Sunday, 27 March 2016

Top of the league! - Richmond 6 South Melbourne 3

As has been noted by several bright sparks, unlike our 2-2 draw on the Veneto Club's synthetic field in our last league outing, this time we couldn't even blame the state of the field, which was in pristine biological grass condition.

After this game I tweeted that I had no words for what had happened, and three days later I still don't really have much to add - though some of that may be down to emptying the word well with that AGM summary. Nevertheless, one moment I was discussing surrealist hardcore screamo (bulimic rainbows vomit what?) and the greatest forgotten animated series of all time, happy to have what looked to me like a comfortable lead; the next moment we've copped five and barely threatened the opposition goal.

There are many degrees of humiliation to be suffered in the NPL (and before that, VPL) for a South Melbourne Hellas fan. Just being here, for example, is horrible. Being mistaken for a North Melbourne fan when traveling on public transport, that's more at the minor end of the scale. Somewhere at the extreme of the humiliation scale though, is the moment when opposition supporters who have no history of chanting, start chanting. On Thursday night, that's how low we fell.

Maybe we didn't deserve to be 3-1 up at half time. Maybe we did. Nevertheless, that's where we found ourselves, and even if we hadn't quite deserved to be there, seeing as how we were there, shouldn't we at least have managed to come out of this with a point? Instead five second half goals later, we all walked out wondering what had happened, and trying to remember the last time we copped six goals - which of course was that nightmare loss to Sydney Olympic after we returned from Brazil.

But back to humiliation. There were so many ex-South players and personnel involved with the Richmond squad which slaughtered us on Thursday night. Most painful was Jake Barker-Daish scoring a double, after he had done stuff all for us last year, and Nick Niagoran who also bagged a double. Niagoran was a former junior for us, who I remember clinching the 2011 under 21s title for us with a belter of a goal in the last round. He and many from that squad departed for Malvern with then 21s coach Gus Caminos, and Niagoran joined Richmond during this off-season. Of course that doesn't mean Niagoran will do anything for the rest of the year, and he did get sent off, too. But if the classic and often correct assertion to young players or former players is to prove their former club wrong, well on Thursday night he at least did that.

In the wake of the loss, ascendancy has been given to those who doubt the team and the coach. That's to be expected, and goodness knows they shouldn't be immune to criticism after putting in a performance like that. Still, some of that material did come across at least as a little bit pre-prepared. While some of the arguments about the game style and tactics have merit - we probably do rely too much on a counter attacking style, and on Thursday especially we did gift Richmond far too much time on the ball because of our refusal to press - but some of the rhetoric almost seemed to take a kind of glee in being 'proven right'.

Some of the criticisms of the personnel involved will almost inevitably miss the point that for the past two and a half years - including the earliest parts of this league season - the players have actually done quite well. We're actually still top of the league (on goal difference), and while you can make all sorts of quite sensible points that we've played two of the three promoted sides and the already doomed Northcote in those five games, I'd still rather be where we are than every other team in this league.

Of course if we get tonked in the next game, I will join the bandwagon of negativity so I can be with all the cool kids.

An alternative theory as to why we lost
Next game
Hume City away on Saturday night.

Flares. in the plural sense
After one was lit by someone in the vicinity at Clarendon Corner against Bulleen, another was lit in the dark corners of Kevin Bartlett Reserve after we went 3-1 up. It was hard to tell if it was lit inside our outside the ground. Either way, the potential return of this trend is not something I want to see.

Just quietly, I've written a piece on flares which has been accepted by Thin White Line magazine for their next print edition, which will won't solve any of the problems.

International year of the fence
Not quite what is used to be though - apparently the gate that used to lead onto the freeway, in order that stray balls could be retrieved, has been removed. - See correction in the comments section.

Andy Brennan watch
Those hoping that there may be a chance of luring Andy Brennan back to South will be interested to note that he finally made his A-League debut yesterday for Newcastle Jets, coming off the bench in the second half.

Around the grounds
#findyourlevel
Headed out to Campbell Reserve for the Sydney Road derby between Moreland City and Brunswick City, and the game did not disappoint! The reserves game was very entertaining as well, so all round it was very worthwhile trip out to Coburg. Oh, and we managed to snare a spot in the premium seating section
Brunswick deserved their 1-0 wins in both the curtain raiser and the feature game, though they both had some drama. Brunswick's under 20s needed a second penalty late on (after having an earlier one saved) to win 1-0, and their seniors despite being the better side also needed a bit of luck; this time a horrible mix up between Moreland's keeper Brandon Galgano and one of his defenders, as well as a double penalty save from state league veteran Wes Coles. Ian Syson and I also toyed with the idea that we should be more forgiving of players at this and similar levels, reminding ourselves that when these players screwed that it was almost a statistical certainty that they would do so. After all, if they were more competent, they almost certainly wouldn't be here in the first place. Now, the next step is to somehow work 'find your level' into a marketable slogan for the NPL as a whole.

RIP Barry Hines
British writer Barry Hines - mostly associated with writing on working class lives in England - died the other week. I wrote so-so review of his debut novel The Blinder, a couple of years back; in short, the novel has the hallmarks of a debut, but is still definitely worth a read.

Final thought

19 comments:

  1. There was never a gate to the freeway, but the fence was low at one point to allow a large tree through it (at times it's branches extended over the pitch). This was where you could climb over to reach Citilink. Fencing has now been extended to close this gap.

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  2. Not much to say really Paul other than it was humiliating.

    You are quite correct on the depths of humiliation we South fans have endured. There are so many to be honest. Looking back, I think the club really did think it was superior except for one key area - the playing field. Poor recruiting and inflated opinion of faded stars of players built up expectations beyond where they should have been. Who can forget the 5-0 drubbings at Northcote, 3-0 drubbing to Kingston City, 3-0 drubbing to Western Suburbs, amongst others.

    Yet in some weird way, we all persevered on, hoping for better days. The last 2.5 years have been that. Let's hope some more trophies over the next few years can erase those lingering humiliating nightmares.

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  3. This is the beginning of the end for chris '1-0' taylor. It's early but he has to go so we can start playing some proper football and rise up the ranks where we belong.

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    1. Where is that to? That in between fairyland league between NPL state and the A League?

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    2. We can argue about the merits of the style we play under Taylor, but looking back at Taylor's time with us, 1-0 hasn't really been the norm as a final score.

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    3. Neither has 1-0 been an indication of how good our brand of football is... 0-0 would be more indicative.

      taylor out!

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    4. We have scored 17 goals in 6 league games and even after copping 6 we have the best goal difference in the division. 0-0 cannot be a true indication of our current style of play whether you like it or not as a spectacle.

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  4. Beginning of the end? Are you mad? Unless with 8/10 games to go finals is looking unlikely I think Chris Taylor needs time to integrate a few of his new signings before his position is even considered under review. My opinion is there is not much a coach can do from the sidelines if the team he put out is 3-1 up with 30 mins to go but capitulate defensively the way they did, Eagar was all over the place all game against their big forward but would you honestly take off the captain and double title winning central defender at 3-1 up? Not competing is something the players have to look at themselves for as well and should not be exempt of criticism. Everything should be scrutinised after a score line like that but I'd be interested to know something, would the fans prefer the premiers plate or say a 3/4th place finish but win the finals/championship? Its champions for me, Just.

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  5. Anonymous, do you think their are other teams in the npl who has a much better playing style than ours?
    Est1959

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  6. Look people, I'm looking at taylors record throughout his career, not just the first 2 rounds this season. Mark my words now and in 2 months time you'll see. How many people said it's boring watching south last season and now thats all forgotten after a few goals. He'll crawl back into conservative mode after this richmond debacle and it'll be that familiar be patient, score one, sit back.

    1-0 taylor needs to go for the long term benefit of the club.

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    1. Look Anonymous, Dandenong under Taylor won everything which is no mean feat and they scored goals, we've won trophies for the first time in 8/9 years. Last year we won the Premiers Plate on goal difference against a perceived more purist footballing side and won the Dockerty cup in a comprehensive 3-0 victory. I'm beginning to think you are a Knights fan who I know are frequent visitors to this blog. Look at your own style of football mate under Marth, what was it last week? 1-0 win. Get behind South while we are still in the hunt, we look like ridiculous fans to question our coach given the success we've had the last 2.5 years.

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    2. How do we know both of you aren't the same person. Deadest there is an option when posting to actually give yourself a username ffs. Its really not that hard. This anonymous shit is really getting annoying

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  7. Portugal 1 - 2 Greece
    Greece 1 - 1 Spain
    Russia 2 - 1 Greece
    France 0 - 1 Greece
    Greece 1 - 0 Czech Republic
    Portugal 0 - 1 Greece

    One of my greatest months watching football. Its about winning trophies.

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  8. taylor has only ever won anything with money behind him. I could do that. Are they the same knights fans who blame him for not winning the titles when they had arguably the best squad in the state since the nsl death? It's the reason why taylor has never been picked up by a-league clubs, they know his record is bloated. Time will tell..

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  9. Hi All - a bit of data on CT over last few years

    2012 - Dandenong, most goals scored and goal diff of +23 above the rest of the league
    2013 - inherited an average performing South team and took it to pre-lim finals (sadly beaten badly 5-0, in fact by a bigger margin than the one versus Richmond last week where now some of you are calling for his head)
    2014 - 2nd most goals scored in league (2 behind leaders) but won league by 7 points
    2015 - most goals scored in league, + 10 more than second place, premiers plate winners
    2016 - so far top of the league after 5 rounds, most goals scored

    In terms of style of play the game that sticks in my mind where we played a lot of passes and through balls to the wings using Epa and Norton well, plus had a lot of possession etc was against Palm Beach in FFA Cup and sadly that didn't end so well in fact the lack of directness was pretty frustrating to watch at times.

    Fans who ignore this to be honest seem to have some sort of pre- rehearsed agenda, maybe its because he likes Nick Epifano? Maybe because he's winning for South but didn't for their club?

    To real South fans out there I say - Get behind the Boys !!

    P.S should we look for a coach who doesn't win anything with money behind him? Plenty of those out there look at Avondale this year.

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    1. you've completely sugarcoated the 2013 and have not factored in pre-2012. If I recall correctly the '14 season was a low-scoring one in general. Look, lets just agree to wait and see..

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    2. Hi anonymous, for a while tonight I actually thought it was going to be 1-0. A small part of me hoped it was going to be. I'll take the win though particularly when I think the boys felt a fair bit of pressure after last week that was visible in the final 20 mins or so. Shall we all just enjoy the win for 24 hours or so?

      Best regards, anonymous

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  10. LOL at all the people that want to oust CT after one bad game.
    We haven't had this much sustained success since the late 90s.

    Get over it. We lost, we move on. If anything the players are to blame. They are the ones that capitulated

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  11. Kokoretsi King3 April 2016 at 21:51

    Epi-agenda ? Fuck yeah. Fuck that cunt and everyone that backs him.

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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.