In a blog full of self-indulgence, this is just about the most self-indulgent of posts. A person who has never played the game, who can barely make out what's going on the field, and even if he could, is usually too apoplectic with rage to make any useful judgments anyway.
Which is just another way of saying it's time for the 2013 South of the Border Awards. For previous editions of this mini-extravaganza, see this link.
Player of the year: It could have gone to Pete Gavalas for his massive turnaround in form. It could have gone to Brian Bran for being our best over the second half of the year. It could have gone to Tyson Holmes for being a thorn in Steve From Broady's side. But this award has never followed any sort of logical decision making process, and we're not about to start now.
Trent Rixon gets my vote in 2013 because when he finally got fit, he showed us not only the form which saw the club bring him over in the first place by scoring several goals, but he also displayed a joyful combativeness up front. For the first time since he made the move from Northcote, he looked like he was actually enjoying being at and playing for South - the highlight being his celebration with statsman Steve from Broady away at Port Melbourne.
Under 21 player of the year: The Cliff Hussey Memorial Trophy (this year selected by Steve From Broady) goes to Baggio Yousif. I'm not going to disagree with that.
Goal of the year: Ljubo Milicevic. Now, unlike last year, there were several brilliant/crazy/timely goals scored in 2013. Andy Vlahos' belter of a free kick at home against Green Gully. Soolsma's free kick at home against Hume City. Holmes' overhead at home against Richmond, or Hopper's excellent control in the away fixture against Richmond. Either of Fernando's goals against Preston in the cup, for the pure emotion of it if not the execution.
But for the way the planets aligned for Ljubo's own goal, I couldn't bring myself to award it anyone else. His return to Lakeside, finally playing for the club he apparently supported as a kid, South down 2-1 due to some comical defending, and the out of absolutely nothing, Ljubo heads it into his own net, and the South fans start chanting his name. It was a lot of a fun.
Best performance: Hmm. The win against Northcote in the Dockerty Cup was pretty epic. The win against Bentleigh away was awesome. But I'm going to go with Green Gully away in round 1. Seriously, I was happy to have the season end right there and then. We killed them from start to finish and nothing went wrong at all. See in you in another 27 years when it happens again.
Best away game of the year: Melbourne Knights semi-final. It had to be something special to beat our first away win at Gully since 233 BCE or whenever it was. Without any intentional disrespect against all the other clubs, that night against our old foe Melbourne Croatia, it felt like we were in a real league, playing against a real team. They even booed our goal! When was the last time that happened? And what a beautiful smash and grab win it was. Pure joy.
Call of the year:
"Hey goalkeeper, you look like a highlighter!" (David, host of SMFC TV), said during the cup match against Northcote, in reference to their goalkeeper's get up of fluoro green jersey and shorts with black socks.
- "There are ten players out there for South called 'cunt' and one called 'Andy' (Vlahos)" (Ian Syson, Southern Stars at home)
- "He went down like he ate a hot dog from Green Gully" (Steve From Broady, during the under 21s game at home to Green Gully)
Chant of the year: "You're supposed to be in church!", Oakleigh home match. There were a couple of other contenders, especially late on in the season, such as:
"Dodgy Asian Betting, Now We're In The Finals!" (Gully final)
"Our social club
Does not exist
Our social club does not exist
It's got no door, and no window
Our social club does not exist" (Northcote final)
But the winner had a certain, je ne sais quoi to it.
Best after match dinner location: Man, I missed a lot of these this season, and there were a lot of disappointing affairs here. Chief among the disappointing places were that trendy ramen place on Lonsdale Street (bland, bland, bland), and the deplorable Coconut House (except for the incredible soy milk). So, almost by default, it goes to Thai Deli again, for their Pad Thai. Good to support a local South Melbourne business as well.
Friends we lost along the way: The Brunswick City souv. Our FFV media pass holder status. Our position of being somewhere about fifth or sixth in line for news that 'you can't tell anyone, seriously'. I think we're about 23rd in line now, behind the Cypriot peanut man who they don't let in the ground, but still ahead of Michael Lynch. Small mercies and all that.
Barely related to anything
So anyway, we won the game, we were all happy, and it was time to go home. Now, if you've never driven Steve from Broady anywhere, you should know two things are likely to happen. Firstly, he'll try and tell enough stupid stories that will make you laugh until you black out and crash into an oncoming truck. Secondly, he will pummel you with so many crackpot theories or stupid questions that eventually you'll just ask him to shut the fuck up already.
Well, we hadn't even got out of the car park yet (an ordeal in itself at Green Gully) before he's already worn my patience thin by asking a really daft question. I abused the fuck out of him for doing so, and then he was very quiet all the way home. So quiet, that I actually felt really bad about the whole situation.
Well, a few months later, upon reminiscing about that drive home in a conversation, Steve casually mentions that he wasn't quiet because of the abuse I'd dished out. No, he was quiet on the ride home because he felt sick as a dog, and was very close to throwing up. And why was he close to throwing up? Because against everyone's experience and advice, including his own, he'd had a Green Gully hot dog.
That's your expert food reviewer right there.