Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Social club artefact Wednesday - Middle Park 'field of dreams' flag

2014 is not only ten years since we nearly went kaput, but it's also twenty years tomorrow since we played our last game at Middle Park. The acquisition of Middle Park is a huge part of our history, and it's the reason why from the start - or at least the merger of Hellas and South Melbourne United in early 1960, which perhaps should be the real founding date for the club - we've been known in English as South Melbourne FC/Hellas/Lakers/Pirates, and not probably something like Melbourne Hellas ala Melbourne Croatia.

That Middle Park is still sorely missed, and that Bob Jane Stadium/Lakeside never had the same feel, is almost a given. As an aside, it's disappointing, though not surprising, that the loss of soccer's suburban grounds was never given as much focus as those from footy, when the equivalent blood, sweat and tears were invested into the soccer venues, and that their demise as top tier venues was, aside from being linked with ethnic, non-conformist soccer clubs, also due to the same forces of economic rationalism and ground rationalisation.

Anyway, the video below is an absolutely priceless bit of footage for all sorts of reasons, including but not limited to:
  • The souvlakia grilling on the barbecue.
  • The most badass women's team ever assembled, with superb motley hairstyles and a keeper with sunnies. They're also wearing this rare jersey.
  • The ad hoc parade of champions
  • The Bristol Rovers style jerseys which harks back to 1966 when we wore a similar jersey.
  • The run through banner which the players will tear through unlike the weak AFL players of today who need a door to go through a banner. Soft.
  • Highlights of the actual game, including Gus Tsolakis acting like a bit of a knob after his goal. When he was playing for the Bergers, my uncle (then a diehard fan, later, meh) called him a monkey. When Gus was playing for us, he was dynamite. True story.
  • The post game scenes overlaid with cheesy music. Really cheesy music. 
  • There's a flag at 5:28 that I would kill to get a hold of.
  • A montage of photos including several run through banners and shots of the Middle Park outer.

The flag below was obviously designed and made especially for the occasion, The design looks a bit stiff, very dated even by 1994 and is, well, just plain ugly. Usually I'd find that charming but for some reason I've never been able to warm to this design. Still, it's a part of our history and any anecdotes about the design or the day are most welcome.

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