|My attempt to get Roberto Carlos to attend South of the Border's |
exclusive dinner event failed to achieve its goal.
From a personal point of view, reading this piece reminded me of a few things. For example, the involvement of Mark Bosnich reminded me of this and also this, while the appearance of Paul Wade reminded me of this (see the comments section in particular), and made me regret once more my not having not gotten around to writing up a piece on Paul Wade's mid 1990s autobiography, which could have led to several interesting observations. That's what happens when you leave something on the backburner for seven or eight years though. So it goes. Over to Savvas.
A post-Roberto Carlos VIP Dinner cigarette with Savvas Tzionis
When you continue to advertise your renewed passion for South Melbourne, be prepared to be called on it. I probably wasn't, and x amount of dollars later, I was obligated to attend the Roberto Carlos inspired gala event at Crown Palladium, at the invitation of a friend of mine (let's call him LH) from the GOCMV (Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne and Victoria). I was initially hesitant simply because I have some doubts about the push for an A League spot. But not being a complete naysayer, I was curious. Plus, I got a discounted ticket.
The attendance was very good, except for three or four empty tables near ours, but I struggled to spot any regular NPL attendees except a couple in the smokers room (and as I will explain, it's STILL the place to be, where you can find out interesting tidbits). The highlights of the previous week's amazing FFA Cup game against Dandenong City were shown and I dare say if the attendees included a few more actual supporters, there would have been more than polite applause at the climax with the Rocky music.
I happened to be adjacent to the table that had Michael Eager, Marcus Schroen, and Jesse Daley. Leigh Minopoulos was on another table for some reason (did he bring his family or something?). Schroen (mis)informed me that the Avondale game was bring played that Sunday. My table was full of LH's friends. Not one word was spoken about South, except about the redeveloped ground, which instantly morphed into a discussion about Eddie McGuire and AFL. And then My Big Fat Greek Wedding somehow popped up! Nearly all appeared to be private school alumni; is that a line of demarcation in relation to supporting South? What percentage of our supporters attended or send their kids to private schools?
|Sponsor and menu details from the Roberto Carlos VIP dinner.|
Click on the image to enlarge.
The only lull was while they did a half hour Foxtel cross, but that allowed everyone to socialise and/or go for a second cigarette. Earlier, LH and I went to the smokers room for an initial cigarette, and I was introduced to the MC, Costas 'Tony the Yugoslav' Kilias. Just as we were finishing, in strode both a verbose Mark Bosnich and Robert Carlos himself, who for no particular reason smiled at me before he sat down for a ciggy! There you go!
|Roberto Carlos, the man of the moment himself,|
snapped during a quiet moment away from the festivities.
Some of the other interviewees revealed some interesting information such as Bozza's request for LESS players in his defensive wall at free kicks! And even more interestingly was Goran Lozanovski telling us that he was in tears of joy at one point during the World Club Championship in 2000. Is this the apex of South's peak moment in its history? If so, there is an irony that someone called Goran Lozanovski was the person who would encapsulate it. Bozza also pushed the line about the women’s game growing in record numbers. I wondered if this was to counter the AFL push into the female ‘market’ or simply because he was interviewing Lisa De Vanna.
The last interviewee that piqued my interest was Paul Wade. Now I am led to believe that he has been less than effusive about South and the NSL in general. He certainly has little idea of what is going on at South now, as he asked if Lefteri was still there playing his trumpet! His less than effusive manner may have prompted his interviewer, Mark Bosnich (who is much taller in person than some of us imagined) to ask if South Melbourne should change their DNA. I cannot remember Wadey's response, but ultimately I didn't think he believed South Melbourne should be in the league primarily because of their 'DNA'. In some ways it was strange to have him as one of the key guests. But it was interesting nonetheless, especially when someone asked him if Australia could ever win the World Cup to which he said 'NO'. Personally, I do not particularly like his style of answering questions. It's not conducive to having an exchange of ideas.
But at least having Wadey there provided a counter to any pie in the sky thoughts about getting in the A-League. There is still a school of thought among some that the likes of South shouldn't be considered for inclusion. And if I can use the pub test (the Blackburn Hotel to be exact), among my suburbanite friends there are a couple who refuse to countenance South's inclusion. The majority however are not perturbed and are in fact keen on a South Melbourne bid insofar as it provides a point of difference to the existing arrangements. They certainly are not aware of any ‘falsehoods’ being put out there. It’s all about the Sell!
To finish off, a South Melbourne Hellas event wouldn't be complete without the obligatory infighting among the 'fans'. For a moment I thought I was attending a vital cup match between South Melbourne and a lower league club, and South was losing 4-1 in the 80th minute. But then I realised it was a (presumably?) drunk former 'player' (who went on to Hollywood 'stardom') who started throwing abuse towards a table near us. I am not sure if he was directing it at a particular person or a group of people because no one (thankfully!) at the table responded. Luckily Mr Thedoso .... oops I better not mention his real name (let’s call him Costas Mandylor) departed without further rancour.
And kudos to Bill Papastergiadis for no further unnecessary embellishments. Someone, maybe Bill himself, even made the statement about South Melbourne being one of two clubs to have featured in every season of the NSL. Let’s stick to the facts from now on.