Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Social Club Artefact Wednesday - Save Our South T-Shirt

This Friday marks one of the most significant moments in the club's history - as well as perhaps its lowest point - the 10th anniversary of the 'Save Our South' campaign.

A month after being eliminated in the finals of the last NSL season in heartbreaking fashion by Adelaide United, South wasn't just on the ropes, it was down for the count. Despite the windfall of the infamous World Club Championship money just four years previously, we had huge debts and no income stream on the horizon. South was placed in administration. Our players, their contracts declared null and void, all left.

We weren't involved in any competitions,  being blocked along with Melbourne Knights from joining the VPL in 2004 by certain insecure clubs, most infamously Whittlesea Stallions and Ernie Tapai's bloody fridge magnets. I guess the assumption was also at the time that, with the Melbourne licences for the new competition reduced from two to one, that we were a goner anyway.

A rally was organised to save the club, much like many VFL clubs had had to do over the preceding decades. Where thousands were expected to turn up, only a few hundred bothered to do so. I'm ashamed to say that I was one of those many thousands of South fans that did not turn up to that day. Whatever personal issues I may have had at the time, I suppose like many South fans I just assumed that someone else would rock up to save the club. In the end, that's what happened, but only just.

In several ways both tangible and intangible, the legacy of that period still follows us to this day. Tangibly in the sense of having to pay back the Toumbourou/Christopher money, with the attendant hysteria that came with it, or the Lakeside issue still not being resolved. Intangible in the sense that the club's sense of invincibility and self-importance was dealt an incredible blow, both to those who followed our club and those outside of it who reveled in our fall from grace.

But I'm not looking to dwell on that. What I want to emphasise is that we still have a club ten years on, when many thought it was doomed. And I would like to thank all those people, whether they are still with the club or not, who fought for the club on that day, and after that day, to keep it alive. You showed that we can't just take the club for granted, that it has to be fought for, and that duty belongs to all of us.

7 comments:

  1. I never knew it was that bad! I was going through a bit of stuff at that time, and there were some external factors at play for me as well.

    But how ironic is it that thousands of Greek Australians had taken over the streets in July 2004 as Greece progressed through the Euro championships?

    Savvas Tzionis

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  2. My SOS shirt has a heap of signatures from that last NSL squad.

    Strange day, very flat, George Kapaniaris on stage making questionable gags about Lowy's heritage getting the blank responses those jokes deserved.

    Might still have my SOS raffle tickets "BMW First Prize" too, in the feint hope this may one day be drawn.

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    Replies
    1. If you were willing and able, I would love to have a photo of either of those objects to put up here.

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    2. Will dust off the camera.

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  3. It was a very sad day. Looking at the few that did attend, I thought that was it. If these are the only fans that love the club we have no chance. But look at us now. Even early on in the vpl we were getting big crowds. Hopefully some success this year will bring some of those lost supporters back. Last years finals game against gully showed we still have passionate fans and pulling power.

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  4. Good write up, totally slipped my mind that it was 10 years ago. It was a very emotional time indeed.

    Even though I was there, I can actually understand the view that "someone else will do something". In hindsight I probably had a bit of that attitude too, and we still had a big club mentality. If I had have known then how many of our so called supporters would have dropped off in the immediate and longer term future, I would have done alot more as well.

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  5. Shit day, shit turn out. Still have 3 of the SOS T-shirts. If South ever enter the A-League, I will wear one to the 1st game, jump the fence, and race to centre of the pitch.

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