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 soccer-forum.net, 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 soccer-forum.net) 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.