Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Role reversal - South Melbourne 3 Green Gully 2

The crowd of 350 (plus George Katsakis and his wife apparently, as well as George Donikian's documentary crew) were treated to an exciting, if unusual spectacle. Exciting because it was a five goal thriller; unusual because the Green Gully side that played last night resembled no Green Gully side I've watched over the past decade. They played fluent football that did not rely upon their trademark bull storming style. Indeed it was South that was repeatedly punished by the referee (himself a massive unit of a bloke who was also a particular stickler for having the throw ins performed at exactly the right spot) for numerous fouls, and once more we collected yellow cards that will hurt us in the long run.

Gully had the better play and the better chances, and it will be interesting to see the progress this team can make over the course of the rest of this season. As for us, there was good and bad. The bad was the sloppiness of much of our passing, bouts of indecisiveness, and a habit of having our midfield sit too deep. The good was almost entirely contained in two players continuing to make their way back from injuries. David Stirton's two goals were well taken, and showed again signs for why we signed him. The other player to shine was Stephen Hatzikostas, who was in the middle of everything, providing the kind of steel we've been missing in the middle since Dane Milovanovic.

The best thing of all, of course, is that we won the game not because we were the better team, but in spite of it. The team kept fighting to the end, and Leigh Minopoulos' pass to Milos Lujic for the late winner was the measure of calmness. Last year Leigh would have taken the shot, and probably scored. This time, out of sorts this season in front of goal, he turned provider and Lujic, who had been treated worse than Travis Cloke by the officials, got on the scoring sheets for a second game running, putting paid to any theories of his 2015 self having an Andy Brennan dependency.

Next game
Knights away on Sunday.

It's a good thing we have a social media policy now to deal with these incidents
I suppose we were well overdue for more of this nonsense, so here we are again. Since nothing will be done about it, I do have one issue that I'd like to bring up in relation to this latest incident. Now I don't pretend to know enough about the Greek social and economic crisis to say whether or not Epifano is right about the level of debt or the root cause of the problem - and I somehow fancy that Nick himself has even less of an idea - but using the word 'peasant'? Now say what you like about South fans (and Epifano has, bless his white cotton socks), but peasant is probably one of the least accurate descriptions you could give. For starters, I'd categorise Dimitrios Jim George as an adjunct of the proletariat, seeing as how he works in manufacturing. Myself, I'm a semi-itinerant lay preacher and scholar. While we do have one groundskeeper that I'm aware of, most of the other people at the club are desk jockeys, entrepreneurs, bean counters, captains of industry, stonemasons, merchants, glorified babysitters, digital craftsmen, members of the caulking guild; you get the picture. I'm not even sure that we have any market gardeners, let alone members of an agrarian based class system whose job it is to till the land of the barons while struggling to find a spare moment to perform subsistence farming on their own meagre plot of land. If anything, the closest thing we have to peasants at South Melbourne are the players themselves, since they are in a sense bonded labourers (a situation which was worse for them pre-Bosman, since back then when their tenure was finished they still couldn't leave without a club's permission) working on the closest thing we have to agricultural conditions - mud, grass, etc - with the role of the reeve (the medieval term for the serfs' overseer, and the link man to the earls or barons) being undertaken to some extent by the coach (the home and away season is also arguably a sort of variation of medieval field rotation). Having put it like that, you can see that the root cause of the problem is giving peasants like Epifano, and Chris Taylor as the reeve, far too much respect, and letting them disrupt the social order. But since the black plague (the A-League) came in and wiped out most of our supporters, and FFV gave all the serfs more rights a few years back, I suppose we're in the process of evolving towards a market based economic and social system. Wake me up when we get to the anarcho-syndicalist commune stage.

Around the grounds
The wrong side of the bell curve
Take all of the following with an extra grain of salt. As a favour to a friend... no, favour is not the right word... I don't know what the right word is to be honest... I was finally able to make an appearance at said friend's son's under 16 match NPL West match. The contest was between Brunswick City, near bottom of the table, and Avondale Heights, somewhere near the middle, played on the back pitch at Dunstan Reserve, the one that used to be a footy oval. Now I don't watch junior soccer, and making sweeping judgements about the validity and effectiveness of the NPL based upon one game would be stupid. Certainly that's not my intention here. However, I will say a that I noticed a few things. The coaching seemed substandard. I can understand that at the size of the Victorian NPL - 32 clubs or whatever it is - that there will bad teams, and even poor players. What I did not expect was to see teams that were so robotic and one dimensional. The set up of the teams at the goal kicks - especially from Brunswick - resembled a set up a kick off. The skill level of most of the players was at best, mediocre - again understandable considering the obvious lack of depth of talent for this bloated NPL. Avondale had enough better players that they won the match something like 5-0.

More disturbing than the skill level was the style of game. There was very little fluency from either side, and while that was expected from the struggling Brunswick, even Avondale resorted to making the game into something resembling modern Australian Rules football, where the game had the appearance of being mostly one scrimmage to another. The field, while narrow, was in otherwise good condition, the conditions dry, and yet there were few moments where I felt that I was watching something resembling organised soccer. The toll of an already long and unsuccessful season was clearly visible on the faces of Brunswick team, but even the Avondale players didn't seem to be enjoying themselves. I've seen the bottom tier of women's soccer in this state, and I've followed a mostly struggling Altona East reserves team for years now, and even when they lose, there is still at some level an obvious enjoyment of the game and camaraderie.

That was in scant evidence at this fixture. There was little chatter from the players, and perhaps indicative of something, no usage of nicknames, no sense of familiarity with each other. It came across as if many of the players were lone rangers (someone else's term). There was also some mildly unsavoury business on the sidelines. At one point the Avondale coach abused his team's volunteer linesman for making a bad offside call, at which point the volunteer gave up being linesman. That this happened when his team was several goals up, and that the focus should have been on the development of his players rather than the scoreboard, is troubling. The parents on the sidelines for the most part were outwardly well behaved - a couple were more vocal and veered closer to the bad sports parent stereotype than they'd probably like to admit - but instead you had a sort of passive-aggressive vibe. Mutterings about coaches, about the inadequacies of players other than their own sons. The whole experience was very peculiar to an outsider, but it was just one game, and thus I'm reluctant to treat it as the norm for the competition. It has made me interested in seeing more though.

Every time a team plays South they treat it like a grand final
After watching the NPL junior game it was decided to go watch Melbourne Knights vs Werribee at Somers Street. At the very least I thought that the relegation threatened Bees would put in a spirited, grinding performance, but instead they got done 5-1, which only served to make me angry. Where was this crapness when they played us a few weeks back? Why they were put off by the terrible music being played over the Knights Stadium speakers in a way that they weren't when playing against us? It was a mediocre match, but at least a couple of the kids from the NPL junior game who came along for the ride learned something about soccer simply by watching one competent and one moderately competent (but on the day much less competent) teams do battle.

Final thought
A huge thank you to Cuddles for playing one of my song selections over the PA, that being Kitchens of Distinction's 'When In Heaven'.

30 comments:

  1. Congratulations also to the under 20s for their comeback win against Gully, coming back from 3-0 down to win 4-3.

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  2. Im no Hellas Fan, but i have observed this whole Epifano saga for the past few months. After the first incident he should have been punted, but Hellas thought better of it and i guess they thought the little maggot would grow a brain, he obviously hasn't, and has come up with this latest gem, and judging by the original comment i have no idea why Epifano replied in the way he did.

    I dare say that at the next game the Hellas fans will have plenty to say. The non-action by the Hellas is bewildering though. How has he not been punted? The self-respect of the club should come before some disrespectful primadonna little cunt.

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  3. Does anyone know why epifano did not play the last two games. I know he was at Fridays game as he sat near me. Given his trial is over and he has recovered from his injury what is the reason for not playing. Perhaps he has been punished with no public announcement?

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    1. In the image above he says he has not recovered from his injury.

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  4. Red and White United wrote:
    I don't usually write on forums but - people should expect some developments ~

    1) South Melbourne FC will soon establish a new entity this entity will be known as South Melbourne United.
    2) South Melbourne United FC will be the name of the organization to bid for a license to the A League
    3) South Melbourne United FC will be majority owned by South Melbourne FC but also include Private Investors
    4) South Melbourne United FC will wear a White Strip with a Red V. The current SMFC logo will remain.
    5) South Melbourne FC will have a team in the Victorian NPL also and they will keep the name South Melbourne FC this team will wear Blue and White and maintain the historical traditions of SMFC.
    6) The clubs will play out of Lakeside Stadium in Melbourne. South Melbourne United in the Summer A League Season and South Melbourne FC in the Winter NPL season.
    7) I believe there is substantial support for this both in Victoria and the Football Authorities in Sydney as it would give the league 4 extra derbies in Melbourne per year.


    On the other issue of whether people will feel welcome or not, people like Goran Lozanovski and Agim Sherifofski had no problem playing for South Melbourne and there families had no problem. Tansel Baser who is of Turkish Descent had no problem and he was even captain of South Melbourne FC at one stage. Tansel's family always felt comfortable and were regular attendees.

    The only people who want to raise these types of issues are people who want to put politics and ethnicity into sport. For me these people are no good for football irrespective of whether they are greek or Italian or german or whatever. Ethnicity doesn't matter and no one should mix sport and politics. Football is about Football and it should only ever be about Football.

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    1. Hope this is false. Would rather have South Melbourne FC as they are in the A-League.

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    2. Unfortunately, i really do doubt that they would have 3 melbourne teams in the A-league at this current time. The bids to take over Heart a few years ago were very plausible as it would mean there are still only 2 melbourne teams, but 3 melbourne teams so soon may open up a can of worms, and you could end up seeing a structure similar to the old one when 3/4 teams were either from sydney or melbourne, which i expect the FFA are trying to avoid. In saying that, Id love to see South in the A-League, but as anonymous said above, would rather it be in the current structure it is now, not SMU. Other issue is that, although i love the lakeside, probably my second favorite stadium I've ever been to, with a capacity of only 15,000 (about 7-8k seated) it would be nowhere near enough for a derby, and i suspect a chunk of games would be played at AAMI.

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    3. If we were accepted into the A-League, it would surely have to be as South Melbourne FC and not as SMU. In blue and white.

      However that being said, I think that this issue is entirely fabricated. Not to mention that the FFA would never be open to something like this.

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    4. How the h3ll do we get these comments in response to this article?

      Was there a paragraph in there, that has since been removed?

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    5. Apart from some minor spelling and grammar fixes, everything in this article is as it was when it was published.

      This A-League bid discussion tangent relates to some discussions which took place last week on smfcboard. When I noted on there that we would be wearing our heritage strip for the FFA Cup fixture (which, as it turns out, is partly related to a new apparel sponsorship), some forum members suggested that the heritage jersey was being brought in as a means of softening the supporters up for an A-League bid under the name 'South Melbourne United'.

      While not without some circumstantial evidence - they pointed to the club having registered the name South Melbourne United name last year (see the link below) - at the moment I'm treating such an idea as speculative.

      Though I don't get fed nearly as much info as I used to, I've nonetheless not heard about any A-League bid in recent times; indeed the club seems to have been on the record as saying that the recent Whole of Football Plan announcement which nixed the promotion/relegation battle effectively crushed the aspirations of clubs like ours form entering the top flight. Whether that was simply a red herring, I don't know.

      https://connectonline.asic.gov.au/RegistrySearch/faces/landing/bySearchId.jspx?searchIdType=BUSN&searchId=601507340&_afrWindowMode=0&_afrLoop=1943178756206056&_adf.ctrl-state=pq2h07t0k_4

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    6. Will the heritage tops be on sale?

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    7. Check the online store. ;0)

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    8. Is there an online store? There's no items on the 'South Boutique' site...

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    9. Ive asked about the online store a couple of times and they said by the end of the season theyd have one up. But going by pauls comments on how the club said theyd have a social club up and running a few years ago, id say maybe (strong maybe) it will be up by next season.

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  5. Has anyone heard of that South Melbourne bid? Is it real?

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  6. How is this any different to the southern cross bid? I'll believe it when I see it.

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  7. Fuck a southern cross bid, at least this is acceptable. Hopefully in time they slowly change to the blue tops

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    1. No thanks, not my thing. My question was what is the difference? I can't see a noticeable difference.

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  8. I don't know, someone posted this on a forum the other day. Is there chance that this is true?

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    1. Do you know anything about this Paul?

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    2. Has to be bullshit surely

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  9. Glorified babysitters, OLE!!



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  10. I think we can expect some goal fests between us and opposition teams until we can get our defence settled again. And with the Knights putting 5 past the hapless Werribee, strap on to your seats this Sunday.

    Whilst Roganovic has been faultless this year, I think the Heidelberg game and perhaps even the Green Gully game where he let in a second goal from the tightest of angles were indicative of a fault in his game. But I am being picky.

    Can we sell Epifano to a club we hate (pity they are all in the A League and we never play them)?

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  11. So will Epifano play this weekend?

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  12. Will be interesting derby on Sunday, could see many deaths as we all fight not to freeze to death.

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    1. hahahaha.... bring a massive tent and we can stand next to each other!... and a fire drum

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  13. I've completely lost respect for South Melb. I simply cannot fathom how epifano is still playing at the club.
    Also, I can't believe there are genuine south people who seriously entertain the prospect of being in the a-league someday.
    A bit saddening to see a once great club taking the path it has...

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    1. shut up you dumb greek cunt. you mad...mutt ?

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While I like people commenting on the blog, it would be useful if different posters could at least leave some sort of nickname to make it easier to sort through all the different 'anonymous' posters. If your post doesn't get approved straight away, it's probably because I haven't seen it yet. Lastly, just because I approve a comment for publication does not mean that I endorse its content.