Friday, 29 February 2008

South still looking for first points - Round 3, South Melbourne vs Western Suburbs

Last time they met:
Round 25, 2007 at Ralph Reserve

Western Suburbs 3 South Melbourne 0

With their season on the line and yet with the finals still realistically within reach, South fielded both a weakened and unfit squad and paid the price for it. Suburbs thoroughly deserved their victory, with two goals in the first half-hour enough to kill off what was left of South's season.

Most armchair pundits have listed Suburbs to be among the relegation favourites this season, and their form so far has been far from stunning. But they did pick up a 1-0 home win against outright relegation favourite Fawkner last week, which means they have three more points than South does and some sort of confidence going into this week's clash. The game will also likely see the return to Lakeside of former South defender Arthur Tsonis, who was let go last season to much anger from a certain section of South's support, as well as Evan Karavitis and perhaps most notably that of former South and Perth Glory striker Vas Kalogeracos.

Despite all of that though, South are still the better team on paper (the famous quote of playing on grass not paper notwithstanding), and have shown enough glimpses of what they're capable of to win this game, but don't expect it to be pretty. Injury and structural concerns still plague Hellas, but if Armenian, Zoric and De Nittis, the three best looking attacking players so far, can get the game time they need to make an impact, South should be able to overwhelm Suburbs on the wide expanses of Lakeside.

Final prediction: South to win 1-0, in a hard fought, tight affair.

Thursday, 28 February 2008

2008 membership package part 2 - Cards

Concluding South of the Border's look at South's 2008 membership package are the membership cards themselves. This was the part I was looking forward to the most, in my quest to be the no.1 'gold' category member. But I was in for a shock. No no.1. In fact no numbers at all. I was, to put it mildly, disappointed. But I learnt fairly quickly that it was a cost saving exercise, as we don't have too much money don't you know.

That disappointment was put aside, when I recognised the socialist principles lurking beneath the surface of this move (no rank! no hierarchy! in card form!), and how when the club inevitably falls into administration again, this time it'll re-emerge (or be reborn if it gets that bad) as an anarcho-syndicalist collective. And if you don't know what that means, watch the beginning of Monty Python's Quest for the Holy Grail where the peasants are toiling in mud and replace the mud with soccer and medieval Britain with the FFV. Perhaps more alike then I'm comfortable with. Also the new card looks smashing. Would have been nice to have an unclipped one to show, but they were not available prior to the day of the first home match for the year. Still good but.

By the way, could you imagine the amateur league derby between the right-wing/Hellas Fan Club supported South Melbourne reformation and the ultra left wing anarcho-syndicalist branch? It would absolutely shit all over any derby in this country, perhaps even the universe. Almost makes you want to see the club go under just to see it happen. Finally the unclipped sections are for 2006, the Kingston game where I was sick, and for 2007 the Melbourne Knights game which never happened but we still lost anyway.

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Something to lift the spirits a little

I was going to post the next instalment of my 2008 membership review, but couldn't be arsed taking the photos, uploading them and all that, and I also thought that after yesterday's Pumpkin Seed Eaters annoyance, coupled with South being bottom of the ladder after two games as the only pointless team, that it'd be nice to post something positive.

The footage (essentially 3 scenes replayed for about a 1:28) is of Reardo Luka playing his first match of any kind since his horrific injury last season (for background, see this entry). Once again thanks go to Adrian Luka for the footage, which is of the South under 21s taking on the South under 18s in a pre-season hit out.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

'Seth' from 'Caulfield' - South of the Border makes an enemy of sorts

A little while ago, one may remember this blog plugging an online radio show called the Pumpkin Seed Eaters. South of the Border's review of their debut instalment was generally and cautiously positive, with a couple of suggestions, most notably to an unnecessary anti-Semitic remark. After making the hosts/producers aware of the review, I received an encouraging reply from one of the hosts (who go under pseudonyms, though I know who one of the hosts is), basically saying thanks for the feedback, that they realise there's room for improvement, and that South of the Border would get a mention on the next show. Seemingly having taken my review well and with the bonus of the blog getting a reciprocal plug, the experience seemed to go swimmingly.

Alas, no. No plug for the blog (which is not really important, because I do this mostly for the amusement of trusted friends and associates and whoever else happens to stumble upon here), but also no genuine remorse or acknowledgment of the poor taste of the relevant joke. My words, used as part of a segment on feedback received of the first episode were attributed to a Seth from Caulfield - get it? only a Jew would be pissed off at an anti-Semitic remark - thus continuing to tap into the already far too prevalent strains of anti-Semitism that exist amongst certain 'traditional' fans, evidenced most notably in the past few years with regards to attacks on FFA head honcho (and former Sydney Hakoah chief) Frank Lowy.

Now, I'm for free speech. Having that stance means that I have to tolerate (not accept) the fact that this means opinions will exist that I do not like and am not comfortable with. And it also requires the acknowledgment that freedom of speech (in its varying degrees) is one of the core strengths of Western society, in that in the plurality of voices that should ensue we will be in a better position to critically analyse our society. Or something like that. But as you might have guessed, I have a pretty massive problem when people start using that freedom of speech to racist and defamatory ends. That kind of thing serves no one well. Nevertheless they'll still have their place on the 'link hall of fame' on the right hand side of the blog, because their program comprises the voice of a very underrepresented segment of Australian soccer, and that this voice, irrespective of whether you agree or disagree with its content and style is one that should be heard.

2008 membership package part 1 - Balls

There were complaints from those who were in charge of getting these that the blue on the panels was too light, especially when compared to the emblem's blue, but I reckon that they've come out quite nice actually. The alternate all white paneled ball (better for autographs) looks quite dull by comparison, but it's all a matter of opinion I guess.

Now I all need is a working bike pump and we're on our way. Classic book collection too don't you think?

Monday, 25 February 2008

South virtually defeat themselves - South Melbourne 1 Coburg United 2

From Tuesday to Thursday this week there'll be a thorough examination of the 2008 membership package, but for now, back to yesterday's game.

It was a disappointing result. Not because South had played well, but more so because they had played well enough to win. Coburg all up had three or four chances, and took two 2. South would have had closer to ten, and almost managed to stuff up even the one they did get.

South squandered possession so frequently yesterday - chiefly through Yusef and Poutakidis - that Coburg were not too often obliged to fight for the ball. When they did they were often unnecessarily crude in their attempts, and their discipline let them down and should have been punished more harshly than it was.

For South, De Nittis looked ok when he came on, Zoric was good in patches but goes missing to easily. Diaco and Fernando both played about a half each, neither fit, but the latter at least scored. Deano was responsible for the first goal conceded, while Nunes can play with both feet, which is an interesting novelty, but occasionally gets himself into the wrong position. The much maligned Caldwell did some nice things, but in general he and his team mates are not on the same frequency. Armenian is getting closer to a start.

South did have some bad luck - a blatant handball in the area not called - but mostly had themselves to blame for their loss. As a counterpoint, there were signs that when the team gels, they can do ok. The problem there is much the same as last year though, and that is whether they can keep it up for any significant amount of time. The pressure is starting to mount on Johnny A' and football operations dude Jim Marinis. Neither has solved the crucial problem of central midfield. There were too many sequences of players running around like headless chooks, only kinda rectified towards the end. We're the only pointless side after two weeks, and a turnaround in form is needed soon.

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Elbow - Seldom Seen Kid

We now interrupt this program, in order to present this special address from Elbow's Australian Ambassador.

Ok, so I'm a bad little boy for having downloaded this a month before its proper release. But thankyou Soulseek people. Anyway, track by track. If you don't want to know the scores, look away now...

Starlings - one of the oddest little opening songs I've ever heard. But a very pretty song once it gets stuck in. Could've renamed this one Startling, because it has a few moments which just jump out at you.

Bones Of You - tremendous, has a measured urgency, propelling itself forward wonderfully. Also serves the purpose of picking up the pace of the record nice and early.

Mirrorball - absolutely gorgeous, I challenge anyone not to love this song. Reminds me of Asleep In The Back era b-sides, even if i can't quite figure out how.

Grounds For Divorce - a tough, bluesy, ballsy song, but with enough of the old Elbow touch to make it memorable. It's the kind of song Elbow needed to write in my honest opinion.

An Audience With the Pope - the first 'weak' song, sort of meanders around for awhile, not going anywhere in particular, but still ok.

Weather To Fly - an odd high vocal, the arrangements are a little awkward for mine, and like the previous song, seems to lack direction.

The Loneliness of a Tower Crane Driver - Starts off as a nice little waltz, before changing direction midway and then getting suitably big. The percussion reminds me of the Dancer In The Dark soundtrack - which is a good thing by the way!

The Fix - A duet with I'm not sure who, the voices complement each other well. The music has a wonderfully curious/mysterious air about it.

Some Riot - Brambles. But even better. Very interesting arrangement, seriously brought tears to my eyes how well they've executed this song. A song hasn't done that to me that much since Eels' Daisies of the Galaxy record, with its trio of the title track, It's a Motherfucker and Selective Memory.

On A Day Like This - fantastic counterpoint to Some Riot, cheerful and uplifting in the most awesome way.

Friend of Ours - Elbow ease us out with a nice slow song, which gradually swells before retreating gently.

The length of these songs is interesting, it poses problems in some songs, but mostly it works well. Overall, I would say it's the more maudlin parts of Leaders, via Asleep In The Back production wise, all sorts of different sounds in the songs. I love it. I'm not going to say it's a return to form, because Leaders was a good record, but this is a better record, no doubt much more consistent across the board and I just love the sound of it, the way they mix the natural and industrial for want of a better way of putting it. How will people unfamiliar with the band see it? Hard to say. I think it could be the record more than any other of theirs which could break them well and truly.

Best three tracks, Bones of You, Some Riot, Mirrorball.

Saturday, 23 February 2008

Late NSL era sticker

Anyone want a sticker? Some may recall the passing mention of these artefacts seen while reading this entry. Well, I did manage to come away with seven or so (relax, there's plenty left), one's on a door, one's for posterity, one's for a folder for school but otherwise I have four left over. If you would like one, message me, and we'll arrange the safe passage of these relics to your preferred destination. I reckon they look quite nice. The non-cringing use of 'S.C.', the classic soccer ball in place of an 'O'.

It's going to be harder to keep up the daily posting once school starts again on Monday, but I'll try, Pride and Prejudice be damned.

Friday, 22 February 2008

Round 1, Under 21s - Bergers 3 South 3, plus bonus whinge

Owing to the Old Socceroos and Copperoos (or Piggeroos, as one BLF die hard near me insisted on calling them) game held prior to the seniors match, this game was played on Wednesday evening. Standard leaves a lot to be desired, but what's more troubling is how can someone like Adrian Luka (whom South of the Border thanks for his videos) be able to film, edit and upload videos on his own, but our own site can't? How can I pump out South related words on a daily basis, and yet the official South site seems to be move at pre-global warming glacial speed? And where is the promised upgrade to the whole thing?

I realise that perhaps quite a bit of what gets written here would not be appropriate for an official site, which is there to spread propaganda and such. But where is the info on stuff? Where are the promised commissioned articles? Why doesn't the board trust its own volunteers and supporters to contribute items? How can a club, with decent writers, excellent multimedia and IT skills personnel, and ordinary people who can film, edit, and upload, not have a decent site? It's an absolute disgrace I tell ya. And from what I hear, there's not going to be much change in the near future at least. Enjoy the show.

South look to relaunch seson at home - Round 2, South Melbourne vs Coburg United

Last time they met:
Never met in a league fixture.

Halfway through 2006 North Coburg, as they were called then, had just lost against Altona East, leaving them in last position and a bit of hole to dig themselves out of. That they not only did that, but in the following year also won promotion to the VPL shows that this club means business. Coburg sought to bolster their squad with players such as one time South players and Aussie soccer journeymen Andy Vlahos and Anthony Magnacca, and have a solid side which should challenge for at least the lower positions in the finals, though the chance of them doing another Kingston City and burning out halfway through is always a possibility. Last week they belted Western Suburbs 3-0 away from 'home' (they play at Knights Stadium until their new ground is ready next year), and if that doesn't seem like much, only three sides came away from Ralph Reserve with maximum points last season.

For South, last week's loss away to Heidelberg seemed to show the club was continuing on from last year; a team with able players in enough positions, but without the gritty midfield general (or two), possession is scarce and when obtained is often squandered cheaply. Because of this there is added pressure on the defence as well, who have to deal with more attacks than they should. South may have some injuries to Fernando and Diaco to deal with, as well as injury question marks over possible forward replacement Armenian. If South can at least neutralise the effectiveness of Coburg's midfield then they're a definite chance, as most armchair pundits tend to agree that Coburg's defence is its weakest link. For my money, there are few sides so top heavy with attacking prowess. It's the problem of getting the ball there that is, well, the problem. If South can solve that problem or at least find a way of avoiding it, then a win is in sight.

Prediction: A free flowing 1-1 draw, with plenty of chances, and hopefully some good play on a decent surface.

Thursday, 21 February 2008

South set to play AIS in Shepparton?

Ever since it was announced that the AIS would seek to host 'home' games in regional Victoria and it's own base in Canberra (with them subsidising travel costs for the visiting teams), there's been rumours flying around who would play where, with the most common ones being the Knights playing in Canberra and Preston in Shepparton respectively, where both clubs have numerous supporters. Frankston Pines are travelling up to Canberra this week, meaning this ain't no pipe dream.

But what about South? Up to this point it's been more of a wish-list sort of scenario without any real concrete evidence suggesting we'll go anywhere at all. Canberra seemed popular amongst fans, though allegedly players find Albury far more fun. Morwell would be a nostalgic option, a return to Falcons Park after so many years absence. But according to a recent article in the Shepparton News, negotiations are taking place to send South to the Goulburn Valley.

Shepparton South has targeted former National Soccer League champion South Melbourne's match against AIS on the weekend of June 21 and 22.

"We are hoping to play the match on the Saturday with Shepparton United as the curtain raiser," South assistant coach Joe Artavilla said.

Anywhere's fine with me, as long as we get a road trip of sorts. I've been to 'Shepp' only the once, the first time we stopped on the way to the Gold Coast for a school camp (more a theme park tour really). When we left Melbourne the temperature would have been in the low 20s and was overcast. When we got to Shepp, it was fucking hot, 30+ degrees, and there was someone aboout 50 years the wrong side of 17 working at the Hungry Jacks we stopped at, which only added to the culture shock. The old man used to work out there too in the tomato fields. If it does go ahead, and I hope that it does, it'd be good to actually get there early enough for the proposed curtain raiser between Shepp United and Shepp South. Come on people, make this happen!

One round in, relegation already the hot-topic

Following a hot lead on soccer-forum, I found this in section 2.3 in the 2008 FFV Regulations.

2.3 Those Clubs finishing in 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th position at the end of the Men’s Premier League season will be relegated to the Men’s State League Division One (State League 1) in the following season.

Very interesting. Followers of the local scene will recall that four teams were relegated because of this (from something I added to the VPL page on Wikipedia).

The end of the 2006 season also saw a controversial finish to the relegation battle. With three teams finishing on 30 points, Sunshine George Cross were relegated on goal difference. However, a post-season appeal to the tribunal on the grounds that Essendon Royals had fielded a suspended player (Ilcho Mladenovski in round 24) saw the Royals deducted a point and relegated. However the Federation had not notified the Royals of the player's suspension, and got itself out of a potential costly legal battle by retaining both clubs for the 2007 season, and adding the Australian Institute of Sport to even out the numbers, and as the first part of reforms to the competition set to be brought about in 2008.

Thus after relegating 4 sides and promoting 2 last year we were back to 14, and back to 2 up and 2 down as was the previous system. I sent off an email to the FFV to see what's going on, as there is always the chance of a clerical error, though of course that's highly unlikely. Confirmed by someone else making a phone call even before I've gotten a reply that it is up to date. There is evidence to suggest, perhaps, that the proposed V-League is not too far away. And that certain clubs are in for rude shock.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Trying to sell the product on tv, as South Melbourne moves into the 20th century

This is the first of a series of advertisements which will played on the Antenna Pacific network, and which will hopefully appeal to the "Is South still around? Huh, how about that. Might go," Greek demographic. It's made by a couple of South fans, with love, Frozen Tears, and a little bit of Avalon Raceway sprintcar "beeeeee theeeeeeere!" action.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

A couple of book reviews

I'm guessing most of the people that have read this blog have done so either because they are amongst the few who have been told personally by me of its existence, or because they got redirected here because of my work on Das Libero, where I sorta insisted that this blog be linked under every piece that I do. Smart, no? Anyway, here are two reviews that I wrote for that site, both of which mention South occasionally. The books that is, not the reviews.

The first book is on the history of Green Gully. It's pretty good, and it let's you know what all the little clubs were doing while we were kings of the world. A Tale of Two Gullys is a fairly appropriate title for it, so enjoy the review and enjoy the book, and don't just skip to the index to look for mentions of South.

The other book is called Soccer Boom, basically looking at Victorian soccer's changes primarily in the 1950s from a revisionist viewpoint. It's also good, but don't get completely sucked in to his stance, because as When Push Comes to Boom explains, there are a few inconvenient facts ignored to make it work. Once again though, a worthwhile read.

Monday, 18 February 2008

VPL guide to fashion

I should make it clear, that I'm not for changing strip designs year in year out. All you need to do is pick one design, stick with it eternally, and at most play around with your away strip, but really, there's no need for that either. I didn't take these photos, so thanks to whoever I'm borrowing them off for today's lesson.

That is the South home strip for this year. I don't really like it, but the sponsor on there looks rather nice for once. And I hate it a lot less after I saw what some of the other teams had cooked up.

Speaking of sponsor/strip clashes... Preston's strip has been universally caned but on reflection, despite the abomination that is that colour combination, they could be forgiven for at least looking after the colour-blind, who most frequently have difficulty with separating red and green.

Finally for now, a clear demonstration of what works, and what just doesn't. Fawkner last year had a pretty crappy strip. How do you fuck up light blue you may ask? By putting a stupid white slab slanting down across the shoulder, making it look like you've run out of dye. So kudos to Fawkner for embracing a neo-classicist approach of sorts. As for the Knights, they had one of the better strips last year. And now they've gone for tie-die. For a club with such rampant right-wing sympathies, it strikes me as an odd tactic that they're now aiming for the hippy/stoner market. But Australian soccer (the proper version, not that mickey mouse 'a' league divorced from reality) always has something up its sleeve to at once both depress and amuse.

Sunday, 17 February 2008

The search for a central midfielder should have begun at the end of 2006 - Heidelberg United 2 South Melbourne 1

Firstly, a reminder to whoever left their bike (green one) in Darebin Creek, you should probably go pick it up before it rusts.

Let's start with the little problems. There were obviously players out there who were not going to last a full match. That will come in time I guess, but the players with niggling injuries or who had a distinct lack of match fitness should not have been played in my honest opinion.

The medium problems. There is a cultural problem at South Melbourne, of trying to repeatedly walk the ball into the net. Just have a ping! It might go in! There was also the abominable surface. But the players need to get used to that as at least 10 of the 14 grounds are probably going to be like that. You can't afford to let the ball sit up before shooting or passing, because it will not sit. The players can be warned about this and it can be changed. Whether they adapt is another issue.

The big problems. Still no central midfielder, to fight and win contested balls, and lay off simple passes to running players. Johnny A' still persisting with certain players in certain positions to which they are not accustomed. Certain players who are obviously not very good and who are getting games ahead of players that are good. Referees and their assistants. No idea about the last man foul rule, no idea about foul throws, no idea about not inventing bullshit free-kicks that only they can see.

Zoric will be a more than handy pick up. Deano had a blinder, but still provided two of his requisite heart attack moments. Caldwell should at least quit wearing red boots if he's not going to score sitters. And from now on I want the players to bleed for the shirt. Most fans would give almost anything to get out there for 30 seconds and play in that shirt, and yet the lack of fierce but fair tackling was offensive to me. The game seemed to carry on from last year's form, and that's troubling. If this is not the wake up call that we need then we seriously need a new direction. It may sound like I'm jumping the gun, but this was basically rinse repeat from much of what occurred last season.

Saturday, 16 February 2008

2008 Jersey Presentation night roundup

So so night. Was sold out which was good. Had Michael Zappone as host trying to butter us up, and not doing a terribly smashing job, but he wasn't helped by the rudeness of a few people who kept talking over him. Service at Kinisi was pretty crap. Rarely if ever asked if we wanted drink refills, and tried to serve food like your mother ('you will eat it and like it', more or less). I heard rumours of dessert, but can't confirm its existence. Anyway, pleasure to be on the same table as Shane Nunes and Benji Vahid, they were good company, even with the extended discussion about freeways and such. For the record, Fernando De Moraes and Ricky Diaco came out equal first at the player auction. Other stuff that sorta happened:

* Which handsome and educated boardmember was hogging the attractive hostesses, who were meant to be flogging off raffle tickets?
* Which chump played $500 to be in a photo with said hostesses when they could have got one for free?
* How did that wine glass get broken on an adjoining table?
* Which ex-South goalscoring machine was drunk at the front of a Cold Chisel gig at Bombay Rock back in the early 80s?

I forgot to take my gift bag home with me, with the coffee and bucket-hat. Thanks also to any players I happened to be in photos with. Not sure if I'll do this again next year, but we'll see.

Friday, 15 February 2008

2008 VPL season begins - Round 1, Heidelberg United vs South Melbourne

This is the first proper preview for this site. I don't know if I will keep this format/style, but let's worry about that later.

Last time they met:

Round 16 2007 at Olympic Village

Heidelberg United 3 South Melbourne 0

Heidelberg gained confidence and the ascendancy after grabbing two early goals, and were by far the better team. South looked jaded and out of sorts for most of the match, partly because of it being its 3rd game within 8 days after the infamous Melbourne Victory friendly midweek. But the performance was also indicative of the poor 2nd half of the season that lay ahead.


Derbies between the two sides have been harder to pick since South's drop from national league ranks. How much difference a decade makes. Back then, South was almost always assured of taking all the points, no matter how well the Bergers played. In contrast the seven contests between the two sides in the last three seasons have been all over the place, with 2 wins each and 3 draws, with the only score that has come up twice being two scoreless draws, those being the first two games played in 2005.

For whatever it's worth, Heidelberg have been perhaps the form team of the pre-season, including winning the Hellenic Cup against Oakleigh last Saturday night. That win did come at a cost though, with goalkeeper Peter Gavalas involved in a serious collision and suffering injuries which will likely rule him out for six matches. Heidelberg have boosted their squad significantly, with perhaps the most significant being the return of Eric Vassiliadis, in an obvious effort to both atone for missing the finals last season and to make a serious bid at winning the title in their 50th year. Heidelberg looks like one of the teams to beat this season, though the constant on and off field instability which continually plagues the club is never too far away.

South on the other hand have had a very inconsistent pre-season, changing up squad makeups and collecting mixed results accordingly. The defence has been revamped and time should be given for it to settle, but the lack of a tough and no-nonsense central midfielder, so obviously a problem last season, does not seem to have been addressed. Question marks also still hover around the goalkeeping position. With Mitchell Langerak's loan spell ended, it appears Dean Anastasiadis will regain the no. 1 position after suffering a season length knee injury last year, but doubts abound amongst quite a few South supporters not only because of the injury, but also because he will be turning 38 years old this year. Further up the field, South has attracted the likes of Goran Zoric and Hamlet Armenian, and will also be hoping to see a fully fit Fernando De Moraes regain his 2006 form after playing far below par in large part due to injury last season. I'm struggling to see South taking all three points this week, but the combination of being a derby and the end of the mickey mouse stuff means anything can happen.

Final prediction: an energetic but scrappy 1-1 draw.

Minor awesomeness

For awhile there I didn't think it would happen. Typing in 'South Melbourne FC blog' into Google used to make Park Life come up first, despite the fact that it had been dead for nearly two years. This blog on the other hand would only come up on the 2nd page. But not anymore. We're on the first page baby! Just another little step towards greatness for the good ship South of the Border and her captain.

Thursday, 14 February 2008


This is absolutely brilliant, and what's more it's an original South Melbourne Hellas creation (yes, yes, with a touch of AC/DC, too), forged in the roaring fires of smfcboard, during a dark era where every second thread was a stupid popularity game, created by people whose main goal was to add to their already overinflated post counts. I wish I could take the credit for this, but alas I cannot, as it is the work of a great man who goes under the pseudonymn Conya. Enjoy.

In the beginning
Back in 1959
Man didn't know about a soccer show
And all that jive
The white man had Matthews
The black man had Pele
No one knew what they was gonna do
But Marmaras had the news, he said

Let there be Red, and there was Red
Let there be White, and there was White
Let there be Souvlaki, there was Souvlaki
Let there be Fans, there was Fans, ah
Let there be SOUTH

And it came to pass
That Soccer was born
All across the land every soccer fan
Was ripping up a flare
And the trumpet man got famous
The souvlaki man got rich
And in every ground there was a superstar
With a seven year itch
There was fifteen million juniors
Learnin' how to play
And you could hear Lefteri's trumpet
And this is what they had to say

Let there be Blue, White, drums, 'n Trumpet, ah
Let there be SOUTH

One night in a club called the Hindmarsh
There was a 42 decibel CC band
And the feeling was good
And the chanting was loud
And the leader turned and he said to the crowd

Let there be SOUTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Watching grass grow

I spoke to a friend of a friend at the Family Day, and we got to talking about this blog. One of the things he said I should do is write every day. Well, sometimes there isn't anything too interesting to write about, and you have to rely on your b-grade material. Thanks to George Kouroumalis for the photo.

Over the off-season, Bob Jane Stadium had new a drainage system installed. It should have been put in when the surface was relaid at the end of 2006, but Parks Victoria apparently didn't think it was worth it with the possibility of Athletics Victoria moving in. And then half way through last season it bucketed down during one week, and the water didn't drain away. Anyway, the surface is looking pretty good now, and the drain lines should have a decent covering of grass by Sunday week, the date of our first home game against Coburg United.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Pumpkin Seed Eaters and format changes

You may have noticed some minor changes in formatting recently. Or not. Nevertheless these should be explained. There has been a counter installed at the bottom. This is mostly for me so I can see if people are visiting (apparently they are, which is good), and how many are returning. It is a little disappointing that you people seem to prefer Internet Explorer and Mozilla over the brilliant Opera browser, but whatever. There's also been a little blog bio and disclaimer put up. There's a couple of new blog adds as well, worth checking out. The number of articles on a page will also be increased.

But perhaps the most significant addition has been a link add for a new online radio show by and for self-styled traditional fans called the Pumpkin Seed Eaters (based on a comment which they attribute to Gary Cole, but I'm pretty sure was actually made by Melbourne Victory supremo 'Evil' Geoff Lord). Anyway, for less than 10mb, and at 42 odd minutes, it's pretty good, taking into account also that it is their first episode. There's an interview (at the cost of pizza) with Rockem Sockem Poutakidis and some Berger chump, and regular segments and whatnot. A warning though: it's not intended for people with weak hearts or those who love the A-League. It's a bit South-centric at the moment, but that's probably a good thing. In short, I enjoyed listening to it, and reckon it'll get better. The anti-semitism at the end wasn't really necessary though. And boys, there are plenty of frogs in Greece, trust me.

Monday, 11 February 2008

Family Day 2008 wrap up

This started off real slow, but by the end was in full swing. Kids were having a great time with the rides, face painting and such, but the highlight of course was the impromptu match with mixed teams of kids and senior players. In fact it was also very pleasing to see a whole bunch of the senior squad there, who were also more than happy to give their autographs to the littleuns, even coach Johnny A' who was asked somewhat stupidly by one pathological idiot to sign a couple of kids jerseys while clutching a half eaten souvlaki. Also good to see new recruit Shane Nunes bringing in the future missus and their toddler while I was on my way out. I welcomed them to the club in a real farkknuckle way, being of course the social inept person that I am, but it's the thought that counts.

I went there with the intention of buying a beanie, paying for the jersey night and potentially picking up my membership. When it turned out they didn't have any beanies, I decided instead to buy one of last year's jerseys at the insanely good price of $40, a saving of 30 bucks! I had a gander at the new season's top; frankly I thought they looked shit, and if you happen to think so too, getting one of last years seems like a good option. Then again, I'm hardly reknowned as a style icon, and they might be more up your alley. Alas, memberships were not available on the day to pick up, as the cards will apparently arrive tomorrow, but there's still plenty of time before the start of the season, and of course those magnificent balls are yet to arrive.

Away from the main action. there were a few interesting tidbits divulged as well by a well meaning but loose-lipped player. Recent departure Tansel Baser may not even make it on the park for his new club Coburg United, the osteitis pubis he suffered from during last year still giving him grief. A new keeper to replace the once prospective Neill Young has been found from somewhere in Sydney, first name Nick or something like that. Some players are carrying niggling injuries, but should be right for round 1.

I also had a blue and white gelato (a bit much at $4, when I can get them from Laverton Market for $3 and with more on top), the thematic significance of which was recognised by the same bright spark who after she recovers from whiplash and finding homes for players, will be creating a kick arse logo for this site, not that there's any pressure, because this blog's doing quite well without one, and we wouldn't want to rush the impending masterpiece. As my old man likes to say, "to kalo pragma argi na gini (the good thing takes a while to make)".

Sunday, 10 February 2008

On Persistance

I swear this is almost certainly the last you'll hear from me on this issue, but it's interesting to note how 31 people, and mostly high, drunk or stupid people at that, can have such a huge impact on the top brass. I'm usually amonsgt the first to point out the lack of grass roots street cred in the A-League, but this link proves that if you try for long enough, and no matter how insipid your attempts may seem, you can make a difference. Even if it takes 3 years, the lesson is to hang in there kids.

Hellenic Cup 2008 Finals round up

Now I wasn't there, so don't shoot me if I've got any of this wrong.

Two junior sides and the women's team had finals yesterday. Our u13s won 9-0 against Oakleigh, while our u14s side lost to the same opposition 3-2. According to slightly more than semi-reliable 2nd hand information, our women's side apparently played quite well and kept up with last season's WVPL champion Heidelberg, improving significantly on the previous 7-0 loss to draw the final 0-0 and push the game to penalties where they alas lost 7-6 in the shootout. Nevertheless, there appears to be much hope for our ladies this year, and perhaps now something better than merely survival can and should be aimed for.

Tomorrow a wrap up of the wildly enjoyable Family Day, which is partly dependent on my receiving a couple of photos to help illustrate a couple of points.

Saturday, 9 February 2008

One last bit of 2007 clearing out

At around about this time every year, people and pundits all over the place start making predictions they will never go back and have a look at. Most say it's all in good fun, but really it's just a dreadful waste of time. Therefore South of the Border will buck the trend and avoid making any list predictions for the coming season whatsoever. It's a hard habit to kick, and South of the Border stands in solidarity with all those who suffer from this disease. What I will do however is hand out way overdue awards for last season. Seeing as this blog did start last year, and the new season hasn't started yet and we're still catching up and all, it's totally allowed.
  • Player of the year: Ricky Diaco. The bloke sadly lacked consistent support, but even then he showed he was a class above most of the year. His free kick against Oakleigh is already legendary, but his in-close work was a joy to watch, particularly his skinning of defenders on the byline.
  • Youth player of the year: Mitchell Langerak. Young keeper, came in with an unsettled defence, and did a more than decent job. While he still has problems with low balls and coming off his line, his aerial work and his ability in marshaling the defence were very impressive.
  • Goal of the year: Ramazan Tavsancioglu against Whittlesea Zebras. Yes we lost this one 3-2, but I cannot do enough justice to the brilliance that was Rama's goal, so I'll let George Kouroumalis' poetry do the rest:
South equalised moments later, with what can be described as a contender for goal of the season by Ramazan. He produced a strong defensive tackle, reclaimed possession of the ball and began to dash up the right hand touch line. After stepping past one defender and spinning past another, he hit a speculative and intentional 35 yard rocket towards the goal, with the ball swinging and dipping into the top right hand corner and over the fully-stretched Gerohristodoulou, sending the South fans into blue delirium.
  • Best performance over a whole match: The home win against Oakleigh 5-2. The 2nd half in particular was an absolute joy to watch. These two teams have turned it on repeatedly in recent times, but that game will be hard to top. Diaco's free kick was merely the cherry on top of a great contest. Sadly South never reached that level of play for the rest of the season.
  • Best period of play during the season: The first 20 minutes or so against Heidelberg at home in round 1. Despite the goalkeeping fuck-ups, the team was that shit hot that even the most boring and relentless cynics proclaimed it as an excellent NSL-era standard. Perhaps if we'd won that game things would have gone differently.
  • Best away game: Sunshine George Cross. It was rainy, windy, cold, slippery but the dedication of the fans that day (and the win of course) made it totally worth it.
  • Best call on the terraces: After we re-took the lead against Oakleigh one wit said, "Hey Turnbull, you didn't even get to finish your smile". Concise, precise, and understated.
  • Chant of the year: Colombo's chant at the game against Preston. The police were doing nothing to move the Preston fans from outside the perimeter fence, as they have the power to do so, much to the annoyance of the South faithful. Can't remember the exact way it went, something like "I thought we were major events, why are the skops behind the fence..." there was more to it, of course, but it had this ramshackle rhythm to it that was just off this planet.
Don't forget, Family Day on tomorrow. Jersey Presentation night on Friday. Round 1 away to the Bergers on Sunday week. All which of which hopefully mean the end for now of these time killing pieces.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Australia vs Qatar 3-0, shame I missed it

Firstly, here is my favourite picture of Socceroo training at Bob Jane Stadium. Why? Because it actually includes the 'a-frame' that I helped move across so it would get into some media shots. Of course the media being fuckwit revisionist monkeys, you likely didn't see it on mainstream television stations. More photos on the South forum.

I also totally picked the wrong day to start throwing up every couple of hours. Pissed off that I missed this game, and of course the tv rights being the way they are, could only listen to it on the radio, and even then only the first half because I fell asleep due to exhaustion early during the second. Of course, we're not alone in this. The most important thing is we got off to a great start.

Monday, 4 February 2008

Please stop, that hurts

Quick post until my next undergraduate level 'serious' piece. The Futsalroos drew with Argentina 3-3 in their last group game (Nando scored again), before being hammered 7-0 by Brazil in the semi finals. Also getting caned 7-0 was the SMFC women's team by Heidelberg. Still, they've qualified for the final on Saturday, against Heidelberg once more. A couple of our junior teams have also reached their respective finals, so good luck to our under 13s, 14s and women's teams. A slightly tweaked version of my Tony Ising getting the arse piece is up on Das Libero, but not on the main articles page for some reason. Probably because it sucked, but who cares about Ising anyway? He's last week's news. Next piece will be likely be after the Socceroos-Qatar match, should be a ripper win, lose or draw.

Friday, 1 February 2008

Fernando kicking ass at KL 5s

Scored goals in all three Australian victories so far. Highlights below from the first game against Indonesia.

South Melbourne 0 Bentleigh Greens 1 - Hellenic Cup

Knocked out last night, with not quite a full squad, but disappointing nevertheless. Didn't catch this game, but this result was always on the cards based on Bentleigh's form, combined with not having a full squad. Expect more friendlies to come up now.