Thursday, 24 January 2019

Take me out to the ball game - South Melbourne 4 Whittlesea Ranges 2

I was not there. I was not there because I was not officially aware that this game was happening. While I assumed something was happening, it'll take more than mere assumptions to get me to commit to something which may not be happening.

Instead I went to the baseball, which was happening, but which the Melbourne Aces perhaps wish had not happened, after they managed more errors (3) than hits (2) in their heavy loss to the Canberra Cavalry.

Anyway, something did happen at Lakeside yesterday, and some people were there to witness it. One of these witnesses said that we were 2-0 down, and that we only made our way back into the game once Ranges started rotating in their secondary players.

Meanwhile
The 1959 Bar and/or Grill - aka, the social club - has been roused out of its slumber and announced that it is under new management, and that it will be open on Australia Day - aka, this Saturday. Does this mean that there is a game scheduled game to accompany this opening, or are they just expecting us to turn up for the thrill of being in the social club?

2019 SMFC senior squad roster as of 24/01/2019
Not much has changed here. It's possible that George Howard is actually contracted for 2019, but I don't know for sure. There's also an ex-Melbourne Heart youth player who's trialling with us, who the above mentioned match witness claimed was a massive ball hog.

Signed
  • Dean Bereveskos (Bonnyrigg White Eagles) 
  • Ethan Gage (Bentleigh Greens)
  • Kristian Konstantinidis (signed until end of 2019) 
  • Nick Krousoratis (Green Gully)
  • Perry Lambropoulos (Port Melbourne) 
  • Brad Norton (signed until end of 2019) 
  • Kostas Stratomitros (Oakleigh Cannons)
  • Gerrie Sylaidos (Northcote) 
Seen hanging around pre-season training
  • Luke Adams 
  • Manny Aguek 
  • Ben Djiba
  • George Howard 
  • Amir Jashari
  • Giordano Marafioti 
  • Giuseppe Marafioti 
  • Jake Marshall
  • Andrew Mesorouni
  • Leigh Minopoulos 
  • Will Orford
  • Nikola Roganovic
  • Marcus Schroen 
  • Melbourne Heart Ball Hog
Rumours which seem to have gone cold
  • English striker in visa slot 
Injured
  • Alastair Bray 
Out
  • Rory Brian (Preston) 
  • Matthew Foschini (Oakleigh) 
  • Josh Hodes (Oakleigh?) 
  • Christos Intzidis (who knows) 
  • Milos Lujic (Oakleigh) 
  • Oliver Minatel (Canada) 
  • Ndumba Makeche (Penang FA) 
  • Tim Mala (North Sunshine)
Unknown / MIA / Assumed dead from 2018
  • Iqi Jawadi 
  • Giorgi Zarbos

Saturday, 19 January 2019

Friendly result - South Melbourne 3 Green Gilly 3

Another day, another mystery pre-season friendly.
As for what actually happened during the game, to quote soccer-forum.net's "Hellas4eva":
Another good performance from South today 3-3 with Gully, backup keeper made 2 ridiculous howlers but outfield players did well again.
One other report I've seen is much more alarmist about the situation, singling out particular players in our defensive structures as being liabilities, but it's just friendlies, right? There's going to be a very long season of actual games that actually matter, so angst about seems almost redundant. But what do I know? I wasn't there and even when I am, I'm not sure my opinions are worth much.

Eventually the club's official social media arm deigned to regale us with some details on the match:
Anyway, the reason for the ongoing clandestine nature of these fixtures is that our lord and master, the State Sport Centres Trust, has become much more clearcut (and/or punitive) about what is considered a "training session" and what is considered a "match", especially when it concerns sessions taking place outside our allocated priority period.

In other words, if we want to play what may be considered a "match" at Lakeside during pre-season, we have to pay the Trust extra simoleons so they can hire more staff, mark the lines, etc. Instead, to save a bit of coin, we've been hosting other teams in what you'd call "training sessions".

These are not advertised by the club, because if they were and all of a sudden a whole bunch of people turn up to watch - which was a common occurrence in recent seasons, because the weather was nice, etc - the Trust will put its bureaucratic foot down and claim that this was a match, and not a training session.

This is the reason why only friends and family, trusted insiders, and the few willing to try their luck at the side gate are allowed in, and why even our opponents on the day are asked not to promote these fixtures. Perhaps if we had a functioning social club, we could in theory open that up and make some money, but what are ya gonna do?

At least the taekwondo people are still making good use of our facilities. Someone has to, I suppose.
Times are tough, and we've got to squeeze every penny. I hope the players aren't being asked to hitchhike to Adelaide next month or whenever it is they're meant to be going.

Meanwhile, at Middle Park
While we're celebrating our 60th anniversary, our neighbours Middle Park Soccer Club are celebrating their 50th, not a bad achievement for a club that started off as a railway workers kickabout.

And they'll be hosting some festivities at Lakeside Stadium on Saturday February 9th, and its open doors! As per the note on their Facebook events page:
To literally kick off the 50th Anniversary celebrations, the Parkers are hosting a Festival of Football at Lakeside Stadium on Saturday 9 February 2019. 
Opening proceedings will be some legends from esteryear.  
Dibbsy's Dynamos are going to be taking on Strati's Strikers in what is guaranteed to be match full of skill, pulled hammys and expletives. 
Following the old boys will be a tournament involving MPFC Seniors, South Melbourne U20s, Albert Park and Barnstoneworth United. 
Food and drinks will be available all day from the stadium canteen, so please come down for all or part of the day and have a drink, chew the fat with the old boys and cheer on the Seniors. 
Festival of Football @ Lakeside Stadium
Saturday 9 February 2019
10:30am - 11:30am Dibbsy's Dynamos vs Strati's Strikers
11:30am - 4:30pm MPFC Seniors Tournament
Might be worth a trundle down to Lakeside to check out our 20s play, among other reasons. You know, in a few weeks.

Another day, another match program
I recently managed to secure a physical copy of Green Gully vs South Melbourne 2005, from the regular season. And here is the digital copy for your perusal, back in the days when Gully was expecting 3,000 people to turn up to that fixture.

Fansvoice piece
I was recently asked to contribute something to a new site, focused on Australian soccer social media personalities. Not much new for people who are familiar with what I do.

2019 SMFC senior squad roster as of 19/01/2019
Canadian midfielder Ethan Gage has joined from Bentleigh.

Signed
  • Dean Bereveskos (Bonnyrigg White Eagles) 
  • Ethan Gage (Bentleigh Greens)
  • Kristian Konstantinidis (signed until end of 2019) 
  • Nick Krousoratis (Green Gully)
  • Perry Lambropoulos (Port Melbourne) 
  • Brad Norton (signed until end of 2019) 
  • Kostas Stratomitros (Oakleigh Cannons)
  • Gerrie Sylaidos (Northcote) 
Seen hanging around pre-season training
  • Luke Adams 
  • Manny Aguek 
  • Ben Djiba
  • George Howard 
  • Amir Jashari
  • Giordano Marafioti 
  • Giuseppe Marafioti 
  • Jake Marshall
  • Andrew Mesorouni
  • Leigh Minopoulos 
  • Will Orford
  • Nikola Roganovic
  • Marcus Schroen 
Rumours which seem to have gone cold
  • English striker in visa slot 
Injured
  • Alastair Bray 
Out
  • Rory Brian (Preston) 
  • Matthew Foschini (Oakleigh) 
  • Josh Hodes (Oakleigh?) 
  • Christos Intzidis (who knows) 
  • Milos Lujic (Oakleigh) 
  • Oliver Minatel (Canada) 
  • Ndumba Makeche (Penang FA) 
  • Tim Mala (North Sunshine)
Unknown / MIA / Assumed dead from 2018
  • Iqi Jawadi 
  • Giorgi Zarbos

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Friendly result - South Melbourne 2 St Albans 3

Another mystery quasi-closed doors game held at Lakeside last night. Apparently the defence is a shambles.

Sunday, 13 January 2019

Friendly result - South Melbourne 4 Box Hill United 3

Here are some typically careless observations and prognostications based on the first pre-season game I've seen during this campaign.

It was not the most awe-inspiring performance, but it doesn't have to be, yet. As usual, quite a healthy attendance from South and non-South people out for this friendly out at Darebin International Sports Centre's synthetic pitches, including my old mate George Katsakis. If I'd known there'd have been an under 20s game beforehand, I would've arrived earlier than I did.

It was a warm day, our players looking a bit out of sorts effort wise - the calls by coach Tangalakis to press not always being heeded - and players were slipping over on the synthetic surface. Box Hill put in considerable effort in the early stages, and in addition to that they exposed a disturbing lack of speed in our defenders.

We fell 2-0 behind early, took a 3-2 lead early in the second half, and eked out a 4-3 win in the end. Results don't matter now of course, but for some reason you'd still rather be on the right side of the ledger even this early in the season. It was certainly not a full strength line-up on our end - no Schroen, Roganovic, Minopoulos, nor rumoured visa signing Canadian midfielder Ethan Gage. There was a bit of rotation as you'd expect. Will Orford got a bit of a run, as did Manny Aguek.

It looks like they're trying Gerrie Sylaidos as an attacking mid as opposed to his more customary wing position. Counter-attacking will probably be the name of the game in 2019, in part to protect what looks like an iffy defence. Seeing as how we've recruited a swathe of defensive mids, expect them to be utilised extensively in any formation we deploy. I'm thinking the midfield will generally be a good group, not world-beaters, but hard-working nevertheless; but apart from Sylaidos, perhaps lacking in craftsmanship. George Howard has apparently injured himself again, but you wonder where he'd fit in to this team in any case. 

In attack, there are a plethora of options, but there'll always be doubts about the pedigree of said options until such time as they prove otherwise. I'm a fan of both Pep and Giordano Marafioti, but Pep is perhaps too one sided and too cute with his finishing. His brother is more clinical and much more genuinely an out and out striker, and I foresee good things there. If nothing else, we should at least be less predictable going forward.

Not that predictability was a huge issue when Milos Lujic was banging in 20 goals a year, but that's over now, and it's time to turn over a new leaf. It'd be great to have someone score 20 goals this year, but I'd be happy if two of our forwards could score ten each, and the mids chip in with their fair share. Still, we could end up regretting not being more decisive in the early part of the off-season and recruiting Peter Skapetis.

From here on in, we're probably looking at friendlies every Wednesday and Saturday, but whether that's true or not, and just how accessible they'll "officially" be to the general South supporter base, I wouldn't have the foggiest.

2019 SMFC senior squad roster as of 13/01/2019
Defensive midfielder Kostas Stratomitros has joined from Oakleigh. I think the rumoured English striker is gone, but who knows. The signing of Canadian midfielder Ethan Gage is likely to be announced soon. Tim Mala has "retired", but may end up turning out for North Sunshine.

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) 
  • Kostas Stratomitros (Oakleigh Cannons)
  • Gerrie Sylaidos (Northcote) 
Seen hanging around pre-season training
  • Luke Adams 
  • Manny Aguek 
  • Alistair Bray 
  • Ben Djiba 
  • George Howard 
  • Amir Jashari
  • Giordano Marafioti 
  • Giuseppe Marafioti 
  • Jake Marshall
  • Andrew Mesorouni
  • Leigh Minopoulos 
  • Will Orford
  • Nikola Roganovic
  • Marcus Schroen 
Rumoured
  • Visa player no. 1 (English striker) 
  • Visa player no. 2 (Canadian midfielder Ethan Gage) 
Injured
  • Alastair Bray 
Out
  • Rory Brian (Preston) 
  • Matthew Foschini (Oakleigh) 
  • Josh Hodes (Oakleigh?) 
  • Christos Intzidis (who knows) 
  • Milos Lujic (Oakleigh) 
  • Oliver Minatel (who knows) 
  • Ndumba Makeche (Penang FA?) 
  • Tim Mala (retired)
Unknown / MIA / Assumed dead from 2018
  • Iqi Jawadi 
  • Giorgi Zarbos

Friday, 11 January 2019

Friendly tomorrow against Box Hill at DISC

First friendly for 2019, tomorrow at Darebin International Sports Centre (next to Northcote's ground, if you're not familiar), against Box Hill United at 2:00PM.

Saturday, 5 January 2019

Oh my goodness, it's 2019

2018 Annual General Meeting announced
Late as per usual. The club put a notice up on its website. You may have received an email. I'm not sure if the club sends out letters anymore for this kind of thing. If you haven't received due notification and you think that you should have, I'd get on to the club pretty quickly if I were you.

Anyway, both the South Melbourne Hellas and South Melbourne FC AGMs have been set down for Thursday January 31st, in the social club. The SMH one starts at 6:00PM, and the SMFC one at 8:00PM.

As screen-capped from the club's Instagram page.
Club launches 60th anniversary logo
As they did in 2009 for the club's 50th anniversary, the club has launched a special logo for the club's 60th anniversary, And as was the case back then, so too this time have the calls been made for this logo to replace our current effort.

For whatever it's worth, I agree with those sentiments, not least because the current logo looks dated, but more so for the fact that it doesn't really say anything. Of course those hoping to make a variant of this logo our new logo must understand that its very clear references to our Greek heritage make that idea very difficult to pursue at this time.

As with the example of the 50th anniversary commemorative logo (see right), this logo is probably a) a co-logo, not a replacement one and b) almost certainly done with the cooperation of Football Victoria to get around certain 'issues' to do with the National Club Identity Policy - issues which would likely be more difficult to deal with were we to decide
to make it our permanent logo.

Still, let's be happy that it looks good, and let's hope too that it won't be the only thing done by the club to commemorate our 60th anniversary.

Oh yes, how careless of me, I forgot to mention...
...that at least year's Christmas party, I met the bloke to whom the club has outsourced the operation of the social club and futsal court, the big news of which is that the club has outsourced the operation of the social club and futsal court in its entirety. Now, it could be that in the two weeks since I found that detail out that the club or the presumptive operator have changed their minds, but I haven't heard anything like that.

2019 SMFC senior squad roster as of 05/01/2019
There was a rumour that Ndumba Makeche had joined Penang in Malaysia. Wherever he ends up, it's pretty certain that he won't be at South this year.

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 
  • Tim Mala 
  • Giordano Marafioti 
  • Giuseppe Marafioti 
  • Jake Marshall
  • Andrew Mesorouni
  • Leigh Minopoulos 
  • Nikola Roganovic 
  • Marcus Schroen 
Rumoured
  • Visa player no. 1 (English striker) 
  • Visa player no. 2 (Canadian midfielder) 
Injured
  • Alastair Bray 
Out
  • Rory Brian (Preston) 
  • Matthew Foschini (Oakleigh) 
  • Josh Hodes (Oakleigh?) 
  • Christos Intzidis (who knows) 
  • Milos Lujic (Oakleigh) 
  • Oliver Minatel (who knows) 
  • Ndumba Makeche (Penang FA?) 
Unknown / MIA / Assumed dead from 2018
  • Iqi Jawadi 
  • Will Orford