Saturday, 25 April 2015

Internecine - South Melbourne 1 Pascoe Vale 0

Same as it ever was
This week was another interesting week at South Melbourne, even if it was still mostly a continuation of the post-NSL era phenomenon of the off field stuff being far more interesting than what happens on the field. What makes this slightly more tragic now is that despite the turmoil, the team is actually playing well (or at least well enough to still be undefeated) and therefore the gap between the on and field levels of interest shouldn't be this high. But here we are.

Come gather, 'round children...
Two themes largely dominated the discussion rounds this week. First was the banning of Cliff Hussey from the club indefinitely after his online run-in with Nick Epifano. Cliff thus began the transformation from marginal, shuffling, bad haircut freak show to, for some people at least, the people's hero - a change which could yet prove to be validated, and thus incredibly dangerous for those who've put their lot in with Epifano and Chris Taylor, the person who's most gone into bat for Epifano. Despite people pushing for him to turn up to last night's match in order to provoke some sort of protest action, Cliff did the sensible thing and stayed away, The pre-match rumour that Epifano was set to get a start or a bench position, despite his own indefinite ban from football, proved to be a false alarm.

The questions that keep you up at night
Is it true that Epifano is due to go overseas sometime during the season? If he has serious mental problems that he needs to sort out, shouldn't he be taking a break from football to sort them out, instead of always seemingly being near enough to getting a game, if not getting one? Who is responsible for anonymously posting the comment on here about his Facebook comment after the Bentleigh game? If we lose players mid-season, who can we find in the transfer window that's worthwhile, isn't cup tied, and won't break the player points tally? What happens if the latest arbitrary deadline set by Martin Foley for the resolution of the lease issue passes? Can we go on together with suspicious minds?

From donkey to thoroughbred in six weeks
The other issue was the rumour (from a usually reliable source) that Andy Brennan's trial at Newcastle Jets was such a success that he's signed a two year deal with that side, which seemed to be confirmed to me last night with a metaphorical nod and a wink by another insider. The reaction on the forum was terribly predictable, but as Dr Phil says, the best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour.

So there was the usual reactionary anger against the FFA. There were was more pragmatic argument about the structures that make this sort of thing inevitable, although with little acknowledgement of the fact that we've had very few players taken up to the A-League. There were even those who, out of a sense of defeat and/or genuine goodwill, wished Brennan well, and hoped that we could keep him for at least a while longer before he officially has to leave. Some people though were hinting at treason and betrayal; that Brennan and the club have hoodwinked the fans; that Brennan would not put in 100% now that he had an A-League gig; that we should have put our best player onto a professional contract.

Never mind that Brennan came from being an off the bench impact player, to starting against the Knights in part because of one goose's stupid antics and the other two strikers' inability to stick the landing - within six short weeks he went from potential glue stick to champion racehorse. The tragicomic call for our 'better' players to be put on professional contracts, and if possible for more than one season - aside from the costs that would be incurred for doing so - is exactly the opposite course of action to what people asked for when we did have players on long term contracts! Those players on longer term contracts eventually became an albatross around our collective neck, as they routinely underperformed or became injured. The call then was for bringing in a ton of a new players and a new coach to replace those at the club, and then bemoan the lack of stability, and on and on it goes,

The structural injustice we have to deal with means that there can be (and is) justifiable anger when something like this is due to occur - but the fact is that this structural injustice is sufficiently onorous that there's really no need to start frothing at the mouth and putting that foam on the cake and calling it whipped cream.

The whole thing smacks of effort
Some of Clarendon Corner's old guard look on, unamused and unimpressed.
There has been a steady influx of kids in the active areas at South of late. That's a good thing. That they are self-styling themselves as 'ultras' (with the current name of 'Enosi 59'), and trying to bring in A-League style chants and attitude, well, that isn't necessarily going over so well. Some of the older heads have latched onto the enthusiasm the new group has brought to affairs - I mean, how often is it that Clarendon Corner makes an effort against teams like Pascoe Vale? - but others aren't sold on this yet. The kids haven't done the hard yards, they haven't proven themselves over the journey. And where's the sense humour? The 'schizophrenia' chant doesn't count. It will be very interesting to see how this all plays out. Is it possible for a state league team to have two different chanting groups? The last time that was tried, when Gate 1 split off from CC, it didn't last very long.

In the midst of all this, a game of soccer broke out
As for the game itself, I wouldn't call it dire or lacklustre, just disappointing. I expected more from Pascoe Vale, but they mostly sat back and tried to hit us on the counter. For a team that has some serviceable attacking options, it looked liked they'd decided from the start they were going to sit back and take what few opportunities that may fall their way - a long way from the team that should have destroyed Port Melbourne in the first half earlier this season.

We weren't great, and too often it seemed like we resorted to long medium balls over the top and long range shots, but we got the job done again in a game that few got to see and fewer still will remember. When Milos Lujic scored what turned out to be the game's only goal - from one of those aforementioned balls over the top, with a little help from a deflection - it nevertheless seemed to have come from nowhere; and even though I admit I wasn't fully paying attention at that moment, and thus more likely to conceive of the situation as happening almost outside of the realm of the game's expected flow, the replay also seems to suggest that it was a goal out of almost nothing.

Heavy rain then swept across from the west, turning over the sponsor boards and sending the officials scuttling out to get the ball kids indoors, lest they catch a cold. Team manager Frank Piccione filled in for a bit until the weather calmed down, though he didn't exactly looked thrilled about it. Having once performed a similar role during an ill-fated cup game, I can sympathise.

The second half was better from us, even as the weather turned nasty. Lujic hit the post with a header, Dane Milovanovic cracked a powerful long range shot which at least looked spectacular, and a volleyed Brennan attempt almost managed goal of the season of the status, were it not for the visitor's keeper making the save. At the other end, apart from set pieces - and even there Pascoe Vale were generally poor - the most likely means of us conceding were the weather and our own complacency, neither of which made much impact on the game.

Crowd watch
My resident realist informant said 400, including the people in the souvlaki line. No propaganda number was provided. When they all bunched up together in the upper parts of the stand when the rain began, it looked like more from my side on position, but doesn't it always? I'm starting to come around to the idea that anything later than 8:00pm kickoff time for the senior game is just madness, especially when they start the game at 8:13 instead of the scheduled 8:15 anyway.

Next week
Port away on Friday night. Another little mini-South reunion: Shaun Kelly, Alan Kearney, Kamal Ibrahim, Trent Rixon. It's going to be fun.

The Great Tomato Sauce Shortage of 2015
Those who there will be telling their grandchildren about this. I mentioned in my round 1 report that the Water Rat burger was tasty, but completely undone by the lack of tomato sauce. Well last night I tried their chicken parma - which at $18 instead of $22 for South fans, is a sort of special deal I guess - and was greatly disappointed. A burger with fancy capsicum paste instead of tomato sauce? I can understand if not approve of that. A parma without any napoli sauce? As I struggled through my chicken schnitzel covered in burnt cheese, I decided that I'd stick to the happy hour beers, but from now on eat from the Valkanis canteen instead, even if it does take half an hour of waiting in line for a souv. And just to emphasise how bad this tomato sauce shortage crisis is  - even their bottle of tomato ketchup (really guys, ketchup?) on the outside table was just about empty.

Around the grounds
I love the smell of napalm oil refineries in the morning afternoon
Altona East vs North Sunshine Eagles out at Paisley Park. The first thing I notice is how many North Sunshine supporters are at the ground halfway through the reserves game - dead set, there are more people at the ground by 2:15 then there are for most Altona East senior games. The second thing I notice, after buying my souvlaki and hanging out next to the ticket shed, is that I can smell the refinery next door. Two weeks away from Altona North is all it took for me to lose my immunity to that odour. North Sunshine took a 1-0 lead into half time courtesy of a free header from a corner. East equalised early in the second half from a well worked move, but conceded again from another unmarked header, then left a man by himself at the back post to be 3-1 down. A late penalty to the hosts made it 3-2, but poor passing made a late equaliser unlikely. It didn't happen.

Final thought
'You need to unban Cliff/He's not as bad as Griff'

46 comments:

  1. Next season we got to get back to Sunday 3/5pm kick-offs.
    Felt strange getting to Lakeside on a Friday night

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    Replies
    1. Without a social club to have a drink in pre and/or post game, Friday nights won't work in my opinion.

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    2. 75% of people polled wanted sunday. Club in true "we dont care about you" fashion still went ahead with friday nights. Looks like their wives are pulling the strings so they dont need go spend all day at soccer on sunday.

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    3. I hope nobody thinks your joking about the wives comment...

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  2. What's the latest on the social club?
    It's an absolute disgrace it's not built yet.

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    Replies
    1. Disgrace is an understatement.

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  3. A lot going on this week... firstly great to see the club grinding out the results. Great character, which is exactly what we need to win even in weeks the creative juices might not be flowing in the forward half. Give, some great shots... that volley deserved a goal.

    Non-football comments: Social Club - This is resulting in the slow death of casual fan culture. No where for families to go, no where for fans to bring mates, especially before and after matches in conditions like this. Absolute disgrace this hasn't been solved yet. Ad signs - Was expecting more comment on this. Good metaphor for South doing everything they can to look professional in the State Leagues. Brennan - Transfer period required?

    Manny

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    Replies
    1. Depending on who leaves and how quickly some of the injured players return, I'd expect some transfer action from us.

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  4. Nick Epifano Is Hellas

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  5. typical taylor grind. south have already won the title.

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  6. What is your problem with young kids, who are the future of the club being loud and proud? Passion is not a crime. ENOSI 59 will prove you wrong.

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    Replies
    1. No problem, just acknowledging the tensions that were present on Friday night. Overall, I think it's good that more young people are coming to South and looking to create or add to the atmosphere.

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  7. what tensions?, new chant seemed fine ?

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    Replies
    1. (puts literary studies cap on) It's a narrative tension more than anything.

      Some people probably thought subconsciously (not without good reason) that CC was basically going to stay the same forever, with pretty much no new people. The young crew came in good numbers, and what's more often took charge, and that's thrown people off a little bit.

      None of which I think is bad. I'm very glad to see new people join CC and trying to add a bit of colour and noise. It'll just take a little bit of time for the new dynamic to mesh with the old one, though I thought last week went very well. New and old just gotta get know each other a little better.

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    2. One old school CC'er was upset by the chant to the Lambada theme.
      Made the whole thing even funnier. Keep up the great work, kids.

      However, maybe re-think the "Ultras" moniker, as that comes with baggage and certain expectations.

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  8. The youth overhaul the old school cc. As a person sitting down in the grandstand, the new chant shat all over the cc old chants. Let the youth take over with the drum etc. they do it all better. They keep chants going on for more than 5 minutes. Looks and sounds much better.

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    Replies
    1. I think there is a bit of Enosi 59 propaganda going on in these comments. Sorry but in my opinion the chant was terrible. "I didn't think it was physically possible but this both sucks and blows" - Bart Simpson

      And when you do eventually come up with a good chant, no need for you all to pull out your phones and record it.

      -FS

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    2. I thought the new chant was fun and very easy to learn

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    3. You must be part of the Enosi 59 group!
      Chant was boring and dull. We want chants that will fire up the players and the crowd (not put them to sleep) or at the very least they should be funny.
      -FS

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    4. The chant was terrible and embarrassing. Agree with another anonymous on the recording of chants as well, seriously keep your phones in your pockets.As for Ultras/Lads banners i trust the youth group understand the connotations that come with such terms.......

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    5. You got no clue mate, give the lads some credit for getting involved and trying to bring back the atmosphere like it was in the NSL days. They are the future of this proud club. I liked the chant. Very catchy! Give em a break

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  9. I know the kids, they are all good kids and only want whats best for the club. Most of them go week in week out. It's a good idea for them to create their own group. I very much enjoyed that new chant. Keep up the good work

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  10. Enosi 59 are here to stay.

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  11. How long is the social club going to take. The Futsal Courts and crap have had nothing done to them for years. As for Martin Foley hes just telling fibs about the progress of it. Nothing has been done and something must be done. Clubs like Melbourne Knights etc have this. We are the Oceania Club of the Century. So hurry up and get a wiggle on

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  12. Why cant we use the other side of the ground. Is it because of the Athletics

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Saves on security and clean up costs by having everyone on one side.

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  13. I was a ball boy outside on Friday. Got absolutely soaked wearing a rainjacket etc. I can say that Mala is a fantastic Right Back that can slide tackle brilliantly and move the ball well. Barker Daish and Milavanovic are a quality pairing but the same cant be said for Theodore. There is also Hatzikostas to come back who will slot in well

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  14. The Epifano saga is a bunch of crap. He is quality but needs to calm himself down. Just people should just leave it as a failure in the past and move on. The kid can play

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  15. How long does Hatzikostas have
    And also heard rumours that Roganovic may be on his way to Melbourne Victory???

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    Replies
    1. Someone on the forum said Hatzikostas was six weeks away from full fitness I think. Have not heard that Roganovic rumour myself.

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  16. Replies
    1. Well what will happen when he scores a goal like at home
      Interesting saga

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    2. After reading the conversation I've changed my mind. The club is morally obligated to sack Epa.

      Manny.

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  17. So is Enosi a Greek word?

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    Replies
    1. Yes, it means 'union'.

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    2. Interesting, possibly could see the return of more Greek flavoured support with Greek chants and songs?

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  18. Friday Night's game was the dullest game I have experienced since my return to supporting the club in 2012.

    A combination of Pascoe Vale's lack of adventure, plus their minnowlike existence; the small crowd; and our own grinding perfunctory style. This is where the Epifano saga has put a dampener on the season for me. He is one of the key reasons I come to watch, as he is clearly the most talented player (not most important, nor most effective) in the competition, not just our club. And he has now placed a millstone around his own neck.

    Such a shame.

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    Replies
    1. Agree
      Epa has talent
      He has a bright future but now with people howwing on about it the most likely factor is he will leave
      The supporters are at Fault

      Delete
    2. Epa is not a talent.
      He does not have a bright future, and we hope he leaves.
      Epa is at fault

      Delete
  19. RE: Enosi '59, I did pick up on the fact that the chanting was virtually non-stop!.

    Including "We don't want you anymore". :)

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  20. Is the food in the corporate box quality?
    Heard bad reviews?

    ReplyDelete
  21. Andy left for Newcastle just when he was hitting form
    Such a shame

    ReplyDelete

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