Judging by the deafening silence from official sources regarding almost all things South Melbourne, I have to say that everything must be going really well, and I have no interest in hearing otherwise. I've got my hands over my ears, I'm singing "lalalalalalalalala", and all I can see is you people's mouths going up and down, your tongues twirling and teeth shifting from side to side, and your hands gesturing wildly in some vain attempt to get my attention, I assume in a vain effort to tell me that, actually, we're all doomed.
Well, I'm not having it. Everything is going to be fine. Relax ρε, etc. And even if our 2019 season - our 60th anniversary season - is a bigger failure than 2018, well, so what? As the middle-aged Clarendon Corner kids like to say, "we had a good run", and isn't that true?
I can see already that what's left of the regular South of the Border audience might be a bit suss about this new-found positivity, and I sympathise. But maybe I should try being big-hearted and open-minded about things, and just let the universe do as it pleases. To that end, rather than scoffing at every transfer rumour, I'm going to choose life and believe everything posted on soccer-forum and at least half of what gets posted on the current iteration of the South forum, especially the stuff that contradicts the other stuff. I could be cautious, but since when that has that got me anywhere?
Months ago we had a big info session about our A-League bid, one of whose elements included the promise and/or threat that there would be more information released to the general public, and yet here we are months later, with almost no new information about the bid. Some of that delay has to be put down to a rare case of South's board exercising some proper restraint, what with us being in danger of relegation for a good chunk of that part of the year; but even after that pitfall was avoided we have still heard diddly squat, other than to note that we had indeed submitted our bid.
Not that of any of this matters anyway, but assuming that the whole expansion process isn't effectively delayed for another year because of the changes in the FFA Congress and the A-League licence holders getting their dirty mitts on the mechanics of expansion, do we - or rather our anonymous financial partners - even have the $15 million now rumoured to be the asking price for a licence fee? And who are these mystery bottomless pits of money? Is it the Chinese, who will eventually be forced to bow out by the Communist Party? is it Harry Stamoulis, formerly of the Tasmanian A-League bid, former Victory shareholder, and former possible maybe South fan? Anyway, all the leading journalist boffins have said that we're not anywhere near the frontrunners for one of the two available licences, so what does it matter, except now we have other anonymous self-declared insiders blathering away on social media that we're actually in a good spot, and it is other groups which have failed to impress, and you can apparently take to the bank.
Speaking of money, I look at the absurd wages and sign-on fee figures being bandied about for the NPL next year, and I just have to laugh, before remembering that we have to believe that all of it is true. Like Altona Magic offering $40k a sign on fee and $1.5k a week for the nonce formerly known as the People's Champ, and I call him nonce for obvious reasons (boo hiss etc) but what if he is going to get that money? Who's the fool then? Certainly not him unless he fails to declare it on his taxes and the tax man comes calling, but how likely is that to happen anyway? Victorian semi-professional soccer players are all very diligent in declaring their earnings from football, especially the stuff that they get in brown paper bags out in the carpark every second Thursday after training.
And look, if clubs are dumb enough to hand out that kind of cash, then who's fault is it if players take it? Players are only human after all. But when most places have two men and a dog following them, are they even actually clubs any more? Because let's be honest, the vast majority of the time it's not clubs funding the players wage arms race, it's money-men and the occasional money-woman, for purposes that are best known to them and their accountants. Now every level-headed person knows that soccer is a bad investment, and our local leagues are an especially pertinent example of that. And yet we here are, with wages and the like still escalating, even as people still cry "but the prize money for winning the championship is stuff-all!", as if the people chucking in the money don't know this, or that even most successful FFA Cup runs are largely a bust.
But like I said, here we are, where tens of thousands are squandered each week by clubs in order to win games played in front of nobody. Now if there were crowds and media attention and sponsors to be impressed, I'd understand, but there aren't, and because I don't understand and because I have no money, I probably never will understand. That's OK, understanding is overrated anyway. I've tried ignorance, half-ignorance, half-knowing, and with full-knowing being out of the question, I've come to understand that as far as these matters go, ignorance is best.
Back to us for a moment though. Last week or thereabouts the whole South world was abuzz with the news that Johnny A hadn't quite said yes but also hadn't quite said no to us, and therefore we had people saying it was a lock and/or imminent that he would be our next coach as soon as Bentleigh's FFA Cup run was over. Therefore because of the certain fact that Johnny A was going to be our coach, certain folk had to start doing the mental gymnastics needed to accommodate this return of a newly re-minted favourite son because of the, er, unpleasantness, which had come to pass us lo this past decade. For the sake of being able to get a coach with some pedigree of success and good football - and more importantly
And then whether because we couldn't stump up the necessary money or because he's some twisted genius, Johnny A signed up with Bentleigh for another season, leaving us with our pants around our ankles. But while we don't have a coach as other clubs start making signings and begin thinking about pre-season, and we have no idea if Con Tangalakis hasn't been insulted enough by our bypassing him for this long after he saved us from relegation, we at least get to boo Johnny A again assuming we have a club next year.
If you believe what's been said around the traps, we're not going to have any players left anyway, that we'll be starting from an even worse position than our return to soccer in 2005 after our long lay off, and that even long-serving players are considering their options and shopping themselves around. Now half the rumours around that include the notion that we owe players two months wages, the other half being rumours that we only owe them four or five weeks wages - which if true is still bizarre and horrific considering how rarely we had to pay for win bonuses in 2018 - and further to that, that we're being taken to the PFA, and FIFA, and the United Federation of Planets. But who cares if some of these players are leaving, because according to dark corners of the internet, some of them tried to get us relegated anyway.
So like I said, it's going well. At least I have other things to distract me now.