How's this for creative fixturing? Wednesday sees a unique South Melbourne Hellas double-header, with the 2017 AGM (naturally held in 2018) followed by a pre-season friendly against Northcote. Even better, the AGM is going to be held in the social club, at the same time as the social club has been advertised as being open to the hoi polloi prior to the Northcote fixture from 6:15PM onwards.
There's so many problems with this approach, who knows where to start? Are we seriously going to have food and drink service during the AGM? The last and to the best of my recollection only other meeting we had in the current social club was this informal session, which had a small attendance but which had a bunch of juniors making a lot of noise and making it very hard to hear. Goodness knows it will be like with the terrible acoustics if we have a much larger attendance and a whole bunch of non-members in the room.
Speaking of which, AGM attendance for the South Melbourne Hellas portion of the club (and not its SMFC subsidiary) is and should remain the preserve of those who are currently members of South Melbourne Hellas - in other words, social club club members. Are we seriously going to have a whole bunch of people in the room observing the meeting who should not be doing so? Vigilance of non-social club members at South Melbourne AGMs is often not as good as it should be, but this seems mad even by our own standards.
There's a lot of issues to get through, and while holding the AGM on midweek in January is a piss-poor effort on so many levels, we don't really have a choice in that matter. Speaking of not having any choices, while I'm sure there will be people going in all guns blazing, the chance of something changing due to those efforts is close to zero. Significant change (for better or worse) can only happen if there is a rival group - not one or two individuals - who are willing to form a ticket to challenge the current iteration of the board, which has been in charge of the club in one form or another since the end of the NSL, mostly under the presidency of Leo Athanasakis.
That needs people with a lot of spare time, as well as the requisite business and football connections, and where you find enough of those kinds of people that still support South I do not know. I don't make this point out of some sense of vengeance, but rather as a statement of fact. Yes we are a member run and owned club, but the situation is such that even if a plurality of our membership wanted to dislodge the board, who would we replace them with? That is the question that has hovered over the club for the past decade, and in some respects was true of the era before that. Once a board gets set under a figurehead president at South Melbourne, it can be very hard to dislodge.
Anyway, my main concerns this time around the operation of the social club and futsal court, which seemed to have been done with so little planning that it has undermined others areas of the club, both in the short term (in terms of being unable to maintain paid employees at the club) and in the long term (what happens when the government stipend ends if we don't have a profitable social club business?). There's also the ongoing issues with the State Sports Centres Trust, and the constantly moving goalposts set up to hinder our business. Additionally, there are the usual governance issues - AGM timing, financials, and why Leo feels he needs to do most of the presentations - hopefully every board member is there this time.
My feelings on South AGMs are pretty well known. After the first couple I attended, I was disappointed enough with the lack of questions and information that I decided it eventually time to do some preparation of my own; nothing major, just enough to show someone cared. That lead to better AGMs and better prepared board members, and more . As jaded as I am about the potential for further improvement of South AGMs at the moment, it's still important to take them seriously.
And yes, I will be putting up a post-AGM post.