and is within their hands to resolve.

    The second aspect is going to be much more problematic. Who is legally right? In this aspect it is important that we put aside our personal preferences about how the NPL-V model should be designed, as court won't care in the slightest. The legal question will not be resolved by politics, but only by legal discussion about statute and case law.

    The FFV have, accurately in my view, described the current legal process and the associated claims/applications made by clubs. They have also rightly (in legal sense) indicated they will argue that the Magistrates (and by extension the Supreme Court) have no jurisdiction. While I am making an educated assessment of the legal issues here from significant research and experience, it is ultimately the view of the Magistrate that will matter. However very few cases ever get to the Supreme Court for a reason. The Magistrates civil jurisdiction is limited and its primary role here is to dispense justice while keeping the Supreme Court from getting clogged. So if I were a betting man, I would say the FFV have a strong case and it is therefore in the interests of clubs to do a deal now or at the mediation the FFV, quite smartly “did not oppose” (an important choice of words).

    My final observation as a Souths fan is that I am somewhat disappointed by the way they have handled the issue, notwithstanding my concerns about the NPL-V model. I think the club initially started well with their ‘work with the authorities’ line, but when the political blow torch was applied they blinked. I suspect we may all regret this for two reasons (1) my instinct is the FFV have a strong legal case and will find it harder to compromise if the Magistrates throws the matter out; and (2) our A-League aspirations are being damaged as our reserves of good will with the FFA are being drained by the hour.

    Ultimately I cannot know how this is going to go, but I find the matter interesting as a result of my time working in parliaments where laws are made and the rules about disputes resolution are too. At the end of the day my hope is the NPL-V goes ahead next year and a deal is done to include some of the State’s leading clubs. However, if that can be achieved, the 2nd best outcome is for it to go ahead anyway as ultimately football is about all of us. City, country, top flight, park league, players, administrators, coaches, officials and everyone in between. It is this diversity of stakeholders that requires a robust framework for the management of the sport and the resolution of differences. In the Victorian Incorporated Associations laws, the Court Rules and the Constitution of the FFV Inc. – I believe we have such a framework.

    1. This is an excellent post Justin. As someone who is admittedly very much in the lay person's camp when it comes to legal issues, it's good to see what appears to be a thorough analysis of the legal issues at hand.

      My main reason for doubt as to the success in the courts (if it happens) equating to success in the real world is pretty simple - the aftermath of the Heidelberg pitch invasion case from a few years ago. We won the court battle, but lost the war- indeed the court ruling ended up making it a lambs to the slaughter kind of situation.

      While no one (aside from Clive Palmer perhaps) likes to go to court at the drop of hat, we've been there or thereabouts a lot recently. FFV, Wellington Investments, Victorian government, and the rhetoric is fairly consistent in my observation - yes, always the profession that they hope it's a last resort, but also often a cocky edge that we'll take 'them' on (whoever they are) and that we'll win.

      Maybe I've seen too much of this attitude because I've been there when it's been discussed in the heat of the moment, rather than at a later point, when the effects of that emotional surge have waned.

      No doubt the public face of the anti-FFV movement is exuding confidence heading into these proceedings, but equally the FFV continue to come out with their own brand of confident, emphatic statements - and they too will have their legal teams trying to work out every angle.

      Though I hope we haven't, I fear we've long since crossed the point of no return. It's going to end in tears for someone - just hoping that it isn't us.

  4. Ahhhhh, I luv these blogs

    the luxury we opinion makers have
    at the end of the day we have nothing to loose
    we bestow our views, that no one can test in the real world, we can pontificate that "perhaps it should have been done this way or that way " "the emphasis should have been this or that"

    we labour over a keypad, yet do not have the courage to get actively involved, or to lead, or better still to put our money where our mouth is

    Ahhhhhh, I luv this role
    Press on boys, I'm right behind you :))

    1. It's the plight of the writer of these kinds of things, isn't it? How do you measure the impact of someone whose main contribution is words and not action? Unless of course you think there's no impact. In which case, there's no point in reading it, except to have a laugh at the perceived futility of it all. That's OK.

      I can understand the accusation that we affect nothing, and that we do nothing except talk, talk, talk. Often I feel as if I'm blasting words out into a vacuum. But the fact is, as pointless as this work may be to those who see little value in it, people are reading it, pondering it.

      I was fascinated when Tom Kalas borrowed and re-interpreted (with due acknowledgment of the source) one of my pieces from last year, when giving a presentation on the necessity of changing the club's direction and attitude. Did the words precede his ideas? I doubt it. But the words did provide a rhetorical, historical, or theoretical framework that he deemed useful at the time.

      Others, too, more proactive than myself, have sought to contribute here as part of, or in addition to, their real world soccer activities. One day, I too I hope that I'll have the time, contacts, talent, money and courage to put my hand up at running this club, or at least contributing in a more meaningful manner. I can't see that happening for a long time yet, so here I am, chipping in here and there in more minor, less visible, less consequential ways.

      I hope I always wish those running the club the best of luck - as long they're running the club in the best interests of the club and its members, of course. Maybe the pessimistic tone that dominates the discourse here doesn't help that point get across. On that front, the Kiss of Death's presence has been missed this year.

  5. Ahhhhh
    "time, contacts, talent, money and courage to put my hand up"

    That's the exact point Paul
    You, me and others are quick to pontificate what or how they should do things. Lets put ourselves in others shoes.

    Been thinking today (I know its a change from watching Setanta)
    Where would you and I start from to try and put together a coalition of clubs to effect change, if we disagreed vehemently with a strategy or direction administrators were taking, or simply we were 'brave' enough to effect what we felt was positive improvements.

    Then, let's imagine, what would be the challenges and what elements would we need to juggle. In other words, if we were to ACT rather than PONTIFICATE" what would we need to do.

    Lets take the current NPL as an example.
    Seems to me the complexities the 50 or so clubs have been dealing with are summarised in 3 plains.

    1. The Legal plain: building a case and laying the framework to take on the federation. Coordinating the various clubs in agreeing to co-fund, building consensus on what approach to use, liaising, briefing, organising affidavits so on and so on

    2. The Political plain: Conducting presentations to clubs, managing the demands, views, egos (50 Presidents !! bet their not shy introvert types)
    successfully convincing clubs to withdraw from process then building an alternate model and garnering support/approval then finally agreement. Media messaging, document presentation, information gathering/disbursement etc

    3. Constitutional plain: Removing Board, analysing financial performance (in this case I'm convinced the FFV has mismanaged club funds, was an accountant in a past life), re-energising a Zone Rep system that by design is meant to disenfranchise the clubs (Check the FFV Constitution, no mention of clubs apart from the "definition" page), build momentum there again to empower those that have not done so before and finally manage the Parent Federation to sit on the fence (as the FFA has done throughout this episode, despite what the FVV has said)

    Now, all these plains need to be interlinked and obviously have important interdependencies. The outcomes we will soon see I guess,

    But I am sure glad, u and I are no where near such complexities and its safer for us to critique from a far with statements like,
    "mmmmm I think they ought to have done this slightly differently"

    I going back to Setanta, I've typed enough today and I'm mentally drained

    1. You make some worthwhile points, Anonymous. A lot of food for thought - perhaps some more temperance from my end is needed.


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.