Sunday, 2 March 2014

Springvale White Eagles 0 South Melbourne 2 (and much, much more)

A pretty comfortable win, even though it took until midway through the second half for us to score. I can't get a handle on this team. We've played against mostly mug NPL1 sides. We've looked half arsed doing it, so I'm not sure if we have 2-3 extra gears in reserve when we need them. Every now and again we've pulled together a nice move, but what we're going to produce in the 2014 season proper, no idea. I've liked Minopoulos though, he has some nice poacher's instincts.

Tough times at Springvale White Eagles
The grass looked like crap. The players were wearing shirts with no numbers on the back. One of the reserve substitutes didn't have shin guards. The canteen ran out of chili flakes halfway through the reserves game. Lucky there was a backup bottle of Tabasco sauce for the cevapi roll, which was very good.

Also, their grandstand is a funny old thing. Strange benches, odd positioning of poles. Friendly folks though.

Next game
Dunno. Maybe we won't see our boys again in the open until round one. Well, at least that means the possibility of heading to a Dockerty Cup match on the weekend.

The mystery striker mystery...
... is not so mysterious any more, which is tough luck for the SMFC media team when they eventually get around to announcing it. The mystery striker is apparently this bloke. Lot of people excited about this bloke. There goes one visa spot.

We're getting very close to having to name our roster of 20 - no more, no less - for the upcoming season. So far off the top of my head, I'm thinking we have the following as a likely squad.
  1. Jason Saldaris
  2. Chris Maynard
  3. Michael Eagar
  4. Brad Norton
  5. Tim Mala
  6. "mystery centre back replacement for Shaun Kelly"
  7. Tyson Holmes
  8. Nick Epifano
  9. Iqi Jawadi
  10. Matthew Theodore
  11. Leigh Minopoulos
  12. Jamie Reed
  13. Milos Lujic
  14. Dimi Tsiaras
  15. Seb Petrovich (well, he's still been playing trial matches even up to this point)
  16. Kobbie Boaheme - likely young signing
  17. Andrew Kecojevic - likely young signing
  18. Empty slot that will need to be filled (Any Dandy or Northcote players leftover?)
  19. Another empty slot that will need to be filled
  20. The last empty slot that will need to be filled
You know who's weird?
These new fangled junior parents. I mean, I'm sure they've existed for a while now, but the NPL is going to bring them closer in proximity to me and you. And to be blunt, they're not like me and you. Sure they want the team their kid is playing in to win, but that seems to be a secondary concern a lot of the time, in part because the team their kid is playing for could be a different one to the one they played for last year, or will play for next year. They cheer differently. They talk differently. Can we get along? I don't know. Does that me sound too distrustful? I don't mean to be. It's just kinda weird to always feel like we're only borrowing them.

The ins and outs of social media 
Not that I was there, but FFV had a bit of a get together with the NPL clubs for a workshop session on Saturday - for those that bothered to turn up, which is most of them. Apart from some reportedly very delicious muffins (which were apparently wolfed down by one notoriously rotund Victorian soccer mover and shaker), the main thing that filtered down to me was talk about how the FFV was trying to teach the clubs about social media. Isn't social media just a platform for nobodies with no power to make their ineffectual voices heard, while people with real jobs and qualifications get on with the business of pretending to know what they're doing?

Anyway, even if using social media does turn out to be a completely pointless exercise, it must be said that most clubs can improve the way they use their social media platforms. Here are my tips:
  • Update them very now and again - you know, scores, fixtures, news. This goes for your website as well. Yes, it's great that you won a game back in round 5, 2012, but we've all moved on from then.
  • Try and aboid having them become a default supporters forum, like Heidelberg's is wont to do on occasion.
  • Don't pretend they don't exist when things go tits up, like Surf Coast and their recent NPL induced implosion.
All those tips are of course very basic, and beholden to a more corporate notion of how these things should run. If you prefer a more anarchic system, you can disregard these suggestions, and let nature take its course. Also, FFV could also learn to be more effective with its social media platforms:
  • They could get their Facebook match reporters to do more frequent updates during matches. Even if it's a boring game, I appreciate some more frequent updates telling me its a boring game - and which sides might be playing less boring.
  • Set up a clear set of guidelines about what questions you will and won't answer on your social media platforms - if you won't answer them on there, provide clear directions as to who one should ask.
  • Try to avoid being beaten to following me on Twitter by the Melbourne Renegades.
Good to hear that FFV got around to telling the clubs to use #NPLVIC instead of #NPLV as their twitter hashtag. Big issue I know, but it matters to me. We all want to be on the same page, right? Should start promoting the #DockertyCup hashtag as well, get people to update scores on that really quickly and easily.

The vibe from that workshop
Actually. mostly positive. It's going to be a steep learning curve for all concerned, and the short and crazy amount of time to get prepared for 2014 makes it harder for everyone. And apparently, whatever the outward commentary that things will be refined down to the FFA's NPL ideal, it may not end up happening that way - we're specifically talking about the reductions of the points cap here. So good luck to all the clubs trying to make this work, and good luck to Liam Bentley, the head of NPL Victoria.

Did you know I once escorted Liam off the field at Paisley Park, in my role as a marshal for an Altona East reserves game, for which he was the referee? Nothing untoward happened or anything, it's just part of the standard half time and full time drill for marshals to do that. Seemed like a good bloke, and it's always good to see FFV staff mixing it with the plebs, or even becoming one of them on a weekend. More of it, I say.

Bad Paul, naughty Paul
It appears that FFV CEO Mitchell Murphy was not happy with my most recent article in Goal Weekly, on the latest developments on the NPL Victoria saga, judging by his letter to the editor in the most recent edition. Looks like I have some bridges to build, fences to mend and a game to lift.

This is how you develop players
Recently, my home grown forward prodigy Brad Payne made his debut for the Oceanian National Team. He started off in my youth team, he played in the reserves outfits and is now a core member of Juniper Hill's senior squad. There's a lesson there for the NPL dreamers of dreams, even if Hattrick, Brad Payne and Juniper Hill aren't exactly real.

Let's see, what else?
They tell me that not one, but two of John Markosvki's sons are in the South junior system. Yes, that John Markovski. If true, then as someone once said, 'the times, they are becoming quite different'.

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