|Jesse Daley's shot flies past Port's keeper for the equaliser.|
Photo: Rob Cruse.
But as for Sunday, what a pleasant late afternoon's work it was. There was a chill in the air even as the sun shone, there was a rainbow, there was a little bit of rain, and we worked our way to another win and third place on the ladder. It was great having to once again only half care about what was taking place on the field. No hype, and no glory even in victory, just like most other weeks.
If there was one lesson to be learned from our embarrassing 4-0 loss to Port earlier this season, it was 'don't let them shoot'. So of course we let them shoot, and got lucky - one shot rattled the crossbar if I remember correctly, though I could well be remembering another game - except for the one time where we weren't lucky. Did Andreas Govas' shot bounce over Nikola Roganovic's arm?
Either way, we fell behind, but did we even care? As one of the lads in the stand noted, after Wednesday, what was left for us to do? It was kind of like one of those thrill seeking adrenaline junkies that's pushed the envelope so far that it's impossible for them to get excited about anything. Nevertheless, the team worked its way into the game, working the wide positions well, which is when we're at our best under this current iteration. On a narrower ground, with an opponent more apt at closing down the passing lanes, we'd be a lot less convincing.
I'm not saying we were great, because we were not. Everyone expected that we'd be flat, and we were, except for the unsung hero of Wednesday, Jesse Daley, who was in manic form. He was everywhere, and it was through him that we got the equaliser, when he blasted his shot past the Port keeper. By this stage we had gained control of the match, and apart from some slack marking in the middle park, there should not have been to many issues with overcoming the visitors.
The second half saw Daley - who was in an especially mouthy mood - put in a number of good crosses, with one eventually being met by the head of Milos Lujic. There was a period of five or so minutes where we struggled to get the ball out of defensive third, but apart from that, Port posed little threat. Even with an assortment of Stellas coming onto the field, Port's biggest chance lay with us being stupid. Cue Tim Mala badly misreading a passage of play, and getting sent off for his troubles, as he committed a foul as the result of needing to furiously track back. At least the resulting free kick missed, and we got the chocolates..
The only downside was having to ponder the consequences of winning in this way, with yellow cards mounting up and real or imagined reinforcements still some time away.
Yup, that's me. You're probably wondering how I ended up in this situation, etc
I don't know. It's supposed to be Avondale at home on Sunday afternoon, but there's all sorts of wild rumours going around about postponed matches, Brazil using Lakeside, and Dockerty Cup scheduling, that who knows what's going on. Check the official sources for any changes, but maybe wait just a bit for the Roberto Carlos circus to leave town first. If South of the Border hears anything, we'll let you know.
It can only end well
A bloke who can't coach, hired for a team that doesn't exist, for a competition that's not desperate for either. But of course if you talk like this, 'they' get upset and start murmuring things in the bowels of Lakeside, believing that you can't hear them. Guys, even if I don't type it, I'm thinking it. And even if I can't hear you say it, I can imagine it.
I mean, I've started joining in wrestling gags, and I don't even watch wrestling for crying out loud.
An unusually productive day yesterday, motivated mostly by the tenacious work of Jesse Daley and Luke 'The Luckiest Man in Show Business' Adams coming back from Bali without a tan,
- 'Bill Paps is on fire, the truth is terrified'
- 'I wish that I scored Jesse's goal / where can I score a goal like that?'
- 'Jesse talk it up, talk it up, Jesse talk it up'
- 'Where's your tan at?'
A big opportunity was missed when we failed to tie Adams' midweek absence to Schapelle Corby's return to Australia.
Fahid Ben Khalfallah (still no idea who he is) ended up signing with Brisbane Roar. What a pity.
Letter to the editor (including how to contact South of the Border)
Following on from Wednesday's win against Dandenong City, South of the Border received some welcome feedback and commentary, including a timely and appreciated reminder about choosing certain words more carefully.
[Although I was a bit taken aback by one regular reader who saw only an attempt to be a curmudgeon - which was certainly the not the point]
One of the more interesting bits of correspondence came through the comments section (though I did not publish it for reasons which shall reveal themselves), which reads as follows:
Greetings Mr Paul, wow I've just discovered your blog and love it. I read in some very early posts you sometimes ask fans to contribute articles. I would like to contribute this below if you think it is appropriate regarding Hellas’s A-League bid. Sorry for posting in this wrong area – I just didn't know how to contribute this article.
Well, of course I'm always delighted when new readers discover South of the Border, especially when it's South fans doing the discovering. And I'm even happier when they want to contribute something a bit more substantial than a comment - not that there's anything wrong with contributing solely through the comments.
As for the best way to go about contacting me, email is my preferred option - firstname.lastname@example.org is my address. If you want to more immediately get my attention, and you have a Twitter account, then you can find me @paulmavroudis.
Here is our new friend's submission, on the matter of the rhetorical conduct of South Melbourne's A-League bid. Keep in mind that this was sent before yesterday's shenanigans.
|Bill Paps was off in the world of make believe again today.|
I write this piece with a heavy heart. I have been a South Melbourne Hellas supporter since I was a young child – probably like most South fans. I have experienced agony, frustration, sadness and plenty of lost sleep whenever I think about our omission from the top flight of football in Australia. I wouldn't say I am a great fan of the A-League or its structure – but I am mature enough to recognize the NSL needed to replaced. I just always thought that South would be at the forefront of soccer in Melbourne and indeed the highest competition available in Australia. I like most have waited patiently knowing that some day our time will come. Melbourne is a big city growing by 100,000 people per year and it’s inevitable that at some point a third Melbourne A-League club would be looked at. That is indisputable; at some point expansion will happen again in Melbourne. This has always provided me a glimmer of hope even in the dark times when I felt sick at the prospect we will be stuck in the wilderness forever.
I absolutely do want to acknowledge that the board of SMFC have done a terrific job re-building the club which let us never forget was on the brink of oblivion circa 2004. The stadium deal, the refurbishments, the social club are massive achievements. These are no small feats, they have secured our future. So why the heavy heart and frustration and countless nights lying awake in the middle of the night? It is because I unequivocally and firmly believe that we are squandering the best chance we will ever have to position ourselves to get back into the top flight. This shouldn't be the case but we actually are shooting ourselves in the foot and on various fronts becoming a laughing stock. Here is why:
We need to stop our arrogant approach, we need to stop the rhetoric that it is our ‘Alvaro Recoba’ divine right to be in the top flight. I would like to know from the board who thought it was a good idea to have Bill Papastergiadis head our bid and be a spokesman? Wrong choice. In all his public appearances and interviews the ridiculous comments regarding over inflated crowd figures, the whole Real Madrid ‘link’ which is misconstrued garbage and the let’s not get started on the ‘Roberto Carlos’ angle. This is all GUFF – this actually harms the credibility of our bid. I cannot overstate this.
Bill is obviously an intelligent person, great lawyer etc., but he should not be representing our hopes and aspirations. That he is the President of the Greek Community of Melbourne and the spokesman for our club does nothing whatsoever to demonstrate to the masses that we are looking for broad based appeal bid, it rather just reinforces prejudices that unfortunately the majority of people hold.
Other bids speak of how they will engage the community. Someone please, correct me if I am wrong but I have not heard from anyone associated with the bid team or the board how we will be a broad based bid – how we will attract new fans. Other bids talk about alliances with local communities, teams or football associations. But for us it’s been left to assume that the ‘thousands’ of poulimenoi will come back to follow us. Wrong, wrong, wrong! If this is our great hope – we are gone.
The other angle I wish to tackle is our relationship with the FFA and indeed what the A-League is and represents. Key people from our club and some supporters continually diss the FFA and the A-League. Geez! Where is our diplomacy? Does anyone think this approach will actually bring a groundswell of support to our bid? Do we actually think it is a great idea to have Tom Kalas being pivotal in forming and becoming a spokesman for the AAFC? Agitating change, sniping comments against the FFA but then at the same time asking to be considered for an A-League license? Again – no diplomacy at all. Where is our humility?
I will end here with a comparison to other A-League hopefuls. This quote from Robert Cavallucci of FC Brisbane City A-League aspirant is a pearler and sums up perfectly all that is wrong with our bid team strategy:
If you've got a commercial argument, if you've got a football argument for what you’re doing, stop doing it by antagonising and picking a fight with FFA. Through positive presentation of who you are, demonstrate to the football community, the A-League clubs, the governing body, why you deserve to be there.Bang! Spot on! Let’s repeat this and shout it from the rooftops to our bid team, Mr President Leo Athanasakis, some board members and some of our social media fans. Please say after me: “stop doing it by antagonising and picking a fight with FFA”. And again: “stop doing it by antagonising and picking a fight with FFA”. Through positive presentation of who you are, demonstrate to the football community, the A-League clubs, the governing body, why you deserve to be there.
In concluding, I would please urge our board and the bid team to reconsider our approach. This might be our last shot for a very long time. Do what is right, be humble, focus on what we bring to the table and demonstrate how we can attract new fans. Make it a football bid – not just a selfish we deserve to be there SMFC centric bid.
Regards, T. Arvanitis, Murrumbeena, VIC
Around the grounds
$7 for a souv means $3 for the raffle
Standing in a particular position at McIvor Reserve on Saturday afternoon, it looked like there were twice as many people at Yarraville vs Altona East than there actually were. But enough about metrics. Both teams have had their difficulties in 2017, but there's struggling and then there's struggling, if you catch my drift. The team that was struggling less scored within the first few minutes, scored a penalty at the end, and were rarely troubled by Altona East in between those events. I don't remember Tommi Tommich, who was in goal for Yarraville, having to make much more than a solitary save.
Very saddened to hear of the passing of former Heidelberg player and president Jim Mangopoulos. Back in the 1990s in his guise as a lawyer, he represented my folks in a civil case when so many others refused - and got them a result of sorts. It was an incredibly stressful time for us - his support was and remains appreciated by my family. Sincerest condolences to his friends and family, and to all at Heidelberg Alexander.