Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Social club artefact Wednesday - Club Italia pennant

A few weeks or months ago - I can't remember exactly, but it was towards the end of the home and away season - I ended up chatting with a couple of the older heads, and the Club Italia '82 tour popped up in discussion. One of the two older blokes in this discussion could not remember anything about this tour, which was unusual as he's usually good with this stuff. As for myself, I'd never heard of it. Club Italia? What was that? Turns out it was a team made up partly of players from Italy's 1982 World Cup winning team, which toured Australia sometime in 1992, probably during the first half of that year (see below for exact date). And then I had a little bit of a light bulb moment - hadn't I seen a Club Italia pennant when I was cleaning up the social club? Indeed I had. That pennant had made little sense to me then, but it makes perfect sense to me now. Club Italia had beaten Adelaide City 1-0 before our meeting, which we lost 2-1, and then onto Marconi who they beat 4-2. That Marconi game actually has some footage online, which makes one hope that out there, somewhere, there is some footage from South's match against Club Italia. There may also be a match programme out, which we'd also love to see. Apart from the video of the Marconi exhibition match, the only online information about this tour (that I can find in English at least) comes from this link, which is a description of the Marconi match. What's interesting is that Marconi also used some guest players from other clubs for this match, so I wonder if South did the same. Of course, any further information on this tour, and especially the South game, would be appreciated.

Thanks to Mark Boric for digging through some of the old Italian-Australian papers for us to get some more info on this.

For the Melbourne leg of their tour, Club Italia were due to arrive on the day before their match (on an Ansett flight), immediately heading to the Veneto Club for a welcoming reception, before holding a clinic for junior players. That evening they were to attend a reception in their honour. Their game in Melbourne (Thursday 27th February, at Olympic Park) was meant to be against a composite team coached by Ferenc Puskas, but was mostly made up of South Melbourne players. The lineups for the game were as follows:

'When classes does not get old'. Paul Wade receives the Club Italia pennant.
Image scanned by Mark Boric.
Club Italia: Copparone, Gentile, Mozzini, Filippi, Fontolan, Guida, Cirelli (Scarnecchia 62), Roggi (C. Sala 49), Rossi, Causio, Graziani (Briaschi 41). Coach: Valentino Angelillo

South Melbourne: MacLaren, Wright, Micheil, Durakovic, Fernandes, Wade, Taliadoros, Petersen, Trimboli, Tsolakis, Hasler. Coach: Ferenc Puskas.

At the start of the second half the following players took the field for 'South Melbourne', though in most cases it isn't clear who they replaced: Lilikakis (incorrectly listed as Lilikas), Michalokopoulos (incorrectly listed as Nichalokopoulos), Boutsianis, Healey, Tsoumerkas (incorrectly listed as Tsoumarkis), Tombolato (Fawkner), Della Rocca (Juventus), Di Martino (Thomastown), Ruccia (Bulleen). The crowd was approximately 12,000.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Social club artefact Wednesday - Battered leather travel bag

This is yet another item found while going through the social club during its packing away stage several years ago now - in fact, in this photo you can even see some other items already covered in bubble wrap. I can't remember exactly what was in this bag, but it was probably just some empty cash bags for banking, made of cloth rather than plastic. That's what leads me to believe it was a bag used for, among other things, transporting cash around back in the day. Aesthetically, it's not a remarkable item, and it's obviously not in great shape, but as one of the older items still extant in the social club at the time, it does hold some interest.

Monday, 12 October 2015

South of the Border Awards 2015

Player of the year: Nikola Roganovic. I thought about this for awhile. Couldn't give it to Nick Epifano. Iqi Jawadi was good, but was he 'meaningless internet award' good? Brad Norton had some good games, Milos Lujic scored a ton of goals again. Andy Brennan wasn't there long enough. But one horror mistake aside, Roganovic earned us a lot of points this season, especially early on when we were not playing particularly well.

Under 21 player of the year: The Cliff Hussey Memorial Trophy goes to Iqi Jawadi, who I thought had a very consistent season, even adding goal scoring to his repertoire this year.

Goal of the year: Andy Brennan vs Dandenong Thunder, you know, the goal that no one saw.

Best performance: All things considered, the demolition of Oakleigh in the Dockerty Cup final was a real standout, especially after the disappointment of the FFA Cup a few days previously.

Best away game of the year: For those that went, I assume Palm Beach. For me, Green Gully away, for obvious reasons. Overall though it was a season where the atmosphere and excitement of the home games really came through a lot more than away fixtures.

Call of the year: Yes I could have gone with any number of Epifano related moments, but my favourite was still the call made at the 2014 AGM, by an unknown person at Tom Kalas: 'You're not going to try and get our hopes up again, are you?'

Chant of the year: Directed to Andy Brennan during the home game against North Geelong. 'Newcastle is broke, Newcastle is broke, stay with South, Newcastle is broke!'

Best pre-match/after match dinner location: There were crepes, pancakes and galettes, some pretty ordinary pub burgers, visits to two different places doing Korean fried chicken, and three trips to Mexican restaurants. The winner though has to be the day Gains and I did banh mi and cannoli on the same day while waiting for the bus to Avondale. If only there was a half decent team in Footscray so we could eat out of there more often...

Friends we lost along the way: My old laptop.

Barely related to anything stupidity highlight of the year: Steve from Broady convincing one of the barmaids at the Limerick to exchange two Heineken scratchies which had won him free hats, in exchange for a rugby ball. I guess you just had to be there.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Lakeside artefact Wednesday - Grandstand donation plaques

In the 'Hellas' grandstand at Lakeside Stadium, on the back of a seemingly random array of seats there are these little plaques. While not knowing the precise details of the arrangement, I assume they were placed there during the construction of the grandstand, which South Melbourne supporters and the wider Greek community contributed funding towards. Now with the removal of the blue seats in the lead up to the athletics track era of the stadium - and the unfortunate consignment of the 'SMH' lettering to history - I would hope that none of these plaques was dislodged and/or turfed out, even by accident. Whether those who donated money to the cause stayed on as South fans or not is beside the point; at the time, they made a contribution, and the club found a nice way of acknowledging that contribution. Some day perhaps we will have to go around and take photos of every single one of them, for posterity's sake if nothing else.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Best South Melbourne Hellas starting XI: 2005-2015

At some point during the 2015 season, one of our readers made the suggestion that we should (on here and/or smfcboard) start thinking about who would be in our best 11 from our first eleven VPL years. And really, 11 years for 11 players seems like a fairly neat sort of framework.

Criteria would of course be one of the hardest things to come up with - how many games and/or how many seasons should a player have had to play with us in order to be a legitimate candidate? How many bench spots? Should we take into account the NSL stints of players who were with us both in the VPL and NSL? To make it as easy as possible, I propose the following straightforward minimum criteria:
  • Eleven players only. Seeing as this is looking for a starting eleven, we'll have no bench players.
  • One coach, no assistant.
  • No minimum games required.
  • For those players who were with us in both the NSL and VPL, only the VPL tenure should be taken into account.
  • Any recognisable/legitimate formation - you could even make a claim for an early 20th century style 2-3-5 formation!
But if you think there's criteria that's missing I'm willing to be flexible, or you can use your own criteria to shape your team. And if you need help with how many games or goals a particular player has for South, I have access to that data and am happy to fish out the details for you.

You can email your suggestions to me (, or leave them in the comments. Those starting XIs which seem to gather the most support across the commentariat, as well as an amalgam of the preferred players and formations, will be published in a separate post towards the end of the month. Those submissions offered with some justifications/explanations will probably be looked upon more favourably, but it's not mandatory.

Apart from a best starting XI, I'm also after more creative starting elevens - I myself will be providing my own Contrarians' XI. You could make an XI of players that went on to bigger and better things, or best XI made up of overseas players or players recruited from other clubs. Non-South fans are also more than welcome to contribute their ideas. I'm looking forward to what people come up with - the floor is yours people!