Monday, 23 April 2018

Temporary gratitude - Hume City 0 South Melbourne 1

If we must thank anyone for the win, let's thank Darby Dexter. The defender had signed for us during the off-season, but was let go in mysterious circumstances before a ball had been kicked in anger, his only contribution to the club seemingly being sharing some of the finger food on offer at the 2017 South Melbourne Christmas party.

Ending up at Hume, even those few who had paid attention to him during his time at South would have forgotten all about him. But it was two of his interventions in this match which more than anything else helped us get over the line for just our second win of the season. First, his poor pass into the middle of the field resulted in a turnover, which lead to our goal.

Later, he fouled Matthew Millar from behind as Millar was running in on goal, and Dexter got himself sent off. At least some South fans would've asked themselves of that play, knowing Millar's shooting to be notoriously poor, was it worth Dexter fouling him, instead of just letting him shoot and miss?

The beneficiaries of those decisions were South Melbourne as a whole - except perhaps the directors who had to fork out a win bonus to the players for the first time in months - and Oliver Minatel in particular. Minatel has been worse than underwhelming in his time at South, and that's when he hasn't been sidelined by injury. Still, he has two goals now for the season, and the match winner here was a tad more legitimate than his rushed behind attempt against Oakleigh.

Following Dexter's turnover, the team sped up the field to make the most of the chance, On the byline, the ball was played back a bit behind Minatel, who lunged desperately with an outstretched boot which on replay looked like it would have at best snuck in at the far post. In the real world and in real time though, it struck a Hume defender and wrong-footed Hume keeper Michael Weier, and proved to be the fittingly decisive moment in a game which lacked much in the way of quality.

Both teams came into this match in rubbish form, just one win apiece in the league, sitting uncomfortably close to the relegation zone. The win means South gets a little bit of breathing space from the relegation scrap, and finds itself in seventh place, two points behind sixth placed Port Melbourne. The loss for Hume means they sink down to the automatic relegation slots.

So if Minatel's goal celebration was a bit over the top for a deflected goal, it was excusable on the grounds that the team has been having a rough trot in form and results in 2018, the players as frustrated as much as anyone else at the club. Ugly as the game was at times, and as much as some would wish we had an ounce of Minatel's luck with the goal in our earlier FFA Cup fixture against Hume, sometimes you've got to be grateful for the things you have.

This is especially so considering we had no strikers within cooee of Broadmeadows on Saturday night, and might not have one for several weeks to come. As we've noted before, under 20s striker Giordano Marafioti is out for the season; Leigh Minopoulos was out injured, and could miss at least another couple of games; and Milos Lujic has four more weeks of his five game suspension to serve, and that's not counting the talk around the internet terraces that he's going overseas for the World Cup in June.

You've got to be grateful as well when we lost Brad Norton to concussion within the first two minutes, and later had to endure bad foul after bad foul for most of the rest of the game. And you've to be grateful for the three points when despite being a goal up and a man up, the team tried to commit footballing seppuku by giving away half a dozen fouls in the defensive half of the ground in the last five minutes. Thankfully nothing came of any of those chances, mostly because of unusually poor delivery by Nick Hegarty, and once because of the crossbar.

Other than the win, the best thing about the night was no repeat of the hired goons nonsense from the FFA Cup game.

Next game
Heidelberg away on Saturday night.

Paywall Paradise
From this Herald Sun piece about Wellington Phoenix's woes - which even I can't access now, because it's been pay-walled - I have to say the following bit of info just leapt off the screen.
South Melbourne also made a play to buy Wellington 11 months ago before talks broke down with the former NSL champions reluctant to pursue a hybrid model. 
Negotiations centred on buying a 25 per cent stake for $1.5 million with games split between Wellington and Lakeside Stadium while South would have fielded W-League and youth teams.
“We had preliminary, forthright discussions with Wellington about what South Melbourne could offer, especially regards to bringing a W-League and youth league component,’’ bid chairman Bill Papastergiadis said.
This is not the first time South Melbourne has considered both a buyout of an A-League team and a hybrid ownership-dual location model. Apart from a couple of attempts to buy out the then Melbourne Heart licence, there was also the noted attempt to purchase at least some of the Central Coast Mariners, a deal which would have involved the mind-boggling arrangement of splitting games between Gosford and Lakeside.

The attempted purchase some of the Phoenix licence looks to be an attempt to get our foot in the A-League door via getting women's and youth teams in first, while at the same time trying to get a foothold into the competition via the most vulnerable of the extant A-League licences. I have my doubts that FFA would've allowed something like this to take place, and I also have doubts about exactly what it is that actually took place in these meetings, because I don't really trust anything that Bill Papastergiadis has to say about anything to do with our attempts to get into the A-League.

This is even more the case when the ordinary South Melbourne Hellas member is the last to find out about such shenanigans; but then again, aren't we the last to know about lots of things these days? Even if nothing came of the attempt, it would have been nice to know that an attempt had been made. It would also have been nice to know who was going to stump up the $1.5 million to purchase the 25% state in Phoenix.

Anyway, though the relevant article is pay-walled, it appears that we weren't the only parties currently bidding for an A-League licence to have a stab at the Phoenix licence, with the Southern Expansion bid exploring options on that front. I suppose it's all a bit moot for the time being anyway, as there is now actually a really real bidding process under way, which even if we don't succeed at, will still give us the chance to get our hands on some materials that will make it clearer what it is that FFA expects of its A-League licence holders. Not that any of that matters.

For the benefit of the skips/Football Federation South Melbourne Hellas
While I was watching a state league game yesterday, my attention was drawn to this tweet:
The gist of this small article by Elias Donoudis is that according to "strong sources", current Perth Glory CEO Peter Filopoulos is going to become CEO (or possibly general manager) of FFV. The rest of the article just says that Peter is pictured with his mate Manny Kotis, that Peter was formerly general manager at South Melbourne, and that there'll be more in this story in the next edition of Neos Kosmos.

Of course, considering that Filopoulos was general manager at South Melbourne during the 1990s, a period of time in which Donoudis still cared about Hellas, "strong sources" could very well mean Filopoulos told Donoudis himself about this latest career change. In any event, the rumour mill didn;t even get a chance to go into overdrive, and FFV announced Filopoulos' appointment as FFV CEO this morning.

Not that one doubts Filopoulos' professionalism and qualifications, but it's funny amid the hand-wringing from some South fans about alleged back room politics at FFV by other clubs, that we now have the roles of FFV president and CEO occupied by persons once involved as front office staff at South Melbourne.

Then again, as Donoudis will tell you, that was a different South Melbourne to the one that exists now, and so any possibility of conflicts of interest or future examples of favouritism can be batted away with that fact.

Puskas film
I was pleased to see that the official South Twitter account finally got around to promoting this project's call for photos and footage.
That tweet seems to have already paid dividends, with one Andrew Pirchan noting that he has materials which could be useful. Now for the club to put the call-out for stuff onto the Facebook page...

Around the grounds
Really slumming it
On Friday night I dithered - twice! - as to whether to go Knights Stadium, and finally decided to stay in instead and watch Batman. Put up the question early on Saturday to Gains as to whether to go Newmarket Reserve before the Hume game, and got the answer in the affirmative, rationalised on my part by the fact that the ground was only 600 metres or so from Newmarket station on the Cragieburn line, and this convenient enough to get from Point B to Point C. The game was the State League 5 West fixture between Kensington City and Keilor Wolves, the kind of game one attends as a neutral because either a mate is involved or the food is good; in this case, both being true. Thank goodness for the $6 chorizo rolls, because the football (and the beer) was pretty ordinary. I wasn't expecting miracles from Kensington, but Keilor I thought would put up a better show. At least there were plenty of goals. Kensington took the lead early, conceded the equaliser within 30 seconds, and coughed one up just before halftime to trail at the break. After the break Keilor came out a bit more switched on, Kensington a bit less, and three quick goals later it was 5-1 and the game was dead in the water. Goal of the day was the last kick of the game, a Kensington player launching a shot from halfway, over the Wolves goalkeeper who'd got himself stranded after a poor clearing kick. The shot bounced and rose, threatening to go over the crossbar, but ending up tucked just underneath. Then it was off to Broadmeadows.

Final thought
Google changed the Blogger dashboard's default date format to that nonsensical mm/dd/yyyy format and I lost my mind for several hours afterwards.


  1. All goals count, but Minatel is not really what we were promised. He's average at best, and doesn't really add much value.

    We are going to get smashed by Heidelberg. This could be embarrassing.

    1. We look tougher to score against now but could get ugly if we conceed early, getting the ball beyond the halfway line will be hard, keeping it in our attacking half even harder. The brazilian is a fraud.

      You cant even rely on us for a smash and grab off a set piece as those are usually dreadful as well.

  2. Be nice if the FFV put out a call for missing historical items on their social media one day as well.

  3. RE: A-League bid criteria. Wht haven't we formed an alliance with Port Phillip and other councils? There is nothing to suggest we have any affinity to the South Melb and surrounding areas. I've got to ask - what do we represent? Honest question. Is our only fallback to say we were once a great club and the 'legion' of former fans will return. Wing & a Prayer stuff me thinks.

    1. Personally i feel that geography and who you support in Melbourne doesn't really matter. Especially in this current era. Looking at AFL as the example, you have 9 teams playing out of 2 stadiums. A-league, 2 teams in 1.5 stadiums.. all located in central Melbourne. People from all over the state go for teams without any geographic influence to who they support. South has people from all around Melbourne who support them, and if they were ever to play in a national competition again, that would continue to be the same. Forget the old supporters, we don't need them, we are a new generation club with a new direction which is much more marketable to the general public. Personally i feel if we were given a go, we'd get a bunch of new football supporters who love a good underdog/little aussie battler story. While we're a (relatively) big club, this is still a david and goliath situation.

    2. We should represent our local region though, imagine getting people to walk, tram to the game from the local area? This is something that we should be striving to, becoming a real community club.

    3. The reality is that it is those very same "old supporters" you so readily dismiss that have kept the club going all these years. Without whom the club would not even be in the position to make any noise about a return to the top flight. I wish that i could count myself among those ever-faithful fans but, much to my constant shame, I was one of the "old supporters" whose interest dropped off after 2005. I reconnected with the club about 5 years or so ago now and geographic proximity has had absolutely NOTHING to do with my coming back. Sitting in the stands at Hume last week I was chatting to Millsy and he laughed when an Epa cross floated in and there was no-one at the back post, an old dude, perhaps not realizing he wasn't on the field yelled out "Lujic, why you not there for goal?" - Milos just smiled and said "See even when I'm not playing I get blamed" We laughed and I tried to explain that us "Helasites" have pretty demanding expectations sometimes. These old guys have been coming week in, week out, through Vic State league to NSL to VSL to NPL. The team is their mistress and their burden. They watched with pride as the younger generation flocked to Middle Park and Bob Jane and then watched the crowds all dissolve away when the jew changed the rules. Every season these old tired men grow less and less, and even though some of my generation have started a very slow trickle back to Lakeside and Im happy to see lots are bringing their kids, I agree that the huge support some are expecting may not materialize - but so what? I'm all for engaging with the local community, there are heaps of soccer mad recent migrants that live close to Lakeside, just looking for a club to embrace. Sure, put out the feelers, engage them on social media and with community outreach programs at local schools etc. I quite liked the idea the board had in engaging with the Chinese Student associations and also really do like seeing people of all backgrounds coming to the game and chanting "Hellas Ole".
      Thats the crucial thing for me - took me a while to truly appreciate the significance I admit - That the club remains Hellas. Not strictly a nationality thing (I'm proud enough of my Greek identity and don't necessarily need my choice of soccer club to validate it) but more a tribal identity. I would love nothing more than South to be in the A-League but at what cost?
      I would hate to see us sell out, give up our name, history, colours, member's ownership model and identity just for the sake of playing in a slightly more professional league..... just my 2 cents worth.

    4. Guys - we can't chant Hellas which unfortunately is the name of a foreign country and at the same time claim to be inclusive of all. We are delusional if we think so. It will take generational change and we should be proud and embrace our SOUTH MELBOURNE name - not chant for a name which is taken by a foreign country who don't give a shit about us. We have a looooong way to go fellas.

    5. Why do they not seem to have any problem chanting "Hellas Ole" in Verona Italy? Or 50 thousand followers of Corinthians in Brasil not seem to find the fact that their team is named after a city in Greece seem to worry them? Arguably the biggest team in Scotland is fiercely Irish in its name and identity??? One of the A-League teams recently announced a partnership with Ajax Amsterdam - you DO realise who Ajax was yeah? Yet, because of the NCIP a new team founded in Australia today would not be able to call itself "Diomedes" for example... Is one Greek mythological king more acceptable than another?
      Lets just call a spade a spade, some "ethnicities" are more Anglo-friendly than others. If your ashamed of your parent's country of origin, that's your own personal choice, but don't buy in to the FFA apartheid model .... If you want a plastic team with no historical identity go follow the Arab owned Melbourne Heart or Lungs or whatever their called.


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