Monday, 18 May 2015

Paramnesia - Northcote City 1 South Melbourne 2

Paramnesia: a condition or phenomenon involving distorted memory or confusions of fact and fantasy, such as confabulation or déjà vu.

Reduplicative paramnesia: the delusional belief that a place or location has been duplicated, existing in two or more places simultaneously, or that it has been 'relocated' to another site.

Everything seems the same, and yet somehow different. There are fewer people here than usual, but it's hard to tell upon what basis I'm making that assertion. There is more grass on the field than last year, but I don't think the ball will play any truer. One of the Hellas oldies walks past and asks if we're the team in blue or the team in white. I also learn that swearing is bad, unless you're in a position of power. Someone asks me who the moderator is on smfcboard, and this atheist must answer like a theist: One cannot know the Mod, but the Mod is there; the Mod sees all and knows all; we cannot know the Mod's motives, but we must trust that Mod knows best, and that He loves us and has our best interests at heart.

Inside Northcote's social club, the state knockout cup trophy is not the Dockerty Cup, but a giant light bulb. The back corner has been worked on, but the paint job just makes it look bare and sullen, devoid of life and activity. The new Northcote logo that once impressed me is now less impressive once I'm informed that it comes from a Greek cement company's (owned by Italians) logo. Where the table with the sauces used to be is now as fully fledged candy bar as I've ever seen at a soccer club. Chocolate bars, packets of chips, muesli bars, giant 'cookies', and two varieties of Skittles. I go for a pack of sour Skittles, but resist the call to turn it into Skittlebräu; one vice at a time is enough.

We start off the game in a promising fashion, with Andy Brennan doing his usual thing of needing to get three messy crosses in before finding his range. I get the feeling that he'd have made an excellent 18th century artillery man, but that's just probably me having been influenced by one of the DVDs on the history of war machines that one of my brothers borrowed from the library. Eventually a Brennan cross finds Lujic, but in another twist which has me doubting the validity of this reality, Lujic doesn't score from it; instead the ball spills loose and Matthew Theodore tucks it away for 1-0. It's nice to have some variation on the same old theme.

Unusually, we're going towards the car park end in the first half, and because there are games going on at Darebin, I keep hearing whistles from those games, but play keeps going, as my arms become exhausted from trying to block out the sun. Northcote regroup, and soon start piling on the pressure, hitting the post, and then duly get their reward. Defensively we are all over the shop, playing too narrow as in the game against Port. At halftime as I'm making my way around to the western side of the ground, an old man starts saying to us that Hellas is dead, the Greeks are dead. He's not ranting, or screaming - he's speaking in a calm, matter of fact voice, albeit one that will tolerate no argument on the matter. He does not offer the chance of redemption if we repent, however such repentance may be achieved; his statement is made with the knowledge that it is irrefutable, and that anyone who dares try comes across as far more mad than they could ever make the old man out to be.

Dane Milovanovic throws himself sideways into the celebrations following
Milos Lujic's winner. Photo:: Ian Syson.
Choosing to stand behind the goal ends at Northcote means missing out on much of the game, and thus the events at the other end of the field are not entirely clear; and because of this Northcote's many chances may not be as close as they appear, even if the groans of disappointment at the other end seem to indicate that they were close. At our end, even though the sun is no longer in my eyes, I still can't see much of the field even as we begin to reassert control. Being in the bunched up Clarendon Corner means that much of the field is obscured, including most of the goal face. Fate is such though that what would turn out to be Lulic's winner ended up going in at that one piece of empty net that I could see among the miniature throng around me, before the throng rushed forward to celebrate with the team. There were close calls after that, too, and seven inexplicable minutes of injury time played by the referee, but we held on, and we end the first half of the season undefeated; and yet not alone in that regard, and with a fear that it will all come crumbling down. How sad and fearful have I become that even this glorious run can still not be fully enjoyed?

THAT... was Edna Krabappel. You only get one chance with Edna Krabappel. I hope you're happy.
After the match Gains and I went to AAMI Park to watch the Melbourne Storm take on the South Sydney Rabbitohs, because Gains had a coupon that granted the holder two general admission tickets for the price of one. Despite getting to the ground at 6:30 (an hour before kickoff), we find that the general admission tickets are all sold out, and I was not interested in the $32 'general admission plus' tickets which would have had us sitting in one of the worst spots in the ground (which from my limited live rugby league watching experience is pretty much everywhere that isn't an elevated and central sideline position) and paying twice as much as we'd planned for the privilege of doing so. So we did the sensible thing by walking away, and going back into the city for some Korean food.

Next game
Away to Oakleigh Cannons. Something stupid will probably happen. Also, we will probably lose.

Luke Eyles, who's been rumoured as a possible signing, in action for
Hobart Olympia against Devonport Strikers, Photo: Walter Pless.
More Tasmanians, more often
So while other clubs have been making some relatively high profile moves, we'd been relatively quiet - that is until yesterday or the day before or the day before that (and who could be bothered checking), when we announced the signing of attacking midfielder Nick Morton. Morton was signed from Melbourne Heart's NPL side, though originally he was from South Hobart, where his father Ken is of course the coach. In possibly more evidence that our recruiting has been taken over by infamous Tasmanian people smuggler David Clarkson, I've also heard that we may be signing another Tasmanian, Luke Eyles from Hobart Olympia, who was once a defender but is now a left sided attacking midfielder. No news yet on a defender or back up goalkeeper, nor who'll be let go to make room for these signings, nor or information on Nick Epifano's 'overseas move' - which I'm starting to believe does not actually exist.

What's taking the προξενιό so long to resolve itself?
Women, am I right fellas? Can't live with them, can't really call yourself a broad based (no pun intended) and compelling club without them. But seriously, we, that is SMFC, and them, that is SMWFC, are getting along reasonably well these days, or so we've been lead to believe. We're even exchanging coy love letters out in public. No more sending your best mate to get on his BMX to go send a message to her best friend to pass on to her. This is getting serious.
Still, I am getting impatient. The women's NPL criteria has been released, and I assume that SMWFC will be applying. We keep talking about how much closer we're getting. There's obviously much to be gained from the experience. So what's the hold up, people? Is it that we don't have a social club house ready for the marriage? Is there disagreement about the προίκα they'll bring? Are her parents unimpressed by Leo's apparent inability to properly knot a tie, and why should that even matter? Can't we, simply by being together, make each other better?

Yeah, fuck yas, ya fucken wogs! And I'm allowed to say that, because I am also effnik.
George Calombaris is Victory and SMH until he dies,  but it seems the SMH part died a long time ago if his non appearance at probably any South game since the NSL ended (let alone any sort of meaningful advocacy) is anything to go by. It must be like when Jennifer Gibbons killed herself so that her twin sister June might be able to live a normal life. Calombaris is of course the Ghost of Hellas Future when it comes to abandoning South in part to leverage his fame. There was of course George Kapiniaris, the Ghost of Hellas Past, who loved South but who could not love it in this condition, and who was like me probably at the Richmond-Collingwood game yesterday. There's also of course Nick Giannopoulos, who I'm not sure if he ever loved soccer, or even being Greek, or found it just a useful way to leverage his one dimensional career (and look what happened when he tried to be two dimensional). And thus we now have Calombaris, the modern Greek-Australian spokesman of behalf of the poulimenoi and his own shame re-interpreted as evidence of the game now being inclusive. And so by some strange sophistry, assimilation = multiculturalism, which is OK because at least you can choose which of his overpriced souvs you want to be served cold.

Now maybe Calombaris really believes his own hype, or feels he's doing Australian soccer justice by being its public face in this way, but I wonder if he would have choked on his τραχανά when he saw the Herald Sun's editorial on the morning of the A-League grand final. Would he have been offended at the soccer hating Hun trying to get some leverage off this event? Would he have become squeamish at the way South Melbourne Hellas is put down in the article? Or would he have felt pride in seeing a part of his own rhetoric in the form of temporarily official doctrine?

Oh, we but we had to break a few eggs! Does that mean that the ends justify the means, or is that simply too coarse of a phrase, one lacking the metaphorical flourishes that will hide the atrocities committed? I have written too many times already about the farce that is the FFA Cup especially in its supposed role of healing the game. But there's not just one version of Australian soccer healing - there's also that old chestnut of  merging the stats! A wonderful gesture (when it isn't put down immediately by those new dawners who can't stand the thought of soccer having existed now that we have football instead), but I'll raise the stakes even further: fuck you and all your records, when you don't even have the balls to let us compete. The company man tells his 250 million strong global audience that some team won a record third equalling Australian title; Australian soccer historians wishing to use this bloke to write the foreword for their book may want to rethink that strategy. An Australian soccer book! The shining star told me to write a book, without knowing that even before it got to the bit where I became re-engrossed in South, that almost all of it would be a miserablist dirge focusing on personal exclusion, only to now be institutionally excluded. Another bloke says I am Bob Ellis, and that is the greatest insult of all, being compared to a man who went from the eloquence and pathos of his defeatist weekly eulogies on Tony Biggs' show on Triple R during the Howard years, to becoming the most insufferable and vile curmudgeon of Australian politics.

'To live without hope is to cease to live' said some writer whose work I've never read. But old mate Fyodor only had to deal with the Tsar and on occasion God himself, whereas we have to deal with a far more brutal tyrant. Existence is resistance someone else said, and that's partly true, but AD Hope wasn't too fond of those 'Whose boast is not: "we live" but "we survive", and he probably had a point. Survival is in one sense instinctive, and therefore hardly an accomplishment in its own right. Oh, but there's a glimmer of hope yet another person said! Didn't you read the Whole of Football document? It says NPL teams will be considered for future entry into the A-League! So get cracking and entice those heaving untapped masses with a lot of spare time on their hands and understanding families, who don't believe the hype about evil ethnic clubs, and who go out of their way to find out what exists outside the mainstream, and build up your supporter base the good old fashioned way - a method which just so happens to be the complete opposite of what every franchise in the top tier has done.

Nah, seriously, come to South, it's a lot of fun.

Around the grounds
Ten loukoumades later...
The option was go to Port vs Knights, Oakleigh vs Bentleigh, or stay home and sulk. Tempting as the final option was, the promise of loukoumades (albeit modernised ones as opposed to the crispy, gnarly ones you get at Greek πανηγύρια) was too good of an offer to refuse. One of the security guards, whom I've since learned is an insane soccer-forum quasi-celebrity, informs me with jocularity that South aren't playing here tonight, and that while  Frankly, I'm more interested in promised desserts, and eight traditionally flavoured ones later (with not enough syrup, but that's the style these days), and one each of peanut butter and jam, and some Nutella hazelnut concoction (stolen off Gains), and I felt like I'd accomplished the goal I'd set out to achieve for the evening. The match itself was a bit of a bore, end to end, but lacking in quality. The game finished 1-1.

But that's not all! On the train on the way home, a very ethnically diverse group of kids were on the train (so diverse they could have been included in a Melbourne Victory flyer), and one of them started playing N.W.A.'s Straight Outta Compton on their phone. Then a North Melbourne supporter who was probably in her mid 60s asked them to turn it down. And the kid with the phone did! Somehow that seems to go against the spirit of what N.W.A. were about, but at least the slightly mad North Melbourne fan with the piercing through his lip started rapping the lyrics. Cool story, bro.

Final thought
It only occurred to me one year later that I should have titled the post from last year's game here 'Horses for Courses'. What a missed opportunity.


  1. In the spirit of your open Greekness and google translate Paul, i offer this translation:

    Colombaris - Kolomparas -

    Greek word denoting promiscuous male who engages in anal sex, possibly with both males and females, exclusively in dominant role ("the pitcher").

    A kolobara who buggers other men may not be considered any less a man; rather, he may be viewed as a more formidable stud for buggering both genders prolifically.

    He buggered Jane, Ann, Harry and Bob. For weeks they each cringed with pain whenever they sat down. He's quite a kolobara!

  2. Replies
    1. I have to admit that didn't occur to me.

  3. Looking forward to the highlights, can't wait to see Tim Mala's tackle or block or whatever it was to stop them going up. Mala is an absolute nut! What a bloke.

    Really looking forward to Friday!

  4. highly disappointed that there is no mention of Lowy stacking it

  5. I must say I am loving the fact that these days your view of FFA / A League / sellouts is becoming far more in line with what mine has been for years, and alot of others are finally realising what I have been banging on about. Makes for great reading too.

    1. I think your understanding of my points of view is superficial.

  6. Would anyone agree that these 10 years of gay league has produced the same accumulated level of crowd incidents/violence as in the whole 27 years of NSL? If it hasn't it certainly wouldn't be far off, especially considering how most of the old incidents were ballooned by the media.

    Oh, and crowd estimate for yet another greek derby?

    1. Too many morons back then, still too many morons now. Seems to me the issue is morons.

      As for a crowd, 200-300? I don't know, but it seemed like a long way from the glory days of two or three years ago when Northcote's bandwagon was in full flourish.

    2. There was a Northcote bandwagon?

    3. When they were topping the league a few years back their crowds were still small.

    4. When we played them at their joint in their earlier VPL seasons, their home crowds were not too bad, even if most were only there for the occasion.

    5. I used to think Northcote were just another nothing club. Then I saw their crowds were ok a few seasons back and I considered them to be vying for the '2nd biggest greek club in melb' role, alongside heidelberg and oakleigh (who also got ok crowds few seasons back). Interesting to see it's not the case no more... I'm intrigued by the greek clubs of melb and what seems to be a grudge factor that exists between them all? What's the story? Are they regional differences ("those Creteans are not real greeks") or community politics, talks of bandwagons, etc, what gives?

      And yes, morons are morons. There really isn't any difference between old NSL youngies emulating ultras in europe or a-league youngies emulating ultras in europe. At least with the former, one can have a chuckle at hardcore patriots behaving nothing like their forefathers they claim to love so dearly.

    6. There are too many variables (ego, longevity at state league club, animosity towards South, suburban affiliation) to make sense of what it is, but I think the Greek regional issue is less of a problem - at least that's what I thought until I saw this video from Oakleigh vs Bentleigh last week.

  7. Confirmation of the signing of Luke Eyles, with a twist - Eyles will see out the 2015 season with Olympia as well as finish his high school studies, and come up to Melbourne next year.

  8. What's the deal with bringing drums etc into South Melbourne home games?

    1. Good question, and my answer is that I have no idea on this matter, as the use of drums seems to be allowed sometimes and disallowed at other times.

  9. Replies
    1. Not sure. If the drum is not too big (whatever that means), it should be OK. Otherwise contact the club, and hopefully they'll be able to help give you a more complete answer.

  10. musical intruments at Lakeside are up to the discretion of the venue manager OR event host. SMFC is the event host and there are no issues with musical instruments at Lakeside. The Venue manager does at times get cocky, but all seems to get sorted.

  11. Wow you really are bitter. Your club has been pushed to the side. You need to get over it and enjoy it for what it is now.


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