Monday, 8 September 2014

Bureaucrats and Bohemians - South Melbourne 2 Oakleigh Cannons 2

Lots of things happened yesterday, some of them were even football related. It was great to be able to mingle with all sorts of different South fans, in a relaxed atmosphere before an end of season dead rubber, not because the team was poor, but because they were good. One of the older gentlemen had even brought along a large container full of lollies to share, and I decided to side with Homer as opposed to Marge:

Marge: And don't take candy from strangers.
Homer Simpson: Marge, they're only human!

But now to the rest of the day's events.

Formeroos! Copperoos!
Rather than have the under 20s play as the curtain raisers, the pre-game entertainment was a friendly match between a selection of former Socceroos (including among others, Dean Anastasiadis, Kimon Taliadaros and Fausto De Amicis) playing against the Victorian Police soccer club. The Formeroos won the game quite comfortably, the final score being apparently 8-3 (though whether anyone as actually keeping proper score is doubtful), but the highlight was De Amicis coming down to the fence at half time and doing a bit of meet and greet with the early bird South fans, even saying that it was good to see us still supporting the club, without it coming across as patronising. A fair effort.

After the conclusion of that game, the crowd was presented with several surviving members of the 1964 and 1974 state champion teams, as well as the 1984 national champion team, which was great to see.

Here come the fun police
Of all days for whoever the manager of Lakeside Stadium is to get his knickers in a knot about Clarendon Corner, he had to pick yesterday. Now I don't know the bloke's name, so for ease of use and to give him some semblance of anonymity, let's just call him Hermes Conrad. Old mate Hermes, reportedly in the job for about three months, decided that today he was not going to let the drum be played. Never mind that the drum has been used all season long, nor the fact that, as one supporter put it, 'it's not a fucken funeral', Hermes pointed to his little piece of paper and said that drums were not allowed. Credit to the fans who negotiated with Hermes, who tried to reason with him rather than get fired up, even as some of those a few metres away hurled abuse.

Credit also to the bloke with the annoying air horn device, who decided to sacrifice it for the sake of keeping the drum. He also brought along a giant cardboard champagne bottle, decorated with South motifs (and which made it into several photos), which I'm surprised was considered acceptable by Hermes, though I'm not sure what Hermes could have done about the newspaper confetti and the streamers. The most stinging comment anyone said to him was, 'we're here for another forty years, so get used to it'. Like the shenanigans various A-League supporter groups have had to deal with though, this probably won't be the last we hear about this. That's the problems with no longer being the venue manger I guess.

Eventually Hermes went back to his little hidey hole and I don't think I remember seeing him for the rest of the game. Newly installed FFV CEO (and former interim CEO) Peter Gome hung around Clarendon Corner a bit in the second half, and didn't seem to have much of an issue with what was going on.

Bohemians on tour
The leather blown they now pursue
And deftly through goal-posts guide
Who taught the world the way to woo
In songs that vibrant passion sighed.
The revelries in which they vied
To give the graver lands a shocker
Merely as memories abide
Now Czecho-Slovaks shine at Socker.
from 'The Modern Bohemian' (1927), by Thomas the Rhymer (pseudonym of Charles Hayward, editor of The Bulletin).

One of the most bizarre things I've ever seen at South Melbourne was the arrival of a dozen or so people in green and white, carrying banners and a Czech flag, and end up near Clarendon Corner. Turns out they were supporters of the Czech club Bohemians 1905, apparently on tour to commemorate the club's 1927 tour to Australia. Looking at the dates of their tour, it seems as if Hayward's poem is about that tour specifically, which is a nice thing to know.

Bohemians are of course famous for having a kangaroo in their logo, courtesy of apparently receiving two kangaroos as a gift on the tour, and which were taken back to Prague Zoo. The took a lot of photos and videos, and seemed to be having a great time, but the most bizarre moment was when the supporter known as 'Stevie' or 'Kev' (who has an intellectual disability), objected to the Bohemians fans being in Clarendon Corner, and tried to barrel through several supporters holding him back (and he's a strong, low centre of gravity kind of bloke) while being told that they were our friends and that it was OK. He must have thought they were Gully fans or something. The good news is that the one person he pretty much always listens to when he gets fired up about something managed to calm him down, and nothing serious actually happened. It was certainly all smiles when they filmed the celebrations following Milos Lujic's equaliser late in the contest.

The chanting varied from the very good, to the absurd. The very good was the changing of certain lyrics to fit the situation (Already won the league! Fuck off Oakleigh!), and the inclusion of Bohemians into some chants. The absurd was going back to the rank lower class chants ('Everywhere we go' "Let's go Hellas, let's go', but that was more of an indication

There was a game on?
I can't remember much about the game to be honest. We scored first, they replied instantly, they took the lead, and we equalised late, probably should have pinched it. John Honos made some good saves for them, but he also seemed to milk every slight bit of contact for all it was worth. No matter.

The mating call of the loser
As Buzz Aldrin will tell you, second comes right after first.
Not that we want to harp too much on it, because we've harped on about it enough during this season as it is, but Oakleigh must be some of the biggest sooks in Australian soccer (and that's coming from someone's who majored in sooking, with a minor in communications). Now, admittedly throwing more money down the toilet for no silverware must hurt, as would not bothering to take the Dockerty Cup seriously, because it's not like it has anything to do with the FFA Cup (oh, wait...), but Miron Bleiberg's comments following their loss against Melbourne Knights, about how Oakleigh have scored more and conceded fewer goals than South was classic straw clutching, even if he begrudgingly admitted that we were the more consistent team over the course of the season

Not one to be left behind on the coulda/woulda/shoulda bandwagon (to which South of the Border has a lifetime pass) was Oakleigh defender John Black, who said after yesterday's match:
"At the end of the day they haven’t beaten us all year and congratulations to them for winning the title but we haven’t lost to them and I think that if we brushed up our performances in lesser games we could’ve been the champions, but that’s the way it goes.”
On that front, we didn't beat Oakleigh in 2006 either, but we won that title as well. Different rules back then, what with there being a finals series, but in the end the same glorious result - South winning a title, and Oakleigh being able to crow about the fact that they didn't lose to us. Whatever helps them sleep at night, I guess.

Having said all of that, the fact that at least one person was disappointed that Oakleigh didn't form a guard of honour for us is a bit silly, because it's just not necessary, and we had the kids from our own club there to do it. What next, are we going to parade them in chains in a triumphal march down Clarendon Street (well actually...)? Neither was I annoyed that they didn't stick around for the award ceremony - I mean, would you want to be there in that situation? Frankly, I didn't want them there anyway, because the day wasn't about them, it was about us. Best to leave them go off so they can add another star to their logo for goodness knows what reason.

Here's your prize, don't break it now... 
The awards ceremony went off pretty much without a hitch, The right people were booed, and they teed up FFV president Nick Monteleone to appear alongside the one day to be beatified South legend Jimmy Armstrong in order to avoid getting Monteleone booed, in much the same way that Tony Abbott was paired up with a sick kid at Manly. Like the 1998 trophy before it (at least I think it was 1998), the base of the trophy decided that it wanted a divorce from the top half of the trophy.

The official (and Liberal Party heavy - poor local member Martin Foley has been thrown on the relevance scrapheap, at least for the time being) part of the celebrations done and dusted, the celebrations moved into the changerooms, where Kosta of Blue Thunder Security made sure that not everyone could get in, and while it's easy and and fun to take a big whack at him for doing so, realistically the place was that full that no one else could get in. Your correspondent was therefore happy to stay outside until the place emptied out a bit, and I got to mingle a little and soak up what was left of the atmosphere.

Afterwards a few people kicked on at Beachcomber (oh wherefore art thou social club?), where even I was photographed with the trophy (thanks to Chris Maynard's dad Richard for taking the photos). After dinner the players debated going out to Ljubo's one time favourite hang out Love Machine, which long time readers are well aware, I draw the line. Nightclubs aren't my thing, and besides, it was way past my bedtime.

Next game
Goulburn Valley Suns away for the final round of the season. The club will be organising a bus up to Shepparton. Cost is $35, and the bus will leave from Lakeside 'at 10:30am sharp'.

South Hobart NPL playoffs trip
The date was already known - Saturday September 20th -, but now the kickoff time has also been confirmed - 1:30pm - at South Hobart's ground at D'Arcy Street.

The scheduling is ideal for both a weekend stint or a day trip. Since I'm only making a day trip out of it, I've booked my ticket for the 9:45 flight from Tullamarine, and returning on the 21:40 out of Hobart, which a few fans are also reportedly doing, but there are also people who will be getting in on earlier flights, as well as those doing the weekend thing - so I think we'll have decent numbers.

The fly in, fly out option has become significantly more expensive as the computer algorithms of the airlines have cottoned on to the fact that people want to get in and out for this trip on that date - my $49 flight out of Hobart is now selling for an absurd $149. Hopefully there'll be at least be an internet radio option provided for those who can't make the trip down.

Play Off The Park podcast
Last Monday I was a guest along with Dr Ian Syson on SYN 90.7FM's 'Play off the Park' show, talking about soccer history, heritage and politics. Due to technical issues, the first 34 minutes of the show are separate from the rest of the show. It was a lot of fun, even if Pave Jusup reckons I sound more ethnic than he does.

Victoria University's Worlds of Football conference seeking abstracts
If you're in academia, or have an academic inclination, check out this flyer for details of the upcoming Worlds of Football conference being hosted by Victoria University. The conference will be in mid-January 2015, and abstracts need to be in by mid October 2014. Or you can just check out my reviews of the 2010 and 2012 conferences.

Around the grounds
Up the hill and down again
I had been invited by Box Hill United's Nicholas Tsiaras to come down to Wembley Park at some point in the season, and finally made there on Saturday for their game against the ladder leading Avondale Heights. A win for the visitors would almost guarantee them the championships while the home needed to nwin to keep their promotion chances alive. Wembley Park has a severe slope to one end (though good luck to those with shocking depth perception trying to figure out which way it goes). Anyway, Avondale Heights were kicking to the down sloping end in the first end, and probably should have gone into half time a couple of goals up. Box Hill played better in the second half, but really only had one good chance, which they botched. A better result for the visitors than the home side.

Final thought
I laugh at one joke about herpes and people start killing each other because of it.


  1. Lots of great news this year, but the worse news came at the tail end.

    No more community television on free to air.

    Is that the end of SMFC tv?

    Savvas Tzionis

    1. Community TV has been slated to moved off the available spectrum at the end of 2015, not this year, but your point is valid nevertheless. Still, the issue is much bigger than merely SMFC TV. Shit decision by the government.


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