Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Taking a brief hiatus from the blog

Dear South of the Border readers,

Due to my having to take care of some pressing personal business over the next little while, the blog will be going into hiatus for the next few weeks.

I will also be significantly reducing my social media presence during this time.

However, those of you who wish to contact me during this break for whatever reason can still do so through the usual channels, and I will get back to you when I can.

Thanks again for your support over the past 12 years, and I look forward to returning to the blog and to being with you on the terraces sooner rather than later.


Thursday, 16 January 2020

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood (the ambient noise is Furlong Road)

When it rains, it pours, and haven't we seen that play out this week? Everyone (except me) panicking about a lack of pre-season friendlies, and then: BANG! Two friendlies announced on the same day, and for the same day! Like some ill-prepared undergrad rushing to get their essays in at the last minute, fuelled by the kind of adrenaline created by the terror of imminent failure, the club is going to play two games within hours of each other on Saturday to make up for lost time. The games will see our bloated - and I'm not going to add any mealy mouthed adjectives to sugarcoat that fact - senior roster split into two squads, but don't ask me which one will be the stronger. If this arrangement achieves one thing though, it proves that the club can actually set up a friendly without having to worry about "everyone" having already settled their pre-season schedules. Oh, and the details for those two games? Saturday at noon at Gully against Gully, and later that evening at 5:00 against Magic at Springvale White Eagles. I won't be at either affair, so if someone wants to summarise events after the fact that would be nice, or else I'll be forced to cobble together something from what people say over social media. The next and very obvious step for the club after this is to set up two games at the same time at the same location with two different opponents, but in true hack American sitcom fashion (and that includes you, too, Frasier) having told neither of said opponents of this arrangement, with players and coaches rushing between two adjacent (but also obscured from each other) fields in order to try and pull off the scam, only for the two parties we've been trying to court to become savvy to the shenanigans, and for us to only realise too late who we "really" wanted out of the two, while being left with nothing because of our inherent indecisiveness, and the need for all classic era (read: before the crippling emergence of post-post-post ironic post-comedy) sitcoms to reset before the next week's episode.

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Welcome to 2020, belatedly

Hello folks, apologies for the lengthy gap between updates. I'd have written sooner but a) I have been busy with other things, and b) there has been a whole lot of nothing happening in the South front. With regards to the "being busy" factor, I'll say more on that toward the end of this blog post; but as for the whole lot of nothing that has been happening, we might as well begin the year by summing up what has been happening since I last posted.

Squad update
After having being rumoured to have signed with South soon after the end of the 2019 season, goalkeeper Pierce Clark's name was not mentioned except for laypeople asking variations of "didn't we sign/aren't we going to announce the signing of Pierce Clark?".

There was that much radio silence from official and unofficial sources that the people still paying attention to South in the quiet months had given up on getting Clark, and had instead moved on to figuring out which of Scylla and Charybdis would win the starting keeper's role.

And then on Christmas Day(!) the club announced that Pierce Clark had indeed signed for us, and now the speculation is not about who will be number one, but which of Nikola Roganovic and Josh Dorron will be number two.

Irish defender Stephen Folan has arrived after getting married, so I guess pretty much everyone who's relevant is now involved with the beginning of pre-season proper, which saw the squad trot off to Shepparton for the week.

Of course I'm interested in the procedures for dealing with the smoke haze during pre-season, and what effects that will have on the squad and its preparation for season 2020 - something that all clubs will have to deal with.

But of course we're also waiting for friendlies to start so we can hang out hats on completely meaningless observations of pretend actual play in the event that our pre-season form doesn't correlate with whatever happens during the season, while getting our "I-Told-You-So" voices ready for those moments when one of our scattershot January opinions turns out to be true.

2020 SMFC senior squad roster as of 07/01/2020
There just might be too many categories listed below.

  • Daniel Clark
  • Lirim Elmazi
  • Stephen Folan
  • Chris Irwin
  • Amadu Koroma
  • Perry Lambropoulos
  • Matthew Loutrakis
  • Jake Marshall
  • Josh Meaker
  • Brad Norton
  • Luke Pavlou
  • Harrison Sawyer
  • Marcus Schroen
  • Gerrie Sylaidos
  • Giorgi Zarbos
Played for us in 2019, but now on the payroll in another guise
  • Luke Adams
I'm not any good at putting names to faces, but I've seen them in photos, so I assume they're hanging around 
  • Melvin Becket
  • Nick Krousoratis
Battle to the death to decide who gets to be Pierce Clark's number two
  • Josh Dorron
  • Nikola Roganovic
  • Peter Skapetis
Played with us in 2019 and people are assuming they'll be back for 2020
  • Ben Djiba
  • Zac Bates
Played with us at the end of 2019 but who knows about 2020, though I'm assuming they're gone
  • Keenan Gibson
  • Amir Jashari
'They' say that he's not coming back for whatever reason
  • Kostas Stratomitros
Apparently at Kingston
  • Manny Aguek
Spotted at a training session at Jack Edwards last month
  • Pep Marafioti
Has he even been in Australia since early in the 2019 season?
  • Andrew Mesourouni
Last time anything was heard from him, he was "exploring options in India"
  • Billy Konstantinidis
  • Tom Aulton (Brisbane Olympic)
  • George Gerondaras (Kingston)
  • Kristian Konstantinidis (Northcote)
  • Leigh Minopoulos (Essendon Royals)
  • Will Orford (Western Pride)
Where are the friendlies?
Apparently there's some sort of friendly session with Moreland City tomorrow evening at Darebin - mostly featuring our kids - but I haven't seen anything on the club's Facebook or Twitter, and I don't use Instagram, so I'm going to pretend that nothing formal has been arranged yet.

The lack of friendlies and the super low-key pre-season business from our end has begun causing some angst among our supporters, some of it probably genuine concern and some of it fueled by less noble motivations.

But let's look at it in some context. By this time last season we'd had three December scratch matches, and one in January. By the time we reached the beginning of the season, we'd played another eight friendlies, had no striker, and rocked up to games where we'd be gassed by the 75th minute.

So while I'm no coach and no conditioning expert, and certainly no athlete with any sort of knowledge of what constitutes "match fitness", I'm willing to let it go for the time being. What's the worst that could happen?

Public transport guide updated
I've updated and streamlined my public transport guide. I've gotten rid of the map screen-caps, dispensed with most superfluous routes, and tailored details specifically to myself and any other South fans who may end up taking public transport. If supporters of other clubs find the guide useful, good luck to them.

I've also been brutal in my estimation of some of the grounds and their respective match days, basically telling anyone who'll listen to not bother. Thanks also to the anonymous comment leaver for adding a couple of suggestions.

Match programs and memorabilia
A reminder that South of the Border is still looking for South Melbourne match programs. We're also looking for old footage and audio recordings to upload to YouTube, as well as photos of old memorabilia that we can add to our 'artefact' segment. I know that you people have this stuff.

Contribute to South of the Border
As usual, South of the Border is always on the lookout for new and old contributors, on both an ongoing and a one-off basis. So, you know, if you want to write something for us, send us a message and I'll see what I can do to make your dreams of writing for this prestigious publication come true.

More seriously, without wanting to second guess what's going to happen in the future, circumstances are such that I could be absent from a lot more South games than I usually would - and my usual seasonal absentee record stands at about either zero or one game per season.

That being the case, I'm letting my readership know to get their typing fingers ready just in case - in the past I've had people pitch in and do a splendid job with fill-in match reports. I am certainly already looking for people to write up summaries of whatever South Melbourne pre-season matches they end up going to, because I can't see myself making too many of those.