Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Social club artefact Wednesday - Social Club entrance

I was going to put up something a lot more fun, but then this photo was sent in by one of our readers. It's a photo of one of the entrances to what was known as the 'social club' - a very 20th century idea which many of our younger fans won't quite be able to comprehend, but here's the gist of it. It was a space where supporters of the club could gather before or after a game for a drink or a meal; where they could mingle with their fellow supporters as well as opposition fans, as well be within touching distance of the committee and even the players in a social situation. There was a large screen for broadcasts of all sorts of sporting events, plenty of room for different functions - casino nights, jersey nights, tavern nights, even quiz nights (one of which I hosted!). In the disused back room and in the main room, we made banners and flags. Supporter groups and other volunteers had meetings there. After losses you'd commiserate there, but it was also a great place to celebrate a win, or especially a championship. And hodge podge as it was, there was a presentation of our history in there, in our museum filled with trophies, photographs and artefacts, and framed jerseys and pennants along the walls. The honour boards told you who'd been on committees and what we'd achieved, and there was a huge honour board for the plebs who'd donated their time and/or money to the building of the social club and stand. I even watched soft core SBS porn in there once with the Kiss of Death and a board member! Oh, and the AGM! Who could forget the fun of the AGMs?

Sure it was a bit dank and the carpet needed replacing, but it was our place. And now for over five and a half years we've had no place. I understand that some of that time was unavoidable, I understand that previous governments and their departments played hardball. But I thought the new government was supposed to sort all this out. They told us so. The club told us so. And yet here we are, still. What the hell is going on? The club exists for four hours every second week during 26 odd weeks of the year. Outside of that time, we don't exist as a tangible club. The plebs sit out in the cold, and get rushed out five minutes after a game is finished, while the only people who get reliable access to the heavy hitters, even if it's only for a friendly chat, are the people in the sponsors boxes. The players we get to know only through social media and via official club avenues, and hasn't that worked out well?

12 comments:

  1. Great artefact.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Looks like I found my next Facebook profile shot.

    ReplyDelete
  3. You knew about that sbs movie...espcially the washing machine scene.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Always found it weird to hear the "My Garden Shed" chant since you've been without a social club. Should it be changed to "Parks Victoria's Garden Shed" or "Athletics Victoria's Garden Shed"?

    ReplyDelete
  5. so what's actually behind the constant delay in the building of the social club?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a long story, and it depends on the era we're talking about (and it sucks that I can use eras to discuss this). To put it as succinctly as possible, here are some of the issues which have come up.

      - Former Labor government so desperate to get Eddie his Olympic Park palace, they rush into deal with South Melbourne.
      - Unfortunately for them, unlike the first time we did a whole bunch of Lakeside deals in mid 90s, this time South Melbourne undertook a number of due diligence measures.
      - While not perfect, these saw South get a better deal than many would have expected, and the former Liberal government and the relevant departments sought to try and claw back and contest some of the measures which South had won, including I believe the 40 year lease (issues with crown land and renewals past the statutory limit of 21 years) and around the veto on football.
      - Add in the meddling of the State Sports Centres Trust.
      - Add in the fact that the overall lease was four separate agreements which had to be signed simultaneously (or at the very least all be signed) before anything could get cracking.
      - Part of the Lakeside deal stipulated that approximately $900,000 would be given to South as a grant to refurbish the social club. Some of that has been used to gut the social club, but the rest of the money remains locked away.
      - The new Labor government should have made things easier, but promises by local MP Martin Foley to get this sorted first by March and then April 2015 have not come to pass.
      - The club is putting out the line privately (I say privately, because if a South fan asks a board member directly, that's the answer they'll probably get, and no information is being put out on the club's official media channels, which is one of my main bugbears) that it will be over 'soon'; the club and government are sending the documents back and forth with amendments.

      Delete
    2. Thanks for the summary paul. I am frustrated by the lack of transparency but I'm not sure the board can do anything to speed up the process. I deal with the govt on a daily basis and the beauracracy is astounding. We have very limited bargaining power at the moment so negotiations will be difficult and no doubt sharks are lurking. The key question is, what is the hold up. Are we stuck on a contentious point? Are we stuck in a beauracratic process? Are our board being unreasonable? Is someone trying to push us out? We don't know, which is frustrating. If the fans know, perhaps we can help. We have a broad range of supporters with varying qualifications and skills. If we know what the problem is perhaps we can get together as one smfc community and solve this once and for all. I understand why Leo and the board want to keep this queit and push on, but I think it's time to share the problem and engage the broader smfc community for assistance.

      @est1959

      Delete
    3. The board probably genuinely believes that it is close to resolving the issue. On the matter of getting help from the South Melbourne supporter community, in more recent times the board has emphasised the work being done by Bill Papastergiades, not just in terms of legal services but also the leverage he can bring as the president of the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne.

      What irks me, and I think also many other fans, is not the lack of effort and endeavour from the board, but the lack of information. How much information should be put out may be up for debate, but something would be better than nothing. Instead we've received two types of notices - ones where the board claims it is close, usually associated with a media opportunity, and the others where the fans are at a club meeting like an AGM and ask questions which get some explanation, but the issue is we're still waiting.

      Delete
  6. Don't despair the social club is now on the agenda on the 2050 vision

    ReplyDelete
  7. Corporate area should be stormed by enosi59 and claimed as the social club

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Or at least bring down some bottles of Loux to share with those not in the corporate areas.

      Delete
  8. Agree paul, we need transparency and clear information on what the issues are and what specifically is causing the hold up.

    @est1959

    ReplyDelete

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.