Thursday, 31 July 2008

La Verde and Wynne going, Zoric rejected

Regular South of the Border reader Cuddles has informed us that Robbie Wynne and Tony La Verde have both been snapped snapped up for Victory's youth squad, while Goran Zoric has missed out. Whether La Verde's injury will keep him out of action and out of the team remains to be seen. Also apparently reported in the Herald Sun but also available on the Victory official site.

Fawkner Match Report Redux

Cliff wasn't at the game, and my own match reports are notoriously slight, so here's one prepared by a loyal reader, which may or may not reflect the anguish of the experience.


In a miserable and uninspiring display of football, South Melbourne has virtually thrown away the opportunity of challenging for a finals position by going down to the Fawkner Blues by a single goal at C.B. Smith Reserve.

South went into the match on the back of a hard-fought 2-2 draw with the Melbourne Knights at Bob Jane Stadium the previous round, however the away side had not won a match since defeating Oakleigh in round 17. Fawkner entered the match rooted at the bottom of the Foxtel Cup table and resigned to the fact that they would be relegated to State League One at the conclusion of the season. Nevertheless, the home side saw the match against South as an opportunity to knock off a big name club in the Foxtel Cup and in the process try to leap-frog Frankston at the bottom of the ladder.

South began the match the stronger of the two sides and despite playing extremely poorly should have been at least three goals ahead at the halftime interval. However this was not to be the case, as Nathan Caldwell headed two golden opportunities wide of the target and Sebastian Petrovic unacceptably missed a fantastic one-on-one chance with Fawkner goalkeeper Michael Fiorenza, with his final shot going wide of the far post and out for a goal kick. Fiorenza played a big part in his side going into the halftime break with a clean sheet, as the Fawkner custodian produced some excellent saves to deny further South forays forward. When South did eventually find the back of the net through Fernando de Moraes, the goal was disallowed for offside.

The second half was no different to the opening 45 minutes, with the ball camped within South's attacking half of the field. However, despite the dominance in possession and chances created, the away side constantly made the wrong decisions when moving forward and as a result hardly ever posed a threat to Fiorenza or his defence. Caldwell tried to atone for his earlier misses by pouncing on a Daniel Rocco error in defence, but his final shot flew wide of Fiorenza's goal, failing to trouble the home side.

As has so often been the case for South in 2008, the game was won by a single moment of brilliance by the opposition. The home side had hardly posed a problem for South keeper Tommi Tomich, however in the 69th minute Sebastian Petralito easily skipped past the stagnant South defenders on the left hand side of the field and from just outside the area managed to curl a brilliant shot across Tomich's goal and into the bottom right corner of the goal. Despite the dominance, South were once again behind and fighting an uphill battle to save their 2008 season.

The away fans lifted in voice and in encouragement in an attempt to inspire their players to lift for them and put away their opportunities against a side who, having scored their goal, were quite happy to sit back and play on the counter-attack. The passionate encouragement soon turned to anger as the away side failed to change their attitude and in fact played worse than the opening half, where they had at least created several excellent opportunities despite playing sub-standard football. Despite the ball spending the majority of the final 20 minutes of the match in the Fawkner defensive half of the field, constant poor distribution of the ball, amateur crossing and shocking ball control skills ensured that South would not create another decent opportunity to even take a point off the bottom side in the league, which was why the final whistle was met with roars of disapproval from the away fans. In contrast, the Fawkner players were over the moon, as the result meant that they had moved off the bottom of the ladder with four rounds to play.

Once again, other results in the Foxtel Cup over the weekend fell in South's favour. However, its constant inability to control the destiny of its own matches has almost surely seen the lakeside club sink to a new low because for the first time in its 49 year history the blue and white army will almost certainly miss finals football action in consecutive seasons. South is languishing in 9th place on the ladder, five points clear of relegation but six points shy of 6th placed Oakleigh, who have two games in hand. Like the previous season, South looks almost certain of finishing in an extremely disappointing mid-table position, leaving coach Michael Michalakopoulos to seriously question the futures of some of his players at Bob Jane Stadium.

The matches do not get any easier for South, as their next opponent is third-placed Altona Magic. Fawkner's next test involves a tricky trip to Jack Edwards Reserve to face the Oakleigh Cannons. Both matches are next Sunday, with South's match against Altona kicking off at 3pm at Bob Jane Stadium.


By Jankerpoulos

Sixteen hours of travel for eighty minutes of football

Edited, only very slightly revised version of the Canberra trip now up on The 84th Minute.

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Something worth mentioning perhaps

Was at Lakeside last night, and happened to see Con Blatsis doing a light run inside the corridors near the changerooms. Probably doesn't mean anything, but good to see anyway.

Former Canberra Cosmos Player To Visit Mildura

As seen in the Mildura Independent and as relayed to everyone else by Mildura Vasili

Former Socceroo captain to visit Mildura

Football Federation Sunraysia has arranged for a former Socceroo Captain to visit Mildura on the weekend of August 2-3.

Paul Wade will be conducting coaching sessions for Sunraysia Junior players on August 3 at the Aero’s before their games kick off and will also be speaking at the Club Lounge (part of Quality Hotel Mildura Grand) on the evening of August 2 to which everyone is invited to attend.

Paul is arguably one of the highest profile sportsperson to visit the region in recent years and it is an amazing opportunity for not only Football fans to meet one of their idols, but for any fan of Australian sports stars.

"Wadey" as he is known around the world had a remarkable International career, including the Olympic Games, two world cup campaigns and one of the toughest tasks in world football to "mark Diego Maradona" in the two legged world cup play off with Argentina.

In a career with over 100 appearances for his country Paul Wade also won two National Soccer League championships and was voted NSL player of the year in 1988.

His career ended in 1996 where he had spent the last couple of seasons playing with Canberra.


Nothing to do with South of course, but we may get some photos anyway. We'll see what we can do.

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Port Melbourne move a done deal?

Our roving correspondent (ok, just a habitual eavesdropper) reckons that they recently overheard a board director or two talking about this, and the move to Port's SS Anderson Reserve, rather thna Olympic Park, is a done deal. Only time will tell if their information is true.

State Three Women's Score

Forgot to post this yesterday, but well done to the Women's Thirds who won their battle of the bottom two clash against Knox 7-1. They play top of the table Albert Park WSC in a local derby this Sunday at Albert Park Field 17 at 1:00, which is a short walk north of Field 13, and therefore ideal for those who want to watch that game and their head off quickly to see the South-Altona game.

Monday, 28 July 2008

First Blanco, Now Rasic

What is FourFourTwo actually trying to achieve with all this stuff?


FORMER World Cup Socceroos coach Rale Rasic has delivered a broadside to the new regime running Australian football.
Rasic believes the FFA are guilty of suppressing Australia’s football history and demeaning the importance of the National Soccer League, past Socceroos sides and the contributions of individuals involved with all aspects of the game for over half-a-century.

Despite recognising the progress made after the fall of the NSL and the establishment of the A-League, Rasic says the lack of acknowledgement and respect for his own contribution to the game epitomises a widespread ignorance of the nation’s football past.

“What happened was logical, it was evolution. It was progress but it happened artificially,” Rasic says of the establishment of the A-League.

Rasic – who was the first Socceroos coach to qualify Australia for the World Cup finals in 1974 – says the migrant culture associated with the NSL has been ignored by Australian football’s governing body.

“We used to have many ethnic clubs, which were the pride and honour of the people who built this country into what it is today; people who kept the communities - large communities - together, without being able to speak the language.

“For them it was impossible to learn the language and assimilate quickly. It is a problem that you still find today with people having problems learning the language and having to stick together within communities,” Rasic added.

“But Lowy’s regime does not recognise any of that. He just walked over and conquered the way he wanted to conquer these people, which is just rude.”

The former NSL Coach of the Year winner and Hall of Fame inductee, says that the FFA is accountable for its censorship of Australia’s football history and for its treatment of himself and other figures from Australia’s football past

“I think the FFA only want to talk about and show certain things," he said.

“Let me tell you that certain things that they did and questions they asked of myself and other coaches and of people who sacrificed themselves and their lives to this country: they treated them like prostitutes.”

Rasic also highlighted the presence of what he believes to be hypocrisy in the policies, actions and establishment of the FFA and what has widely been described as “new football”.

Rasic added: “Frank Lowy was a founding member of the NSL.

“He goes into exile for 24 years and comes back now and says that he can make a better contribution to Australian football than I can? Is he saying that there was no-one else who had contributed to football in this country over the years?”

“There were many, many problems with the NSL but surely we could not only be criticized for the mistakes and errors we made, considering all the good that people like Theo Marmaras did for football in this country..

“Don’t forget one thing: Theo Marmaras brought Australia back to FIFA and we, ten years later, qualified for the first World Cup ever: Theo brought this country to FIFA in ’64 and we qualified in ’74.

“So Theo Marmaras doesn’t deserve any credit? The contribution of these sorts of people is absolutely enormous.”

Despite his apparent disillusionment, Rasic believes that Australia’s football history will eventually be explored.

“I honestly think there is a lot of bullshit under the cover, put it that way. I think people are speechless, people fear something: no-one is saying anything.

“But you cannot ignore history: I tell you, the bubble will burst as soon as people wake up and say to themselves ‘what is going on?’”

“We have to learn to respect the past and look forward into the future."

The 72 year-old claims the respect shown to past Socceroos sides in particular has deteriorated, citing the contrast in the approach by previous body Soccer Australia to honouring past Socceroos before the World Cup Qualifier against Iran in 1997 and the actions of the FFA after the Qualifier against Uruguay in 2006.

“Against Iran we [the ’74 Socceroos team] were paraded around the MCG in a Rolls Royce,” he said.

“Following the match against Uruguay I was asked to contribute about $25 to snacks for a ceremony honouring ex-Socceroos.

“I said ‘Please, don’t insult me.’”

He added: “Essendon and Collingwood have a tradition of 100 years and so does Rugby League. Frank Lowy and his people must get to the roots of our football history and admit that he was part of it, good or bad.

“If the FFA don’t recognise the contribution people have made to football in this country and continue to be ignorant about the history of the game, then they should be ashamed of themselves.”

“I wrote a letter to John O’Neill in his first week of office, congratulating him and saying that I was looking froward to seeing him making a contribution toward football that would take us to the next level.

“I also told him I’m the owner of the biggest museum of football in this country and whether we could meet to discuss the issue in the future.

“I am still waiting for a letter back.”

Youth and Women scores

Women's Seniors lost 3-1 to Eltham North, while the Ressies won 6-1. The under 21s game was postponed, while the under 18s lost 3-1 to Fawkner, leaving them 5 points behind Bulleen.

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Why? Fawkner 1 South Melbourne 0

First half was very good except for the lack of a goal. Second half was crap. Story of our season really. At least now we can worry about not getting relegated, instead of clinging on to the belief that we could make the finals. First touches were atrocious, the home side had two shots on goal all game, one went in. Altona at home this week, another loss on the cards, probably. Time for Micky M to sort through who he wants to keep for next year.

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Like tenpins

More players added to the season ending injury list. Already with Yusef, Diaco, Curtis, Natsioulas, and Kelly out for the year, now Andy Bourakis and Tony La Verde are also out with serious knee injuries. While all the injured players would no doubt be disappointed, for La Verde it comes at an especially inopportune time, as he was on the verge of being selected for Melbourne Victory's youth team. South of the Border wishes all of them all the best in their recovery.

Friday, 25 July 2008

Jim Marinos still an ex-President

It's like that old Woody Allen joke about how a wife is for the duration of the marriage, but an ex-wife is for life... except that Jim Marinos (sic) was never South president. But we've been over this before.


Sidwell bid tipped to win second franchise

Another bid, to be known as Southern Cross FC, was headed by former South Melbourne president Jim Marinos, but was not representing the strong Greek-based club.


So well done Jake Niall and The Age, keep up the good work.

Where did they get the idea that Marinis was an ex-President?

I'm walking into the ground this time - Round 22, Fawkner vs South Melbourne

Last time they met

Round 9, 2008 at Lakeside

South Melbourne 6 Fawkner 2

South more or less cruised to victory, even scoring twice from corners. Yianni Galanos looking like a John Butler clone didn't help the visitors cause.


Preview

Results keep falling South's way, except of course their own. No Shane Nunes this week, which'll probably mean the return of Robbie Wynne, who I prefer to be honest. Surely even on a crappy ground like Fawkner's we should be able to win this one. Apparently they've got a new coach, but does that even matter? Will Jose Vasquez rescue them? I doubt it. If we don't collect three points this week, we don't deserve to be in the finals.

10,000 page hits hurrah

Thanks to everyone who has visited, linked, contributed, promoted, etc. On with the show.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Raul Blanco, eloquent and straighforward

As seen on the FourFourTwo website

Blanco: We Made Mistakes


Former Socceroos coach Raul Blanco admits the National Soccer League made "mistakes" - but says the FFA are blacklisting the sport's old guard.
Argentine-born Blanco, whose coaching career spanned across state, national and international level, says NSL clubs were guilty of isolating themselves from the wider Australian community during the existence of the now extinct league.

“The [NSL] clubs were guilty because they didn’t open the doors and allow people to come in,” said Blanco.

“I guess there’s nothing wrong with doing it at the beginning, getting the community to come together and saying 'this is our club'.

"But clubs failed to open their doors to the Australians, to everybody everywhere and say come down and be part of us.”

Blanco said the financial constraints on clubs severely hampered the potential of the league, contrasting sharply to the financial support given to the A-League.

“I think we always had an incredible challenge ahead of us, they were difficult times," he said.

“It was the first national league of any kind in this country. The vision was there but as time went on, the game outgrew the people.

"The money has always been an incredibly difficult issue.”

The former Arsenal de Sarandi, Prague F.C and Pan-Hellenic player says a major aspect of the league’s downfall was its reliance on an ageing fanbase.

He said: “They kept banking on the people who were growing older and it isn’t the same after a while.”

But Blanco says the failures of the NSL should not be solely attributed to the game’s administrators but also to a hostile society.

“I think when you look at the past, we all have to share a little bit of the blame both ways,” Blanco said.

“The response of the people wasn’t as open, warm and supportive as it should have been because they thought it was a game from somewhere else, a game not belonging to them.

“But it does belong to all of us, and as you can see now, it always has.”

Blanco, who arrived in Australia in 1967, emphasises the importance football held for entire communities of migrants.

“It meant everything to these people, they come from different parts of the world and they all found a common language in football as something which united masses all over the world – this is how clubs initiated and this is how football in many ways started over here,” Blanco added.

“I remember communities coming together on Sunday and Saturday to celebrate the incredible love affair they had with the game.

“They were wonderful times with full stadiums. There were 25,000 people in the final of the Ampol Cup.

“It was a normal thing to see the stadiums with a lot of people and excellent players.

“It was a wonderful experience which I enjoyed tremendously."

Blanco also reserves his deepest respect and admiration for those people who kept football alive for over half-a-century.

“Without all of the incredibly hard work that so many people did in a quiet way behind canteens, cleaning grounds, preparing things for the big occasions - thousands and thousands of people who worked incredibly hard just to keep the dream alive – we wouldn’t have football as it is today,” Blanco admitted.

“And they very tough times; it isn’t easy to travel from here to Brisbane or Adelaide with a team, enormous money was involved and the league survived for such a long time, even if we lacked the vision to be able to keep improving it.

“My admiration and respect for those people who worked so hard will be forever because I know what they did, how they worked so hard for the game."

Despite the positive contributions to the game, Blanco claims that people have been discriminated against by people involved in Australian football’s new era.

“The saddest part of it all is to see how many people belonging to that time are saying ‘Let’s not talk about it, let’s not think about it and let’s forget about it.’

"It is very annoying, sad, and discriminatory that they are saying this because they were part of it and now they are embracing the good times and saying forget about the past.” Blanco said.

“A country who forgets its past, it isn’t a true country: at least in terms of sporting culture.”

“And it seems that everything was wrong, badly done, too ethnic, but it saddens me to no end that the people who worked so hard were completely forgotten.

Blanco says Australia’s football past should be embraced.

He added: “We should not forget. Not only should we not forget, we should embrace those people who kept the dream alive.

"It has now happened only because of those people worked so hard behind closed doors and put so much time and effort of their lives into it keep it going.

“We just need a little bit of help, which this federation now has in a big way thanks to the government.”

The former Olyroos coach says the move to separate Australia’s football present to its past was a move which involved excluding people previously involved with the game.

He said: “I think it was very obvious from the very beginning the way they [the FFA] talked that they didn’t want to anything to do with the past, not to touch the people involved and in some cases, not to even mention them.

“I think from the very beginning, as soon as the new league was formed, it was a must that the people running the game made it clear that it was for everybody: we need you, we want you, make sure you’re part of it.

“If you don’t do that with these people, they won’t come in: they’ve got a bit of pride too – there are people who are perhaps hard-headed, stubborn and now won’t join.”

He added: “If you look to our federation right now, there are a lot of people who have nothing to do with our game.

"They didn’t then and they shouldn’t have anything to do with it now because they are not football people.

“You can be very intelligent but you have to understand what the game is all about and so many people I think don’t understand what it is all about.

“But in saying that I feel very strongly that they are eliminating people – maybe that’s a strong word though.”

Despite his own personal disappointment at the conduct of the FFA, Blanco believes the hurt experience by a generation of those involved with the game is virtually beyond repair.

“I was never invited anywhere, by anybody, at anytime. I think if you looked at what we did with the game, we might deserve a little better than that.

“I feel discriminated against to be honest. People don’t want us to be there. I would be lying to you if I said it doesn’t hurt a little bit because it does,” Blanco said.

“Four or five years of complete ignorance and talking as though they are 'old, ugly and ethnics' - it just keeps hurting the people who were hurt in the very beginning.

“And obviously if you start to receive a good amount of new spectators to the game, the more spectators they get the more they will forget these people.”

Despite the game needing to move into a new stage and the term 'new football' coming into use by the FFA, Blanco says the game is still the same.

“The game was stagnant. There’s no doubt about it. The game needed to be moved forward; everybody who loved the game would have told you there and then we needed change.

“Everybody started the battle a long time ago against the odds, because football was not welcome here; you can’t forget the adversities that people faced at that time.

“Johnny Warren would tell you from the top: it was a lonely battle. It had been unfair for a very long time.

“But it isn’t a new game, it is the same game, run in a new way with a lot more money than we ever had.”

Despite the difficulties and what he perceives to be the discrimination involved with the transition into a new age for Australian football, Blanco believes the “dream” of those migrants who kept the game alive is slowly being realised.

“Now you go to football and see people of all nationalities at Sydney, Melbourne and I think this is where the dream is starting to happen," he said.

“If the game is going to do better, you’ve got to suffer a bit of pain and applaud the move to move the game forward.

“So good luck and let’s hope we keep improving and keep moving forward.”

South Women's team should get in more fights

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

South of the Border welcomes Steven A McDonald

So you thought that was Scot MacNicol running out there on Sunday in the no. 6 shirt? Well, you'd be wrong.



FFV, going from strength to strength, with everyone else along for the ride. Thanks to John Punshon for alerting us to this latest piece of creativity by the dreamers of dreams.

Nobody Screws Soccer Like Seven... again

If you've been wondering how much of the Olyroos you're going to see from Beijing this year, below is a decent enough article from Gweeds of Victory forum/Accidental Aussie blog. Of course I don't agree with all his conclusions - the vigilantes riding into town to save the poor townspeople shtick rears its head again - but an interesting read nonetheless, including references to a stupider, but much more fun time.

Nobody Screws Soccer Like Seven... again

King Crud off the Sydney FC forums put it more succintly

on c7 the first week will just show aussies swimming. When aussies aren't swimming they'll show replays of aussies swimming. When they're not showing replays of aussies swimming they'll interviews with Laurie Laurence being a cunt. In the second week they'll show athletics and gymnastics, interspersed with replays of aussies swimming.

According to the Victory/Sydney forums, there appear to be people ready to go protest outside the Sunrise studio windows, so if you're in Sydney, and you care about the Olyroos coverage, might be worth heading down there.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Women and Youth scores

The Senior and Reserves women's teams both had narrow losses to the Casey comets, 1-0 and 2-1 respectively. The under 21s lost 1-0 to the Melbourne Knights, the under 18s smashed the Casey Comets 6-0.

Also, if you happen to see some of the South girls selling chocolates to raise money, buy some as it's to help them pay off the fine they got for getting in a blue with Preston a few weeks ago.

Monday, 21 July 2008

Could've gone either way, but the scores stay locked - South Melbourne 2 Melbourne Knights 2

A draw. Not what we wanted, but what we got. To be honest, by the way we played I don't believe we deserved a win. Maybe we did, by 1 goal max, which would've had to have been scored in the closing minutes. An early penalty in the first half saw Fernando De Moraes slot one home to send us up 1-0, then early in the second half we saw Gianni De Nittis tap in a through ball which was smoothly sent in by new signing Petrovich.

We went into half time hoping for at least a sealer in the second half or just solid play to at least keep the lead. But it wasn't to be. Our skill just dropped in the second half, and the Knights just pushed to the limit and got their 2 equalisers that they needed. They got their first goal after Gianni De Nittis had a good chance on goal, but it hit the post and their keeper eventually got rid of it. With the ball heading down the other end, the Knights capitalized when James Timmons sent a nice shot in and made it 2-1 for the Knights. Not too long after, Andrew Barisic sent another one in for the Knights to level the scores at 2-2.

Nunes received a red card in the middle of the first half, which was for a bit of an incident with a Knights player where he retaliated to a Knights player. The referee was disgraceful as usual, letting at least 4 clear handballs go that I counted; 3 against the Knights where one saw the ball in the Knights player's hand and him turning around with the ball to change the direction, and 1 against us which was against Fernando, where a few of our players called it too. And he let some rash tackles go too, including a clear boot in the head to one of our players, mean tackle to one of our players but then Rama ran in with a nudge to send the Knights player packing onto the floor which was also let go.

I agree with what Michael Chatzitrifonos (Richmond Eagles coach) had to say about the referees in the FFV. All over the FFV, the referees are disgusting. The next few weeks will see us take on Fawkner away, Altona at home, Richmond away, Whittlesea at home and Frankston away. We should be able to beat Fawkner for sure, Altona we have a pretty good chance, Richmond could go either way, Whittlesea we should really win, and Frankston... Well we should also really win this but it could prove to be difficult

Until Altona...

Take careeee ;)

Fernando de Moraes scores the first goal from a penalty: (Thanks to Pavlaki for the proper vid)





Fernando de Moraes scores the first goal from a penalty: (Cliff's effort)



Sunday, 20 July 2008

Meshless


Notice something missing? Where was my beloved blue mesh? Luckily it wasn't terribly cold, but still, the mesh was missed. Photo by Pavlaki. Cliff's match report tomorrow.

South of the Border welcomes Jonas Salley...

...to the wonderful planet of Australia!

Salley savours switch to Australia

First he was Costa Rican, after an erroneous comment by I have no idea who, then Ivorian and now he's one of us. Bonza! He's had almost as many nationalities as assumed names and clubs within a season. Ah, those were the days, watching Jonas strut his stuff in front of 40 people at Yarraville Glory's McIvor Reserve in a pre-season friendly we won against Richmond. Good times.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Disregard

Ya know, it was only days after I posted this particular entry that I realised that finally some topical relevance was achieved in regards to the name of the blog. As you were.

Friday, 18 July 2008

Last roll of the dice? Round 21, South Melbourne vs Melbourne Knights

Last Time They Met

Round 8, 2008, at Knights Stadium

Melbourne Knights 2 South Melbourne 0

The Knights scored twice in the opening 12 minutes, and then held on for the win in Michaelokopoulos' first game in charge of South.


Preview

The Knights lost their first game of the season last week to Coburg, immediately starting the "how much did Coburg pay for that privilege" rumour. Despite the dominant side of this year I haven't been blown away with what I've seen. Good at times, crap at others. If we're on our game then we're definitely a chance. Still, a look at the ladder and form guide says that a draw would be a good result for South, and that a draw will also rules out of the finals race, more or less.

South heading to Olympic Park? Don't scoff, this could be true

Thursday's Neos Kosmos had an article talking about how South would be required to move out of Lakeside for a couple of seasons while it had its athletics track makeover. That it would have taken one or two seasons to do was a no brainer to be honest.

A vague starting date for the project has been reported for early 2009. So where will South play? Olympic Park appears to be the preference of the board, with Port Melbourne as the back up plan. Compensation has been demanded, nay expected, from the Government.

I'm unsure if all this hardball stuff is going to fool anyone, or what going for the bigger ground over the smaller one means in terms of where our headspace is, but if we can wrangle a good deal out of it, I'd rather be at Olympic Park rather Port Melbourne, even if it's only a 1,000 people there, and it's cold, and the football is crap. ,

So I worked up the courage yesterday...

... to listen to myself on the Nearpost show, and it was going well, and then just at the moment where Gary Hasler is going to get his day in the sun, it cuts to another bit a little after it, but then the interview just cuts out due to technical problems. Otherwise, I think I handled all that rather well. :confusedfase:

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Billy Nats Is Hellas Mad!

A few weeks back I received a message out of the blue from one Billy Natsioulas, asking if he could contribute to South of the Border. Of course I jumped at the opportunity, and within a couple of days, Nats had got the following piece to me. I kept it on the backburner for awhile, seeking to release it during the week we played the Knights, an appropriate choice I thought. Anyway, if like Nats you would like to send in a piece talking about your love affair with South, or a great game or favourite player, by all means send it this way. Hopefully the floodgates open and we get a whole heaps submissions from players and fans alike. But now over to Nats, and his story.

Hellas Mad
This isn’t some half arsed suck up job and by no means is it my autobiography. I just have a lot of time to think things through and understand whatever happened to my so called soccer ‘career’. While I was doing this I got an understanding where this love for the game began. My dad and brothers were 'Hellas Mad'. This piece is to analyse what made me Hellas Mad, a football lover and a South Melbourne player.

Every home game, my brother, my cousin and I would hop into the back of my dad’s old Corolla and make what seemed like a long journey to Middle Park. We always got there early and parked around 10 minutes away to make sure we got parking that was easy to get out of. I would tie on my Hellas headband thinking that I was so cool. I have three vivid memories of growing up as a Hellas supporter.

The Past
Firstly, the 1991 Grand Final – My dad and I had left a family christening early to watch the final 15 minutes of the game. My dad drove like a lunatic to get to Olympic Park on time and we ran up the stairs, only to realise we were watching the game from the Croatia fans' side of the ground. Nevertheless, we watched and we hoped for an equaliser. My dad thought it was over and in typical wog style we conceded defeat and left early to beat the traffic. As we got into the car we heard the roar, game must have been finished. It wasn’t until we got home that we realised that the roar was for a South equaliser and we miraculously won the championship on penalties. Even watching the replay we couldn’t understand how we won that shootout.

Secondly, a friendly around 1992 between the great Hellas and the suburban Oakleigh at their old ground at Caloola Reserve, allowed me the chance to meet my heroes. Mehmet Durakovic, sporting a plastered broken arm took me under his wing and introduced me to each player. I got all their autographs and was over the moon, but as soon as I got out of that room my older brother stole the autograph book and claimed it as his own… PRICK!

The final memory comes from March 1994, 11,000 people packed into Middle Park to see Hellas vs Croatia. Wadey missed a penalty in the 94th minute that would've given South the game. On the way out we were met by the Croatian fans who started rolling big stones at us from the top of the hill. My dad took us through the trees and snuck us under the fence to safety before finding his way through the crowd and meeting us on the other side.

My career and the present
Who would've thought that after 16 years of supporting South that I would play for their dire enemies, the Knights. Well, that’s where I ended up. Credit to them, they gave me every opportunity and treated me brilliantly. Funny thing was the best game I played for them we got thumped 5-0 against South and a 35 year old Paul Trimboli scored two and tore future Socceroos Roddy Vargas and Adrian Leijer to shreds.

I had made a good name for myself at the Knights but when the NSL died and South came knocking it was just too easy for me to say of course I’ll sign. However, along with the initial signature there aren’t many highlights. Training with a retired Trimmers was great and even though he could barely move he still took the piss out of us. The first game against Heidelberg was great, the Championship in 2006 was brilliant but that’s where it all ends for me. Whether its a curse put on me by some old Croatian lady or simply bad luck my time at South reads as follows: 2005 – Glandular Fever (season); 2006 – Torn Hamstring and Lacerated Thigh (season); 2007 – Torn groin, concussion and head split open; 2008 – ACL knee reconstruction (season).

Not forgetting for a second all the mental issues which come with that kind of run of poor luck, which challenged my ability to get motivated week in week out, which probably doesn’t need to be put into details because everyone knows. I was spent and ready to give it up and many told me to do the same.

So why do I want to come back? I see the same desire in the eyes of my little brother and my students towards South that I had as a kid. I see their love for this club, I see others that have come before me with that same love. No other club has the team spirit that we have because we are honoured to put that top on every week. No other players can walk into clubrooms with the luxuries we have and look up at the names that have come before us. No other club has people like Trimmers and Jimmy Armstrong still around the place because even though they are legends of this game, they themselves know that this club is more special than any individual.

Until I am told I am no longer wanted at South I will keep coming back every year. Even when my body can no longer take it, I will be there supporting Hellas. Like my career, the club has had its dark days and setbacks. But it still has meaning for so many people, even though some try to deny it. Every time I look at my teammates I see that love. Every time I look at my brothers, my old man, my friends and my girlfriend I see that love. Hell, even when I speak to the old Greek bus driver Jimmy at my school, who’s been supporting this club since 1970 I see that love. South Melbourne is not a football club, it is a culture. I no longer play for my football ‘career’. I simply play for that shirt. I know that when I am gone, there will be plenty more to take my place and I will be there to support them… Long Live Hellas!

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

I and I is on da radio part 1

So, yes, it's true, part one of my interview with Eamonn of Football In The Capital/Nearpost Radio Show is online. I haven't heard it yet, might not ever hear it, but if you want to for some reason, the download link is below. The download itself is 50mb or thereabouts or you can stream it. Something less vainglorious tomorrow, but only just.

Nearpost Radio

Thanks also to the host for pronouncing my surname good, refreshing experience.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Kinda cool I guess

Someone made this as a kit for South on some Fifa game. Doesn't look too bad to be honest. As for Bank of Cyprus... I think they still have an ad board somewhere around the ground I think. They dumped us for some reason to become major sponsors at Sydney Olympic, and now sponsor clubs like Westvale and Oakleigh. I'd say it was their loss, but we need the money, ya know?

South lose 2-0 to Preston. Damn.

Disappointing loss to Preston on the weekend. Tried to erase it from my memory, but the FFV insisted on plastering the headline on the official Foxtel Cup site. Thanks to Cuddles for alerting South of the Border to this



Also, what nice clash strip form Coburg. Needs more red but.

If you were there, you know the score

I'm a member of the Church of Mexico. We worship George Lopez.


Monday, 14 July 2008

Other scores

The Senior and Reserve Women's teams both lost 5-0 to Box Hill Inter. Keilor Park moved ahead of South surprise win over Cranbourne. There's now four points between South and 2nd last GSL, who have three games in hand. The State 3 Women lost 2-0 at home to the Mornington Flames. The under 21s lpost 2-0 to first placed Green Gully. The under 18 boys find themselves somehow back in the hunt for the title as they thumped Brimbank 6-0, and Bulleen had a shock loss, 1-0 to Kingston, bringing the gap back to 2 points.

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Back to avoiding relegation - Green Gully 1 South Melbourne 0

Had enough chances to won this game, indeed played far better than Gully in my honest opinion, but lacked that killer touch and the touch of luck that comes with being there instead of down here. Thinks back to 2006 when, in the semi final against Altona, Deano saved two one on ones, and we went up both times to score. That kind of luck. Caldwell and Wynne were the best for South. Highlight - apart from the Pies winning - was the gorgeous sunset, as captured below by Pavlaki, who also gave me a copy of an episode of Carl Sagan's 'Cosmos' series from a couple of decades back.


Launch of 84th Minute

New Aussie football e-zine 84th Minute has officially launched. Nothing of mine on there yet, but an edited and improved version of the the three part Canberra trip retrospective will hopefully be up there soonish, as well as what ever other thing I do that Neil likes. Read it anyway, you might learn something, or get angry, whatever. 'Match report' of sorts from the Gully game soonish. I promise.

Saturday, 12 July 2008

A Tale Of Two Bids

A few weeks back I was having a bit of muck around with Eammon of Football In The Capital about how it somehow seemed that even South was ahead of Canberra when it came to bidding for the A-League. All in jest of course, because there has been nothing concrete - and I mean that in spite of all the well meaning and/or 'credentialed' people who claim otherwise - saying there will be a South bid. But it is interesting to note how far along, and how different, the two bids styles are. Now granted that they are two different markets. Canberra has difficulty retaining sporting teams, has no current A-League there, and none of that ethnic baggage that comes part and parcel with a Sydney or Melbourne scenario.

So those differences aside, let's compare in a really basic fashion. The current Canberra bid, which is slowly gaining momentum, has a petition, has a figurehead behind it, and it has set out its intentions out for everyone to see. The South bid on the other hand, released a pissy press release, has no one willing to day they're running the show, has no money, has no idea - publicly at least - of where it's heading, and creating disillusionment amongst both the dickhead latent and the still for some reason going to South populations. I'm sure you could write a whole thesis on this, but it's a Saturday, and it's something I thought people might be interested in having a think about.

Friday, 11 July 2008

22 Year Drought Waiting To Be Broken - Round 20, Green Gilly vs South Melbourne

Last Time They Met

Round 7, 2008, at Lakeside

South Melbourne 0 Green Gully 3

It what ended up being Johnny A's last game in charge, South succumbed rather meekly to hardened Gully outfit, helped nevertheless by favourable officiating.


Preview
Ok, so the 22 yeras thing... bit of a stretch seeing as how the two sides hadn't met at Gully Reserve between 1987 and 2004, but still, South has not scored a single goal in all four meetings at that venue, and lost three out out of those four games. And while South teeters between pedestrian and encouraging, Gully as usual holds a steady, if unremarkble line of sticking near the top of the table, second only to the unbeaten Knights, as well as having the tightest defence in the league. With seven games left, four against top six sides, and three against relegation threatened teams, South cannot rely only on the latter, and needs to start racking up the points sooner rather than later. A tidy performance midweek against Northcote was encouraging, but anything more than a point will be real bonus.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

New Vic Soccer Forum

There's been a lot of whingeing of late of how soccer-forum.net has gone down the toilet, with fewer and fewer people participating. I put it down not just to the changeover in servers/presentation/whatever, but more so due to the fact that no one has been able to register on the thing for years now, unless they know someone running the thing. Rather like another forum which is slowly dieing for similar reasons in my honest opinion.

So some nut job - possibly related to Tsigan Forever, but not for certain - has decided to start up a rival forum. I've signed up and I encourage everyone else to do so, in the popes at least of making other forums open up their registrations. Be warned however that there may be World Game forum people on there who seek to ruin the thing before it gets started.

http://victorianfootball.aforumfree.com/

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Of course I could be wrong...

...and there was in fact no protest whatsoever, just a bunch of well 'ard twats who don't have the cojones to light one and hold it in the air, and who for some reason can't just enjoy a game of football without having to distract themselves and everyone else with their rugged, overwhelming manliness. Swamped all over their disowned when inconvenient manifesto it is - a manifesto which is both gut-achingly stupid and very, very serious.

Fully Sik Night Out At Gully Bro

So Melbourne Victory had a praccy game against Green Gully on Monday, one of those teams with not even a latent, disloyal or just plain forgetful supporter base to boast of. Perfect for the Victory, if only so some of their more hotheaded supporters don't get too excited by being in close proximity to supposed opposition fans and misbehave by lighting a few flares and such, as was seen in last year's South-Victory friendly. Wrong.

General estimates say there were over a dozen flares lit. Some would be impressed by this tally, but not me, but that's more to do not being impressed by flares in general rather than the number lit. Sidestepping the pro/anti flare issue within an oldskool/new school framework for just a sec - because as my mate Psile has found out during some of his patented forum research, no one really cares to be honest - apparently the flare show, and the attached negative chanting about the FFA, was meant as some sort of protest. Protest against what you may ask? Surely they should all be grateful that the FFA is running such a tight ship, and soccer - sorry, football - is now sailing into the bright blue waters of the future, having dispensed most effectively with all the evils that were plaguing the local game - in simpler terms, the NSL/ethnics clubs were scurvy, and the FFA has delivered a truckload nutritious limes full of Vitamin C and everyone's feeling absolutely chipper.

Anyway, so despite everything going absolutely gangbusters, just like they wanted, it turns out that some Victory fans aren't completely happy with he current arrangement after all. They're pissed off with the FFA not allowing them to do whatever they feel like, or even some of what they feel like. Apparently there's all these rumblings abut stanbding, chanting, 'atmosphere' and 'supporter culture' that they're all very annoyed about. Something also about 'Home End Memberships', which seems self-explanatory at first but is probably something really complex and almost certainly evil.

So in the interests of a free, public, and secular education, let me explain it to them in terms they hopefully understand. The NSL was bad. It had flares, violence, and people who were not welcoming of others. You said this yourselves. You were pleased that there was a new regime and a new league which would get rid of all that, and which would bolster soccer's standing in the commumity, and it has, remakably so. You know this is true because you have been telling the doubters and oldskool recalcitrants whenever they dare to post something contrary to the glorious New World Order. Of course, in order to succeed, the new regime had to crush everything that had come before. And it has. And you were glad.

But what's this? Now you're against corporate football? You want to stand on terraces? You want a certain air of volitility to exist? So what you're now saying is, what you wanted to get rid of was not all those things like violence, flares and all those things which you said were holding back the game, but rather making sure that it was merely transposed to an Anglo-Celtic friendly/dominated environment, where the full display of other cultures was gone, and there was only the appearance of people who looked dififferent. In essence, wolde you bothe eate your cake, and have your cake?

When the FFA was set the task of creating a new 'successful' competition, there were a number of options it could take. One stood out as what not to do - what had come before. One also stood out as what should be done - the AFL. The AFL over the past 30 odd years in particualr has destroyed the once vibrant supporter culture which existed in Victorian Aussie Rules, and reaped the untold benefits. So cheersquads are only a fraction of the size they used to be, colour and dynamacism in the outer are at best AFL and sponsor approved, and at worst negligible anyway, and teams are indistuinguishable from one another, except for the colour of their guersneys (no wonder why AFL fans make such a racket about that - they don't have much else left do they?). The money rolls in, attedances and memberships are at record levels, and therefore eveything's just peachy. The A-League is more or less the same thing, with the benefit of a clean slate the AFL would die for.

So rather than being ungrateful and petulant sods, you should probably just buy your season ticket, official merch, Foxtel subscription, set your home page to www.mvfc.com.au, and bask in the glory of getting what you wished for. Or else build a time machine and go back to when the NSL was still semi-viable and support that instead. It's probably time for me to shut up. Because no matter how long I go for, nothing will come close to the summation of the so called protest by Jubai1 off the main Sydney FC forum, who has certainly put it best.


Meanwhile in FFA towers:

FFA Suit 1: "So, Basil, where are we with those Northern Terrace chaps in Melbourne, any progress?"

FFA Suit 2: "Well, Sir Edward, negotiations have taken a turn for the worse, I'm afraid."

Sir Edward: "Not hostage taking surely?"

Basil: "No Sir Edward, a number of them attended a trial match against Green Gully and, well, they......um.."

Sir Edward: " Come on man, don't stand there blubbering like a Marinator, out with it"

Basil: "Well, they lit flares and sang rude songs about us"

Sir Edward: "Good Lord, are there no depths to which they'll sink?, these scoundrels and ruffians"

Basil: " It appears they have no shame sir, whatever shall we do?"

Sir Edward: " What can we do? Their damnable tifo culture is just too powerful, we have to give in to their demands, what do they want?"

Basil: " I have a list here.... um,....I think we might need a translator, It seems to be in foreign, are they foreign?, something about 'fully sik' whatever that is"

Sir Edward: "Just give them whatever they want, before they start chanting about us again"

Basil: "Yes, Sir Edward"

Sir Edward: "Now, more importantly did you get our Wallabies tickets? That Lote chap's a bit dusky for my taste buy by Jove he can play, eh Basil?"

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

South defeat weak Northcote

Earlier this evening we defeated the Northcote City seniors 0-3. New South signing Petrovich (Who has played for South a few times in the past) scored the opener, with Caldwell scoring 2 goals in the second half to seal the game in our favour, including a great goal from a free kick. Recent signing Luca Napoletano was also said to have impressed and played well in the second half in which he was subbed on.

More details as they become available.

Under 18s title hopes slip away

Last night at the Veneto Club, South's under 18s went down 1-0 to the ladder leading Bulleen Lions, more or less ending their title hopes despite there being eight games left into the season. Our man on the spot Peter reckoned the goal was offside, but not much that can be done about it now.

Monday, 7 July 2008

State 3 Women, South Melbourne 0 Sandringham 2

Went down to Albert Park Field 13 yesterday to have a look at the State 3 Women's side take on Sandringham. The visitors had by far the better of the first half, dominating midfield, and eventually getting a goal from a goalmouth scramble. The second half, in particular the first 20 minutes or so, saw South come out all guns blazing, but just unable to get the equaliser. There was a clear penalty for a push not given, and when the Hammers got their second goal midway through the half, the South girls' heads went down a little, and while they battled on, the game was as good as done, the visitors a little more polished all over the park, and assisted by the referee not punishing their physical style.

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?

South of the Border would like to welcome back Leo the Prez, who's been of on a European sojourn these last few weeks, and hopefully refreshed and ready to take on the rest of the season, and quiet rumblings from some quarters, and reminding others of what their jobs are, and who and what they're here to serve.

Kinisi Night reminder

Not my kind of scene for obvious reasons, so highly doubtful you'd see me there, but for those who like this sort of thing, details below

Friday, 4 July 2008

Scrounging

So yeah, um, this is where this week's preview would normally go. But there's no game on this week, there being some sort of midseason break or bye or whatever before the last seven games of the season. Altona East is playing in Ballarat, so that's probably a no go. There's the Swans-Pies game on TV. As for Sunday, might make the trek down to Albert Park Field 13 to see the State 3 Women's side play Sandringham. Seems like one of those weekends to be honest.

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Hellas Watch

Now the term Hellas Watch can apply to two things. One is the collective name for the disparate South fans on the Victory forum, particularly when they all go crazy posting about South, usually when an opposition supporter has defamed the club. The other is for random sightings of South related people, like this text message to me yesterday morning by Michal.


Arthur Akritidis, is here at Carribean Gardens market. We talked about South, you should have heard the pride and passion in his voice.


If you have other random sightings of South people, send details of your escapades to South of the Border - where you'll never be punished for overuse of the phrase 'pride and passion'.


post script

I realised some eight hours after teeing this entry up that I had two Akritidis related entries in a row.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Get your free Frozen Tears (reprise)

Was it last year or the year before? Anyway somewhere in that frame of time, some of the more musically gifted South fans (most with a heavy rock/metal background) were tossing up the idea of creating a new South Melbourne song... sadly that idea seems to have fallen away. I was thinking recently how awesome it would be to not only have a new song, but also have a cover done of the classic Frozen Tears, South Melbourne song. And if they're struggling to find a vocalist, surely Frozen Tears and Channel 31's own (and former South youth player) Arthur Akritidis wouldn't mind lending his vocals to the project? We should definitely try and make this happen.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Last week's other results

The women's seniors gave a up a 2-0 half time lead to lose 3-2 to 2nd placed Ashburton. The women's ressies lost 1-0. Women's State 3 team lost 1-0 to Noble Park, courtesy of a dodgy penalty according to sources at and/or participating in the game. The under 21s lost 2-0. The under 18s had a 7-1 win over South Springvale, ahead of their season defining must win game against Bulleen this week.