Sunday, 10 July 2016

Bad Blood - Bentleigh Greens 3 South Melbourne 1

A relatively short and bittersweet entry for this week.

This was a game essentially defined by two phenomena: first, South putting in a hell of an offensive effort, going some way to reclaiming the club's honour, before the coaches lost their nerve; second, an on and off-field hostility between the two sides that is threatening to get out of control.

With no Milos Lujic, it was always going to be interesting to see who Taylor would start up front. To that end, we saw both Leigh Minopoulos and Manolo start, up front no less, and the instruction was clear - pressure Bentleigh up the field, don't give them too much time on the ball, don't let them play too easily out from the back.

It wasn't a full proof plan - no plan is - but for so much of this game, we were the better team. That relative dominance didn't translate into a ton of a chances, but at the very least Bentleigh - the benchmark team of 2016 -  looked frazzled, human.

Sport is not only physical, it's also mental - it's a cliché, but here's a whole bunch more. You have to believe you can win the game, and you have to believe that the opponent is beatable. Facing an opponent that has the wood on you, that may even believe that should it do everything right that it can't lose to you, you have to find a way to undermine that belief.

And for a long time in this game, we had self-belief, and we shook - however minutely - Bentleigh's belief in itself. You could see it from early on in the match, where the Greens' players began resorting to melees and some less than professional conduct, chief of those being Brad Norton being charged into the fence early on in the game.

Getting into half time up 1-0 despite Luke Adams' dismissal (I was too far away to see if it was warranted or the right call) was good, but as important was how we'd done it. Even in the second half we looked good, and then we took off Manolo (I assume because he's not fit enough to run out a game yet), took off Minopoulos (not sure why) and were left with no forwards on the park.

The dismissal of Kamal Ibrahim so soon after he came on for the Greens should have made our task easier, but instead we copped a goal from a set piece, and then did what we have done for much of the season, which is if not capitulate, then lose our way to such an extent that goals against us come in bursts.

Yes, Chris Irwin (getting a serious dose of chrono-poisoning), had a great chance to get us a second goal and give us back the momentum, but what had earlier looked like a cohesive effort was no longer quite there. Does Bentleigh therefore take more confidence out of a game like, where they played beneath their best (in large part due to South's efforts) but still got the points? Does the end of the game undo all the good we had achieved before that?

Off the field, things seemed to get very nasty, especially towards the end of the game. Standing behind the goals at the car park end during the second half, the South fans and Bentleigh's keeper were able to have some decent banter without crossing the lines - though the keeper's hissing noises were and are perplexing. At the end of the game, Bentleigh's keeper was able to be gracious in victory, and the South supporters behind the goals took his in the right spirit, despite our obvious disappointment in the result

Things seemed to be much less pleasant under the shed, especially the interactions between our supporters and Bentleigh coach Johnny A, which culminated in Anastasiadis gesturing to his players to celebrate their third goal in front of the South fans
Even though the affinity between Johnny A' and South has been deteriorating for a while now, especially as his Bentleigh side has become our closest rival for silverware, it's not a good look for either side when things reach this point.

That's not to excuse either party's behaviour, or even make comment on what exactly was going on in that vicinity during the second half - I wasn't anywhere near enough to comment on the specifics either way (and likewise on other allegations made about racist, sexist or violent comments made during the game) - only to note that from where I stood it looked very bad, and that such incidents can quickly escalate out of control.

Following on from the relative PR win of the Victory incident, it's a timely reminder that the ability to claim the moral high ground is only yours so long as you act up towards that standard; the moment you slip from that perch, you could lose more than the right to point the finger at others' poor behaviour.

As for the league season, we are now in second place, trailing Bentleigh by two points and a fair chunk of goal difference. Losing more players to red cards and yellow cards won't do us any favours. And if we want to finish top of the table, we need to quickly turn this new found enthusiasm and attitude into wins, not merely respectable performances - while hoping that Bentleigh's more crowded schedule also takes its toll at some point.

Next week
Oakleigh away on Sunday evening.

Please note that kickoff for the under 20s match has been moved to after the conclusion of the senior match.

'It's a legitimate complaint' department
One of our readers asked me on Friday night why we weren't wearing our white away strip. In the darker corners of Kingston Heath's main pitch, it was at times difficult to tell apart the two sides as dark green and darkish blue began to blend in to each other - and the mist that settled on the field also didn't help matters. Would it not also have made it easier for our own players to see each other? As our friend noted, we have an away strip, why not use it?

'There's a heartbeat' - social club news
Towards the end of a new weekly video segment the club has begun releasing, there was information provided about the imminent working on the social club and affiliated areas.
As has been explained earlier by the club itself, the fit-out of the office spaces will be the first can off the rank - my mail is that this will take approximately three weeks. Some people may be/are confused by why the change rooms need to be worked on, what with having possibly seen the main part of the home change rooms (especially, after say, after a title win) which look fantastic. What I'm being told is that the bath, shower and toilet facilities, which haven't been properly maintained since the end of the NSL, are in dire need of replacing. Whether that's done immediately, I don't lnow, but they will be done.

Oh, and the 'heartbeat' of the segment's title? That's a reference to the fact that the power is connected to the social club once more - things are ever so gradually getting into gear...

There's a first time for everything
Thank you to Nasya Bahfen quoting a passage out of my (at this time) lone academic article in her recently published journal article on Melbourne Heart and perceptions of race and ethnicity.

Final thoughts
Thanks not only to SMFCMike for giving me and Gains a lift back to the station, but to everyone else who offered - you're all champs!

25 comments:

  1. Only Chris Taylor would go into such an ultra-defensive mode whilst being one man up! This man is driving me nuts, CT OUT!!!

    Anastasiadis is still peeved at south cos the Clarandon Corner stole a packet of samboys from his servo back in '02.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree it had us scratching our heads seeing our strikers come off, but just need to point out we were'nt one man up.

      Delete
  2. That 70 minutes was as good a hellas performance I've seen in 5 years. #proud

    ReplyDelete
  3. The clip looks pretty embarrassing.
    Was Chris Marshall in charge? Was CT leaning over the fence offering Marshall advice like the Altona Cup fixture?

    Glad I didn't bother trekking all that way down for such disappointment. The Grates and the Degas exhibition at the NGV was a much more rewarding evening out of the house.

    ReplyDelete
  4. It's a sad state of affairs when things are getting out of control like this. How many other bridges are our fans going to burn with other ex legends?

    Honestly some of our fans have crazy expectations when it comes to ex South players. Expectations that you wouldn't see anywhere else in the world.

    Not excusing JAs antics because they were really poor but the pent up frustration and anger from some of our fans are getting out of control.
    I think mostly the anger stems from an attitude of 'we are better than everyone else and deserve better'. I'm unhappy about being in the NPL as the next fan as we all still have vivid memories of our successes in the NSL but the reality is we are in the NPL and we are no longer the top dog in Australian football.
    A little bit more respect by us is required because we know how to give it but dont know how to take it. As tough as some of these losses are we really need to learn to cop it (the loss) and walk away.
    JAs antics were pretty disgraceful, you'd think a coach at any level would now how to restrain themselves. By all means celebrate with your players but dont instugate the crowd. Pretty poor form.
    Not really articulated well ASH but i hope you get the gist

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I get what you're trying to say. Frustrating night all round.

      Delete
    2. Wait till the point deductions hit the club over this!

      Delete
    3. there were 3 melees, lucas diving, red card for slight contact on an already diving lucas, elbow to millar's head, brad being slammed into the fence etc, the fans are going to be angry with all that going on, they weren't just pissed off for no reason or because we lost.

      Then when they started scoring and sticking their fingers up and calling for the fans to run over to them, it just caused a boiling point.

      In the end nothing really happened because of a few calmer heads, but the baiting could have ended much worse.

      Delete
  5. Kimon Trimboli12 July 2016 at 13:51

    Impressionist painters, snide remarks about the blue collar - working class demographic of our fan-base, Wikipedia definitions of obscure Anglo socio-political movements.... who have we become?

    I agree on comments by Anonymous that a certain level of respect to our opponents (especially South alumni)is required, and yes we are no longer relevant in the Australian Soccer (Football??) landscape. We ARE however a proud and well respected club and it is only natural that our fans demand that we play (as Paul alluded too in an earlier post)with a certain level of flair.

    Yes, it stings abit playing against these lowly suburban clubs in a league we consider beneath us - but we have the right to at least expect top class soccer from our players and coaching staff.

    This isn't just a development academy for the bright lights of the franchise football leagues, we are the Mighty South Melbourne Hellas!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. You guys got your fixtures mixed up. You were supposed have all this animosity directed at the hume turks, not the cypriot greek bentleigh... unless of course, cyprus is turkish, which would make you guys some hardcore dealers of justice, even when it's self-detrimental, which as I said, is pretty hardcore.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Or, it could be a football based rivalry and nothing to do with race and heritage .........

      Delete
    2. Kimon Trimboli13 July 2016 at 09:46

      Stuck in the 90s dude? Ethnicity has nothing to do with anything, where not the A League.

      Just to clarify:

      We hate Heidelberg ... well just because we do, they are a big club and our derbies have always drawn a big crowd and heated exchanges.

      We hate Knights, not because they are Croatian, but because they are a huge team with a fantastic history and fiercely loyal supporters. Both of us dominated the old NSL and really they where our only challenger on the soccer national stage.

      Bentleigh and Oakleigh are both recent "rivals" (OK I realize we have been in the NPL dungeon for a decade but old habits die hard) - Even though they where founded by Greek Or Cypriot migrants they always saw Hellas as the pinnacle of Australian Soccer and a role model for what they hopped to achieve. Now that all that has been cut off by Frank and the Racist Federation of Australia, these clubs see it as a chance to knock us of our perch - tall poppy syndrome if you will.

      We dont really hate Hume as they are a "nothing" team, never won anything and never will.. So what if they are Turks, John Ilhan may have built them a stadium on a rubbish tip but he spent plenty of money sponsoring us....

      Delete
    3. Our inability to match it with Bentleigh this year harks back to the mid 1990's era where, after we beat the Knights in 1991 GF, we were always their bitch (so to speak), culminating in the 1995 Prelimiary Final where, even with a player sent off in Danny Tiatto, they were STILL able to beat us, and they marched on to the first of their back to back titles.

      At the time, it really stuck in my craw.

      That's a little how I feel at the moment.

      It certainly doesn't help that Anastasiades acted so disrespectfully arrogant earlier in the year. Yes, his team has proven to be better but his actions are akin to an ex player scoring against us, and going out of his way to antagonise us!

      The other thing that was very disappointing, was the 'Fuck off Hellas' chants.

      As a person of Cypriot background myself on my fathers side, to hear that was disappointing to say the least. My cousins in Cyprus, whilst fully supportive of the Cypriot state, and the efforts required to unify the country, will always consider themselves as Greek by ethnicity. They would abhor that sort of abuse.

      Delete
    4. I guess we put ourselves in that position when we chant Fuck off Bentleigh, but I guess they could've easily chanted fuck off South as the young lads in oakleigh did a few years back.

      AS for the race issue, get the fuck over it. We are a football team and we have rivalries. We hate all clubs equally!.... maybe the Knights that little bit extra... and the Bergers

      Delete
  7. how on earth can greeks, cypriot or not, possibly chant 'fuck off hellas'... your effectively chanting 'fuck myself'. this is mind-numbing, it does not compute...

    relax with the racicm call, I was clearly taking the piss with the cyprus turkish line.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kimon Trimboli14 July 2016 at 09:46

      Fair enough... wasn't implying you where racist, sorry if it sounded that way.... you must agree though that this whole "thats a greek club so its supporters must be Greek" thing is a little stale now? I see all sorts of people at lakeside week in week out and I must say get more enjoyment out of seeing our dark skinned friends or asiatic supporters wearing blue and white scarves and chanting "Hellas, Hellas" than I do the boys wearing the old Charisteas #9 tops....

      I asked an old dude in the stands a while ago to clarify and he said:

      "Simple:

      Hellas (heavy woggy accent on the Chhhee-llas) = South Melbourne Soccer Team
      Ellas or Ellada = Greece, the country in Europe"

      It seems the older generation can see the difference, why cant we?

      Delete
    2. Buddy the overwhelming majority of your supporter base is Greek. So no, the whole "thats a greek club so its supporters must be Greek" thing is not even remotely stale. Its called being accurate. And I hope you realise that is not a negative thing, so stop making it sound like it is.

      Delete
    3. Kimon Trimboli14 July 2016 at 14:54

      Mate, don't misunderstand what Im trying to say... Im as passionate a Greek as the next guy, and Im sure your the same about your heritage.... absolutely fine with that and Yes the reason I support Hellas is because my Greek father and my Greek uncles took me along to Middle Park back in the day ... I dont know you but I can guess your story is pretty much the same yeah?

      But the thing is, I dont hate your club because you are Croatian, or Hume because they are Turkish, or Green Gully cause they are Maltese or whatever.... Its 2016 and we live in a society that has learned (almost)to get along.

      I dont go down to the ground on the weekend as a Hellenic Warrior looking to destroy the barbarians anymore (some of our punch on in the 90s where fun though hey?)I go to support my team.

      Delete
    4. I get what you are saying, but when did your lot ever hate people for being Croatian? Our rivalry has never been based on some kind of historical ethnic hatred. Its always been a sporting rivalry, honestly it has nothing to do with it being 2016.


      Delete
    5. Kimon Trimboli14 July 2016 at 17:43

      Yeah but it pisses me off when these New Dawn A league fuckers try and drag us back to the old NSL = Ethnic violence = neanderthal wogs not assimilating in Australian culture argument.

      Ask an average joe blow on the street about the original melbourne derby and he/she will say "Oh thats just Greeks and Croatians, they hate each other" I know its bullshit and so do you, but thats what the public perception is.... Its "normal" for A league clubs and AFL and NRL clubs to have rivalries, but when we do it it has to be based on Ethnicity - THATS WHAT SHITS ME...

      I objected to some guy telling me that I should hate Hume because they are Turks but not hate Bentleigh because they are Greek? - Thats the sort of mentality that existed in the 90s (and what my original point was trying to convey). "Hellas" in the 2016 sporting landscape is NOT the Greek national team, and a bunch of little tzimbreo fucknuckles chanting "Fuck of Hellas" is because of team rivalry and NOT nationalistic.

      Delete
    6. The dislike I have for Bentleigh at the moment does prove to some extent that the earlier dislike for Melbourne Croatia was not purely ethnically related.

      And I did consider that the 'Fuck off Hellas' chant was perhaps more to do with club rivalry. But the fact remains, even if this is the case, they really do need to change that chant in future.

      Delete
  8. A general question to you greeks... are the cypriot ones seen as a bit backward or extra 'peasanty' in a bad way?

    There's this greek cypriot household in Keilor downs, the bloke has been here for decades... he's using a bright fluro yellow canopy tent for an undersized carport right in front of his house for the world to see. This things a monstrosity, how cheap can you get.
    Anyone in KD knows who I'm talking about.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Some Greeks see Cypriots in a negative light. But as someone who is half/half I can tell you its pointless making generalisations. Nincompoopery is shared between the two cultural groups.

      Delete
  9. Re: Not using the away kits - Possibly didn't want to risk the hassle of cleaning green spray paint off them if Bentleigh went that way with their ground preparation again?

    ReplyDelete

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.