Monday, 4 April 2016

The Great Catastrophe - Hume City 1 South Melbourne 2

It may be a bit rich for me to point this out, what with having a solid stretch of documented negativity to fall back on, but for some South supporters it appears that the greatest tragedy to emerge from this game was that we had, in fact, won.

Apparently this was an appalling outcome, which will only serve to further mask the fact that we are comparatively out of form, playing disjointed, wonky football going both forward and back. As if the coaching staff are oblivious to this.

Still, the naysayers do have a kind of point. After the debacle of the second half against Richmond, Chris Taylor promised lots of changes. However in a classic example of misdirection, this meant only one change, but what a change - the man omitted from the entire match day squad was none other than captain Michael Eagar, replaced by Kristian Konstantinidis.

Now Eagar hasn't been in the greatest of form recently, but this was still a huge move. Luckily for all concerned, Konstantinidis had a very good match, and will be a hard luck story if he is dropped for the next match. There is talk, too, that Luke Adams is in line for another extended tour with New Zealand (not sure which squad, nor for what purpose they're reputedly touring), so Eagar shouldn't be on the outer for too long.

Old mate Rama's second yellow card got tongues wagging. Was it deserved? Did it, in the end, lead to South winning a game they wouldn't have otherwise won? Did his send off, in the end, actually make South's performance look even less impressive?

For whatever it's worth, I think there was a yellow card in it. It wasn't that it was a malicious tackle, or that he was 'the last man' (a rule which does not even exist). It was purely situational. Milos Lujic is about to get past Rama, gets clipped (or not, but since the foul has been pulled up, that's what has to be dealt with in that moment), what other choice do the officials have at their disposal?

Anyway, the send off and free kick lead directly to our first goal. There are goals which glisten with style, and there are goals which very clearly don't. The old adage still applies though, that they all count the same. So Matthew Millar's header, looping high but straight at Chris Oldfield, somehow slips through the gap between Oldfield's hands and the crossbar.

Some of those who have seen the replay have said that it spun in, which whether true or not seems like a ludicrous concept, but whatever, it went in, we behind the goals went wild, and South went into halftime 1-0 up. All this after we had faced a ten minute period where we could barely exit our own half, and where those shots we did have often ended up missing by distances inconceivable.

The second half from us, I thought, was much better, and while it took an atypical Shane Rexhepi mistake to help put Millar in space for his well taken second goal, at least we managed to make the most of an opposition mistake. In Ken Bray's fairly meh and now long out of date book How To Score, Bray makes the point that most goals are scored not from elaborate build ups from the back, but from turnovers caused by the attacking team close to the goal they're attacking.

Since much of last week's disaster was due to a complete lack of pressure on Richmond's defence, should we not then celebrate this statistically minor (albeit statistically appropriate and consistent) incident? Of course not, because while the supporters behind the relevant goal end decided to once again celebrate prematurely - including by watching the replay of the goal on MFootball's live stream, which was delayed by a minute and a half or so - Hume worked their way back into the game, and pulled a goal back.

This caused a lot of angst everywhere. The supporters lost heart, but the South players, too, seemed to lose whatever confidence they had built up during this match. So instead of finishing strong, we ended up trying to scurry towards the corners, and what should have felt like a solid performance ends up looking and feeling a lot shakier and inconclusive than perhaps we would all have liked.

Still, while we can focus on how badly we supposedly played and how out of form we may or may not be, it's easy to overrate the opposition as well. Not that Hume are a bad side by any means, but Oldfield's blunder looks even worse on replay, and Rexhepi's poor touch which lead directly to our second goal was an absoluter shocker. It makes one think of some of the comments they'd cop if they made those mistakes playing for us. It's worth recalling last week's ponderings on the players at this level being here for a reason - and that goes for South Melbourne and opposition players alike.

So seeing as how we started this post with a misplaced sense of tragedy, it seems only fitting that we end it with the real tragedy that occurred on Saturday night.
Great, another week of people arguing in the comments section about a 1-0 result that didn't happen.

Next game
At home, against Bentleigh.

Broadmeadows, it's a hell of a town. Or maybe Westmeadows. Whichever one the game was played at. Plus Coolaroo.
There was the game which included a rolling maul which ended up in the car park. The game were Gianni De Nittis scored four goals. The game where Ljubo and Jesse got sent off on a day where Hume thought it was a good idea to celebrate the glory of Ataturk.

Suffice to say you go to a game at whatever they're calling this stadium these days, and interesting things are a good chance of happening. But interesting doesn't mean good. So, they started with music blaring so loud that it made one pine for the awfulness of the Lakeside pre-match music. They played the chicken dance. They played the hokey-pokey. They even stooped so low as to play the Macarena.

So yeah, that sucked. But they also had a drumming group of sorts, with their own section of the grandstand. Which OK, it's great that other clubs that previously had no active support of any kind are making an effort to get stuff going (and people attract people), but it was also bloody irritating. Irritating because they weren't drumming in syncopation, which apart from being incredibly off-putting aesthetically, made it much harder for those few of Clarendon Corner who made the trip to be able to piggyback off the beat for their own chants.

A flare lights up the area occupied by Hume's newly
 formed active support area. Photo: David Alter.
Most surprising though was that section of the Hume support lighting two flares. Apart from being $1500 a pop - in this case the equivalent of 200 full adult tickets - you wonder if in future Hume's management will be so pleased to allocate that space to these fans. This is more the case if in fact FFV are planning to be even stricter with their punishments, with some suggestion that a second offence (where on the first instance the persons responsible were not identified) that points deductions could come into play. It's weird seeing flares at consecutive league matches now - we went through so many years where even one being lit was something rare.

And then there's the nearest train station. Coolaroo is a monolithic monstrosity; a mountain of steel and concrete rising out of the surrounding flatness, that would defy any attempt at being rendered majestic or noble by even the best attempts at urban poetry. But on a Saturday night, with the next train to the city still 25 minutes away, at least you've got time to think, with no distractions.
Jersey night this week
I don't know if you can still book tickets for this, but I put mine and Gains' names down for this, and we seem to have been accepted. $70 for tickets, it's on this Friday night at (sigh) Beachcomber. Is $70 too much for an annual sit down, three course meal with plenty if complaining? Of course not.

FFA Cup news
We have been drawn against Altona Magic for the next round. We are the designated away team, and as Paisley Park has lights, I assume we will be playing this fixture at Paisley Park. The next round is scheduled to be played over the last two weeks of April. More info as it arrives. While Altona Magic is one of the stronger teams in state league 1 - and have recruited accordingly, including Marinos Gasparis, and as our mate Johnny has noted, also Daniel Vasilevski, Jonathan Munoz, James Stefanou and Benji Vahid - it's another ex-South Melbourne reunion, which as we saw against Richmond, doesn't always work out for us. Still, this is one of the better outcomes we could have hoped for.

International Year of the Fence
Segment on temporary hiatus because frankly, this is such a stupid segment. Also, I forgot to take a photo of Hume's fence.

Match programmes
Uploaded the recent Richmond effort. Have a whole stack of non-South fans, but need to get cracking on developing the match programme/library website project.

Some brief thoughts on the passing of Bob Ellis
The other day, after the comedian Ronnie Corbett had passed away, one of my Twitter compadres compared my work here to Corbett's monologues, a description intended as praise, no doubt, but one which left me shrugging my shoulders - Corbett was before my time, and so there wasn't much I could add to the discussion.

But then Bob Ellis (finally) died, and I have to say I was saddened by that. Not because I had known Ellis, let alone read more than a couple of the things he'd ever written - I read his First abolish the customer: 202 arguments against economic rationalism, probably over a decade ago now, and raced through the brief The Ellis Laws, which contained short bursts of his typically incendiary forms of wisdom and some stabs at common sense (keeping in mind Friedrich Engels' maxim that common sense is the worst sort of metaphysics) which while sometimes bland or obvious, at least made one think and react. In a personal review of this book and its 'laws', I noted that:
The best one of the lot is clearly the one that talks about the internet being the chief cause of a worldwide lack of sleep, and subsequent unhappiness. The internet never sleeps, but you, a human being, do. So go to bed, and wake up refreshed. If the world has ended during the time you've been asleep, well, it probably wasn't you who would have prevented it from happening.
The kind of advice that many of us could do with. Despite having not read or taken an interest in much of what Ellis has written over the years, there was a time in my life when I had just started taking an interest in alternative radio, and would fairly religiously listen to Tony Biggs' programme On The Blower. Biggs' taste in music can be wayward, his opinions dogmatic and even smug, and those of his callers in the talk-back segment even more so.

But during my early days of listening to On The Blower, during the worst of the Howard years, there was a space for Bob Ellis to provide a spiel. For a few minutes each week (or was it each fortnight?) Ellis would pour forth simultaneously rough and elegant elegiac ramblings on the state of the nation. And however bad the progressives of Australia felt at the time, there was always that relief that a) someone could express those feelings of despair with Ellis' ragged elegance and b) that as bad as you felt about the situation, Ellis felt much, much worse. There were times during these weekly reports from the front where Ellis could barely muster the enthusiasm to provide anything to the show, such were the depths of his progressive despair. But even these moments were compelling listening.

As a novice writer back then, and still as a somewhat insecure writer, I would wonder where I fit, and who was worth imitating. Some years after I had started this blog, it occurred to me that, even though I'd read so little of his work, the style of those weekly sermons on 3RRR, and especially their tone of lament for a seemingly lost cause had seeped through, sometimes in the form of entire pieces, but more often as a general sense of feeling.

It's fair to say that that sort of lament, while nourishing in its own way at the appropriate times, can quickly turn into nasty self-satisfaction - and thus you need wit and charm and all the other things that hopefully make people come back to read your work. It's probably for the best that I've seldom ever tried to mimic Ellis' attempts at gratuitous factual libel.

I don't intend this sort of obituary to be about politics, because people like Ellis are involved at far deeper levels than most of us ever will be, and I am aware that my own mishmash of re-heated, hand me down politics and ideals is not to everyone's taste - and that's not why people visit this blog, anyway. But sometimes I like to indulge and talk about the writing process and how voices are developed over the years, and where style may come from.

Final thought
Here's to good sports.


  1. Nick Vertsonis4 April 2016 at 21:45

    Where have our beloved hooped socks gone...hopefully they'll make a comeback appearance on Sunday against Bentleigh. #SOCKGATE

    1. Better be wearing hoop socks at home this week, farkin'!

  2. Honestly some of our supporters are so fickle. If you want to see Barcelona play book a ticket to Spain.
    I don't see how anyone can be dissapointed with the CT era given the shit we went through before that. I can understand people being upset by a few of the big game losses we had but it has and is continuing to be a successful period for the club so try and enjoy the ride.

    Hellas FC

  3. Why does an anonymous poster have such sway over this article for? It's probably a knights fan anyway.

    I too think we're a bit boring and crap in patches but we're on top and it's too early for this CT needs to go talk.

    1. 'Too early' implies that at some point there will be legitimate conversation around that subject.

      Normally, I would disagree with that assertion as he has done a fine job, but our performance last year against Palm Beach leaves a black mark against his record.

      I dismiss our performance in the post season match against Hobart Olympia, as that NPL National champion is, to me, a load of codswallop.

      If the FFA want a National NPL champion, how about just creating a 2nd division?!

    2. We actually didn't play badly against Palm Beach. We just couldn't get a game winning goal. We would've had close to 80% possession and 20+ corners over the 120 minutes. Can't blame CT for that.
      Will still haunt us, and haunt Taylor, but he couldn't have done much more.

    3. Fantastic. Guy comes in and criticises another guy for posting under Anonymous. Yet he also posts under Anonymous. Lol, you are a fucking massive idiot mate. You really are.

    4. Posting as Anonymous is the best.

      Is less fun when Paul can clearly identify who I am, tho'.

    5. Brian: You're ALL individuals!
      The Crowd: Yes! We're all individuals!
      Brian: You're all different!
      The Crowd: Yes, we ARE all different!

    6. MelbCro it's a bit ridiculous you laughing at us on here when you guys have a blog stuttering more than an old ford laser. We are laughing at you!

    7. What a bizarre comment. Having a pissing contest about blogs might just be the most pathetic thing I've ever seen.

    8. I don't know about that, I liked the Ford Laser comment. But still, battle over blogs is not as interesting as who gets to have a blue tick on Twitter.

  4. Too right MelbCro, not to mention most of the Knights fans posting here actually identify themselves unlike the Anonymous Villano crew.

  5. Paul - have we as South fans come full circle going from expecting the very best back in the NSL days, to just being being happy that we could ground out a result in 2007-2009, to now thinking we should be playing like Barcelona ? Definitely food for thought.

    Glad to secure the 3 points against Hume, and focus on Bentleigh this week.

    1. The onfield success of the last two years and now the lease finally signed has awoken the giant. The giant that will inevitably self destruct under the pressure put upon it by its own dwindling lost in time fan base and the weight of wearing the South Melbourne shirt in a semi professional state division. The recent years, in particular for me the Dockerty Cup win, will be discussed fondly in the coming years while we take our turn at being mid table in our states division as teams like the Knights & Gully have done these past few seasons.

    2. Wishful thinking there Anonymous

      South has now re-established itself as a dominant force in Victorian football, and with securing valuable football infrastructure, will further improve its scale and profitability.

      I dare say some other clubs who are 'trying to keep up with the Joneses' may fall to the wayside, like so many have in the past (Eg Kingston City, Altona Magic, Preston).

    3. To first Anonymous poster in this thread, yes, I think that now that we have more or less settled off field (in that, outwardly at least, we are not seemingly five minutes from being wound up) and because if improved on field results, we (or at least some of us) have gone back to the NSL style era of expecting not just winning football but glorious (within the scope of our limitations) football.

  6. Oh pAlease ! Can people stop saying that CT isnt to blame for palm beach and other big game losses. Maybe look at his 'substitutions' and then come and here and give us bullshit about his record. Shall i remind you all about the loss at richmond ? The subs were too late plus he kept that little cunt on even though he was cramping for the last 20mins.

  7. "Players lose you games, not tactics, there's so much crap talked about tactics by people who barely know how to win at dominoes"

    Brian Clough

    If Lujic just managed to put one of the very good chances he missed away against Palm Beach nobody would even mention the game again. And he's entitle to miss a few as the best striker in Victoria without question. As for the Richmond game forget the timing of the substitutions he would of had to make 11 changes to salvage something from what was a minor disaster for the players on the park.

    Anyway, top of the league will sadly have to do for now...

  8. OK, so Luke Adams' excursion with New Zealand is for the Oceania Nations Cup which doubles up as World Cup qualifiers. Here's hoping for their sake that they don't screw up like they did last year with the Olympic qualifiers.

  9. Why haven't Eyles and Mbaka been given chances. Mbaka played at PSG/ played very well against Keysborough-love his technical work and Eyles got us kicked out of the NPL Nationals. Foschni is a piece of shit

    1. M'baka looks too slight for the NPL. Is a very physical league, so hopefully he bulks up some.
      I've only seen him in the Cup, which wasn't much of a test for anyone. Any reviews of his performances in the U20s?

  10. I thought Millar was a Centre Back

    1. Apparently was the case at Heart.

  11. Mbaka is an interesting suggestion, it sounds very grand referencing the PSG connection, that is diluted somewhat by the fact you follow it up with his performance against Victorian State 4 Keysborough he substituted at 4-0, we won 10-0,0 goals for Mbaka.

    So far he has also had an ok performance for the U20's against Bulleen, scoring into an open goal from 5 yards, not so lucky in pre-season missing the chance of scoring a winning penalty in the bank of whatever cup.

    I have a few questions for readers of this blog...
    Given his noted past of PSG, I wonder why current La Liga club Getafe wasn't also mentioned by this poster? Is it for the same reason the signing of one of our junior players by Getafe has been deleted on SMFC social media outlets? Are the two deals linked?
    Does Mbaka if he is a decent player of Ligue 1 & La Liga class even want to be here playing Victorian state league football at away grounds such as John Cain memorial? It doesn't seem the wisest career choice to me coming to Australian state level football for a 26 game season that runs mostly through when Europe's top clubs are resting up and signing new players for their upcoming seasons?
    If you are a good player who has the chance of representing your country Congo and playing against the likes of Real Madrid (SMFC sister club)or Barcelona if you break into the first team then again why come here to SMFC? Is he being paid extortionate money and not even playing?
    Is this linked to GISS and our new GISS appointed Technical Director Strati Xynas?


    1. Considering Mbaka's ambitions include playing for his national team, this move out here has always seemed very odd.

    2. Hate to break it to you naivo's, but don't you think its possible he's just crap and talking shite?

  12. Foschini and Theodore arent needed
    They can piss off to Knights
    I always said we should've kept Barker Daish

    1. Said to whom?, hopefully somebody who doesn't understand soccer as Matty T is all class ! Barker Daish was abysmal for us so maybe you could offer us all next weeks winning lotto numbers as you appear to be able to predict the future?

  13. Eyles knocked us out of the NPL Nationals give him a chance for once CT

    1. In place of Brad Norton?

  14. Wasn't the junior that moved to Spain, Andrew Messerouni's son.

  15. Our former U20s coach Sasa Kolman left to spain. Could Mbaka have been part of that move


A few notes on comments.

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.

Still, if your post doesn't get approved straight away, it's probably because I haven't seen it yet.

As usual, publication of a comment does not mean endorsement of its content.