The club still has a small handful of these posters left - probably fewer than ten - and not all of them are in the best condition, but most are still in acceptable condition. I found them during my stint cleaning out the social club several years ago in preparation for its renovation, and since then have always wanted one, even though I did cringe at the $150 cost, not including the framing. I suppose I could have nicked one then and there, but I would have felt sick doing that. Besides, I was compensated for my efforts well enough.
As for the painting itself, I'm not sure who the artist is. I may have had the detail somewhere, but I can't seem to find the information now. I'm pretty certain that it was not done by Jamie Cooper, who did the AFL team of the century paintings, and I probably wouldn't class this painting as being equal to that standard - to me at least, it seems like the players' bodies are too similar, and there doesn't appear to be a sense of warmth, camaraderie or connectedness - the subjects being too scattered and lacking in focus, the antithesis of your typical soccer photo, with the starting lineup looking forward with just a hint of the askance, waiting for battle. I suppose I would have liked to have seen the players in the various jerseys used by the club over the years as well, something akin to the Fitzroy team of the century painting - but you can't always get what you want.
Of course the original painting - rarely seen by South supporters, because of the fact that it was located in the old Lakeside boardroom - is in storage at the moment along with our other treasures. Will it be brought out into the public areas of the revamped social club, or will it retain its place in the new boardroom? I'm not too fussed either way, but I did like the way it dominated the old boardroom space, reminding whoever was in charge that there was a profound legacy that they were being asked to maintain, with the muted, but still inherent menace of the framed photos of the club legends in David Williamson's The Club.
Our friend Pavlaki tweeted this as part of his response to this piece.
@PaulMavroudis @smfc pic.twitter.com/TVXwh8V97FThe suggestion is that the artist's name may be Dave Thomas, who has also done a few other team of the century paintings, from what I can tell mostly rugby league ones.
— Paul Touliatos (@pavlaki1969) November 12, 2014