|References to local and international geography and an alternative |
design for the Australian flag. Photo: Cindy Nitsos
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.
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?
While we're on the topicAlso confirmation that our AGM will be held on Wednesday 23 March - further details will be released in the upcoming week— South Melbourne FC (@smfc) February 21, 2016
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.
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
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.
I guess you just had to be there. Not that I was, but I'm reliant on other people's imaginations as it is,