Sunday, 28 February 2016

It's only round 2, no need to get excited - Northcote City 0 South Melbourne 4

A beautiful afternoon for soccer, the field in near perfect condition, and the souvs in unusually good form, too. Despite this the hype from this match up is well and truly a thing of the past. Northcote had a mediocre 2015 season, and the early signs for 2016 are not good either. So where in previous years there would have been some angst as a South fan about coming to John Cain and getting away with all three points, yesterday there would have been a lot more confidence - avoid doing anything stupid, and we should be all right.

And so it proved to be. For all the complaints that we only have one striker - and let's be clear, that this is still a valid complaint despite us scoring ten goals in our opening two games - having only one striker is still better than having none. That wasn't the only difference between the two sides yesterday, but it was an important one, even if Milos Lujic only got one goal and the other three were shared between Nick Epifano and Marcus Schroen.

Aside from our opening goal from the spot, which was fortunate from start to finish - fortunate to have the ball rebound to Miller who was still on the ground after having taken the shot, allowed immeasurable time to get up and play the ball again, find a stray hand of a Northcote defender, and then Epifano's penalty shot somehow ending up over the line - all our goals had the sense of being bundled in via the most messy ping pong fashion. Our goals weren't pretty by any stretch of the imagination, but at least there were plenty of players on hand to keep the attacks going until there was a satisfactory result.

More of a concern was the tendency to give the ball to Northcote too cheaply in the first half - in particular in the period after we scored the first goal where we found ourselves if not on the back foot, then at least having to deal with an opponent that was finally coming out of its shell once they needed to. Northcote had chances to score which had they fallen to us we would have likely buried one way or another. A penalty to match our own, saved by Roganovic when our own shot squeezed underneath their keeper; a header onto the crossbar; a goal cleared off the line by a desperate Brad Norton; and several other botched counter attacks foiled by offside calls.

Still, you can't keep sides chance-less game after game, and the fact that we can recall Northcote's chances in such detail indicates they didn't trouble us too often. Matthew Millar and Schroen look like promising attacking acquisitions so far, with Miller especially looking to fill in the space left behind by Andy Brennan, by getting behind defences and sending in crosses usually at first opportunity. Matthew Foschini also looks to be the kind of big bodied defensive midfielder we've been waiting a while for - someone who will be able to counteract similar players, an area in which our smallish mids have been vulnerable in recent years.

Still, it would be nice have a back up striker for Milos... it would also be nice if our players stopped collecting daft yellow cards. There are signs also that at least some of our players are a bit underdone in terms of fitness, with Lujic being top of that list. This will work itself out over the course of the season, but considering the mantra of previous seasons and he investment in fitness and recovery teams, it's a little bit of a concern.

Next week
Away to Port Melbourne on Friday night. One wit asked yesterday how much smaller they'll make their field even from last year, in order to counteract our wing play. I guess we'll have to wait and see. Pretty sure they'll close the outer side to the general public though, which sucks.

I'm a pretend literary scholar, not a...
The 2015 South Melbourne FC and South Melbourne Hellas AGMs are coming, on Wednesday 23rd March, or so they say - they have to get the letters out to the members by Wednesday 2nd March to make the notice valid - unless just telling everyone via email qualifies as due notice. Don't ask me if that's true though, what am I some sort of lawyer or something?

Along with the notice of the AGM, as per the motion carried two AGMs ago, the financial statements need to be released alongside the announcement of the AGM. At the moment you have to contact the club directly, which seems a less than proper arrangement considering the last AGM saw these financial statements made available online with a password. Again, I'm no accountant, so it's not like they're much good to me, but those of our members who do understand those documents or at least like to pretend that they understand them should have easier access to the financial statements.

There are also significant resolutions to change the club's constitution, which are part of the process of reuniting the men's and women's clubs - the women have already voted for these changes to be adopted via SMWFC last year. At some point, hopefully this week (but realistically, probably next week), I will be posting a list of questions that I would like to have asked, as well as general concerns - it would also be good if you guys could contribute to that list when it comes out (or in the comments section in this article), and help make it as comprehensive as possible.

Cheerfully withdrawn! (George Donikian vs South Melbourne)
In the midst of a Con Stamacostas article on FourFourTwo about South Melbourne calling for a national second tier (blerrgggggghhhhh), newsreader, media personality, former South Melbourne president and one time number one ticket holder at Heidelberg United, George Donikian made a very serious allegation (since removed from the article) against both the club and the media team.
"What fills me with frustration is, one of our stories for the Fields To Dream was the South Melbourne story. We did that on our initiative and we paid for that. So you know what South Melbourne’s management at the time did? They went and told the Herald Sun that they commissioned the documentary. I should send them an invoice." 
This appeared to be news to people in South's inner sanctum, who quickly responded to Donikian by asserting that:
While fight fans out there may have been hoping for a long running brawl to emerge out of this, it appears that Donikian has since withdrawn the comments, claiming that they were based on a misunderstanding. How very anti-climactic. Still, one had to wonder how another run of the mill story on South's ambition ended up asking for Donikian's opinion on what South is doing these days at all.

To be fair, for all the flak that Donikian has copped from South fans over the years for his 'traitorous' behaviour of promoting all sorts of disreputable organisations since his South Melbourne presidency (including on this blog), it should be remembered that he did step up to the plate in 2004 and 2005, in the most difficult period in our history, with no small risk to his livelihood caused by the carelessness of others.

So, yes Donikian was president of our club, but it was for about a 12 month period all the way back in 2004 and 2005; it has been over a decade since he has had any involvement with the club. In the intervening years, in his public guise as a 'generic quasi-celebrity football fan', he has spruiked for all manner of other 'soccer' teams, such as here and here. I like Con Stamacostas, but he may as well have asked Nick Giannopoulos for his opinion on what South's doing with itself these days.

Apostolos Giannou
The one time South junior and Greek international (one cap in a friendly) has apparently been convinced by Ange Postecoglou to switch his allegiances to the Socceroos. Another name to put onto alongside all the other non-existent names on our Socceroos list in the Lakeside players race?

Match programmes and such
A little bit of a slow down on this, not for lack of materials - which we have - but more so because I've been focusing a little bit more on my thesis work. Not a ton of South stuff this week, but there have been some odds and ends on that front, including one from the 1985 West Adelaide away fixture. More joy in the 'library', with a few editions of Simply Soccer, as well as Newcastle KB programmes, Oceania Confederation and even a Carlton SC fanzine.

Around the grounds
The other side of the quarry...
Avondale Heights hosting Hume City at Knights Stadium. First the new fence, now ground rationalisation. Will the Knights ever pull back from this relentless pursuit of modernity? Arbitrary and incomprehensible parking 'rules' aside - I symbolically drove over the yellow Rubicon security tape in a manner of which Caesar would have approved - this was unmistakeably an Avondale home match: Blue Thunder Security, ridiculously long and mediocre canteen menu, Italians wearing Victory merchandise. The only Croatian aesthetic apart from the sponsor boards was the music filtering through from their social club. Avondale ran around manically - how could they not with Mass Murdocca in their team? - but could only find one goal to Hume's two. Not a happy homecoming for Chris May in the Avondale goal, but he'll likely get another 13 chances at least to sort that out.

Final thought

Monday, 22 February 2016

Sunshine and Gloom - South Melbourne 6 Heidelberg United 0

A strange game, which was hard to enjoy at times for reasons not related to the game. Still, any match when you get to see George Katsakis blow a gasket ('a mechanical seal which fills the space between two or more mating surfaces, generally to prevent leakage from or into the joined objects while under compression') is worthwhile. Heidelberg had more of the ball, especially in the first half hour or so, and had us scrambling to clear balls from our own penalty area - and with a bit of luck they should have had a goal or two. As it turned out, we were unusually clinical in our counter attacks, and went into half-time 4-0 up and with an extra man on the field.

References to local and international geography and an alternative
design for the Australian flag.  Photo: Cindy Nitsos
Three of those goals were down to The People's Champion, providing temporary alleviation to the question of where are the goals going to come from apart from Milos Lujic. Whether said People's Champ should have even been out there yesterday after being red carded last week against Bentleigh in the Community Shield, is an interesting question. Clearly the bloke is un-bannable, certainly not by the club and not by the league either, a fact we may as well make the most of. Unusually, he was one of the players thanking the fans along the fence after the match. Θα χαλάσει ο καιρός as my mum would say.

At the other end of the field, even though the Bergers had some good chances to score, by and large the defence was solid. Goalkeeper Nikola Roganovic in particular had an excellent match, pulling out several good saves. But really, after you beat your oldest rival by a record margin - beating the 5-0 hammering we gave them at Middle Park during the 1991/92 season - there's really no point in looking too deeply for the negatives or potential weaknesses, especially so early on in the season. Those will reveal themselves as the year elapses as a matter of course. Chances are that Heidelberg aren't as bad as that scoreline suggests either.

I was pleased to see such a good crowd, though I won't put a number on it, and sadly our crowd counter from 2015 has hung up his green eyeshades. The now annual custom of not having our full range of merchandise available for round 1 is a continuing pain in the arse. Apart from round 1 being everyone's best trading day, our lack of early season home fixtures compounds the problem. Membership collection was not a problem, though I did get to the ground reasonably early. This year barcodes have given way to cards that need to be clipped. Word went round at one stage that we ran out of membership cards; but then again St Gerry's who were serving loukoumades also ran out of crushed walnuts. So it goes.

Next week
Northcote away on Saturday evening  A 5:00PM kickoff at Northcote seems a little insane to be honest. While the days are still relatively long, what happens if it becomes suddenly overcast? Would the meagre lighting at John Cain be able to do the trick?

Post-coital afterthoughts
While we're on the topic
Yesterday, myself and another South supporter, Foti Stavrakis, circulated a petition calling for an Extraordinary General Meeting to take place. This was due to the constant delay by the board on the announcement of an AGM date, as well as the lack of any information on the issues of the social club and lease situations.

In the call for an EGM, we decided to keep things relatively simple. We wanted a statement on the financial details of the club as they were at the end of the most recent financial year, as well as now. We wanted an update to the social club and lease issues. We also asked for the situation regarding our part in the re-unification with the women's team to be dealt with. We also included the condition that should the club call an AGM during that time frame we would be happy to have the call for an EGM put aside.

Our aim with the petition was to be low-key, non-confrontational, and to primarily circulate it among those we knew and affiliates of such. In future, should the need arise to do this again - and I hope it doesn't - we would aim to circulate such a document to a wider selection of members. After amassing what we understood to be the minimum number of signatures - 40 - in order to successfully compel the club to call an EGM, we presented the list of signatures to president Leo Athanasakis, who informed us that an AGM date had already been decided. We were glad to hear that a date had been announced, but like many of you, we find it hard to such a comment take at face value considering the already significant delays.

While we wait to see whether or not the club actually does call an AGM, Foti and I would like to thank everyone who signed our petition. At the very least, your signatures mean that we have an insurance policy should the club not call an AGM. More importantly, it is a demonstration that there is a desire within the South Melbourne membership to take a more active interest in the club's affairs, and not allow the board to have complete carte blanche over how it runs our club.

A related and belated word on where and when South Melbourne exists
Going through a process like this reminds one that South Melbourne Hellas is a living, breathing entity. It is not merely memories to be brought up on Twitter or Facebook. It is not a museum exhibit of life as it was 12 years ago, or 25 years ago, or 50 years ago. People from other clubs can be excused to a degree if they treat it as such. Those who still claim to be South fans however cannot. If you calcify the club in this way, you also calcify yourself. Yes, 1991 was great. But the present matters, too. You can make all the excuses in the world for not being here now, or you can come to the games, swell the numbers, help the club, and see that we're still more than alive. Waiting on the sidelines merely hoping that things will improve by themselves or because of the efforts of those already attending is just a cop-out.

The higher costs of NPL living
Since we are about to embark on our customary early season streak of away fixtures, it is worth noting the maximum adult ticket price for NPL matches has increased to $15. It will be interesting to see how many clubs will choose to go up to that level - my guess is most of them. Of course patrons visiting Lakeside in the last few seasons already had to pay more because of the Ticketmaster surcharge, which is probably what lead to last year's trial of variable pricing across the board.

On the plus side, Ticketmaster is apparently no longer in charge of ticketing at Lakeside, which while it probably won't mean the lowering of ticket prices at South Melbourne, will hopefully at least mean that the club will be able to pre-print tickets and thus facilitate quicker entry at the ticket booths than the gloriously tedious process of the past few seasons.

Keeping up to date in this fast paced, 24/7, digital world of ours
Those of you among the Twitterati should by now be aware that the FFV is no longer providing score updates for NPL matches. Instead, their new account @FFV365 will be re-tweeting whatever competing clubs and media accounts bother to publish during all Victorian matches. What this means is that some matches will be much better covered than others.

It's quite plain to see that with hundreds of matches each week, that the @FFV365 account will eventually get overwhelming for some users. It may be best to stick then only with select club based or media accounts, or use the Futbol24 app for following only NPL score and key incident updates. Either way, for those who like a bit more detail in our tweets, we will be disappointed when we hope to follow matches that aren't being covered by clubs, or where we don't find out the names of the scorers.

South Melbourne media team need to work on their photographic filters
Last year we had the situation whereby our red vee heritage top came out looking decidedly pink in the media photos. This year we had the situation where our home tops as presented in the online media release looked like a sickly pastel blue instead of our traditional royal blue, causing a small amount of disgust and panic among the supporters. Yet on game day, the colour of the strips looked fine. Nice touch with the hooped socks, too. You know, while we're talking about the important things.

Match programmes
I have completed uploading the batch of NSL cup final and NSL league finals series booklets lent to me by The Agitator stretching back from our last NSL game in 2004 to a rare 1980 NSL souvenir brochure. I have also uploaded several home match programmes from 1993/94. In addition to those, after flicking through one of my bookshelves I found copies of three programmes from 2014 - the South Hobart NPL finals match, and the women's knockout cup and grand final programmes. I've also uploaded the first ten editions of 1990s Australian soccer fanzine Studs Up,  all of which are searchable thanks to the magic of text recognition.

One procedural achievement in this process was finally learning how to use the university's scanner to make collated PDFs, which will come in handy when having to deal with large documents which don't fit in my home scanner. Catching up with Mark Boric over the weekend has meant that I've also been able to upload four or so match programmes from the early 2000s and 1997/1998 and Mark's Richmond vs South Melbourne VPL era match programmes.

There's more material to come, as more people show the generosity by lending me stuff to scan. Finally, apologies to Balgownie Rangers, who had some issues trying to access the 1960s copies of Soccer World I have stored in the 'library'. Inexplicably these were not set as 'shared' as they should have been, but hopefully that issue has been sorted out now.

Around the grounds
#fencegate #fencebitters
So a healthy crowd of western suburbs soccer folk turned up to Somers Street on Friday night to see a fence. A fence! But not just any old fence. It was a new fence! A new fence symbolising modernity and gentrification! No more internment camp feel! Basically, a fence which stands for everything that the Knights stand against. Anyway, it was a good thing that the new fence was there as an added attraction, because this game was pretty rubbish now that I think about it. That last half hour, especially after Knights equalised against the run of expectation even if not the run of play, was especially dire, as both teams went about demonstrating how they'd forgotten how to play soccer. Based on this highly scientific sample size, Knights will be lucky to finish higher than 10th, while Gully will make finals because there are six slots and someone has to fill them.

And with strange aeons even death may die
Poetry and football are suffered only by the living, and each of these curses will only be sated once the living have been disposed of. We hope to hear words crafted into something ethereal, but must deal mostly with doggerel. We hope to see smooth, free flowing play, but must deal with matches so turgid that even their potential agricultural purities become coarse and unpalatable, as is often case at Chaplin Reserve. Moreland City, with a fit Trent Rixon, didn't do enough to win. Sunshine George Cross, with an overweight Ahmet Turer, did enough not to lose. Those present to mourn the loss of their friend probably had other things on their minds.

Final thought
I guess you just had to be there. Not that I was, but I'm reliant on other people's imaginations as it is,

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Round 1 match day information

A few quick notes on today's match.

For those going to the game
Membership collection: The club has stated that memberships will be available for collection at the ground from 4pm onwards.

Ticketing: As Ticketmaster is apparently no longer in charge of ticketing arrangements at Lakeside, the club should have more flexibility in its ticketing arrangements on match days. This should mean that the club will have pre-printed tickets available throughout the season, making the tedious queues that occurred during more popular games of the past few seasons more bearable. Of course the best way to beat the queues and help the club is to buy a membership, but we all hope this season's ticketing system will make it more attractive for more casual, neutral and opposition fans to attend Lakeside.

Discounted entry: South is offering a two for one deal for this match, in this case two adult tickets for $10, on presentation of the relevant voucher,

No social club: For those looking for a bite to eat or something to drink before the game, my understanding is that The Limerick Arms, now a club sponsor, will be providing discount food and drink for South fans.

For those not going to the game
Radio broadcast, English: There will be an online radio broadcast of the match - at this address or search "MFootball" in the Mixlr App.

Radio broadcast, Greek: For those who prefer Greek language commentary, 3XY will be doing their own broadcast on radio frequency 1422AM, as well as via online streaming at TuneIn.

For those following the game online
Twitter: FFV will no longer be providing score updates for NPL matches via Twitter. Instead their new account @FFV365 will be re-tweeting items from all Victorian matches based upon whatever clubs (in this case @smfc or @hufcwarrior) or media people tweet themselves.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Token of our appreciation artefact Wednesday - Goal Weekly mementos

For several years I was an intermittent contributor for the print edition of Goal Weekly. Indeed, most of the copies of that paper that I still have are because of the complimentary copies sent to me when I had an article printed in there. It is one of my chief regrets of the past few years that I did not stump up the cover price of three or so dollars more often than I actually did.

A couple of Christmas cards and sturdy mug from
Goal Weekly. Missing from this photo is a wooden
plaque. I've got no idea where it could be.
Nevertheless, I had a lot of fun writing for Goal Weekly. I think I got one genuine match report published in there. There were of course a smattering of book reviews, all of which you can find on the blog. I also filled in several times for Southpole's state league round-up when he couldn't do it - though there was one occasion where I botched the results of a Provisional League 2 North-West result and hoped no one would ever notice. I even watched a World Cup qualifier between Singapore and Malaysia on a dodgy internet stream, and wrote a report on that and had it published.

But my favourite things to write were the quasi-journalistic and quasi-factual news blended with opinion pieces, especially those dealing with the oncoming implementation of NPL and the furore that was causing in Victoria. How could I write such pieces without breaking my own unwritten rule of pretty much never interviewing anyone? I don't know, but I somehow made do with attending the odd information session, reading media releases and doing a lot of summing up the more reputable posts from the various forums.

Eventually this process saw the production of pieces that were way of out control, and ended up with then the FFV CEO Mitchell Murphy penning a not entirely unreasonable letter to Goal Weekly to complain about what would turn out to be my final piece for the paper. That was two years ago now, and while I have some regrets about some of the material that I ended up producing for Goal Weekly, I still had a blast providing a variety of content for what was a wonderfully ramshackle production, which gave a lot of writers a chance to learn their craft - both those who saw their work as the starting point of their journalistic vocation, and those amateurs who felt they performing a public service.

As for the artefacts, Costa from Goal Weekly had a habit of sending out these items at the end of the year, as a way of showing his appreciation for the efforts put in by his writers. I'm not one for Christmas cards and such, but the mug got a good run until the enamel/plastic label started peeling off, and it was forced to retire to a dusty corner of some built in wardrobe in West Sunshine.

Anyway, all the best to the people who'll be doing the hard yards for Victorian soccer reportage in 2016. Don't ever forget that we're clearly the most important demographic in Victorian soccer.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Dooooooooooomed! Bentleigh Greens 3 South Melbourne 0

With Leigh Minopoulos being kept in mothballs and moonboots in the lead up to season proper, and Milos Lujic reputedly in Kokomo on his honeymoon, we were short-handed up front for our defence of the Community Shield, sticking Andy Kecojevic and Marcus Schroen up front. The question then was not if we would lose the Community Shield, but rather by how many goals. To be fair, in the first half we at least managed to match Bentleigh, if not in clear cut chances (their one, hit straight into the oncoming Roganovic, to our none), then at least in hustle and bustle.

That hustle and bustle however lead to a rather more torrid affair than perhaps one would have expected for even a more formal pre-season hit out, so much so that there were several flare ups during the course of this match. The passion on display from us was fine, but the apparent willingness to get sucked in to the opposition's antics always threatened to become costly, and thus Nick Epifano managed to get himself sent off with a straight red for retaliating. The eye witness accounts differ between Epifano kicking or stomping on his Bentleigh opponent.

Either way, it was a damn foolish thing to do, and Epifano will probably miss the opening two or three games of the season. Other than that there were moments where our interplay was rather pleasing to the eye, even if the end product was never going to amount to anything. As the game slipped away from us and Bentleigh took their foot off the pedal somewhat, our finishing only became more comical. Unusually in the mood to make bold statements, it seems to me that if we don't end up getting a strike partner for Lujic, we'll probably miss the finals. If we do, and he's half decent, then we'll win the league.

Next week
Round 1 at home vs Heidelberg. You may as well make an effort to come to this, because afterwards we have our customary slog of away games to start the season.

That's OK, I wasn't looking for a long term relationship anyway
Jason Hicks, once lauded as 'an experienced player', 'a versatile option', and a player who we were excited to have 'join us' has left us to join Melbourne Knights. Apparently we are openly crying into our cornflakes about this, which is news to me. Hicks' departure does open up a visa slot however, which according to scuttlebutt in the crowd yesterday will be used on an overseas striker.

Making things up again
Now I'm sure that Chris Marshall is a lovely bloke who loves puppies and hates mean things, but why is the club calling him a 'senior football adviser'? Is assistant coach too old fashioned?

Optional extras
Every NPL game will have a fourth official with one of those electronic boards informing the paying public of substitutions and the number of minutes of injury time to be played. Those of us not paying to enter venues should probably look away at those moments.

AGM? What's that?
Still no announcement of the AGM date as of this moment, though I have been lead to believe an announcement is 'imminent'.

Candy/Iron anniversary approaching
Someone looking far further into the future than your correspondent has noticed that the sixth anniversary of not having a social club will actually land on a South home game. According the internet the traditional gift for the sixth anniversary is either candy or iron.

Who was Robert Stewart?
In the match programme for our 1981 away fixture against Blacktown City, there is mention made of a young striker from Hearts of Midlothian named Robert Stewart. Now I've never come across this name before, so I assume that Stewart played no games for South Melbourne. But how did he get to South and where did he end up? Is he the same player as Rob Stewart, who is listed as playing for Frankston City in the 1981 Victorian state league season? Seeing as how the Victorian season started a week after that round six match, it's not an implausible theory.

The system works
Yes, your correspondent has once again been granted FFV media accreditation for 2016. This is despite my steadfast refusal to step into a press box, conduct interviews or write proper match reports. Best of all, I have been listed as a freelancer rather than being under the auspices of the club. Not that it'll make much difference to what I write, of course, but it's nice to have on the pass anyway.

New season's resolution
In order to try and actually pay more attention at our games this year, I will no longer be tweeting during South matches. Thus, those of you who wait with baited breath for my withering observations of modern life during Hellas match days will have to either wait until I get home or actually come and hear my comedic slivers of gold in person. Given phenomena such as Bentleigh charging $12 for a souv, I expect this vow to last all of abut five minutes.

Just on that...
$12. For a souv. A not even very good souv, hugely overrated in part because people from Melbourne's south-east generally have no clue what they're talking about on these matters, and in part because of this particular souv's appearance at the Food Federation Cup a couple of seasons ago. Now I know I'm very tight with money (I prefer the term frugal), but $12! And burgers $10! Absolutely outrageous! What's the thinking behind this? Are their profit margins in the canteen that bad? I'm not usually one to make too much comment about food at grounds, nor am I really the right person to complain about food prices at grounds since I get in for free most weeks, but what about those people that don't? Do we have to follow the FFA Whole of Football Plan manifesto of squeezing every penny from people in the game?

Match programmes and such
Received a couple of folders worth of match programmes, finals series booklets and the first ten issues of Studs Up. I have started scanning and uploading some of these things, but will be delayed a little by the fact that I've only now just figured out to apply OCR (text recognition) to the documents, which will allow users to perform searches within documents but also hopefully for search engines to be able to dig through them.

What that means alas is that I will gradually have to re-upload most of the stuff I've put up already, which is irritating but probably necessary. Not that the text recognition effect always works or works well, but usually it seems to be OK and something is better than nothing in these cases, especially with the very large and data dense yearbooks.

Final thought
No, I have not become a Berger, I just happened to figure out the answer to their quiz question, OK?

Sunday, 7 February 2016

The 3/4 serious stuff starts this week

So, South played two games in Sydney over the weekend. We drew 0-0 with Olympic on Friday, and because there was some sort of cup on the line, we had a penalty shoot-out which we lost. Matthew Foschini and Philtzgerald Mbaka missed and/or had their shots saved. This afternoon, we played on a synthetic pitch against Sutherland Sharks, and lost 2-0. No Milos Lujic on this trip, which may or may not back up the claims of those who think that we're going to be a one trick monkey when it comes to scoring goals this season. I think Friday night's Community Shield game against Bentleigh will be more indicative of the season to come.

Player movement news
Jake Barker-Daish is officially no longer a South player. Though he was not at South at all during pre-season, no had bothered to make note of his exact status. He's ended up signing for Richmond it seems.

AGM news but not really, we'll see I guess
More historical artefact goodness than you can a poke stick at
Super thanks to The Agitator, with whose help we've added heaps more match programmes spanning the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, almost completing several 1990s seasons. The seasons from 1977 onwards in which we have no match programmes at all uploaded on the blog are:
  • 1977
  • 1978
  • 1982
  • 1987
  • 1989/90
  • 2009
  • 2012
  • 2013
Which I am sure we will rectify as time goes on, especially once I start meeting up with people during the season proper.

Thanks to a combination of The Agitator's efforts, as well as a visit by Chris Egan, we've been able to upload every match programme where Perth Glory hosted South Melbourne, Though South had a rotten record in Perth, these programmes are worth a look for their density, professional presentation and overall glossiness, especially in the latter years. There's also some new stuff under the 'library' tab, including:

  • Two Melbourne Knights programmes from their 1995 Japan tour.
  • 1977 and 1978 VSF yearbooks,
  • A companion to The Score fanzine from the Iran game.
  • An ASF newsletter from May 1995.
  • 1994/95 NSL preview booklet put out by the ASF.
  • Eastern Lions 40th anniversary booklet (via Mark Boric)
In time, I hope to add the Studs Up collection we're hosting here - which is currently limited to what's available from OzFootball's sources - as well add match programmes from Australian national team matches. I also still have four VSF yearbooks to scan and upload.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Show me the money! artefact Wednesday - Hellenic Cup cheque

In this week's artefact segment we head back to the year 2007. Truly, it was a great time to be alive. South weren't yet in the A-League (any minute now some must have thought), but we had a state championship to defend, and a social club in which to socialise while eating bain marie dim sims.

There was also no South of the Border to upset people and take up my precious time; instead I was spending too much time posting on forums. And while we're still stuck in this interminable death spiral of irrelevance, at least back then the pre-seasons were more interesting if for no other reason than due to the existence of the Hellenic Cup.

Ah, the Hellenic Cup. Instead of spending your weekends travelling to public transport black holes to see a bunch of people try out for South that you'd probably never see again, with no food on hand and nothing even remotely at stake in a game played over three thirty minute periods, you could do the following.

You could go to a ground that had food, multiple teams in multiple categories playing in 70 minute matches on rock hard grounds in a compressed fixture, and for which pleasure you were asked to pay an exorbitant entry fee. It was expensive, it was often shoddily organised, but compared to this aimless schedule based almost exclusively out of venues that Chris Taylor seems to have the keys for, it was brilliant. South playing too far away from home in a midweek fixture? No worries, you could get out to the other side of the draw and get some spying going on. Oh, and there was prize money! Good prize money at that, too, rivalling what you'd get for winning the VPL championship proper.

In the 2007 Hellenic Cup final itself, played out of Northcote, we beat Oakleigh in a penalty shoot-out, celebrated with a low key pitch invasion, and collected 10,000 dollarydoos for our efforts. I don't know whether or not a giant novelty cheque is as legitimate as a normal one, but this item was in the boardroom when I took the photo now many years ago - so many years, in fact, that the various Christian denominations will probably agree on a date for Easter before we actually build a social club.