Thursday, 31 December 2009

Goran Zoric signs 2 year deal with Police United

Well there you go, it's official (in Thai). Thanks to Tony for keeping us up to speed with what's been going on over there, we'll try our best to keep up with Goran's Thai adventure. South of the Border wishes him all the best at his new club.

Monday, 28 December 2009

Forgot one thing, but no surprise really.

Two years of doing this thing. Just eight more years before it earns me a life membership, so I can then grumble like the rest of the life members about having to pay the $50 life membersip renewal fee. But like that will ever happen.
This is what happened this year. No value judgments.
  • Less articles, in part because there were no interstate trips, no A-League bid, and the Eels' Hombre Lobo was actually a pretty crappy record.
  • Talked to public service people about stuff.
  • Pissed off some people intentionally.
  • Pissed off some people unintentionally.
  • Didn't change the layout a billion times.
  • Lost Cliff to muzzadom.

Thankyou to CC White for another win, Ian for free books, Cuddles for telling me all the things I can't say, Psile for matching my cynicism stride for stride, Gains for providing a stupid sense of hope that this club's support base can be replenished, Tony for letting me be a quizmaster, Mildura Vasili for being a fan, Michal for being on msn a lot, Nick 'the other Polish South fan', the Offset no. 9 team for putting out a decent book, and the people who had my back went it counted - you know who you are.

You know, like, whatever

Last week we here at South of the Border deliberately ignored the Battle of La Trobe Street stoush where several Victory fans/keyboard warriors attacked the Duke of Kent Hotel because some Sydney FC fans were drinking there. But along came the winner for biggest genuine New Dawn comment of the year.


The rivalry goes back many years, when emotions between former National Soccer League clubs sometimes turned ugly. Many hardcore supporters of clubs such as Sydney Olympic, Marconi, Sydney United, South Melbourne and Melbourne Knights stuck with their clubs when the A-League began. Some were put off by what they saw as a ''manufactured'' league with no tradition. Many made the transition and the Victory and Sydney FC also drew in thousands of new supporters. However, a small number of agitators are unwilling to move with the times.


David Sygall, you're an idiot. But then again, he's only following the template set out years ago.

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Four doors in an appointment

When posting the news about Goran 'Gozza' Zoric allegedly set to sign with Police United, I was unable to read nor provide any sort of usable translation of fellow member of the blogosphere Tony's piece on the matter. Fear not good reader, for we have been provided with a translation by our Polish correspondent via google's translation function. It still makes more sense the Ultimate Warrior's comic book from the mid 1990s though.


After news came to know some. But not that much interested in anything. Soccer is Aassie from Melbourne to test the foot with a friend, police team. I have been appropriate in the interests of this player today and treasured Eastern. It informed the press in Thailand that. Soccer this close to becoming one of the very police troops Soccer friends.

According to the data for the Global Hotel run by Eric web site and blog sites are different enough to make that this player. Same pace uncommon. And should make enough friends, fans, police teams have peace of mind initially. If he has to join the team. Try not believe he shot clips help Boasting a team of South Melbourne to 4 doors in a single appointment. Appointment of a war game in Victorian Premier League Seasons past. 

Goran Zoric trialling in Thailand

Here's how I figure it: if some random dude from Sydney knows about it, then chances are others do too. Goran Zoric had been rumoured amongst other places to be going to Green Gully and Bonnyrigg White Eagles. Both of those are not true. What Goran has been doing is trialling in Thailand, apparently at Chonburi. But this Thai student studying in Australia called Tony, who seems to be a real football nut, especially for all things Thai football - he writes a column for a local Thai newspaper - who knew we had one? - and also has his own blog on aussie soccer (it's in Thai, but there's an smfctv clip showcasing Zoric's four goal haul against Preston - that was a good day) - anyway, this bloke reckons, as posted in the comments section of a recent article, that he's now trialling at Police United, who have seemingly bounced between the top two tiers of Thai football.

So, to answer your question from that page Tony - here it basically is. I think Goran's a player of some potential. Despite having trials with Melbourne Victory's youth team, he's been overlooked for a full place in that squad. He's quick, he can dribble a little bit - more than a great deal of Aussie players anyway - has half decent control, and at South has been played as either a right winger or as a small forward playing off a bigger striker, such as Vaughan Coveny. His finishing is ultimately what lets him down, as sometimes he can be a little tentative or even cute with it. When his confidence is up though, that is not an issue. And as attested in the fact that he trialled with the Victory youth squad, he's still young - I'd tell you exactly how old he is, but the player details have been taken off the South website in preparation for next year.

Thanks for writing in Tony! And good luck to Goran if a club over there decides to pick him up! 

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Melbourne Knights dig hole to 1987. Or something.

Preface

I'm bored. I don't like Christmas, the FFV didn't manage to get the 2010 VPL fixtures out before they went on their well deserved 18 month break, and I'm getting over some sort of short lived but kinda punchy flu thing. People also aren't sending me their Offset reports so I can make a pretty folder for next year's group, so it will likely appear that I am writing more nonsense than usual.


The Main Part

It's not often that it happens, but every now and again we at South of the Border like to take a look at what's happening at place that aren't South Melbourne. Because you know, we love to whinge about the board, the team, about losing our Greekness, and that most cardinal of sins, selling out to THE (Zionist) MAN, that sometimes we forget how good we have it compared to others.

We could talk about Preston sinking to State League 1, but there for the grace of Dawkins go I and all that. We could talk about Heidelberg's endless shenanigans, but that would necessitate a whole other blog - try out their HUFC-TV, if it's still working, for how not to do a vodcast. Or we could we like the remnants of the once mighty Brunswick Juventus, broken into a million pieces and scattered across this great brown land, one team with the trophies, one team with the grounds, one team with the colours, and several other clubs blended, decanted and spat out along the way. Or George Cross, who owned their own ground, seemingly never made an improvement to it in the 25 or so years they were there, sold it 15 times, boast that at least they had their own venue, but don't seem from an outsider's point of view to know where they're going, what they're doing, and are more akin to being the mule with the spinning wheel.

But instead we'll talk about the attempted regeneration of what was once a mighty foe, who like us was dumped from the top flight or humbly chose to withdraw from those aspirations, depending on whose version of events you go by. The glory days of the Melbourne Knights - or Melbourne Croatia as they were once known - are long gone, especially from the heady on field days of the mid 1990s, where their machine, by a probable combination of good management and fortune took all before it, before its best and brightest left to light up the world's football stage.

After a decade's worth of decline on the park and off it, as the local Croatian community, with a newly independent homeland secured and the relative flood of immigration drawing to a mere trickle - pretty much like every other European community - local crane entrepreneur and alleged underworld identity Matt Tomas took over with a plan. The plan was to take the Knights forward, into the boldness of tomorrow. There were tangible differences and speculative fairytale stuff that's harder to pin the compass of truth on. The more or less truth. More money was splashed around, and results, at least initially, seemed to improve. They got to a grand final, which they lost in the 120th minute. They got massive sponsors on board, including online gaming behemoth Mansion88 - who also sponsor the Tottenham Hotspur - and they even repainted the Mark Viduka Stand - hell, they even got Mansion88 as the ground's naming rights sponsor.

Off the field, the stories flew into FourFourTwo Australia's inbox thick and fast. They were going to move to Melton. They would be part of the 2nd Melbourne A-league licence bid. They'd become a feeder to Adelaide United, after Tomas and friends would take it over. Stuff like that. Stuff that seemingly never happened. And to do all that, the club would have to be de-Croatianised. A club which, even in the heady mainstreaming days of the NSL, barely made a tokenistic effort to open up - and it was their absolute right not do to so - was heading head first into the future. And the majority of its support base, those that were left anyway, were not impressed. Every club must have a reason for being. The reason doesn't always stay the same, but there must be something to underpin why anyone would bother to turn up and do what needs to be done to keep such an operation in motion. The reasons that Tomas and his board provided - a board that included former South board member Jim Marinis - didn't seem to wash with the majority of the diehards.

And so, at their recent AGM, Tomas and friends seemingly left, and the vacuum was filled by other people, with a new agenda. Well, perhaps not so much a new agenda, but rather a very old one. To go back to the past, and to do it unapologetically. An old logo, with the grb's checkerboard pattern replacing David Hill's mandated diamond scheme. A membership campaign highlighting the importance and centrality of the club to Australian Croatian identity, and the importance of Croatian identity to the club. A Croatian club for Croatians - pretty much everyone won't be excluded as a matter of practice, but the emphasis has been turned inward - while most of the old school wog clubs of any note have dithered on which direction to take - the vague promises of the future or the direction the Knights have chosen. Will it work? I have my doubts. It all seems too much like St George Budapest circa 1975, but with even less optimism and less opportunity to make something great out of it. It all seems rather reactionary than anything resembling a genuine plan.

What does this have to do with South? Well apart from them stealing entire passages from our own membership campaigns - see the 'Member get member section' of their 2010 membership brochure - it provides a chance for the two different reactions to the post-NSL landscape to be somewhat compared. Of course, the clubs come from different angles, have always had different reasons for being, and substantially different cultures - but it'll be interesting to see if either plan works. South's 'Need more Greeks' contingent is largely defeated, but as the events of the recent 2009 finals loss to Hume showed, sadly not entirely gone (Shane Nunes was racially abused by a couple of our so called fans, as well as hearing the catch cry of needing more Greeks who'd play with passion for the shirt, allegedly).

And it also shows two clubs who, in spite of the FFV's utter neglect in promoting or reforming the VPL, are at least taking matters into their own hands. It's not always entirely someone else's fault when things go wrong. Sometimes it can even be no one's fault at all. But at least taking a stance, following one direction, wherever it may lead, is a sign that these two clubs at least are seeking to take control of their own destiny. It's easier for some than others, of course. Cash, cultures, locations, history and demographic compatibility with the urgency of now, plus the question of how long committees with grand dreams can be held together. We'll see in time where it all ends up. And here I was thinking there wouldn't be anything to write about for the next couple of weeks.

Monday, 21 December 2009

It was rather appropriate really...

...that the more time I spent off the field, the better the mighty Clarendon Corner Whites did against those dastardly Clarendon Corner Blues. In a remarkable game, the Whites came from 3-1 down (3-2 at the break) and 5-4 with eight minutes to play, and in the face of some disgraceful refereeing to seal a famous 7-5 win. Can you believe that not once in the four times this game has been played, has the side leading at half time won? HavingLeo Athanasakis and Tom Kalas helped immensely - having George Triantos not so much. But it was a team effort that got us over the line after all looked lost. I am so sore today. Oh, and nobody cares what happened in the main game. Ole!

Friday, 18 December 2009

Hellenic Cup 2010

A title to defend. We've been grouped in the North/West section, which this season is actually in the north and/or west. Yarraville to be more precise. Whose ground is actually in Spotswood. They have better souvs than Bentleigh at least, and their proximity to my place is a cause for celebration. As for the fixturing, you can head to the website for all the rest of the organisation's games - our women are apparently fielding two sides in opposite side of their draw. It does not appear to be the most difficult draw in the world - mind you, there is a paucity of Greek backed teams in state 1, and the VPL teams have been kept away from each other as you'd expect.

Sunday January 24th
South Melbourne FC vs Altona East
Kick Off - 5pm

Thursday January 28th
South Melbourne FC vs Essendon United
Kick Off - 7pm

Saturday January 30th
South Melbourne FC vs Lalor
Kick Off - 5pm

Tuesday February 2nd
South Melbourne FC vs Keon Park
Kick Off - 7pm

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Monday, 14 December 2009

Mellas, Patitsas, gone

Usually when the AGM rolls around and resignations happen at around the same time, the announcement is made in front of the members. Not so yesterday for some reason. Indeed, they didn't even sit with the rest of the board. What does it all mean? Who knows, and perhaps it doesn't matter anyway, I'm probably reading too much into it. Still, it would have been nice to know what heir future plans were, why they gave up their spot on the board etc.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

It's done

The AGM passed the motion giving permission to the board to continue negotiating with the government on the Lakeside redevelopment.

And it was great, after several flat AGMs, to see a passionate response on several issues from the membership - and the board - when it counted.

One shouldn't count their chickens before they hatch - but this may genuinely be the real deal, this time, after several false new dawns.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

And another thing

This is the last word I'll have anywhere online about this. From here on in, just look it up yourselves.

The so called $3000 rule, as it stands, is a myth.

It does not relate to transfers. It relates to development fees, the regulations and gradings of which are implemented by FIFA.

Depending on whether a player signs their first or second professional contract, $3000 or $5000 is split between the clubs they were at between the ages of something like 12 and 21.

Transfers in Australia are capped at 50% of what's remaining on the player's contract. So hypothetically if Carl Recchia (for demonstration purposes only, snigger) signed with us on a 1 year contract at $1000 a game, and an A-League club wanted to snare him 4 weeks before the end of our season, the maximum we could ask for is $1000 - half of what is left due to him.

In reality, it really is just an update of what Paul Wade did back in the day - he'd demand 1 year contracts with a maximum transfer clause - with the added assistance of the Bosman ruling and an over supply of dumb clubs overspending on over the hill park footballers and their counterpart greenhorns who are rightly milking the cash cow for as much and as long as they can.

And just how stupid can these clubs get? Well apart from board member and pleb fan alike still running an incorrect line 5 long years after it all went to shit, there are clubs who still insist on paying their players under the table payments, which in the event that a player is picked up by an A-League club, they can't sell him for what they're actaully paying him! It's fucking genius stuff.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Could it be that one small voice, doesn't count in the room?

So sang Michael Stipe nearly 30 years ago, with a poignant yearning, or something. Anyway, before I lose my train of thought, this has nothing to do with South Melbourne Hellas, the game of futebol, or anything else that would interest 99.9% of my readership.

A couple of weeks ago I was on my way home from an outing with my youngest brother. Waiting at the bus shelter, I get this call from an unrecognisable number. Straining to hear over the Mason Street traffic, I eventually agree to attend a session where I would be a part of a student panel being surveyed about our experiences at Victoria University. I've been recommended by one of the higher ups. I get the email detailing the when and where the next day, and my elation is slightly dampened, because apparently it'll be one 45 minute session. But there's be lunch. Neat.

So the day finally comes, when I can unload all my praise and loathing. But no. The couple of Arts students that have bothered to turn up are lumped in with the Education students. Again. I say again, because this is what happens a lot in my course - education students are required to take some electives, and a lot of them end up in literature and writing classes. And the problems with that are multidimensional. Education students are required to take weeks off to perform their placements at schools - so either everyone who stays behind keeps going, disadvantaging those doing their placements, or we collectively miss weeks every time they go, meaning we lose a ton of momentum, as well as force a 12 week semester's worth of work into 10 weeks. Not good for anybody. Couple that with the fact that a fair proportion of the education students have little passion or interest for what they're learning and are only there because they have to be, and it gets even messier.

So, the point being, once again, the needs of education and arts students are lumped together. So while there were similar threads running through the discussion - about staff, facilities, course structures - overall, it just didn't fit. And it only went for a half hour. There was not a single comment made by the students in that room that I felt was a waste of time. But it had barely scratched the surface of what could have been covered - certainly some of the other students when speaking later thought I could have gone for a couple of hours at a bare minimum. So no, not a complete waste of time, but this is why time-share accommodation sucks. Just a little taste, but never the whole pie.

I really like Victoria University. Academically, its emphasis on class contact and partipation suits me very well. But at the St Albans campus, socially it's a desert. There's no union presence. There's no common lunch hour to even begin thinking about orgainsing a club or society. There's no pub. The food's shit. And they're going to stuff another few hundred or thousand people there when they shut down Melton and Sunbury. The sessionals, who are sometimes teaching courses they've created themselves, have one small common computer lab. I could've gone on and on. And I felt I was robbed of that chance today. Or maybe it's the fact that they, the questioning panel of academics and university admin, know exactly what's wrong, and it was more of a perfunctory exercise. That's harsh to say, but half an hour, being grouped together with the students of a different stream - why?

Let's be honest for a moment

Because this blog is full of heinous lies most of the time.

Isn't AGM time the happiest time of the year? I certainly think so. All the fun of hearing bigmouth motherfuckers, even people I more or less like, become weak as kittens when they come face to face with a bloke armed with a Powerpoint presentation and a microphone set to a dodgy level.

It's not an election year, that's next year if they get enough candidates, and there was thing called the Global Financial Crisis - which for so many people is just the continuation of their relative poverty, and nothing particularly special - so a few people anecdotely at least, didn't buy a social club membership. And the funny thing about that is? This year the club has made a pledge to check names at the door so that only voting rights members can get in. Brilliant, just the way it should be. And there will not be the allowance of proxy voting.

If you are unsure if this includes you, ask yourself these simple questions:

  1. Did you get a letter in the mail about the AGM
  2. Are you a Heritage Club member?
  3. Part of the Southern Cross Corporate Coterie?
  4. A South Gold member, like me?
  5. Paid up Life Member?
  6. A holder of a Family membership, which allows one vote?

If you couldn't answer yes to any of these questions, you probably won't be allowed in. If you're not sure, and hell, why trust the info on a random poorly spellchecked blog, contact Nicki up at the club. Or even pop in and say hi, and leave your name in the guest book.

So what are going to be the big issues this year? The redevelopment of course and the juniors. That's no secret. And to be fair, most of my questions have been answered by the board and government public service types, and I've parlayed most of the info that I've been able to towards you, the loyal readers of this blog. So this year I reckon I'll take a backseat, leave the clipboard at home, and just enjoy the ride, and the power that comes with getting a vote on the most crucial matter since the club sank down to peepee soaked heckhole that is the VPL. I can sense one board member in particular breathing a sigh of relief at that.

For those concerned at about any pent up aggression I might have, I'll be getting my organisational performance review angry question and answer jollies off at a tailor made session today for Victoria University's Faculty of Arts, Education and Human Development. And I also get lunch at the end of that.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

What does South Melbourne Mean To You? Gala Ball Edition

South of the Border tried to get its head on this, but was not able too. Pity. Too many names to list in the labels section.

And another thing

Fuck you Blogger and your fucking 200 character limit in the labels section.

Daniel Vasilevski joins South too

Yep, the drip feed of press releases keeps coming. Should be over soon though.

And speaking of righteous indignation

A portion of Les Murray's speech at the gala ball has been approved for released to the masses. And hey, there's a couple of interesting cameos too.

Stella to Siena

The Prince of Stepovers, Francesco Stella, has signed with Serie A side Siena - who have apparently promptly loaned to some random chips and mayonnaise outfit in Belgium's second division. Good luck to the kid, at least he entertained. By the way, he was on an amateur contract, so all we get is a slice of the development fee.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Carl Recchia signed up

Cynicism prevails somewhat. South's a great club. Hell, any club's a great club when all is new and you've just joined up, and the sun is shining in the summer time.

Friday, 4 December 2009

The week that was

Peter Zois signed up. So did Marinos Gasparis and James Stefanou. Is that enough Greeks now? Joe Montemurro is back 21s coach. I helped pack away some chairs and had a club sandwich. We got the low down about how the children are our future. And Laura and Amelia Spiranovic got a feature article done about them in the Geelong Advertiser. I didn't realise they were both so young.

Children - Children - Future - Future

It was a not particularly well attended event. Which was a pity, because while yes, on a weeknight it may be difficult for some people to attend, a lot of the forum grumble bums weren't in attendance. But meh. I didn't take any notes last night - for some reason I didn't feel that it was necessary - but here's the gist.

For those who've kept up with the redevelopment stuff, there was nothing particularly new. The financial repercussions will be discussed at the AGM - where only eligible members will be allowed entry, with names checked against the door. That should be fun.

The new FFV constitutional requirements were gone over very briefly - they will apparently have no great bearing in how we run our operations. New board member Tom Kalas gave a summary of his 90 minute version of his youth development/academy plan. Considering the very small attendance, it managed to receive a rousing reception.

I will say this though. I don't know if I should be taking any personal credit for it, because really, it's probably just a natural and long overdue cultural change, but the calibre of questions seems to be improving. I'm looking forward to the AGM next week.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Seagulls searching for worms in the mud

Waiting at the corner across from Lakeside as the rain was coming down at the lights which take forever to change to a favourable condition, Rhodri Payne let me shelter under his umbrella. Thank you.

Ok, so we lost a shortened halves game against the West Sydney Berries. It was a god awful boring match.

The Pan-Hellenic men's final was on before, Victoria vs South Australia. The rain pissed down for most of this game, the field was already in a mess, and it was only worse afterwards. Some terrible tavkles in that game, lots of niggly crap. Vics won 3-1, all heir goals having some sort of deflection apparently - I only saw their two last goals.

What terrible organisation this event had also. The winning team got their photos taken and such, then the girls winners had their medals and presentation, and then the men had another go. There were numerous renditions of the Australian and Greek national anthems. Some kids choir got to sing in front of the 50 people that were left at the end of the day. Not inspiring stuff.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

It's blue!

There was an article in the Herald Sun today about the pending redevelopment. Nothing new really, except what was once a traditionally coloured running track - as presented in the initial plans released by the relevant government departments - is now being presented in an unmistakeably blue hue. Really, when it comes down to it, it's not the most important part of the project - but it appears that the gentle nagging via board, via in person at information meetings, and via web, has been sorta heard.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Saturday, 21 November 2009

To verb the adjective noun!

Just posting some random and not so random crap, some off smfcboardm which most of you can't see - and it is nearing to AGM time after all - more on that on a later issue.


Item! Already received one private message, from my good buddy Gains, wishing that my review of the Tony Squires book had come out earlier so he wouldn't have bought the abomination. Ah well.

Item! At last year's AGM, I brought along a printed list of questions, some spare paper and a clipboard (and a training jersey from 2001 that I bought off ebay for some guy, but that's not really relevant) and for my efforts received this question on the forum

PS Does anyone know who was the dude near the front with the glasses who asked many questions????

12 months on, and one senile poster has forgotten my awesomeness, so much so that I had to sorta ask someone to mention it. We'll see how this turns out.

Item! It was fucking funny last year when the old bloke known to me only as Karantoni walked out of the meeting and everyone thought it was because he was pissed off, when he actually just went for a smoke.

Item! First it was the 1980 championship. Now the Bergers have moved another step closer to booking a bed in Ward 7. With thanks to Psile, as this is verbatim off his post.

On the bergers facebook page they have the neos kosmos article of the 1-2 at middle park when MM got the double for them, anyhow underneath it says:

ΕΛΛΑΣ/ΜΕΓΑΣ 1-2 93-94,SEASON LAST GAME AT THE PARK FOR HELLAS BEFORE IT CAME DOWN WHAT A DAY WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER THIS IS FOR THE OLD MEGA FANS WHAT CAN I SAY NEOS KOSMOS SAYS IT ALL

No you clowns...we thumped you 4-1 and it was round 1 of 94/95.

Naffness personified

I was been recently comissioned I guess to write two pieces for the official South site. I don't like the first one, on the gala ball, very much at all, but the second one, a season review, is a little better I guess. But then again, what do I know about these things?

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Overdue and out of date Tony Squires book review

This review was originally commissioned by Ian Syson to appear in Das Libero 2. It took me far too long to get around to writing it, but after I'd finished it Ian said he liked it, and that he'd put it up soon. He didn't, and it's been sitting on my USB stick for months now. I shudder to think how many people have gone out and bought this book without first reading the genius that is this review.


There are many things wrong with Tony Squires' Cracking The Footy Codes: A Beginner's Guide To AFL, League, Union and Football. First of all, it's written by Tony Squires. The reasons for his longstanding and continuing popularity of any sort elude me. So, if you happen to be a Tony Squires fan, you can skip the rest of this review. You're probably already enamoured with near everything he does, and likely already have a signed copy of this tome.

Cracking The Footy Codes seeks to take a general look at the four major football codes in Australia, in an attempt to provide a useful primer to those wishing to brush up on unfamiliar sports and possibly become some sort of convert. It contains relatively thorough overviews of the rules of soccer, league, union and Australian rules. It also throws in some trivia and cultural observations which are intended to prepare the neophyte follower for their early experiences, done with what I presume is Squires' trademark humour.

What works well in this book are the clear rules and regulations, together with diagrams. The problem with this is that all this information is also available, for free, online and has been for quite some time. Therefore the book’s strongest characteristic – and perhaps its only one – is technologically defunct. There is no real point acquiring this book if all you want to do is read up on the rules. The book in that sense is fundamentally a 19th century product. It ignores the existence of video games, the internet, television – especially Pay TV which lets us watch so many sports. I learnt most of what I know about American football through these means, often by osmosis rather than careful study.

Which leaves us with what remains. The humour was lost on me. I found it lazy, generic and outdated. AFL – not the name of the sport, but hey, he's from New South Wales and that's what they call it up there for some reason - gets some of its club theme songs mulled over. Rugby League has some of its teams mentioned – Manly are rich, no one can remember South Sydney’s last flag even though they've won so many, haha. Soccer though misses this. We get the 'Hand of God', diving, references to Posh and Becks and that mysterious gap between 1974 and 2005 that no one can penetrate. The skirting of local soccer issues is obviously because Squires is not fluent in that language – or he does not want to impose new and strange knowledge on soccer noobs of the alternate reality that was Australian soccer before it began its Cultural Revolution a few years back.

The presumption of sports generality – the ability to become a fan of multiple sports – also left me feeling cold. Who are these people that have so much time that they can become experts or dedicated to more than 1-2 sports simultaneously? I, and I assume most sports fans, have the time and emotional capacity to dedicate themselves to only that many sports. So what kind of person who is already interested in one or two of these sports with any sort of dedication, would have the time and inclination to pick two or three more? This book is therefore firmly directed towards the sports generalist. The one for whom sport is a pastime and not a duty, for whom the spectacle and the occasion is just as important if not more so than the result. An oversimplification? Perhaps, but I think the point is valid.

But seeing as this is a soccer/football publication, we should take some time out to review that particular section in a little more depth. It doesn't start well. In the opening pitch for the game, Squires refers somewhat obliquely to the difficulty of choosing a team in Australia until recently, and how many Australian fans have fallen for English clubs. There are also elementary factual errors. The A-League choosing to play in summer is a furphy. It merely followed on from the NSL's practice since 1989. Johnny Warren was not the captain of the Socceroos in the 1974 World Cup – that was Peter Wilson. Craig Johnston was not the first Australian to play in the FA Cup Final – that was Joe Marston. Someone using this book as a reference for a trivia night is going to get a nasty surprise.

Yes, I understand that this book is meant to be light-hearted, though it failed to raise chuckles at this end. And yes I understand it's not meant to be a hard hitting sociological piece on the where, why, how etc of football fandom in Australia – though if it does contribute to that debate, it doesn't paint a very positive picture of Australian sports fans and their supposed loyalty. But most of all, it doesn't perform any of its purported instructional functions any better than a quick web search would. One day some of these people who are still insisting on top down modes of communicating to the masses will come to realise that the masses just aren't listening. One for the Squires fans, people with a pathological fear of computers – who won’t see this review anyway – and no one else.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

We Eat Our Own

It has probably been this way since day one.

Brinkmanship.

Ta polla that gelia telionon sta klamata - Too much laughter ends up in tears.

Surviving what outsiders dish out.

And then showing them how it's done.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Les Murray on South Melbourne and its Gala Ball

From the The World Game Website - if you clik through to there you can add comments as well. Or just leave them here. Whatever makes you happy.


Fifty years of love and its lessons

By Les Murray

The late 1950s have a lot to answer for. Like giving rise to a poppy field of new football clubs that have recently been celebrating their 50th anniversary, despite now lingering somewhat in the shadow of ‘new football’.

I’ve been to a few of these in recent times, the latest being the celebration of South Melbourne FC’s half a century as a club.

Held at the Crown Palladium, it was a glittering night in which emotion and nostalgia overbore the shimmer, the champagne and the long dresses.

There were over 600 guests, most of them paying $220 for a seat. Former players, coaches, officials and undying fans came from everywhere, many from Greece and others from other corners of the world. One fan diverted his holiday voyage to Florida to be there.

John Margaritis, an iconic former player and coach, flew in from Athens (and then was forced to speak on stage in Greek because he had forgotten most of his English, or so he claimed).

Con Nestorides, whom you would now call a ‘marquee player’ if he came here as a 37-year old superstar, as he did in 1966, was hunted down in Athens and thrust in front of the video camera to send a goodwill message. Now 80, he looked sprightly, smiling and fit.

Others not so youthful. One old timer, a source of vibrant spectacle when he played for the club in the early 1960s, was unable to negotiate the stairs to the stage to receive his award. He could have stayed at home but he chose to come, despite the cane and the debilitations, and many in the room were thrilled to see him again.

Leo Anezakis, president of the club when it won its first national league title in 1984, a lovely and decent man, spoke to me about those times, how his sense of dedication to the club taxed him to the point where it nearly destroyed his business.

More easily recognised men of a more modern era mingled in the room, embracing and exchanging regrets about not seeing each other more often: Peter Tsolakis, Ange Postecoglou, Mickey Petersen, Kimon Taliadoros, Paul Trimboli, Mehmet Durakovic, Con Boutsianis.

Emotion filled the air and the night was thick with the powerful sense of bonding that football, and only the sense of belonging to a football club, can provide.

The passion and loyalty for football, and for a football club, was everywhere in the room, so much so that one felt a wish to be able to bottle it and somehow transfuse it into ‘new football’.

But of course that’s easier said than done. The A-League clubs don’t have this because for a start they don’t have 50 years of history but more importantly because, as one colleague put it to me, they are franchises not clubs.

Still, there are lessons to be drawn for the franchises which, so far, have appeared to exist more for the directors and the investors than the fans, the complete reverse to what has been the case at South Melbourne FC for half a century.

George Vassilopoulos, club president through the 1990s, made a stirring speech about loyalty, sacrifice, love and untiring dedication to a club and about giving something back to the fans.

A modern chairman, one suspects, would only orate about money, the bottom line and the need to win trophies.

Football clubs are primarily about people, something South Melbourne has not forgotten over 50 years but which the A-League, five years into its life, is yet to learn.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Someone beat me to it

Thank to SouthPole for finding this - South of the Border blog.

Notes on the 50th anniversary gala ball

I don't think I will ever have an original thought, much less put down words that will inspire them. But here goes anyway.

The Casino

It's the final day of horse racing's spring carnival, which means that my rented tuxedo doesn't stand out as much it normally would. That's a good thing. Much as it may surprise some people, I'm not fond of seeking attention.

I've probably only been to Crown Casino five times, and never in the gaming room. After asking for directions to the Palladium, I'm instructed to walk through there until I get to the Atrium and then take the stairs up.

Walking through the gaming room is dispiriting and otherworldly experience. There is no day, no night. The casino must also be the most democratic institution there is. Its clientele, if we can call it that, crosses so many more borders of ethnicity, language, gender, age, class, sobriety and wearing of shoes than Athenian democracy could have ever dreamed of. Security and venue staff in dark clothing circle and hover. While there is the occasional cheer, the most common expression is blankness. The Casino calls itself a place of entertainment, but I've never seen so many people so bored.

Up stairs upon trying enter the function area, I was asked for which function I was entering. Turned out the room wasn't ready when I got there. I guess I should have said I was there for Trent and Tenille's wedding. Eventually we got let into the foyer, where I caught up with a few familiar faces, and Ted Smith, who I'd done the interview with Ian with some time ago.

Les Murray

Les Murray seemed to be in good spirits throughout the event, posing for photos, and chatting to pleb and household name alike. He suprisingly stumbled over many of the Greek names, especially those of the pre-NSL era, but he soldiered on, and generally did a good job. The man knew the crowd he was playing to; he referred to the importance of clubs like ours, and even cheekily mentioned the score from the Victory game - 4-0 to Central Coast - which got a polite cheer from sections of the crowd.

Players and Coaches
Several players got their chance to speak on the podium. Paul Fortomanos, who spoke on behalf of his late father Stefanos, was perhaps my favourite speaker. Concise, passionate, measured and efficient in the right way. Mike Mandalis was beaming. John Margaritis was to the point. Jimmy Armstrong was his usual amusing self. Ange Postecoglou recounted his trip to Brazil with George Vasilopoulos for the World Club Championship draw. Paul Trimboli talked of his 17 years at the club. Peter Laumets spoke on the 1984 title; Peter Tsolakis for 1991. The 2006 grand final side got a teensy bit of short shrift in my opinion, but John Anastasiadis got to speak about that era as well as the world club championship stuff.

Video interviews and photo montages peppered the evening. Amongst those on tape, who did not speak on stage, were Ulysses Kokkinos, Con Boutsianis, Takis Mantarakis, and even Kostas Nestoridis, hunted down by a fan on his travels in Greece. Also within those montages were board and fan interviews, including one with the notorious fan called Banger - even credited as such.

Presidents

Tribute was of course paid to those who have come and gone; those who were absent due to being deceased were represented by family, such as Marmaras and Papasavas. George Donikian sent a rather newsreaderly message via video Leo Athanasakis was surprisingly well spoken - the man is known more for his enthusiasm than public speaking.

The most dreaded, or perhaps most anticipated speeches of the evening though naturally came from George Vasilopoulos and Peter Mitrakas. George Vasilopoulos almost singlehandedly changed the tone of the evening with his speech. Everyone before had been relatively humble and brief, promoting the club above themselves, being lighthearted about the whole thing.

Vasilopoulos turned it into something altogether more solipsist. On one level, you can't blame him; so much of his life was spent around and dedicated to the club, and so much of the club's greatest successes were under his reign. But there was an anger that was fascinating and disappointing to see. What it was that he was railing against I'm not exactly sure; one would could probably safely guess though that he was sending out a message to all his detractors. This went on for some time, much longer than pretty much any other speaker. He did manage to inject some levity into it though, which is more than be said for the next speaker.

Peter Mitrakas outdid Vasilopoulos for most despised. Another self-serving speech, from another person who has vanished in the hard times, but who seemed to take little responsibility for where the club had ended up under his administration - rather crediting his time with actually saving the club. He was the only person to be heckled on the night, being accused of 'going to the Victory'. He denied it, and then the response came from the same source, 'bullshit'. He soldiered on though.

Within all these speeches, there were interesting anecdotes and insights into the culture of the club; some things have changed, some things have stayed the same. They'll all be on the DVD.

Ephemera

It's a good thing that the videos managed to work eventually, after the initial couple of attempts saw them freeze.

What is it with this club and people speaking over the top of speakers? Poor Nick Galatas in particular, who fought to be heard over the top of the chattering classes.

The pasta entree was very small. The chicken was delicious. The dessert was also delicious, but also very slight.

The staff were seemingly on a mission to get everyone ploughed. I would have preferred more food to be honest.

I pretty much skipped watching Cirque Mystique. They seemed boring so I left the room when they were on.

There are numerous things which occur and which are said at these events - especially by certain patrons who've had a little too much to drink - of which you can ethically say nothing on a public medium, as they were conducted in private discussions, not for public consumption. I feel a little bit sorry for Mehmet Durakovic though.

Well done to the organising team. A fantastic event. Even I enjoyed myself, and that's saying something.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Gala Ball Tonight - Redux

Or,

I specifically requested no romantic music!



If you're confused by the redux reference, let me explain.

Originally, this entry was one line long. Basically saying, should be great, got my ticket, gonna have a good time. As much of a good time as I usually have. I'm not renowned for smiling.

And then something happened. Something massive.

Somehow, the biggest issue of the night will not be the club itself.

Not 50 years. Not great players, not great coaches, or goals, or memories, or stories or paying dues to those who made this club what it is, the five decades of blood, sweat, tears and corruption.

No.

The biggest issue will be the soundtrack. That's right, the biggest thing to get in a head spin about is the music that will be played on tonight.

Fuck. Me. Dead.

Will there be Greek music? Will there be the right type of Greek music? The right amount?

Oh my god we are this close to selling out the Greek community again! How could the organisers do this!

Whenever I rock up to one of these things - that is, a formal or semi-formal or just plain 'event' with music - I know pretty much from the get go that I won't like any of the music played. I remember my Year 12 Valedictory Dinner, where the only thing played that I remotely enjoyed was the intro to Start Me Up (they didn't play anything more than that - praise to Apollo for Taylors Lakes reception centres). Anyway, here are some solutions I conjured up real quick.

  • Play Harry Lookofksy's Stringsville record on continuous loop.
  • Play the entire Manic Street Preachers catalogue from beginning to end.
  • Get a Lemnian band to play. Because, let's be serious, they made South. Every other Greek should bow to them.
  • Get Frozen Tears to play. A Greek-Australian or Australian Greek singer. He loves the club. May have even played at South in the 1980s in the junior system. Commentated a grand final win for us. The band have a song about the club. That song is available in English and Greek. It's got a naff 80's Van Halen vibe. What's not to like?

Nah, fuck it. Let's be petty and mean. It's so much easier, and it suits our nature.

I weep for Dr. George Triantos and the team who have worked their arse off to provide an experience the likes of which every other pissant club in this state, nay, country, could even dream of. But to conclude on a more positive note. Hope to see some of my loyal fans - and the fans of the club too, I guess - tonight, where we can reminisce and celebrate in the company of our club's greatness. It may be the last chance we'll get with some of these blokes.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Vaughan Coveny talks about All Whites qualification chances

A nice interview with Vaughan Coveny by Daniel Phan on Goal.com yesterday, talking about the All Whites' world cup qualification campaign, his coaching ambitions and New Zealand football and the AFC. Needed to be proofread though. I ain't doing it. Here it is in its entirety, but click on the link anyway, there might be other good articles on there too.



New Zealand is in pole position to defeat Bahrain in the second leg of their 2010 World Cup play-off on November 14 in Wellington, claims former All Whites striker Vaughan Coveny.

Speaking exclusively with Goal.com, the Kiwis’ all-time record scorer expressed cautious confidence ahead of his nation’s clash with Bahrain in the return leg.

The first leg ended goalless last month.

“The guys did really well to get a great result to take back to New Zealand. As long as everybody involved stays fit. I believe we are in pole position to qualify,” Coveny told Goal.com.

“Firstly, we are playing at home in what will be a packed stadium and we’ve got the players capable of scoring a goal at home.”

“However, I don’t want to say we have one foot in the door already.”

The first leg in Manama ended 0-0 – with Bahrain enjoying the bulk of possession in front of their rapturous home crowd, however, the South Melbourne player-turned-manager expects the tide to turn come next month’s reverse fixture.

“It was always going to be tough. These games played over 180 minutes – your just two games away from the World Cup with not many scoring chances,” he began. “The home team will always have the crowd behind them and it was tough for our boys given the hostile environment.

He added, “We did well not to concede – and even had a couple of half-chances ourselves.

“I’m looking forward to our home leg as I believe we got the players in Rory Fallon [of Plymouth Argyle], Chris Wood [of West Bromwich Albion], Shane Smeltz [of Gold Coast United] and Chris Killen [of Celtic] – all goal scorers that are in form.”

Long-Term Asian Test?

With Australia defecting to the AFC (Asian Football Confederation), much has been said about New Zealand potentially following its trans-Tasman rivals into FIFA’s largest confederation.

Coveny is in favour of a potential link-up with Australia in the AFC, although concedes the unlikelihood of such a move eventuating.

“New Zealand would love to move into Asia if they gave us the chance to do so.”

“It will improve us as a nation and football side. “We’re in Oceania and that is the way it is at the moment so have to do everything by the rules.

“I agree it’s not a strong federation but others can come up with suggestions to make it more make it more difficult.”

But with New Zealand 90 minutes away from a place in the World Cup finals, Coveny has no complaints of the qualification pathway handed by FIFA.

“At the moment Asia is where we have to go qualify through, and it’s an easier pathway we must admit rather than playing the fifth placed South American team.”

Wellington Phoenix

Before returning to South Melbourne, Coveny spent two years at A-league club Wellington Phoenix.

There are lingering doubts surrounding the club’s long term future – with less than two years remaining on its A-league licence, and Coveny insists that the FFA (Football Federation Australia) should continue with the New Zealand franchise beyond the two years remaining on its license.

“I would love to see Wellington [Phoenix] continue [in the A-league],” he started.

“It’s good for the game in New Zealand. I know there’s a little bit of rivalry where I don’t think a lot of Aussies like them being in the A-league.”

Despite competing in an AFC registered competition, Wellington are unable to qualify for the Asian Champions League given its geographic representation being outside of AFC territory.

However, the All Whites legend wants the AFC to compromise its stance against Wellington Phoenix due to the fact it is New Zealand’s sole professional club.

“In terms of the Asian Champions League issue – that’s a tough one. I accept that we’re not part of Asia,” admits Coveny.

“But it’s the only professional team in New Zealand so why not give them a little bit of flexibility and allow them to compete in the ACL?

“I just hope people can sit down and sort it out. It’s a funny one because we’re part of Oceania and they are part of Asia – it’s a real sticky point.”

Coaching ambitions

When asked if coaching in the A-league or international arena with New Zealand was on his radar, Coveny nodded in affirmation.

“Definitely,” he said. “I do have ambitions to coach at the highest level.

“I’ve always been involved in the professional environment working with elite athletes and I’d love to give back something back to New Zealand – even if it was at the youth level; get involved in some capacity,” he continued.

“We’ll see what happens after this World Cup game [against Bahrain] – some doors may open.”

Daniel Phan, Goal.com

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

No Berry Puns Here

In case you didn't read the latest Neos Kosmos English Weekly - or the one before that maybe, I don't know for sure - the Pan-Hellenic games are coming to Melbourne! Yay! No, wait. More like, meh!

Anyway you can read the full article here. The interesting part for South fans is though.

The two major Greek football teams, South Melbourne FC and West Sydney Berries will also play a friendly match on Sunday November 29.

In case you were thrown off by the 'major Greek football teams' bit and were wondering who the hell the West Sydney Berries are, I'm here to help. They were formerly known as Canterbury Marrickville Olympic, and before that some time in the past just Canterbury, one of the more prominent pre-wog clubs of NSW football from what I can gather anyway.

It doesn't say what time or where we'll be playing - Lakeside's surface is apparently 'fucked' at the moment to use a technical term - and ne wonder what kind of team we'll have out there so early in pre-season but it will nice to see the boys play some more interstate competition, I guess.

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Dinosaur relic of a bygone age

The year was 2000. I'd transferred from my rundown community run after hours Greek language school - which I once described in a short essay as looking as if it'd been hit by NATO, much to the amusement of my classmates and the Greek consulate dude who was present, whom I reckon my teacher back then was in love with, but that's another story - to Omiros College's Altona North branch, which was, ironically located at my high school's year 7-10 campus, which I'd departed the year before. Both re-locations to do with VCE and what not.

The people there were friendly enough, and they tried occasionally to include me in their social/recess groups, but it was never going to work out. I was a clichéd angry misfit and they were clichéd happy wogs. They would discuss nightclubs and bars (even with the teacher, whom they would see out on weekends) and I would read Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. It was never antagonistic at least, for the most part.

I was searching through my archives, clearing stuff out that I'd had in my drawers in some cases for probably 15 years. I've lost a couple of my school reports, notably my 2nd semester year 11 one where things started coming together for me somewhat. Amongst the rediscovered files was the extract below from my year 11 exam. I got 69/75, and was told not to rush so much. My handwriting was so much better than it is now. I wonder if they're still using South as a reference point in Greek schools. I would wager that they don't. Despite my solid marks, I did not pursue Greek at university level. Perhaps things would have been different for me if I had.

Monday, 26 October 2009

I'm surprised to see it lasted this long

Let's start by remembering the good times.

It's adios to this, thing, which I don't think anybody ever knew the purpose of.


TEAMelbourne would like to thank their valued supports, members, partners and sponsors for their support and commitment over the past three years.

TEAMelbourne has been placed into solvency and should you require any further assistance in the form of corporate hospitality or event management please contact the member clubs directly

Friday, 23 October 2009

If you're really bored tonight

Completely irrelevant to all bar perhaps one reader - who'll be there anyway - the Victoria University student compiled annual creative arts journal Offset - of which I was the managing editor- is launching its ninth edition tonight at Readings in Carlton. 6:30pm start, $19.95 for a book and DVD, drinks and nibbles provided. I'll be making a quick speech, so if you're impressed by the words on here, you may want to come and hear me out loud. Or something.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

ERT Doco Part 3

Last part, continuing with Johnny A, confusion between SBS and channel 31, Ross Alatsas (credited as a journalist, which I suppose is true), in the kitchen very briefly with the Valkanis family, and a bit of the players singing their victory song after beating Altona Magic

Once again to Mildura Vasili, massive thanks for managing to upload as much as he did. Hopefully one day high quality copies are made available, with English subtilting (hell, I'd be happy to do it, if for no other reason than to get something worthwhile from 12 years of Greek school.)

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Monday, 19 October 2009

Part 1 of SMFC ERT Doco

Here is the first part of the ERT documentary that has been uploaded online. Parts 2 and 3 are also online, but I'm posting the videos in different entries (and different days) to spread it out a bit. A massive thank you must go to Mildura Vasili for uploading as much as he could of the documentary onto youtube.

Unfortunately for our non-Greek speakers, it's mostly in Greek, with no English subtitles - but Jimmy Armstrong gets his fair share of talking time. Also included are Mike Valkanis, Ulysses Kokkinos, Takis Mantarakis, Jimmy Pyrgolios, Con Boutsianis, Manny Poulakakis and discussion on the late Ferenc Puskas.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Quick Oman game notes

I'm going to keep this fairly short and sweet.

The game itself

Oman played quite well - and their style of play was quite attractive - but they really should have been a couple of goals down within 15 minutes. Their keeper was their best player.

Hellas Watch

I met up with Gains and got a text message from HellasJohnny; I waved to him from the bottom deck, and he waved to me from the top deck. Patty Kisnorbo didn't get a run, which was a shame.

The mighty crowd

I didn't think it'd be a great crowd, but even I was pleased/disappointed depending on my mood with the just over 20k figure. It says something, don't you think?

The stadium and its set up

This was my first time watching a soccer match at the Docklands (after I missed last year's Qatar game - see here why). They inexplicably - maybe plicably - left the roof open, which meant I got a little wet, but I didn't mind. I was behind the Coventry End goals, and the view wasn't the best, being so low and about 10 metres behind the goal, but it was ok for what it was. Makes you appreciate what we have at Lakeside, what we had at Middle Park, and what we will lose for the sake of our survival.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Paul Williams is dead

From the SBS wesbite (includes news clip).

SBS football commentator Paul Williams - lauded for winning SBS network a Logie for his coverage of a World Cup qualifying match - was found dead in his home at the weekend.

His body was found in his Sydney apartment.

Paul had suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome and severe depression since 2002 when the illness forced him to withdraw from regular work.

Fans remembered him as 'extremely knowledge' and dedicated to the game.

A fine journalist in his own right, Williams was an outstanding football commentator and he will long be remembered for his impeccable commentary, with the late Johnny Warren, on the historic Australia v Iran World Cup qualifier at the MCG in 1997, for which SBS won its first Logie.

After joining SBS for the 1993 World Youth Cup, he became the network's chief football commentator in 1996 commentating on the NSL, Socceroos games and events like Euro 96 and the 1998 World Cup in France In recent years, Williams anchored his own weekly radio show, Football Fever, on Sydney’s 2KY.


For whatever it's worth, I really liked Paul Williams' commentary style. While initially I found him irritating in his trying to imitate a British style, over the years he let go of that and found his own voice and style of presentation, and I and many others always found it odd in regards to what happened to him - especially from a Victorian perspective. Well, now we know I guess. Enjoy some of his and our finest work in this clip.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Finally!

After many years of heading up to the Tracie McGovern Cup, a post-season women's football tournament held in New South Wales, the South Women finally managed to snare the major prize. The results are non-existent at the time of print on the tournament site, but nevertheless, congratulations to the girls for managing to win a pretty freaken big trophy. And good to see also that for once Casey Comets didn't take out first prize.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Coveny appointed as coach for 2010

They dawdled and delayed, but in the end the club decided to go for man considered as favourite for the task. I suppose this also means the end of Horsey's career - one which will not be remembered for any particular brilliance - even his highlights package is full of tidy finishes almost completely lacking in anything extraordimnary. A player best known for running in straight lines, hitting straight shots and often being used a sub during our glory days up front or on the wing.

And his longevity will not be appreciated in much the same way as that of other former greats. South is notorious for player turnover, but having played so much in the decline years means that Horsey will never get the mass appreciation he deserves. In many ways his career was one of accumulation and attrition - just hanging around for so long means that he will inevitably get some nice achievements - which for Vaughan include 2nd highest league goalscorer and 3rd highest games for South, and most games (64) and goals (28) for the All Whites (the games record is hanging by a thread - if Ivan Vicelich manages to play in both qualifiers against Bahrain he will overtake our man). The fact remains though, if he weren't a half decent player, he'd never have racked up that much game time in the first place.

Being the right man for the job is mostly about hindsight. Frank Arok built the nucleus of our last golden age team, but it's Ange Postecoglou who gets his name on the honour boards. Fernando's stellar 2006 season - 12 goals from midfield and who knows how many set up - carried that team, but John Anastasiadis as coach got his share of plaudits - and perhaps elevated his abilities in the public sphere to beyond those of the reality. Also left to the winds of hindsight are whether it was right to go for someone inxperienced in coaching as opposed to someone etsblished; someone from inside the club and close to much or some of the squad, as opposed to a clubman who has been away for a few years or a complete outsider.

It will be recalled by some that Horsey undertook AFC coaching licence exams during the season - causing him to miss three games - so at least you can see this is certainly something he has been thinking about a lot. On the other hand, much of the VPL is about grinding out results, not about pretty football - which is a problem at South, because the supporters also want something pleasing to the eye, the South tradtion being of attacking football and plenty of goals. David Lugli becomes Vaughan's assistant, after having taken the under 21s to their best finish in years. I wish them all the best of course - but a large part of that is also based upon them succeeding; their success will be the club's success; their failures, the club's also.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Doco on South premiered last week

As reported, like, a few months ago, The Greek state run television network ERT produced a doco on South (and several other scummier clubs), and last Saturday night saw the South episode go to air. If I'd have known earlier, would have blogged it of course, but no matter, several people have taped it and people will get to see it eventually one way or another, I hope.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Cheap photocopies held together by staples

The other day I was looking through someone's book on the history of English match day programmes - Match Day: Official Football Programmes by Bob Stanley (of St Etienne and NME fame). I love that old retro, colour drained look, much as I love the look of old Pelicans/Penguins from the era.

Anyway, it got me thinking again about doing a South fanzine. It'd come out every home game - quite optimistic I know, but why not aim high? Hell why not aim even higher and go for every home and away game? Ok, maybe too high. And it'd have all sorts of regular and irregular segments, whatever we could come up with.

The 'we' is inevitably the problem though - it could just be me doing all the work, but it would become a drain - and I would rather have multiple voices and multiple talents. I am a pluralist after all. Whatever stupid gripe, drawing, anecdote, penchant, whatever - which of course, once again, was the point of this thing sort of, but this is also news and reportage and smfcboard exasperation safehouse.

In keeping with the retro feel there'd be a classic three column layout, colour cover, black and white for the rest, naff sponsors (we'd make them up if we had to) maybe some cartoons - in short, all the things I wanted this thing to be. Produce a maximum of 50 copies, photocopy most of it, staple it together, charge something minimal, ask for donations or nothing at all. It all depends on the printing costs of course.

As for a title? Names are the easy bit. Already knocked out a few with our friend Southpole. The title of course would be in italics, and preferably be not completely in joke related, and have room for an exclamation mark in there.

  • CMON HELLAS! FORZA! HELLAS!
  • 25 Albert Road Drive
  • Singing by the Lake
  • Sack The Board!
  • Late Merchandise!
  • Sack The Fans!
  • Bill's Punjab Express!
  • Greeksta and the Cloneasaurus
  • Heaps Good!
  • Leaving early to watch Big Brother

Of course there were a few other unmentionable ones. For the record I liked Late Merchandise!, Sack The Board! and Bill's Punjab Express! the most. If - and it's a big if, of course - I was to get this going, it'd need a fair bit of prep work. Like this in the beginning, it'd need a backlog of articles and segments ready to go. And the support of my peers. And a willingness to stick it to the man. We'll see I guess.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Final Pumpkin Seed Eaters podcast of 2009

I can't be arsed doing an intro for it today, so here's their spiel verbatim.

Believe it or not, the Pumpkin Seed Eaters are finally back for their first show in over 3 months...and final show for the year!!! Slack, we know! Anyway, on this week's show, we will we reviewing the 2009 VPL season and handing out some awards of our own! There will also be a few of our regular segments, including Mail Bag and Media Watch, during which we discuss the progress of the A-League as well as dissect the FFA's World Cup bid. Aussies Abroad also makes a return to the show, during which we head to the shores of South-East Asia where we hope lies a happy finish for a prospective Socceroo who is currently plying his trade in Vietnam!

http://podcast.pumpkinseedeaters.com/PumpkinSeedEaters-2009Episode5.mp3

Friday, 18 September 2009

So I was reading the Neos Kosmos yesterday...

... and it said that the South members vote on the stadium deal/MOU will be held at the club's AGM in late November. How about that. Killing two birds with one stone on the one hand, but it'll make that day go even longer. Still, probably saves money on the mailouts.

Four South players receive state team call up.

Congratulations to Joseph Youssef, Ramazan Tavsancioglu, Steven O'Dor and Laura Spiranovic have all been selected to represent Victoria in the 125th anniversary matches to be played up in Newcastle against a Northern New South Wales Soccer Federation side. Too bad the poor soccer folk down here in Victoria can't get to see a Victorian state team take the field on their own turf unless it's to provide scouting opportunities for the Victory.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

So when do we get to vote on it?

By we, I mean voting rights members. And by it, I mean the MOU that's been signed with the government in regards to the Lakeside redevelopment. They tell us soon, and I hope that it is so. I believe that the agreement will be something quite special. If you want to read the club's spiel, head here.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Michalokopoulos gaaaaaaawwn!

Peladrinos too. Fell or pushed? Don't know. New guy? If he exists, no one's told me. They just don't trust me anymore for some reason. Might have something to do with inadvertently starting 'the chaos'. Good luck to the boys in their future endeavours, unless they're against us of course. But that aside, Michalokopoulos played an important part in reversing the club's fortunes. After 7 round last year, we were relegation bound, looking doomed. By the end, there was something to latch on to. It carried forth into this year, with the Hellenic Cup win, some good signings, and a 10 match unbeaten streak. Somewhere along the line, as mentioned previously on this blog, it came unstuck. Form went out the window, strange substitutions were being made and the goalkeeping situation still hadn't sorted itself out. The coach can't score tap ins nor make regulation catches, but at some level the buck eventually stops with him.

Notes from the 2009 Grand Final

I was convinced by the opportunity to catch up with a few South fans - as well as my media pass granting me free entry - to turn up to this yesterday. Dandenong Thunder had streaked the league, four or so games clear by the end, but that counts for nothing when you have finals. Their opponents wee Altona Magic, defending champs, third grand final in four seasons - never having finished first on the table though in any of those years.

There was plenty to see and a few surprises as well. Altona Magic's main cash cow Melissa Fischer-Massa came out of hiding - she's been scarcely seen at a VPL venue since allegations of the abysmal financial state of her nursing homes came to light. The Albanian contingent seemed in reasonably strong presence, air horns and all. The Magic's fans had some presence, but mostly elderly and as usual a small group of young people for whom this is probably their first Magic game of the season.

As per usual, the PA system at Lakeside was a mess - the national anthem was half done before anyone realised it was on. Now, I'm not a huge fan of national flags and anthems, ut I don't believe there was any disrespect meant by people not singing or standing to attention - and besides, isn't that what's so great about a country like Australia? That we don't have to have guns at our heads making us pay our respects? It used to be like that I reckon, but perhaps my memory is faulty. The next surprise was the start of the 'Vou-vou-voulgari' and 'Tsi-tsi-tsigani' chants from the Albanians directed towards the Magic fans. A Heidelberg fan next to me attempted to note the irony of it all.

The game itself was lacking in any sort of cohesive quality. There was at best, an implied edge, that there was something bigger than three points on the line, but the game never really lifted in tempo or quality throughout its torturous 120 minutes plus several stoppages for injuries. The Thunder took the lead in the 2nd half, a saved shot ricocheting into the path of Thunder's captain who headed home. Altona leveled from the penalty spot, after a long range shot hit the arm of a defender. The young Magic fans bring out their ethnic flags, and the police and security move in, eventually. Reports soon spread that a guy had collapsed in the stands. The medics worked hard to revive him - and they do - but ultimately it is to no avail; he doesn't pull through. Three ambulances turned up in total. For some it put the game in perspective - it is just a game after all. But the game went on.

The penalty shootout saw the Thunder fans move behind the goal, and that's when the flare show started, and the FFV brought out the receipt book. If a flare lit is worth a $1k fine, then that's $7k at least that Dandenong will have to find from somewhere. At least a couple of flares were thrown back into the grassy area behind the scoreboard, which started a small grass fire. South board member George Koukoulas added Fireman Sam to his list of roles played at the club by putting out the fire with a fire extinguisher from inside the social club. The fire brigade turned up eventually, but they didn't have much to do. Bottles were also thrown from the grandstand onto the field.

After the game, the Thunder contingent left peacefully - leaving pretty much no one on hand to witness the Magic raising their fifth Victorian championship cup. A couple of us inspected the damage after the show, taking photos for the benefit of the FFV who'll have to pay up for it. Quite a few grandstand seats damaged in the sections the vocal Thunder fans were in, as well as some damage behind the goals where they'd moved for the penalty shootout. It's not the final game at Lakeside as we know it, but we're getting there.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Know Your Clubs - Olympic

Alright then, special treat for everyone today - everyone that is who didn't see this when I posted it on smfcboard last week. Courtesy of 4Flares, the following is a club profile on Melbourne's Olympic, one of South Melbourne Hellas's predeccessors.

A lot of names, some of which are apparently also related to Apollo Athletic, as stated in the article. From the little cross referencing I've been able to do so far I've been able to find that

  • The late Nick Spartels was likely a boxer in the 1920s
  • From another edition of Soccer News: Hector Hernandez, inside-left for Olympic, would be the only Mexican playing soccer in Australia. A Batchelor of Commerce, he is over here on a scholarship from the Mexican Government for the next two years, during which he hopes to obtain his Master of Commerce.
  • We now know for certain that the Marmaras Cup was between the Olympics of Adelaide and Melbourne. The Melbourne and Sydney Hakoahs had a similar trophy they'd play for.
  • (Sir) Eugene Gorman was a well known barrister in the first half 20th century Melbourne. The Greek Consul bit referred was an honorary title.
  • In another 'Know Your Clubs' section, Park Rangers are mentioned as having been born off a split from the South Melbourne United Juniors in 1946. A Dockerty Cup winner, Park Rangers played in the Middle Park area for quite some years, before being taken over by a bunch of Scots (as mentioned to me by Hugh Murney) and moving to Kew. Later they became absorbed into what is now Moreland City. Does that make us related somehow? Up to you I guess.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Gold Medal Night Results for South

Laura Spiranovic finished runner up to the eventual winner in the Women's Premier League. Ross Thomson of Hume won the men's award with 25 votes. The best placed South players was... Fernando De Moraes, If I had a malfunctioning air-conditioner and a hat, we would be able to recreate the classic skit form the Fallout Boy episode of The Simpsons.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

The other smfcboard

This is how much I'm procrastinating. Got a ton of stuff to do, and yet why do that when you can waste a few seconds by going into the profile section of the forum and changing the forum theme to subSilver from Cobalt 2.0. There's also another one called JustFooty, a horrible and hard to look at green(!) and white concoction.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

South women lose 4-2 in prelim against Bergers

3-0 down after 15 minutes. Game as good as done right there. Did not look at all likely up front in the first half, and everyone else seemed asleep. Second half had a chance to pull it back to 3-1, but instead went 4-0 down. Two consolation goals were the final chapter in an otherwise very good season after so many years of struggle.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

The collision of a wish with an unyielding reality

There are certain times when it is useful to return to the musings of people who have been through this before and had a decent think about it. Alain De Botton's look at Seneca is quite useful, pop-philosophy though it might be.

Seneca was a philosopher of the Roman Empire. He noticed that at the heart of every frustration lies a basic structure: the collision of a wish with an unyielding reality. We attain wisdom by learning not to aggravate the world’s obstinacy through spasms of rage, self-pity, anxiety, bitterness, self-righteousness and paranoia.

What makes us angry are dangerously optimistic notions about what the world and other people are like. How badly we react to frustration is critically determined by what we think of as normal. We will cease to be so angry once we cease to be so hopeful.

Reality comprises two cruelly confusing characteristics. We are invited to assume that tomorrow will be much like today. Yet there is a possibility that we will meet an appalling event after which nothing will ever be the same again.

When one suffers disaster, one is unable to fit the event into a scheme of justice. One alternates between a feeling that one may after all have been bad, and the feeling that one has fallen victim to a failure in the administration of justice. The belief that the world is fundamentally just is implied in the very complaint that there has been an injustice. It is based on a picture of a moral universe where external circumstances reflected internal qualities.

Frustration, anger, shock, and the sense of injustice are caused by an incorrect paradigm of the world. Wisdom lies in correct discerning where we are free to mould reality according to our wishes, and where must accept the unalterable with tranquility. Reason allows us to determine when our wishes are in irrevocable conflict with reality, and then bids us to submit ourselves willingly, rather than angrily or bitterly, to necessities. We may be powerless to alter certain events, but we remain free to choose our attitude towards them. It is in our spontaneous acceptance of necessity that we find our distinctive freedom. Seneca recommended this formula:

[The wise] will start each day with the thought…

Fortune gives us nothing which we can really own. Nothing, whether public or private, is stable; the destinies of men, no less than those of cities are in a whirl. Whatever structure has been reared by a long sequence of years, at the cost of great toil and through the great kindness of the gods, is scattered and dispersed in a single day.

No, he who has said “a day” has granted too long a postponement to swift isfortune; an hour, an instant of time, suffices for the overthrow of empires. How often have cities in Asia, how often in Achaia, been laid low by a single shock of earthquake? How many towns in Syria, how many in Macedonia, have been swallowed up? How often has this kind of devastation laid Cyprus in ruins?

We live in the middle of things which have been destined to die. Mortal have you been born, to mortals have you given birth. Reckon on everything, expect everything.

Details for women's preliminary final

Just for the record, I ain't on the women's team mailing list, nor do I get a retainer from the government to spruik its Lakeside redevelopment plans, I've never been paid for any of my three or so articles on Neos Kosmos English Weekly and no one really tells me anything anymore that I'm allowed to tell you until everyone else can know it at the same time as well. I can't even be suitably cryptic without getting in trouble with the chocolate cake eaters.

But now over to Niki Cook from the women's team ruling cabal, Gang of Four etc. One of my lecturers, tutors, supervisors, Svengalis this semester, John Weldon (who knew at least one of Guy Garvey's sisters back in Bury, zomg) made a reference to the Gang Of Four to people in my performance writing class who were all likely between the ages of 18-20, and unfamiliar with either the band or the Chinese Communist Party political faction said band were named after. Don't worry, I had a word to him about it.


Hello all

After a game of heart-stopping excitement last Saturday, our Senior team defeated Sandringham 3-2 in extra time, and has progressed to the WPL Preliminary Final. Victory in this game would put the team in the Grand Final, which is a fantastic achievement.

The Preliminary Final takes place on Sunday morning (6th September), and it will be held at Bob Jane Stadium. Kick off is 11am.

Once again, we would love your support, it was amazing last week to hear the crowd cheering us on, it really made a difference.

Entry to the game is free.

The event flyer is attached.

Hope to see you there,

Niki