Monday, 26 November 2018

Coasting

I worked in something resembling an office environment for the past couple of weeks for the first time in my life, and I have no idea how You People manage to do deal with the assorted nutjobs who seem to populate these places.

Anyway, the only important news on the signings front is that striker Nick Krousoratis has signed from Green Gully. The talk of the visa player slots is that an English striker who's played in the second division in Spain will take one, and that a Canadian midfielder named Ethan Wesley/Gage or something, who had played at Bentleigh this year, will take the other spot.

Unless of course one of those two also counts as a permanent resident, thus creating the possibility that another player could take up one of the visa slots. In other news, it seems likely that Marcus Schroen will return to South, though at the moment he's on an overseas holiday. Defenders Tim Mala and Jake Marshall, as well as youngsters Manny Aguek and Ben Djiba have been seen around the club, so I've moved them around to the appropriate categories.

2019 SMFC senior squad roster as of 26/11/2018
Signed

  • Dean Bereveskos (Bonnyrigg White Eagles)
  • Kristian Konstantinidis (signed until end of 2019)
  • Nick Krousoratis (Green Gully)
  • Perry Lambropoulos (Port Melbourne)
  • Brad Norton (signed until end of 2019)
  • Gerrie Sylaidos (Northcote)
Seen hanging around pre-season training
  • Luke Adams
  • Manny Aguek
  • Alistair Bray
  • Ben Djiba
  • George Howard
  • Giordano Marafioti
  • Giuseppe Marafioti
  • Jake Marshall
  • Leigh Minopoulos
  • Nikola Roganovic
  • Tim Mala

Holiday in Cambodia (It's tough, kid, but it's life)

  • Marcus Schroen 
Rumoured
  • Visa player no. 1 (English striker)
  • Visa player no. 2 (Canadian midfielder)
Out
  • Matthew Foschini (Oakleigh)
  • Christos Intzidis (who knows)
  • Milos Lujic (Oakleigh)
  • Oliver Minatel (who knows)
Unknown / MIA / Assumed dead from 2018
  • Rory Brian
  • Josh Hodes
  • Iqi Jawadi
  • Ndumba Makeche
  • Andrew Mesourouni
  • Will Orford
We're gonna read a book, and Boutsi's gonna write it
Could it actually be coming out? Fair Play Publishing has the following item listed in its "titles being planned" section:
The Truth Behind My Boots by Con Boutsianis with Ben Hudson (2019)
South of the Border knows that Hudson and Boutsi had been working on a book some years ago, based upon a thread that was posted on smfcboard (RIP). But that forum thread had gone moribund, and there was no outward indication that  Boutsi's biography was an ongoing concern.. yet there seems to be life in this project yet. It probably helps explain Ben Hudson's contribution to this post

Return of South Radio
South Radio is back, in a slightly different form. It'll be on Football Nation Radio on Tuesdays at 8:00PM, hosted by David Henning and, er, George Donikian.

It'll probably be the first in a series of club affiliated shows to take up residence on FNR, as the station tries to fill out its schedule and broaden its listener base. I'll be listening with an open mind, though I have the feeling that ye old ramshackle days of South Radio are probably a thing of the past.

If You Know Your History episode three
Meanwhile mine and Ian's FNR show trundles on. In episode three, we talk Brisbane's missing trophies, teachers, schools and soccer, and a weird bit where we segue from The Heartbreak Kid to Prahran High School as a sacred soccer site.

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

In / Out / Other

Another quick update on what's being going on at South over the past week.

We've signed players! The new signings include Perry Lambropoulos (see right), a right-back from Poet Melbourne, and who had re-signed at Port and had been announced as doing so as recently as a month ago. That probably shows you how much these signing announcements are worth. Lambropoulos had previously played for Oakleigh, including against us in the 2016 grand final if memory serves me correctly, and even if two of the three goals we scored came from his right -hand side, we must remain optimistic and believe that Perry will at least be an improvement on an end-of-the-road Tim Mala.


As noted last week, we've also signed young winger Gerrie Sylaidos, who had been at the recently relegated to NPL2 Northcote. Sylaidos was reputedly being chased hard by a number of teams. so it's nice to snare a promising talent like Gerrie.


There had been talk of the club making a signing from the NSW NPL, and this has turned out to be midfielder Dean Bereveskos from Bonnyrigg White Eagles. I'd asked my NSW #sokkahtwitter folk for some intel on Bereveskos, and Tony Tannous supplied the following.



They say more signings could be announced this week, but we'll see.

 On the departure, front, apart from losing Milos Lujic, we've also parted with Matthew Foschini by mutual agreement (some say he had two more years on his contract). Like Lujic and Nick Epifano (via North Sunshine), Foschini has also joined Oakleigh, where Chris Taylor and co seem to be trying to get the band back together (minus Andy Brennan, who's shipped off to Green Gully), but being South Junior/South 2.0/Diet South has been part of Oakleigh's program for over a decade now. 


Oh, and it also appears that Nick Marinos, the coach of our best youth team (the 2018 under 16s) is now the under 20s coach at Port Melbourne.


The list below is an unscientific attempt to corral where we're at this particular moment with our senior men's squad. 


2019 SMFC senior squad roster as of 21/11/2018

Signed
  • Dean Bereveskos (Bonnyrigg White Eagles)
  • Kristian Konstantinidis (signed until end of 2019)
  • Perry Lambropoulos (Port Melbourne)
  • Brad Norton (signed until end of 2019)
  • Gerrie Sylaidos (Northcote)
Seen hanging around pre-season training
  • Luke Adams
  • Alistair Bray
  • George Howard
  • Giordano Marafioti
  • Giuseppe Marafioti
  • Leigh Minopoulos
  • Nikola Roganovic
Out
  • Matthew Foschini (Oakleigh)
  • Christos Intzidis (who knows)
  • Milos Lujic (Oakleigh)
  • Oliver Minatel (Japan?)
Unknown / MIA / Assumed dead from 2018
  • Manny Aguek
  • Rory Brian
  • Ben Djiba
  • Josh Hodes
  • Iqi Jawadi
  • Ndumba Makeche
  • Jake Marshall
  • Andrew Mesourouni
  • Will Orford
  • Marcus Schroen
  • Tim Mala
If you know your history episode 2
Yes, they let us make another one.

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

This, that, something else

Not much going on, but we'll keep an eye and an ear out for anything if it does happen. I think pre-season training starts tomorrow? Anyway,iIn the mean time...

FFA's NCIP survey
For who knows what reason - cheap populism, desire to watch the world burn, sudden appreciation for the Star of Vergina - FFA is holding a survey to gauge thew views of Australian soccer supporters with regards to the National Club Identity Policy. Up to you whether you complete the survey or not. I'm not going to pressure you. Enjoy the loaded questions if you do decide to fill out the form.

I'm on the radio, for now
So Football Nation Radio have commissioned Ian Syson for what at this stage is a pilot run for an Australian soccer history radio show. And of course I've been roped in to help out. We did our first episode last week for Armistice Day, so we talked about soccer Anzacs and such, but we also covered some other stuff. If you've been missing the sound of my dulcet tones, or if you want to learn something about soccer history in this country you can listen here. Or not. No arm-twisting from me.

Well, that's finally sorted then
I'll keep this relatively brief.

Yesterday I received the news that the corrections for my doctoral thesis have been passed.

I'm not going to go into too much detail about the entire process of the thesis, and its extended examination period, except to say that I was relieved and overwhelmed by the news.

I thanked a whole bunch of people in the acknowledgements section in the thesis itself, and I will thank more of those needing to be thanked when I see them. But it would be remiss of me not to thank again my supervisors Ian Syson and Matthew Klugman, for their support across the five years of this project, and in Ian's case, far longer than that.

It would also be negligent however not to thank the South of the Border readership and the broader South Melbourne Hellas community. The blog has hindered my ability to finish this thesis earlier, but without it, I'm not sure I would've finished it at all.

It was through the combination of South and smfcboard.com (RIP) and Ian that I got back into the game, even if it was the only game I'd ever known - career student. Since then in my own slow way, I've made my way through the uni system, culminating in something that only towards the end did I think I would actually achieve - and even then, it was rarely straightforward.

And while it's slightly naff to say it out loud, I dedicated the thesis to South Melbourne Hellas, because it felt like the right thing to do.

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Yet another off-season placeholder post

Not much going on at the moment, but it's up to you to decide if that's any cause for alarm. Maybe they're trying to keep it all hush-hush so other teams don't come in and swoop on recruits.

With other teams making announcements on signings, it's natural to get antsy about what it is we're doing or not doing, especially since a player like Oakleigh's Dusan Bosnjak - someone who, even if there was no firm intel that he was heading our way, would still seem like a good fit, and thus his eventual whereabouts the natural preserve of rumourmongers - has signed at Altona Magic. So it goes.

Last week Con Tangalakis was on 3XY Radio Hellas' sports program last week, but I only found this out later, via the South forum, where someone posted a screengrab of a tweet that had been sent to his phone by someone else, with the original tweet coming from SMFCMike. So thanks to Mike for listening and providing the summary, while some of us were listening to jazz noodling on community radio.

So that's Gerrie Sylaidos, and two visa players. Meanwhile, another person has said that we have signed a defender. So, not up to the bare minimum of the seven players required to start a match, but we're getting there.

Of more genuine concern is that when the 2019 fixture gets released, we'll have another ridiculous run of away games to start the season, followed by an equally ridiculous run of home games. So that's something to look forward to.

Monday, 5 November 2018

More Hellenic history

This is a photo of Hellenic that I haven't seen before, found by Mark Boric, I assume in the old Greek sports paper Athletic Echo. The photo's a little dusky, and it'll probably be hard to compare the faces to other Hellenic photos to see if there are any resemblances with hitherto unknown players.

I'm guessing this is an away/alternate strip, but I don't have access to a Victorian soccer yearbook which lists the alternate kits for any clubs. The player listed here as K. Papadopoulos seems to have non-matching socks. I'm not sure what years this is from either, and though the article the photo came with mentions 1956 and '57, they are mentioned within the context of the club playing in the Victorian second division at the time.

Hellenic, 1957(?). The players are Arvanitakis (GK), K. Papadopoulos, George Karakyriakos, M. Karakyriakos, P. Rivans, Alecos Nanos, Costas Tzinis (player-coach), John Tsarouchas, G. Pipis, Luchetti, Antonis Karagiannis.


Some of the names I haven't come across before, while others I've seen but only with an initial, not a full first name, as is the case here. The short extract from article below the photo, notes that G. Kararakyriakos was a George. Ozfootball digging says that along with P. Rivans, there was a separate player named J. Rivans. Missing from the team photo, according to the article, are D. and H. Moshakis (the latter possibly a Haralambos, and Anglicised into Charlie), P. Tzimboglou, G. Papadopoulos, P.  Paleogiannidis (a goalkeeper, also spelled elsewhere as Paleoyiannidis, and finally an initial for him), and D. Karagiorgis.



Of course adapting Greek surnames into English, especially when you don't have access to what would've been the standard Anglicised spelling for each individual, makes things much more difficult. And that's not even getting into the Greek conventions when it comes to the initials used for first names. There are also some non-Greek names, which for the Rivans we can be sure of the spelling; for the possibly Italian Luchetti(?), well good luck with that.

The funniest part of this article is the description of Antonis Karagiannis as a "well-known cowboy", whatever that means! In a part of the article not shown here, playing coach Tzinis is quoted as saying "these boys played for the shirt and for the Greek name. But behind the team was an unspoken hero, who gave his soul for the team, and that man was George Lekatsas".

Cheers to Mark Boric for taking the time to dig this photo out!

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Generic car engine sputtering into life noises

Where was the kaboom? There was meant to be an earth shattering kaboom! 
Like an apocalyptic cult waiting for doomsday, we reached the hour of judgement and... nothing happened. How do we go on with our lives under such conditions? Well, like any good cult with a failed doomsday prediction, we'll reconvene and let everyone know of our revised date at some future point of time.

More seriously, the transition from one FFA board and Congress model to another was always likely to cause issues. The current board of FFA, which has been treading water since Steven Lowy succeeded his father - and which cobbled together a half-hearted expansion process that neither they nor the current A-League teams really wanted - has failed to deliver an outcome to its own purported deadline.

These things happen. And what's more, if we are to believe certain media platforms, there are ongoing concerns about the viability of all six final bidders. Well, duh! I said the same thing when there were three times as many bidders; that there was no magic bullet Wanderers-style bid which would solve (or at least alleviate) the persistent issue of stagnant A-League metrics, while also not requiring new stadiums, suffering from uncertain investment streams, or significantly cannibalising the fan-bases of existing franchises.

The more conspiracy minded of you will no doubt gravitate towards the theory that despite its obvious drawbacks and deficiencies, South is probably the only ready-to-go franchise of the remaining bids, but that there's no way that the authorities or whoever succeeds would let that happen. And I'm not here to disabuse you of that belief; after all, since the only way I could ever see South returning to the Australian top-flight is via an extraordinary case of last resort default. I can't entirely deride a line of thought which bears some relation to the way that I think about these things.

Anyway, even if we kept the receipt, it's not like we're (or whichever director was responsible) going to get our application fee back. We're just going to have be a bit more patent as this farcical process extends into the indeterminate distant future. Not that any of that matters, even if it is frustrating.

Of course there is always that second division and promotion/relegation idea
And if you're interested in such shenanigans, then the AAFC have a treat for you. They'll be hosting a forum for potential candidates for the chairpersonship of FFA. Register here if you'd like to go, though I think Football Nation Radio may cover it as well. I'd like to say I'd be there, but I may be otherwise occupied.

But back to more important things
Con Tangalakis' appointment as senior men's coach is finally official. Now that it's official, what can we say about such an appointment? Purely on a surface level, both on the appointment itself and the way it happened, it seemed like Tangalakis was not our board's first option.

Whether Bentleigh coach John Anastasiadis was serious about considering our offer to him, or whether he was merely stringing us along, there was an offer made from us to him - and it didn't work. Whether the club had anyone else in mind, I do not know. Whether anyone else would've been interested is also a question that you'd hope would be answered in the affirmative, but it could be that we are seen as a basket-case not worth bothering with, a condition working in tandem with free-agents of any worth being vacuumed up by cashed-up clubs.

When combined with scandalous rumours and articles about our perilous cash-flow situation, and 2018's unceasing aura of senior squad disharmony, things aren't exactly looking chipper. Anyway, pre-season training starts in a couple of weeks - or so some of the forum people say - and it'll be interesting to see which players actually turn up. Speaking of which...

Farewell Milos Lujic
It was a fait accompli, some would say from months ago, but it's now official: Milos Lujic has departed the club. Five times our leading scorer, even in 2018 when his commitment levels (and the service to him) wasn't at its best. That's going to be a huge gap to fill, but it probably won't be the only one.

And just in case some of you were holding out hope...
Former skipper Michael Eagar has re-signed at Port Melbourne for 2019. So we're not getting him back.

From a distance, the world looks blue and green (and the snow capped mountains, white)
Mike Valkanis has been appointed as "Head of Football Development", which seems an odd thing to do for someone who fairly recently decamped for The Netherlands to work in football there. So is Mike coming back? Er, not quite.

While the reaction from our own fans on social media was one of unbridled enthusiasm for having a sort of favourite son "come home", the supporters of Dutch club PEC Zwollw - where Valkanis is currently employed in some sort of assistant role - certainly seemed to be confused by the situation.

Valkanis himself clarified that he would, in fact, be remaining in The Netherlands while delegating day-to-day operations to other people. How all that will work is a question best left to those who have made the decision and those tasked with making it work.

Besides, as long as the stream of players from Queensland to Victoria doesn't stop, do we even need juniors anyway? I mean, apart from fulfilling our duties under the NPL licence agreement?

South Radio to return in 2019?
Heard some talk that there's a chance of a South Melbourne Hellas radio show returning to the digital airwaves in 2019. If it happened, it'd be via Football Nation Radio, who are trying to fill out their programing with club specific shows. Not sure if we're likely to take up the offer, though I believe other clubs are keen to grasp the opportunity.

Haven't done this in a while
Match programs! Well, one South one, and one Queensland one. The South one is from our ill-fated first attempt at the FFA Cup national stage - ie, the Palm Beach game. The other is from 2017 NPL Queensland grand final. Many thanks to Garry McKenzie for sending these our way.

I've put the call out Knights fans for what South of the Border is missing in terms of Knights vs South match programs from 2005 onward... we'll see what happens. I'm more hopeful of getting match programs involving South Melbourne and Newcastle's various NSL representatives, though we'll all have to be very patient with those.