Thursday, 1 January 2015

December 2014 digest

Memberships are available
The usual deal. Head here to make your purchase. Support your club. Good to see that entry to all home league and potential Dockerty and FFA Cup games is included.

Dane Milovanovic, most recently of some mob in the Maldives.

and out...
general manager Peter Kokotis. Or at least that's the word on the street. Interesting to see if they choose to replace him, and if so with who. And to think I still haven't managed to get that Yarra Park Aias photo with the team list off him. Score that as a failed KPI target.

and no word yet...
On who'll be keeping for us. Will it be Peter Gavalas? Nikola Roganovic? Chris Maynard? And what about who'll be the technical director. Because you can't have your senior coach also be your technical director.

In case you missed it... 
The fixtures for the 2015 season are out. Here are some of the issues of slightly lesser importance. First, finals are back, which is good for people who get bored when their teams are out of the ruuning five minutes into the season, but bad for those people who hate finals in soccer. Worse, FFV have inexplicably decided to use the A-League top six model, which is a straight knockout affair, with the only benefit to the top two teams being a week off. That just ends up making the finals series even more of a who's in form at the 'right' time of the season lottery.

There's at least a couple of new venues to visit this year as well, of a sort. We'll be visiting North Geelong Elcho Park for the first time (as far as I'm aware) in round 2, and in round 23 we'll be playing at the revamped CB Smith Reserve for the first time (as well as the first time at that venue since the 'why' game in 2008), as Pascoe Vale have moved their senior matches there for 2015. Avondale Heights - who have re-branded themselves as Avondale FC, which I won't use - are listed as playing out of Doyle Street Reserve, which falls well short of the requirements of the NPL for senior matches, so it will be interesting to see how that pans out.

For some inexplicable reason most of our home games are on Fridays, which without a social club seems to be a rather daft decision, but one that's still apparently subject to change. The club even held a survey asking for feedback about preferred times. I reckon Sunday 3:00PM is best. It will be interesting to see what arrangements are made for the home game against Melbourne Knights, which reportedly falls on Orthodox Easter week.

But back to the social club for a moment...
The fashionably late 2014 South Melbourne AGM will be held on Thursday January 29th, at 7:00PM in the President's Room. Unfortunately, your correspondent will almost certainly miss the affair. The reason for this is that around that time I'll be having laser surgery to remove a blister on my non-functioning left eye, which I anticipate will see me out of action for a few days at least. If anyone attending would like to do a write up for the blog, please get in contact with me.

Adelaide trip 2015
Which doubly sucks because it's been said that we'll be going to Adelaide in the first week of February to play one or two games as part of the pre-season, with one of the games definitely being against West Adelaide. Let's just hope they get around soon to booking the tickets and accommodation.

OK, here's the problem
I will be attending seven Asian Cup matches during January, as well as a local academic sports conference, eye surgery and whatever else may come up during January and February. This will mean that I will miss several South Melbourne pre-season friendly fixtures. So I'm looking for people that will be going to these and related events to maybe pitch in and provide some short reports, otherwise the quality of the South related content during January may well and truly suck more than usual. Send all your inquiries to the usual address. Especially keen on someone covering the prospective Adelaide trip.

The house (aka Eddie McGuire) always wins
So the Socceroos won't be training at Lakeside, but rather at the hollow shell of what Eddie 'sometimes I love soccer, but most of the time I don't because it's played by wogs' McGuire turned Olympic Park into. I think Lakeside might be hosting Uzbekistan instead. If someone could get me access to the latter's training sessions, that would be nice.

Some thoughts on getting ahead of ourselves (but not really)
I was going to write some sort of brief spiel about the ramifications of the move away from small markets in the A-League and what that might mean for us, but then I figured that since we're never going to be in the A-League anyway, that the point was probably moot.

Nick Jacobs, Memphis Tiger
An interesting post was recently made on smfcboard - and then followed up by George Kouroumalis on the official site - alerting people to the fact that former player Nick Jacobs, who reportedly retired from soccer following a long lay off with injury, has surfaced in the US playing college football for the University of Memphis Tigers, where he is also studying engineering.

It seems like the guy who used be to the punter for them, the highly rated Tom Hornsey (another Aussie), had been drafted by the Dallas Cowboys (and since released as a free agent), and that Nick has managed to dislodge Hornsey's replacement as the first choice punter.
Jacobs has been averaging around 33 yards per punt (with a season long of 42), which isn't great (I think NFL punters aim for around 45 yards net gain?), but on the other hand Jacobs hasn't had to make too many punts either, which is generally a sign that the offence is doing its job - and those punts he has made have invariably ended up inside the 20.

Now I'm hardly an expert an college football - the bowl election process and the random ways One HD would show games made it terribly confusing - but Memphis appear to be one of the more minor teams in the top NCAA divisions. Still, they've done well this season going from a 3-9 season in 2013 to a 9-3 record in 2014, and even reaching a bowl game, which is a rarity for them and a fair reward for their reversal in fortunes. Their conference record of 7-1 saw them win a a share of the conference championship, their first championship of any kind since 1971.

Memphis won their bowl match against Brigham Young University 55-48 in double over time, a game which also included a massive on field brawl. It was Memphis' first ten win season since 1938.

Mandatory Frank Lowy succession comment
Here are some of the things that are bothering me about this process.
  • People using legalistic arguments as opposed to ethical ones in order to justify the potential hiring of Steven Lowy as Frank's successor.
  • The continuing and fervent apologia hinting at, or openly appealing to the abstract notion of 'the greater good'.
  • The fact that we apparently have such a lack of capable people to call upon in the game that Frank's boy seems to be the 'most obvious' candidate, even as we conduct another patented Australian soccer world wide search.
The moment where FFA does or doesn't choose Steven Lowy as Frank's successor is almost irrelevant. It is the process which allows that to even be a possibility that's a concern. But what to do about it?

Labored analogy based upon an old review of Eels' Daisies of the Galaxy album.
Sometimes I feel like my writing on the game has becomes so insular that I can't come out, and that only the existing members of my hard won and loyal audience can possibly continue traveling with me on this mildly eccentric faux indie ride.

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