I'm not going to say that the club's in chaos, but there was a dishevelled feel to the place. There are big holes in the futsal court wall above the goal nearest, but more noticeable was the vibe in the social club proper. Phil the social club's venue manager has resigned and until the club sorts out the venue manager situation - and more broadly, how the it runs the social club - regular service may be a bit more erratic.
At least the club is now able to leverage home pre-season games to a degree by having a social club, and last night it was even able to draw in some people from the fun-run that was taking place outside. Things could always be worse on this front. Nevertheless, much as I like (new board member) Skip Fulton - after all, he got his South Melbourne start right here at South of the Border - do I really want him to be the one serving me drinks? On special occasions - like Friday's Christmas party - sure, why not, but otherwise they've got to sort out the social club situation quickly.
As for the match itself, it would've been churlish to expect anything resembling quality, whatever that means, and Chris Taylor wasn't even there. It was the first scratch match after the end of the off-season, after just a week and half or so of commencing pre-season training, and at a temperature of 35 degrees or more, the players were drenched in sweat within minutes. Thank you to Brad Norton for coming over to the supporters after each 35 minute half and sharing some of his sweat with us.
Still, there were a few surprises on field. As rumoured, Iqi Jawadi was back having a go, which is interesting after the way he left. Also back for another attempt at cracking the South senior team list was former youth player Anthony Giannopoulos. No sign of Andy Kecojevic, but one of Matthew Millar's seven brothers played the early part of the game before copping a knock. Youth striker Giuseppe Marafioti played for a bit, and occasional triallist and most recently of Kingston City midfielder/forward Velibor Mitrovic was also having a kick.
Marcus Schroen was present, and at least one person has suggested that Mitrovic would make a sensible like-for-like replacement for the injured Schroen. English recruit Sam Smith was absent - he's apparently sorting out some of his affairs back in the UK. Nick Epifano was there, after strong word that he had decided to leave the club. Maybe he changed his mind, maybe no one else wanted him. No worthwhile news on whether Andy Brennan will be re-joining us as part of the Bentleigh off-season exodus.
The next friendly is against Langwarrin on Sunday, at Langwarrin, kickoff 2:30PM. A fairly traditional fixture now because of Chris Taylor's proximity to all things Mornington Peninsula, even if he apparently won't be there himself. Neither will I for that matter, because it's in the middle of public transport nowhere.
Also hearing word of a match before Christmas against Green Gully, details to be confirmed on that one as well. I did ask around to see what plans if any there were for a pre-season weekend away, in the vein of the club's trips to Adelaide, Sydney, and Albury-Wodonga in recent years, but there was no news on that front. If they do something, hopefully it's something that accessible by train.
There's impatience from some quarters about the fixtures being released - I think the FFV will be making an announcement on that soon.