Monday, 1 August 2016

Yesterday, today, tomorrow - South Melbourne 1 Avondale Heights 3

As The Eels once noted, life is funny, but not haha funny.

Every now and again, it comes to a point like this. Even if you can see it in the distance though, it still usually manages to surprise you when it actually hits.

The day seemed to start innocuously enough. The small group that was at Clarendon Corner was visited by the head of security for the day, who had a brief chat about watching some of the language and stuff like that. Nothing untoward, no malice.

Then a State Sports Centres Trust employee came out and set up a go pro camera on the running track in front of Clarendon Corner in order to film Clarendon Corner, including it seems capturing audio. Clarendon Corner were upset at this seemingly unnecessary escalation, and moved across to the small bay closest to the 1926 Stand.

When the camera was pointed in that direction by the SSCT employee, Clarendon Corner then moved more or less en masse to the other end of the grandstand. The SSCT employee and his camera followed. Clarendon Corner then went up to the back of the stand, then back to Clarendon Corner itself, and sat down mostly quiet for the rest of the half. Things picked up marginally during the second half, but the whole experience of watching South Melbourne at Lakeside felt utterly devalued.

No amount of gimmick chants and songs can make up for being made to feel like a criminal at your 'own' home ground. All this of course after the Victory incident, where we weren't consulted about anything, got attacked.

While all this was happening, on the field we were already down 2-0 within ten minutes, a free kick from out wide not dealt with properly, followed up a by comical effort by Marcus Schroen who somehow dribbled backwards 30 metres towards midfield, lost the ball, and allowed Avondale an easy chance on goal. After having to fight and scrap for even basic possession against Northcote a week and a half before, the visitors must have been pinching themselves.

Fair to say the mood around the ground was at a low ebb. Personal circumstances meant that I wasn't at the home game against Port Melbourne in 2013 - Gus Tsolakis' last game in charge - but I can imagine that it bore at least some similarity in terms if the feeling of having reached a point of no return. When Nikola Roganovic was subbed off before halftime after coming off second best when coming off his line to collect a through ball, the day just got worse.

The worst part was that, despite imploding defensively for the umpteenth time this season, we still could have lead at the break. Poor finishing from an array of players kept the crowd interested, in that it was in some way conceivable that we may make a comeback, but Avondale's third goal put paid to that. Manolo came on and looked more dangerous than everyone else, and scored. That only served to infuriate, as Manolo's tenure at South has done, by asking again the obvious question of why the most skillful player in the squad is not getting a starting berth.

Morale across the club is stuffed. Iqi Jawadi was not even on the bench, adding heft to the rumour that he walked out of the club during the week. By their body language alone, several others seem to be coasting at best to the finish line, and that includes Chris Taylor. That doesn't even take into account increasingly persistent talk about change room schisms - which even if they aren't true, gather legs because of the disjointed performances of the team. Whatever naive hope I may have had that we could get to the end of the season in good enough shape to rebuild under Taylor and a core of players from this squad, while undertaking desperately need renewal, is gone.

While a surprise finals run is not out of the question - the intrinsic lottery of the finals means that just about anything can happen - one gets the feeling that we are rapidly coming to the end of the Chris Taylor era. It was fun while it lasted

It doesn't seem so bad today. We're still third on the ladder. The antics by the SSCT bloke just seem absurd. Everything about yesterday seems absurd. Why were we singing 'Heal the World'? And how bad was that ref? Was the whole point of the exchange programme with the English refs to bring over people who are as bad as our refs? As for Iqi, is he really gone, or is there something else going on there? Can we really believe rumours about what goes on in the change rooms if it mostly comes from people who are anti this coach and several of the players? Is Manolo not getting a starting berth because CT hates him, or because Manolo is unfit?

Look, everyone's upset. Everyone just wants this season over one way or another. Let's try and enjoy what's left of it. Do most of you really have somewhere better to be? Don't answer that question.

Tomorrow I'm going to see an animated documentary about a bloke who tried curing male infertility and impotency by performing transplants involving goat testicles. Puts all our problems in perspective doesn't it?

Next week
Melbourne Knights at home on Sunday afternoon.

The new normal
Meanwhile another match during this round was postponed ostensibly because one team can't control a small group of its supporters, and no one from the mainstream soccer press could give a toss.

Studs Up and South Melbourne match programmes
It's been awhile since I did a significant update on this front, so here's what's happened lately.

I have now scanned and uploaded what I assume is every edition of Studs Up, except for no. 34. Check them out in the library.

I also got through a small stack of South Melbourne match programmes, adding material mostly from 1996/97 onwards. Check them out in the usual place. Thanks again to The Agitator for lending me thus material. I also added the 'byes' in that section where they needed to go. Hooray for procrastination.

Around the grounds
Can't we just relegate all of them?
Out of all the teams fighting to get out of the relegation zone, who do we want gone the most? Some hate Richmond, because of their poor facilities. Others choose Northcote, for reasons I'm not entirely clear on anymore. Some (OK, me) hate Bulleen because of Monday nights in the middle of public transport nowhere. And then there's Port, with their blocked off outer side and tasteless souvs with pita containing the texture of a sponge. Even if Port get relegated, their main (only?) appeal for me will still be there - a convenient Friday night soccer option. Port of course shouldn't be in this mess - they may not have the league's strongest line up, but the team is still capable. They had four good chances in the first half - a Kearney shot from the edge of the box which hit the right hand post flush, with Griffin McMaster stranded; an off balance Stirton shot cleared off the line; another, more desperate line clearance by McMaster; and some other attempt I can't remember, but I swear it happened! Bulleen rarely ventured into its final third, which is a shame, because Port's defense looked rattled when they did. During a halftime conversation one observer, who happened to be a member of a rival club trying to avoid relegation, reckoned that there was a goal in this game somewhere; I reckoned there wasn't, and I was proven correct. The yelling coming from the Port bench as the game wore on indicates that the tension is mounting.

Final thought
Ah, you know the answer, but do you know the question?


  1. 'Do most of you really have somewhere better to be? Don't answer that question.'

    Is this a question posed to us travellers?

    There must be a few of us in Griechenland. I was approached in Doha by a fellow supporter who recognised me!

    1. A comment thrown up by the circumstance of low crowds and a a general feeling that people have had it with this season, and just want it to be done. Even some comments that people weren't going to come back for the rest of the season.

  2. Is this another case of Chris Taylor being. John Northey type of coach? He is perfect to get a team up off the floor, but can't take them to a higher level. At least, he can't retain a high level (in 2014 we were way ahead of everyone).

  3. Someone from the club must've allowed this to happen!

    1. I think he has the initials of CT

    2. I meant the camera, someone must've allowed it from within the club.

    3. If they did then why so much haste by a couple of board members to berate the SSCT staff member?

    4. Surprised CC didn't get more vocal (you give the impression that we gave him the silent treatment)

    5. Silent treatment for a good period of time, though it was hard to do because some people in CC are predisposed to dishing out abuse in those kinds of situations. There were some funny chants about the situation, and there was also a mass of phone cameras either taking footage or pretending to take footage of the SSCT employee going up the stairs back into the control booth.

      Unfortunately there were also some comments directed at him which would easily fall into the 'see, I told you' files. The best part was a certain ground marshal turning the camera around, and being threatened with eviction. Just a mess of a day.

  4. You touched on it in your piece...some of those decisions towards the end were shocking; 1 dead-set penalty, a goal were the ball crossed the line and what looked like another missed penalty. Dont know what was worse the officiating in the last 30mins or how bad we played in the first 60mins. Should have been 3-3 or even 4-3 even with how rubbish we were.

    The incident with Clarendon Corner also explains why the place was so muted, i thought it was just how bad we were playing!. Even your mate with the drums was only heard for 1 set piece and 1 fart of the trumpet.

  5. "Boys on film..." What was the rationale behind the camera i wonder? There`s laws against recording people without their consent, fixed security cameras are one thing but blatantly setting up a camera is another.

    Match highlights: Zeneli`s save and Stevie purloining the secco`s hat.


    1. The irony in this is that at Heidelberg away earlier this year, a similar camera was set up in front of where CC was for the club's own protection, to catch any possible flare lighters after not being able to identify the culprit at Bulleen.

    2. I'm not sure also about the legality or otherwise of cameras. I mean, your points sound fair and reasonable, but there's probably also clauses about implied and informed consent at private events which could swing the legality ledger the other way.

    3. True enough. It`s still quite bizarre though. CC are fairly innocuous. The only anti social behaviour i saw was that bloody Ref.


    4. CC has had intermittent attempts to get it to tone down the swearing, mostly applicable to swearing in chants. That's something which has existed for the better part of a decade anyway, and they usually send Jimmy Armstrong to try and enforce or suggest that. Not that there's many chants with swearing in CC chants anyway.

      On Sunday they (security) wanted CC to back down on the sexist, racist and homophobic comments from individuals. Now in terms of racist stuff, that's not CC's bag at all - they even shouted Lefteri down when he came back to Lakeside in 2012 and he started yelling 'nigger, nigger, nigger'.

      I don't hear a lot of sexist stuff from CC either, even when a female official is on the field - I find those kinds of comments are more likely to come from other parts of the ground. There are homophobic comments made like 'poof', 'faggot', etc, which while not part of any chant that I can remember, do get yelled by people in and around CC, and obviously that's something that should be taken to task, but there are ways of going about that that are better than others.

      While there is often a gap of understanding (or in some cases a lack of will to understand) the difference between soccer and footy cultures by people who manage stadiums, there are also those who think because they're at the soccer, and suburban soccer at that, that somehow the rules which apply in other sporting contexts don't apply here.

    5. The sexist and homophobic calls are embarrassing to be associated with. From CC and from the groundstand.

      There's a ridiculous push of "PC gone mad", when really we should view it in a positive light. We now have a better understanding of what words mean and we're capable of demonstrating some basic empathy.

    6. Agreed. CC is at its best when the comments and chants are clever, funny etc. Even pushing aside for a moment the reactionary '/PC gone mad/nanny state' line of thinking, even on the grounds of aesthetic taste those kinds of slurs make me cringe.

      I guess for me and several others the question is why was CC singled out for this treatment in such a manner when by and large it's not a major issue at CC. The ground announcements about appropriate behaviour over the PA should be enough of a warning for all patrons, whether South fans or not, whether they're in CC or not, to check their own behaviour - and if they don't want to conform to standards that are expected of them at every other sporting venue of note, than they have the option of not coming to the ground.

    7. Never knew you were so PC Paul, I'll be calling people poofs at lakeside this Sunday in your honour mate.

    8. Whilst I no longer care about that militant terrace aspect of football (loathe it actually), I do find this prevailing of PC quite humourous and bizzare. If the 'homophobic' sensitivity can prevail on a terrace then it's a grand example of how pathetically media-puppeted we've become. I'm not saying you should shout abuse in that manner, but if your inclined to and then don't because of said sensitivity, well, it's equally pathetic in my book.

  6. Did you spot in the match day programmes the Ange Postecoglou remark about the traditional clubs eventually surviving the mainstream onslaught of clubs?

    1. I've barely been reading them. I will get around to that eventually, but emphasis for the foreseeable future is on procure, scan, upload.

  7. Stop sending Jimmy Armstrong to do the clubs dirty work. If the board has balls, they can come and do their own dirty work. Pretty big IF.


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