And where on that occasion Knights were only in semi-free fall - having lost their their previous two home games - and we were the scrappers coming into that game on the back of a late run to the finals, today was all about whether we could keep up our magnificent start to the season. We were the form team, Knights had lost three on the trot all at home, so there was no use us trying to claim the underdog status.
We were greeted by a perfect day, with that typical Somers Street sun that gets in your eyes if you're standing on Quarry Hill no matter how you try to avoid it, and as usual, the unknown. What kind of performance would we put in? Would Knights lift for the #melbderby? How come Knights can stuff six cevapi in a roll for $6, while other clubs can barely get to four on a good day and charge you a dollar more? And why was there a chicken running loose at the game (see below)?
One thing that was predictable was the refereeing which was below par. The surprising part was just how poor it was. Certainly the South fans were at first incensed and then in hysterics with the referee's decision making, even when we were getting free kicks. The Knights applied an overly physical approach to their tackling, and while punished with free kicks, it took until something like the ten minute mark of the second half for them to receive a yellow card. But all that could be bias, and in the end probably didn't effect the result.
|The Knights' defence diffuses an early South chance.|
Photo: Cindy Nitsos.
Both sides also had goals disallowed for offside - Knights in the first half, South in the second. Since they were at the other end of the ground, there's no way I can say whether they were fair calls or not. Ours, coming after what could have been classed as a penalty to Reed (I think), perhaps stung a little more.
|The soccer boring you? At Somers Street you can watch the|
planes perform banking maneuvers. Photo: Cindy Nitsos
The second half was better from us, as we upped our effort levels - except for a bizarre ten minute or so period midway through the half where we retreated into our shells - as we tried all sorts of different ways of trying to win the midfield battle. There were long balls, dinky dribbling, good wing play and reckless backline passing. At least we're mixing it up, and getting further away from the idea that we are only capable of playing a Chris Taylor style long ball game.
Lujic's winner on about 85 minutes was reportedly a cracker, but for those South fans at the other end of the ground on Quarry Hill, it looked like to us as if it was another missed opportunity, as the ball hit the post and went across the face of goal - luckily having already crossed the line and hitting the inside of the net on the other side.
Credit must also go to substitute Leigh Minpooulos, who set up the goal with a fantastic run down the left wing from inside his own half. Minopoulos is proving himself quite the quandary - he's done quite well coming off the bench in several games, so the temptation must be there to start him - but at who's expense? And will he be as effective as a starting eleven player? It's a good problem to have.
|James Musa had his best game in a South shirt so far.|
Photo: Cindy Nitsos.
So, still with a perfect record, four points ahead of Oakleigh, and five ahead of Bentleigh who have their perpetual (until much later in the season) game in hand against Ballarat.
I hear Σαουθ Μελμβουρν won the Derby, well done boys, I'll double my write up in this weeks Ενδιαφέρον to two paragraphs with oakleigh photoThe Chicken of Quarry Hill (RIP CroDuck, lest we forget)
— Elias Donoudis. (@carlsaganaki) April 27, 2014
Why is there a chicken running loose at Somers Street? #melbderby #nplvic pic.twitter.com/gwwoJ7DGKA
— Paul Mavroudis (@PaulMavroudis) April 27, 2014
Next game - includes details of the club's bus offering to Ballarat
Ballarat Red Devils away. Wait, didn't we just play them a week or two back? Yes, we did. Don't ask me how the FFV went about about working it this way, because I once thought I had the answer, and then realised that I didn't. This event will mark the official opening of Ballarat's new Morshead Park venue.
Our club is offering a bus service to Ballarat and back, from Lakeside, travelling with either the senior team or the under 20s. The cost is $50, which includes entry to the game. See this for more details, but note that close of business on Tuesday is your deadline.
If $50 seems steep, here's the comparison with the public transport alternative. The cost of an off-peak adult daily ticket to Ballarat on the train will set you back about $25, (plus $6 if you don't have a myki card). Then there's the likely cab fare to the ground from the station, and then you have to buy your ticket into the ground. If you take the club bus, you may also be filmed as part of an SMFCTV feature, as well for a future advertisement.
While I may come across as being a hypocrite for asking for a club provided bus service and then rejecting it in favour of public transport,
- I prefer trains, even if the total cost of that option will be higher.
- I don't want to be on the TV.
- I'm planning on having dinner in Ballarat after the game and then catching a later train back.
The relevant trains leaving Southern Cross for Ballarat on Saturday are:
- 10:28AM, arriving at Ballarat at 11:55AM.
- 12:08PM, arriving at Ballarat at 1:34PM.
- 1:38PM. arriving at Ballarat at 2:50PM, which will be cutting it very fine.
Or you could just drive to the game. How lame.
Dockerty Cup news
Digging my own muddy trench
As a 'bloody university trendy', I have most of the necessary hangups of the self-hating Australian pseudo-intellectual, and when it comes to Anzac Day, well, who knows how far I could go on that matter if pushed. But you're not going to be very interested in that, and it's also not the point of the following (and 264th) attempt to land myself into the gulags of SMFC 'mover and shaker' opinion.
|Am I so out of touch? No, it's the children who are wrong.|
And if that combination makes me uncomfortable, then the combination of sport and war makes me downright queasy. It may be a glib thing to say, but war isn't sport, and sport isn't war. Despite obviously going there with the best of intentions, I'm at a loss as to what South has to do with anything to do with Anzac Day, and the subsequent social media attached to the visit comes across as tacky, and not that far removed from the antics of groups like the Fanatics - and I'm not the only one who has interpreted it that way. At best, it lacked tact; at worst, it came across as opportunistic.
And if you think that's being insensitive and completely taking the visit in the wrong spirit, then take a look at this post I've selected absolutely randomly:
LOOKS LIKE #ETHNIC CLUBS #HONOUR & #RESPECT AUSTRALIAN HISTORY & IDENTITY AFTERALL!! pic.twitter.com/3iuhvRlTWC #aleague #foxfootball #NPLVICI don't think that's quite the reaction that the club was hoping would be attached to their visit. And if my source is correct, and our players were compelled by 'higher powers' to attend then that, too, surely defeats the purpose and spirit of the occasion. I guess I should be thankful that we're no longer part of the 'how great was Ataturk?' day from a few years back.
— Mike (@smfcmike) April 24, 2014
I WAS A BIG CHEESE, A HUGE CHEESE!
Every now and again on Twitter a little volcano erupts (just a little, tiny one), centred around former board member/general manager (1991-1999) Peter Filopoulos. On occasion Filopoulos likes to, via the medium of Twitter, and depending on your point of view:
- Make genuine attempts at constructive criticism of the current South board.
- Make remarks which are critical of the board without having anything constructive to say about anything.
- Stir the pot for the sake of hilarity and chaos, or
- All of the above.
Still, when your name gets attached to the discussions - and honestly, sometimes I have no idea how it happens - you may as well end up having a look through the notifications page. So what kicked it off this time? Well, the website of the Puskas Suzuki Cup, some sort of youth tournament for clubs which Ferenc Puskas coached or played at, lists (at time of print) this unusual detail:
The family of Peter Filopoulos, director of one of the world's largest event venues, Melbourne's ETIHAD Stadium, were the owners of South Melbourne during Öcsi bácsi's coaching successes.Which was brought to the attention of Filopoulos, who swore he had no idea how that had come to pass, which I have no reason to doubt. That seemed to kick off the discussion onto why aren't South ever invited to this tournament, and who's to blame - which is a perfectly legitimate question, albeit with answers that could possibly or rather probably launch a decent libel suit, so we won't go into them at this time.
Anyway, from that launching pad the discussion veered off into who was the more meritorious South fan - the bloke who was there a long time ago or the blokes that are there now - which dragged in current board members Tom Kalas (@tom_kalas) and Tony Margaritis (@sthmel), and even the Kiss of Death, ending up at the obvious debate highlight, which I am now providing the gist of rather than quoting:
'I don't remember seeing you at Save Our South',and
'Oh yeah? Well, I don't remember seeing YOU at Save Our South!',which considering there were fuck all people there (and as stated in a recent blog article, I wasn't there, so don't count on me to sort out the roll call for that day) seemed to force the discussion towards the apex of a highly undignified cul- de-sac, before everyone backed out carefully and decided to sort it out like grown-ups - whatever the hell that means.
Apart from Jim Barres' valuable (if clichéd) comment that if they all worked together they would be unstoppable, the best post went to our old mate Pavlaki, who got to the guts of the matter:
@sthmel @smfcmike @peterfilopoulos @tom_kalas @PaulMavroudis I'm the biggest and best South fan in the History of South Melbourne Hellas.And in the end, aren't pointless dick measuring contests the most important thing about being a South fan?
— Paul Touliatos (@pavlaki1969) April 25, 2014
John Verikakis and the mysterious Mike Verikakis
Our fellow blogger Mark Boric is doing some research trying to collect and verify as many results of the Victorian state team as possible, including lineups. As part of that project, he's trying to get information on the following match:
Sunday September 20, 1992, at Middle Park
South Melbourne Hellas 1 (Verikakis 44') Victoria 1 (Patterson 69')
Curtain raiser to the VPL Grand Final later that afternoon.My interest in this - apart from it being a Hellas match - is that the name Verikakis seemed unfamiliar to me. A search through OzFootball creates some illumination, but also a problem. OzFootball has a 'Mike' Verikakis playing several NSL games for us from 1992-1993. These are the games I can find with 'Mike' Verikakis:
two Dockerty Cup matches for us in 1993, including the final.
The confusion increases when you find that Ozfootball lists no other matches with 'Mike' Verikakis in any competition. By comparison, 'John' Verikakis' post-South existence is much better attested, being listed as playing for Port Melbourne, Clarinda (now Kingston City), Altona East and Brunswick City. My suspicion, complimented by recollections from other South fans on smfcboard, seems to suggest that there's an error in the OzFootball records, and that 'Mike' Verikakis is actually the same person as John Verikakis.
Any help in clarifying the situation, recollections of the game against the Victorian state team mentioned above, as well as recollections of the career of John Verikakis would be greatly appreciated.
Around the grounds
How can I be pleased, when I'm handed the keys, to a town they call Misery
Altona East lost 1-0 at home to Sunbury United. The home side had the better of the first half, but managed to get over the halfway line in any meaningful way just once in the second half, after they'd fallen behind to a late goal. And another thing - why do I feel cheated when I lose the raffle, and the winning ticket happens to be a different colour to the ones they were selling near me? Many recriminations were had a with a fellow traveller about this and many other issues. The conclusion reached was that if I was miserable now, imagine how much more miserable I'd be in 20 years. Which is a comforting thought in anyone's language.
Final thoughtNot so the Australians, unamused, unimpressed,
they went over the top like men clocking on
John Forbes, 'Anzac Day'