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,


  1. AGM on march 23? lol, a month into the season ffs. You should have pushed on with the demand for an EGM. There is absolutely no reason it should be a month away. If a board has no respect for its members or the clubs constitution then quite honestly they should be voted out, simple as that.

  2. I was having my 'daily' cigarette during the half time break, and I overheard two supporters discussing "The People's Champion". Usual views expressed "He's a good player" v "Yeah, but he's a c*nt". Can we also call him "The Most Hated Man at South" in honour of a friend of mine from Adelaide who has that same title "The Most Hated man in Adelaide"?

    Has the issue of only players from the pre NSL era attending our games on a regular basis been discussed? My friend says its because they played for the club when there was relatively less money involved. But it has to be deeper than that.

    As for calcification, I wonder what Port Adelaide supporters did during those 5 or 6 years when they were still in the State Competition? The club kept up their end of the bargain by winning premiership after premiership until the AFL couldn't ignore them any longer (there was talk of another unaligned club entering).

    And what about the state of the ground?!!! I assume it will be ok in time for our next home game.

  3. Found this on Youtube...

    1. Very strange. The camera work made me dizzy. At least it reminded of the 'fight at the end' chant.

  4. I believe at some point yesterday someone wanted me to make comment on the farce that is players wearing numbers like 77 and 99. Frankly, starting eleven players should be wearing 1-11 based on position. Once we abandoned that practice, the cat was let out of the bag so to speak.

    1. I don't mind unique numbers so long as the whole team doesn't do it

  5. If we here nothing by this kick off at northcote about the AGM, then i suggest the petition is handed to a board member. Preferably the chairman Nick Galatas. Better still i can provide u with the boards emails and you can email it.

  6. Is it possible the people's champion is maturing? As you say he did thank the fans. Could be the start of reconciliation. My view on him is he's odd and misunderstood so i never really got too upset with his antics because he reminded me of myself at that age.
    Hopefully everyone can move on and reap the benefits of his talent.

    1. No. He's a cocksucker and he can fuck right off.

  7. Good time slot, good win, great sox, fuck off Katsakis, thoroughly enjoyable evening.

    Crowd around 4000?


    1. I would say the crowd ranged from 2k to an upper limit of 2.5k

    2. Though some are claiming 3000-3500, so what would I know?

    3. There were a sh!tload of empty seats. Great crowd, but not breaking any records.

  8. In the late 1980's someone brought along (regularly) a Greek flag with the Boxing Kangaroo in the corner.

  9. Have to say, I thought those ENOSI 59 boys would only be around for the one season and then leave the club. After also hearing about their recent events in Sydney, I thought they were nothing but trouble. But after speaking to some of them, they really do love the club and I truly believe that they are here to stay. Really liked their display for when the players walked out. Quality stuff

    1. Hopefully they and everyone else stay out of trouble. Especially when we play victory youth

    2. Everyone just needs to stick together for that game. Heard rumors of the victory group (North Terrace Group) in bringing numbers and looking for trouble. Just no need to go looking for fights in football.

  10. What a shame we don't play an Iranian migrant team.


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We've had a lot of fun over the years with my freewheeling comments policy, but all good things must come to an end. Therefore I will no longer be approving comments that contain personal abuse of any sort.

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