Monday, 24 August 2015

Moral premiers - South Melbourne 3 Northcote City 0

It would have been fitting had this match been played for the real league title, but this is 2015, not 2014, and this is Australia, where by and large we are compelled to acknowledge that due to strange and muddled concepts of tradition - and the necessity of keeping the other teams interested - this is not the true championship, not even a minor premiership (the PC New Football police won't tolerate that sort of language), but instead the 'premiership' as opposed to the 'championship'.

We did however get a shiny plate for our troubles, the Victorian slot for the NPL playoffs for the second successive year, as well as the right to claim some sort of moral premiership tag, having ground our way through injuries, suspensions, player departures and some would say a catastrophic FFA Cup appearance, to finish the season scoring bucketloads of goals and thus finishing on top of the table.

And while minor premiers have bombed out or been sunk by the near enough lottery of finals in soccer, in more recent seasons there's at least been the habit of teams finishing on top managing to go all the way and win the grand final as well, so for those who like omens, that's something for you to hold on to in the weeks to come. Me, being an allegedly staunch rationalist, I take no truck with such things.

We were a bit sketchy to start with - whether that was to do with nerves, or three games in eight days, or Northcote actually taking the game seriously, I don't know - but apart from one clear cut chance (a free header in the six yard box), and the odd mistimed run called back for offside, we were the better team. Soon Milos Lujic gave us the lead, and his second goal, a well aimed shot from a deep David Stirton cross saw us more or less seal the game. The biggest concern at that time was whether Tim Mala's yellow card would see him rubbed out for the next game.

If there was any doubt about the final result, Brad Norton put that to bed with his amazing goal from what looked like a mishit cross. Me, I choose to be positive about it and reckon that Norton meant to hit it that way, in line with his recent mostly excellent placement of the ball. A few weeks ago I likened his crossing form to snooker, and yesterday's goal was very much a case of eight ball in the corner pocket.

But then possible disaster struck. The game and the minor premiership wrapped up, Milos Lujic hurt his knee badly with about ten minutes of game time left. He spent most of the rest of the game getting treated behind the byline, and while the punters were duly stoked with the win, there was also concern about Milos, our finals chances, as well as our NPL playoff chances. South Melbourne Hellas may not be a one man band in 2015, but it's not easy to find, let alone replace strikers who score 20 goals a year.

That he limped off the ground rather than being carried off with a stretcher, well, that's the kind of thing we'd all love to think of as being a 'good sign', but almost none of us in the stands are doctors, and for the purposes of this example of speculative ignorance, those with doctorates in economics or knowing how to mix industrial chemicals, or literature (some day, maybe) don't count as doctors.

On the other hand, should Lujic miss some or the rest of the season, it will provide an opportunity to someone else to stand up, in the way that Leigh Minopoulos has stood up since being given a belated starting berth in order to solve the problem of what to do after Andy Brennan's departure. The man who will be tasked with filling that gap will probably be David Stirton, whose year has been affected by injuries and being played in positions which I don't think suit him - namely out wide - instead of up front.

The issue then becomes one of having to adjust to having a forward (whether that's Stirton or Minopoulos) who do not share the physical attributes of Lujic, including perhaps a change of formation. Would you play both Leigh and Stirts up front, and play Chris Irwin on the right wing? Or would you keep the crux of what we've been doing intact, and just tinker on the edges? Would the set piece arrangements need to change should Lujic, one of our three tall timber players along with Michael Eagar and Luke Adams, not play?

Update on Milos Lujic's knee, at this moment the most important ligament in Australia
Here's the latest goss on the state of Milos' knee from one of the more reputable people on smfcboard.
Initial prognoses (without a scan) on Milos was a strained MCL. He's getting scans on Tuesday to clarify.

Highly doubt he'll play again this season if he's done a grade 1 or 2 medial. Fingers crossed its just jarred and when the swelling goes down he'll be ok!
Next game
In two weeks time, at home against one of Melbourne Knights, Hume City or Pascoe Vale.

Crowd watch
How good was it having a game at 3:00PM on a Sunday afternoon? The sun was out, more families were in attendance, and there were even more young people in Clarendon Corner, as well as a good turnout by the usual assortment of people in that area.

Mind you, there was disagreement in the ranks about how many people actually did attend. My regular supplier of the realist crowd count said 600, while another reputable source said about 700. That seemed about right to me, though others said something closer to 1,200 would be more accurate. That's a hell of a discrepancy, but since they never release the numbers, let alone complex breakdowns of the demographics attending (that's a trade secret I suppose) it's really up to you, the reader, to decide which number you feel more comfortable with.

Nick Epifano to Perth Glory?
No confirmation on whether this is true or not, but current Glory CEO Peter Filopoulos (you may remember him from such posts as 'just who is the biggest South fan around?') was pretty coy when asked directly. No indication either on when exactly Epifano would leave South for Glory in the even that Glory did sign him up. After the finals? After the NPL national finals?

Good luck to...
South junior Andrew Mesorouni (wait, does he have the same name as his dad?), who has signed up with Getafe in La Liga. Interestingly this was done with the cooperation or assistance of Genova International Soccer School and Morris Pagniello - is this a hint towards whatever that 'partnership' or 'relationship' with Real Madrid is meant to be? And where's the player training compo?

Congratulations to...
Olympia Warriors on securing their first senior league title since 1996. The team includes former South defender Jake Vandermey, and future South player Luke Eyles (who won the Tassie league's rising star award). We'll be playing them in the week after the grand final in Melbourne.

The nanny state strikes again

Things could be worse!
Win, lose or draw, we get to see South most weeks of the year. What about those people who want to see Manowar tour Australia?
Another 12 months without the chance to burn a viking ship on these shores.

Final thought
After all that angst, we didn't need to worry about the Bentleigh vs Oakleigh result at all. Thought processes need to change need to change when your team becomes competent.

27 comments:

  1. Manowar ffs, worse than the aids cancer

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    1. Dude, it's not even about the music, it's about the spectacle.

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    2. OK, maybe a little bit about the music.

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  2. There are reputable people on smfcboard?! lol ... there was no swelling of Milos' knee. Not after the game and not last night... I'm crossing fingers for jarring/hyperextension (based on footage of the incident and not any real medical knowledge).

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  3. So are South fans going to come out and support Olympic in the cup? Or do you guys still hate them for absolutely no reason?

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    1. This is another one of those where there will be a variety of approaches among South fans. There are varying degrees of feeling along the hate/indifference/mutual Greek appreciation society along the spectrum; likewise some South fans will prefer witnessing a taste of the NSL by going to Heidelberg vs Sydney United.

      Myself, I couldn't give a rats' about Olympic or the FFA Cup. I'll probably head to Somers Street though to watch your game against Hume.

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    2. The proofreading on my comment could do with a bit of work. Very sloppy.

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    3. To turn back time to the NSL
      "F@ck off Olympic"

      The youngsters have no idea.

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  4. I don't get the "I support all greek clubs view". I couldn't care less for any other club, be them greek, Croatian, Italian etc. I have one club and one club only and what draws me to them each week is the fact that they are my club, nothing else.

    @est1959

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    1. Agree with this. Surprised we keep getting asked these sorts of questions, Fark any team that isn't ours.

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    2. agree. I couldn't give a stuff. if they do well in their respective leagues that's great whatever, but I only care about 1 club

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    3. This view lacks integrity. The whole reason south fans support south is because they're greek. Otherwise you would've supported your local suburban team and/or a-league teams. Not having a soft spot for another club with extremely similar identity to your own is bizzare. The 'one club' mentality is a sport thing, which then puts the sport itself ahead of the greekness, which makes hating the a-league questionable, hence the lack of integrity.

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    4. That's a very simplistic response to a very complicated situation - it also makes sweeping generalisations about who supports South and why.

      - Not every South fan is Greek.
      - Not every South fan that is Greek supports South because of Greekness, even if the initial entry to the club was that reason.
      - Not every South fan only supports South - some also support an A-League team, some also support their local Greek suburban club, some are attached to non-Greek local suburban clubs.
      - Everyone has their own reasons for supporting or not supporting the A-League.
      - Everyone has their own inclinations on whether they should give a stuff about other Greek backed teams or not.

      For many South fans, their experience of Olympic is as a rival, albeit a friendly one. Some of the younger Enosi boys tried to start a friendship with the equivalent Olympic group because they don't have that ear;lier historical experience. Some folk remember the gloating from some Olympic fans when it looked like South was going to die in 2004.

      In contrast, there were warm congratulations from several South fans towards West Adelaide on their resuscitation and eventual minor premiership. As far as I'm concerned, it's each to their own on this matter.

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    5. The Sydney v Melbourne aspect is very strong for many who 'despise' Olympic.

      My 'hatred' withered away long ago. At the time I was pissed off that SBS would always use Sydney Greeks for their stories, that the archdiocese was based in Sydney, and that the NSL would give Sydney teams advantage when allocating fixtures during finals time. Not to mention, my then 'inferiority' complex.

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    6. What an ignorant fool. I support south because my father and my grandfather supported south. There are many other greek teams closer to home I would have followed if that was the only requirement I had. Everyone's reason for following south differs. We are not all sheep.

      @est1959

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    7. "There are many other greek teams closer to home I would have followed if that was the only requirement I had. "

      Meaning the Greek heritage is at least part of the reason. So why do you feel the need to downplay and get all butthurt? The amount of self hatred and insecurity some South fans have is very amusing. Should call it 'Greek guilt' ffs

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    8. Because my parents are from egypt not greece. Now does it make sense?

      @est1959

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    9. The self hatred is strong with this one. You an ethnic Greek, regardless if your from Egypt, Cyprus or Greece itself. So please don't play games with me smartarse.

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    10. How presumptuous. Maybe it was this guy that got my dad interested in south. Think outside the square...

      http://www.footballaustralia.com.au/article/vale-emmanuel-manny-poulakakis/13nau0g00poer1jtjgybgvtf9b

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    11. Putting the club's sport way ahead of the club's identity completely disintegrates the platform that an ethnic club supporter stands on. It doesn't make sense, it's self-defeatist.

      I disagree with you Mr Paul, I don't think the situation is complicated at all, it's actually quite simple, but made complicated by those that place their eggs in two very different baskets. Generalisations are a good thing, because they apply to majorities, which is the case with greeks at south.

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    12. I think you'll find with the younger generation of South supporters it's more the club rather than it's heritage we follow. Sure we might have been associated with the club because of its heritage but as the years trickle on we are there more so for the club and the football rather than the heritage.
      I support a local Italian club whilst supporting South but I couldn't give 2 shits that they are Italian, more so that they are a local club and I want them o do well.
      I think people are a bit misguided into thinking we follow South because they are Greek heritage and the club/football aspect is secondary to all that.
      As far as I'm concerned I acknowledge the history we have and never want to let that go, but in the same time its great to see a broad spectrum of supporters starting to appear at our games and I hope that continues and increases in the future and hope that people understand we are a football club first and foremost rather than a 'mini Greece'.
      It's not self hatred, rather just moving on with the times. In 50 years time 3rd and 4th generation Australians (or we could just call them Australians) will be our supporter base.

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    13. Additionally the club served it's purpose as a place for new Greek migrants to form a community and have a place to call home. That requirement no longer exists so transitioning the club more mainstream whilst maintaining and respecting the clubs heritage is our next hurdle and I think the younger generation South supporter understands that and probably agrees that, that is the way forward for the club to succeed and prosper.

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    14. In 50 years time clubs like south will be long gone and the 4th gens will be brainwashed into thinking it's a great thing because the 1st gens weren't good enough at bucking the trend.

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  5. I understand the science behind the "realist" count. The other counts people provide are emotional, hysterical, and/or "gut feel".

    Also laugh at the retort "you didn't see how many people were in the Presidents Room". Are some sort of Clown Car physics in play in this VIP area?

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    1. Wouldn't rule it out, plenty of clowns in the President's Room.

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  6. how did the bohemians get in last year??

    nazi trust

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  7. Lujic to have scans tomorrow.

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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.