Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Mental health day - Green Gully 0 South Melbourne 0

If Football Victoria still had a prize for photo of the year, I'd submit this, but you
know the PC wowsers wouldn't allow a pic of a man having a durry to win any
 accolades, being obsessed with anodyne wholesomeness. Photo: Luke Radziminksi
Well it seems a good number of you took the advice I dished out last week and took a mental health day last Saturday, perhaps anticipating that we would be crunched by a superior team. Or maybe you were told by people at the club that it was in your best interests to stay away for a while. Or maybe you were tired from staying up all night watching the cricket world cup for some stupid reason.

Not that I have official data to back up the following claim, but this was the lowest crowd I can remember attending a fixture between these two sides at this ground since, like, I can remember attending. But then I remembered that most games this season have felt that way, especially as the season has wore on, and I was less alarmed and more placated that we actually just collectively continuing towards our ethnic senior soccer death spiral; although giving it the name of "death spiral" gives it too much balletic street-cred.

But those who did attend managed to at least see our side put in if not a remarkable than at least a creditable performance, of the sort that makes you upset with getting only a point where before the game you were contemplating sacrificing animals to petty ancient gods for us to get a mere point.

As to what caused us to put in what was for 2019 an above average performance.. I don't know. Was it the possible formation change? Was there even a formation change? I couldn't tell. There were some players not in their usual arrangement, and some players on the field with players they have usually not been on the field with this year, but that could go for a lot of games. Also the sun was in our eyes, and there was a pre-season warmth that kind of distracted a little from precise analysis of the action.

I will say that part of what was responsible for the improvement compared to several recent weeks was Gully's performance. They looked very good against Avondale the week before, but were a bit less sharp on Saturday. It's also possible that Gully played right into our hands with their style of play, playing a high line and being willing to attack. In cases such as that, this season has shown us that as long as we don't concede, this kind of situation suits us just fine, as it allows us to counter-attack via the wings and in this case also up the middle with long balls over the top of the high line.

Melvin Becket sends the ball wide of the goal and wide of
 former South keeper Jerrad Tyson. Photo: Cindy Nitsos
Unfortunately, we were unable to score from any of the four or so pretty good chances created in the first half. Pep Marafioti delayed shooting, approached the keeper, did not pass the ball to an open Peter Skapetis, and then took a shot straight into former South custodian Jerrad Tyson. Skapetis himself was more unfortunate then incompetent when his initial shot was blocked by an almost stranded Tyson, before the quick follow-up shot from the save hit the one Gully player in the way of the goal. Ben Djiba made an enterprising run on the right, but was unable to get either a shot away nor pass the ball to a waiting striker. Finally, Melvin Becket did all the hard work dribbling his way to the six yard box, only to stumble over his own feet and place his off-balance shot wide.

Having witnessed all that, one assumed that our comeuppance was near, especially within the last four minutes of the first half; but that comeuppance did not arrive. Sure, we were not as good in the second, and certainly did not find the space behind Gully's defence that we did in the first. But for all Gully's improvement, they were seldom able to seriously threaten our back four. I think they only managed the one shot on target for the whole game, and thankfully Josh Dorron was able to keep it out - a long range free kick from Jay Davies curled towards the top right hand corner, but Dorron was able to extend his large frame and palm the ball away.

Not the first lemon tree to be spotted at an NPL ground.
Photo. Luke Radziminski. 
Some of our defensive efforts were a bit more acrobatic than perhaps necessary, bringing out calls from me and Dave of "I see you know your judo well, sir", which while funny (of course) didn't fit, because judo is about throws and not acrobatic kicking. We perhaps could've made a better stab at taking all three points if we made more than one substitution, but we didn't, even though there were players like Gerrie Sylaidos who were completely gassed with about ten to play. One hopes that the reluctance to make more than one change was due to tactical considerations and not we can't afford to pay the players this week considerations.

But we could've also made a better play at getting all three points if we were a little bit smarter in the second half, and not so much trying to second guess ourselves. I'm thinking here of the mess of a free kick concocted by Billy Konstantinidis and Marcus Schroen from a good position. True, the defensive wall was a bit close for my liking, and true again that free kick taking is a hard enough business, but elaborate games of misdirection are best left to people in better leagues; in the NPL, just let someone take the shot without too much showboating and get on with the game.

Anyway the refereeing was good, until such time as the ref needed to make difficult decisions, and then his performance went down the gurgler. For those who care about such things, it was our first scoreless draw since midway through 2017, and it also continued our unbeaten run at Green Gully Reserve, which has been going since we beat Gully in the first round in 2013. More importantly, we got a point out of the whole thing, and I got a match program because Gully is one of the two clubs still producing those things.

One more thing
It was interesting to see the lack of sponsor boards at Green Gully. Now we won't get into the ins and outs of who's a paid sponsor at Lakeside and who might only be there as decoration (or even if we have that many sponsors from outside the circle of the board); but knowing that these things happen at clubs lower down the food-chain, I always wondered how many sponsor boards at NPL clubs were actually from active sponsors.

Under such circumstances, one wonders if there's scope for putting in decorative/club themed boards instead, or at least keeping some redundant sponsor boards for a heritage role... Buddy's Mobile Disco at least deserves more than it's current fate of paint and rust decay with its face turned away from the ground and toward the north wind.

Next game
The Knights at home on Sunday afternoon. They'll be coming off a midweek Dockerty Cup game against Bulleen.

Relegation battle (status: ongoing, gentlest of easing)
Not much changed on the relegation avoiding front this week - which is broadly good news for us, because it means that the teams in the bottom three who are trying to get out of the relegation and playoff spots are running out of time to do so.

Nearer to us, Port lost to Hume, the Dandy derby was a draw, and Pascoe Vale beat Kingston 2-0 to make it highly improbable that Kingston will be able to make it up to 11th. So we have a 10 point buffer to 12th (and 13th) with a maximum of 18 points up for grabs.

In our remaining games, it's the one against Dandy Thunder that'll likely be crucial. Let's hope we get some points on the board before then so that it's not crucial. Thunder are also due to play Pascoe Vale in the run home, so someone's going to have to take points off someone there.

Deckchairs on the Titanic
What is even this? I'm not going to pretend that I have any idea anymore how our football operations work, who does what, and what exactly it is they do. It's like people who work in offices - what do they do? So many buildings, so many offices, so many people in offices doing what, I don't know. Anyway back to the matter at hand. In summary, board member Andrew Mesourouni, previously in charge of junior football, is now in charge of the senior men's football department. Former general manager of the club Peter Kokotis, who was appointed football manager (senior men) last November, has now been put in charge of the juniors in conjunction with Mike Valkanis. Except that the latest article says "We welcome Peter back to the club." - so was Peter with us or wasn't he?

NCIP is gone
So it's gone. Now what? Will any major ethnic club officially revert to an older name? I can't really see that happening - especially those with a hankering to get into the mooted second division - but there's certainly more scope for blended branding incorporating old and new. I can also see some fans taking matters into their own hands, which will no doubt lead to some very mature outcomes. After all, freedom of expression for you is also freedom of expression for someone else; and has often been the case, it only take a minority of people to cause a fuss, and then for the rest of the club to either actively or passively condone the said fuss.

But I'm thinking of this stuff like it's current. Surely everyone has moved on, grown up, got a new hobby.

For our part, there's discussion about whether we should go back to South Melbourne Hellas, bring back the old logo, etc. I think most of our extant supporters are comfortable enough with the South Melbourne FC branding, and the possible use of 'Hellas' to augment that as a nickname or some such. I'd be in favour of an updated logo along the lines of the current commemorative badge, if for no other reason than that I've disliked the current one for a long time.

The most important thing though is that whatever the club and its members decide to do, it's now our choice, and not someone else's, which was one of the main points of my gripe about the NCIP in the first place.

What's happening with the Puskas film?
A few people asked about this a little while back, and I can't really provide a definitive answer. All that I know for sure is that quite a few interviews were done, that there seems to be a good story there, and after that... silence. Is money an issue? Is it competing projects? Have the boys fallen out among themselves?

If there's issues with getting the project going to the next stage - whatever that stage may be - I'm sure there's people that can help. Because as much as there's South fans wanting to know what's happening with the film, I'm guessing the people who've already been interviewed would also be asking what's going on with the film - and for them, it's not a just a movie, it's the story of an amazing moment in their lives.

You know, I actually got around to watching Rob, Cam and Tony's previous sports documentary The Galahs the other day, and I can see what they'd like to do with the Puskas film. Hopefully whatever's holding up production of the Puskas film is easy to enough to resolve, because it's a great story with much broader appeal than Harry Beitzel's Irish adventure, and a lot more archival footage to play with among other things.

On the couch
Not setting the couch on fire, yet
Watched Kingston at home to Pascoe Vale last night, in a real ordinary relegation six-pointer. It was good news for Pascoe Vale, but bad news for Kingston and people who inexplicably like Monday night football. Most frustrating of all was of course the fact that we've only been able to take three points off either team, but that assumes we're so much better than those teams and deserve to have taken more points off them. Thankfully there were also the last couple of SVU episodes with Dani Beck filling in for Olivia Benson to distract from the torpor of what was going on at The Grange.

Final thought


  1. Time away from this club is much needed given the atrocious season we are having. Don't let the close proximity to the top 6 fool anyone. This is a terrible team with little hope of playing finals. Even if this team did a Steven Bradbury and limped over the line in 6th, it would be comprehensively knocked out in the first week of finals.

    The Gully performance highlighted why we are where we are. An impotent attack with a non-existent attacking midfield.

    As for the mooted football changes at the club, you can shuffle the deck chairs on the Titanic as much as you want, nothing will stop it from sinking. Ever since CT was sacked for reasons we still are unaware, the club has been on a downward spiral, both on and off the park. Its a real shame.

  2. Super confusing "wife"/wide typo attached to the Beckett photo.

  3. I don't understand our mid season transfer window. We lost quality NPL players and replaced them with kids. Melvin Beckett was in a team getting relegated from NPL2 and now he wears a South Melbourne shirt. How old is he? 40? Why isn't orford or Matt from the u20s getting minutes in the senior team ahead of Melvin if its a money issue.. Why have the older players been shunned out? There is no pride in the shirt at all anymore, we may as well be a NPL2 youth team.

  4. Bloody hell.

    Would you believe (before I even had that smoke) I was wondering if Luke would take a photo of me that day. Like a premonition!

    To think I went out of my way NOT to bring my cigarettes that day. But my co-watcher for the day, 'Kimon Trimboli', pulled out his yucky tailored ciggies (I only purchase rollies) at half time, so how could I resist?!

    Since I returned in 2012 scoreless draw have been as rare as hen's teeth. Prior to 2017 against Bentleigh, I believe it was 2015 against the same team, and perhaps two years earlier again.

    Law and Order SVU .... running longer than the original. I suppose there are more sexual assault's the writer's can search for via google?

    1. Always a bit of a giveaway where they get stories from when they put the disclaimer up before an episode noting that it's not based on real people or events.

      Actually, during a project in a phd coursework unit, I learned that those disclaimers really have no legal standing, and are just employed as a sort of dissuasive device.

    2. I never watched this show in it's initial run, and its interesting that I do not pick up a post Sept '11 vibe about it. Occasionally they will mention terrorist's or homeland Security, but it's not an everpresent theme.

      I suppose sexual assault doesn't really have anything to do with terrorist attack's.

    3. Stabler is an ex-marine, and Tutuola is an ex-Army Ranger, but it's only the former's military career that gets much coverage on the show. There are some episodes which deal with 9/11 or related themes, but not a lot of them all things considered.


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