Monday, 27 September 2010

Roy Hay piece on Middle Park, as seen in Goal Weekly

This was apparently published a couple of weeks back, worth a read.

Middle Park: at the centre of Victorian football

By Roy Hay

When Melbourne gained the rights to hold the Australian Formula One Grand Prix at Albert Park in 1996 one of consequences was that South Melbourne Hellas and football lost its historic ground at Middle Park and gained the Lakeside (later the Bob Jane) stadium on Lake Oval, the old South Melbourne cricket ground. So ended a tradition stretching back to the 1880s when the game was known as British Association football to distinguish it from the home-grown variety. The South Melbourne cricket ground was the venue for one of the two interstate matches with New South Wales played in 1883 but the round ball game quickly established itself at Middle Park during that decade. The Middle Park hotel was the meeting place for players and sometimes several matches would be played opposite the hotel on an afternoon.

When the game revived in the years before the First World War, Middle Park was the central venue for league games. On 26 September 1908 for example, three games kicked off at 3 pm, St Kilda v Albert Park, Carlton United v Fitzroy and Prahran v South Melbourne. Middle Park was also the venue for the well-attended ‘international’ matches between Scotland and England. These were games between Australian players of the relevant heritage not games between touring teams from the United Kingdom. While club football seems to have been hard hit by the depression of the 1890s Scotland and England met at Middle Park on 1 September 1894. In September 1908 Scotland beat England three-nil, but the following year the English got their revenge by three goals to two. There were matches against visiting teams too, as when the steam ship Persic and the navy’s HMS Powerful arrived in 1908. Powerful was the flagship of the Royal Navy squadron on the Australian station from 1905. Dockerty Cup matches were also played at the ground. So Middle Park was firmly established as the main football venue in Victoria when the First World War brought about an interruption that lasted till 1919.

On 2 August 1919, Windsor beat Albert Park two-one, Northumberland and Durhams (N and D) accounted for Spotswood by the same score, Footscray Thistle outclassed St David’s by five-nil and Melbourne Thistle drew with Preston in league games. Attendances at games are notoriously rubbery but some thousands attended Dockerty Cup games, and it was said that an unspecified record crowd watched the matches on 3 July 1920 with the highlight being that between N and D and Melbourne Thistle, effectively another ‘England v Scotland’ game.

For many years the pitches were not enclosed and Ted Smith remembers playing on one that ran parallel to the Albert Park lake into which one of the players had to wade to retrieve the ball. A bicycle track was built with a pitch in the centre in the 1950s, then came change rooms and perimeter fencing. A new stadium was constructed in 1959 with a capacity of 18,000 including the grandstand, which held 2,000, close to the railway station. There were later extensions to include offices, a café and terracing. The stadium was demolished in 1994.

Competition from other venues became greater as time passed with the Melbourne Showgrounds, Olympic Park and even the Melbourne Cricket Ground accommodating major games, but Middle Park continued to be significant for the Victorian Amateur Soccer Football Association and its successor the Victorian Soccer Federation in the post-Second World War years. Park Rangers and South Melbourne United had their home at Middle Park in the 1940s. Both clubs later merged, Park Rangers with Moreland in 1985, while South Melbourne United joined another combined club. South Melbourne Hellas began as the product of a merger between Hellenic and Yarra Park in 1959. The Hakoah club, founded in 1924, became a tenant at Middle Park. Later it played at Olympic Park. By 1956 Hakoah was back at Middle Park and merged with St Kilda in 1972 and then in 1982 joined with South Melbourne United as the Victorian arm of South Melbourne Hellas which was playing in the National Soccer League in 1982. Other clubs used the stadium for brief periods. In 1960 Waterside Workers Federation shared the Park Rangers ground at Middle Park.

Victorian Premier League finals were played at Middle Park until 11 September 1994, when Preston Lions beat Port Melbourne Sharks by three goals to one. Gerry McAleer, Chris Sterjovski with two goals gave Preston a winning lead and Peter Tsolakis converted a late penalty for the Sharks. Sterjovski won the Jimmy Rooney medal for the player of the grand final. At half-time another youngster, Josip Skoko, was presented with the ABSW player of the year award completing an excellent day for youth.

National League football matches were also played at Middle Park until its demise and many of the local derbies involving Hellas, Melbourne Croatia (later the Knights), Heidelberg Alexander, JUST and Juventus drew five figure crowds over the years. There were around 12,500 when Hellas with Malcolm MacDonald, superstar with Newcastle United and Arsenal, took on St George Budapest from Sydney who had Derby County’s Charlie George, who also played with Arsenal, in 1977. On 23 October 1994 Hellas played the last game at Middle Park, thrashing Heidelberg United Alexander by four goals to one. There were 11,926 fans there to see them do so, with two goals by Ivan Kelic, and one each to Con Boutsianis and Francis Awaratife. Peter Tsolakis’s penalty was once again the consolation goal for his team.

Squads for the final game at Middle Park

South Melbourne: Steve Mautone, Mehmet Durakovic, Kevin Muscat, Paul Wade, Michael Valkanis, Gary Hasler, Jason Polak, Micky Petersen, George Goutzioulis, Con Boutsianis, Francis Awaritefe, Ivan Kelic, Paul Trimboli.

Heideleberg United : David Miller, Angelo Koutsos, Alan Scott, Richard Watson, George Georgiadis, Eric Vasiliadis Tom Karapatsos, Peter Tsolakis, Walter Ardone, Alex Kiratzoglou, Damir Gnjidic, Andy Vlahos, Michael Michalakopoulos.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Disaster of epic proportions

In as little as a few weeks, they're apparently shutting down SBS's World Game Forum for good. What I'll mostly remember is the laughter. Fare thee well, TWGF, it was a great ten years.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Zois signs with the Cannons - Out of Singapore Cup squad

All the way back in December 2009, when I posted this clip of South's new recruits introducing or re-introducing themselves to the South family, I told you it was not for the squeamish. I readily admit that I was holding back somewhat - I could have easily said not for the diabetic, the credulous, the incredulous and people who are quick to joy and then anger caused by their own relentless and relentlessly undermined optimism. And so Peter Zois has packed his bags, the latest in a long line of exits down the freeway to the railway track and industrial estate of Jack Edwards Reserve: Ricky Diaco, Robbie Wynne, Trent Waterson, Yusuf Yusuf, Scot MacNicol. I suppose the one sobering thing that we as South fans can take from this is that none of those players went on to bigger and better things - indeed many of them went backwards.

The ancient Cynics might have had a chuckle at the foolhardy exclamations made by Zois and the fans over the course of 2010, mostly to do with loyalty and the South cause. The manner of the exit leaves something to be desired, mind you - so close to the deadline for finalising details for the Singapore Cup quarter finals, and as a traitor in any sense of the word, he deserves to cop hell - hey, it's an emotional game. But I'm reminded also of this rambling post I made in October 2008, about what factors other than money might and can have an influence. And part of the reason I wrote that is because money is seldom the reason that clubs and players will openly say is 90% of a decision depends on. Last December, in reply to the question, why did you sign with South Melbourne, Zois answered 'great history, great culture, biggest club outside the A-League', and continued with 'buzz, club moving forward, out of the box thinking'. When asked who he was looking forward to playing with the most, he said 'everyone'.

So all of a sudden, the buzz is gone, the forward movement has hit reverse and all our thinking is now firmly back inside boxes sealed with that crappy brown tape that's always manages to twist itself into stupid knots. And not only that - our history, our culture and our status as biggest club outside the A-League - all gone - and 'everyone' is no fun to play with anymore. I don't know whether or not any of these things have really changed that much in the ten months that Pete has spent at Lakeside. It'd be a pity if it they had, but somehow I doubt it.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Kiss of Death Awards 2010

I know that we here at South of the Border farewelled our Kiss of Death correspondent earlier this month, as it decided to seek newer, more expansive and as yet not fully elaborated pastures - but we've managed to eek out one more entry, a bit of an awards special, as the Kiss of Death had seen and spoken on a fair few matches and personalities this year. The usual South of the Border awards will be dished out after we exit (or hell, even win, lol) from the Singapore Cup.

2010 KOD Player of the year: Fernando Jorge Lima de Moraes, better known as Nando. Nando this season performed at his best. Even in the games where he was injured, he did his best from the sidelines. Nando lived up to his cult hero status down at South Melbourne and always delivered when required. A statue will be erected in his honour down at the new Lakeside Stadium.

2010 Most overrated team: Bentleigh Greens. What a flop they were. Started off well by winning the Hellenic Cup, but that was about it. The KOD called this very very early on during the Hellenic Cup. A number of arguments ensued with a certain someone who persisted that they would win the championship because they had money and plenty of it. How wrong they were, and how right I was.

2010 Most overrated player: Osagie Ederaro. The pastry chef apprentice failed to deliver and be a real menace this season. Other than his impersonations of Eddie the Eel, he didn’t shine as expected.

2010 Overachievers: Northcote City Hercules. What a season. I wrote them off during the Hellenic Cup as a team who would be lucky to win five games all season. I have eaten humble pie many times over this. Great work by Peter Tsolakis and all the players down at Darebin. Well Done.

2010 Underachievers: South Melbourne Hellas. Well, where do I start. Possibly the best squad ever assembled in the history of Victorian premier league football. Failed to deliver when it was needed, and was persistent with drawing winnable games.

2010 Worst Off Field Professor: Lucky Chrisomalidis. To come out and say that Bentleigh Greens would win the Premier League based on the players/coach and a never ending money stream was just ridiculous.

2010 Best Off Field Professor: Myself. Tipping countless results including correct scores, and making people millions.

2010 Starting 11 of the year:
GK: Peter Zois (South Melbourne Hellas)
DEF: Dean Fak (Green Gully Cavaliers)
DEF: Steven O’Dor (South Melbourne Hellas)
DEF: Antun Kovacic (Richmond Eagles)
MID: Fernando Jorge Lima De Moraes (South Melbourne Hellas)
MID: Dejan Radojicic (Altona Magic)
MID: Joseph Keenan (South Melbourne Hellas)
MID: James Kalifatidis (Northcote City Hercules)
MID: Jean Dubois  (Melbourne Croatia)
FOR: Trent Rixon (Northcote City Hercules)
FOR: Richard Cardozo (Hume City)

GK: Nikola Roganovic (Green Gully Cavaliers)
DEF: Rama Tavsancioglu (South Melbourne Hellas)
DEF: Con Anthopoulos (Bentleigh Greens)
MID: Craig Elvin (Heidelberg United Alexander)
MID: Scott Bulloch (Dandenong Thunder)
FOR: Osagie Ederaro (Heidelberg United Alexander)
FOR: Joshua Groenewald (Green Gully Cavaliers)

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Notes from the 2010 VPL grand final

In all honesty, I was most looking forward to attending this game because of the opportunity to see what all the fuss was about regarding the new Bubbledome Stadium. And unless I have a sudden change of heart regarding attendance of the A-League, this was set to be a very opportunity indeed.

Outside the ground, memories come flooding back, with one in particular standing out - it hasn't gotten any easier to find parking on that side of the precinct, with my crew ending up on the other side of the MCG. Walking past the food stalls around that ground, we were a little perplexed by one of the stalls selling something called Albanian marinated chicken rolls. We didn't bother sampling, with my reasoning being, if it's not cooked in a garage kitchen, it's not authentic Albanian food.

Anyway, outside the ground, it seemed like everyone that has ever been associated with Green Gully was bussed in, which meant mostly lots of juniors and their parents attending perhaps their first ever Gully game - there may have been a couple left over from their 2005 championship win, but I doubt it too much. I like the gimmick, and hopefully we can make it there next year so we can do the same, but the resulting atmosphere was dead for the entire match except for the goals.  I doubt whether 90% of the Gully fans knew who any of the players were.

Speaking of random fan appearances, the Heyington Bridge Crew, or at least people resembling it, turned up to their first game in... I don't know how to count that far. Our once upon a time sorta kinda colleague and/or collaborator Neil Zimmerman was there, had a very brief chat with him. Seems in good health. Overall, seemingly very poor turnout by the Richmond faithful. Obviously they couldn't or didn't think to pull of the Green Gully juniors bus in stunt, and I know they have low numbers and there wasn't much to get excited about last night, but still a very low presence.

The game itself was pretty poor. Gully are a grinding team. Always have been when I've watched them. Yesterday they actually tried playing football, and it was somehow even more tedious to watch than their drudgery. Still, it was better than Richmond's virtual non-appearance at the game for about 70 of the alloted 93 minutes. There was no energy, no creativity, no nothing. The second goal they conceded was especially poor, with Graham Hockless dribbling a a terrible shot in from about the penalty spot - with our crew behind the goals thinking surely Richmond goalkeeper Stephen Gal (who had a terrible game in general) will at least dive to stop it going in, hell, even just walk across and pick it up, the ball rolled slowly past him after which he dived like he was going lie down on a couch.

Richmond were resorting to long balls, looked slow and uncoordinated, but the managed to pick themselves up a bit in the second half, to no avail. It seemed to me that they should have received some clear penalties, but the referees last night were clearly on Gully's side, especially the linesman on the crowd side, who kept giving thrown ins to Gully even when it seemed utterly clear they should have gone the other way. Eventually Gully got a terrible penalty awarded to them, and that was finally that. Richmond finally came up against a team that didn't waste chance after chance and didn't stick Kyle Joryeff on the right wing when what was needed was Sebastian Petrovic to shut down the game when you're 2-0 up. Ahem.

If I was to have a guess, and it would only be a guess, I reckon the crowd would have been around the 2000 mark. The figure wasn't announced unlike previous VPL grand finals that I've been to. The venue itself is fantastic, viewing quality is amazing pretty much wherever you sit, though I think elevating the stands a little more above the level of the playing field would have improved the viewing quality even further - the rows immediately behind the goals seem to suffer the most. It felt odd after so many years of traipsing around local grounds to be at a soccer match with a video scoreboard, this feeling coming despite watching Socceroos matches at Docklands and the MCG. Is this something we can look forward to at South at the new improved Lakeside? I sure hope so.

Security and amenities seemed quite all over the place though. The usual bag checks took place, but there were no cavity searches for flares. I suppose they deemed it unnecessary what with the two clubs that had reach the grand final having no hardcore ultras kulcha. There was, surprisingly, a little bit of argle bargle involving a Green Gully fan. Green Gully, the club that tells us they aren't really Maltese (or are they) had one bloke decked out in a full on Malta jacket. I'm not saying that's nor right, you can make of that what you will though. The choice of food was of course, poor. It's the VPL, but with no chevaps or souvs. I hope this isn't the future the FFV has planned for everyone, and yes I know they don't control the food outlets, but it's a pretty distressing picture of Australia's and soccer's multiculturalism when the most appealing and diverse food seems to be the usual cow(?) guts and hooves stuck in a roll or flaky pastry. The match program consisted of a single A4 sheet of paper with squad lists, and they couldn't even get that right, screwing up the number order of Green Gully's team. I'd put up a sample, but I threw mine away in disgust.

From a South watch point of view, apparently Rhodri Payne was there, but I don't remember seeing him. Fernando was there. Eddie Krncevic was there, obviously with his son playing it would be remiss of him not to attend. Jesse Krncevic did little to endear me to the possibility of taking him back to cure our striking problems. After the game and the presentations we tried getting into the MCG to watch the last quarter of the Bulldogs/Swans game, but apparently the free entry after three quarter time caper no longer exists. A pity, that. What we were left with on the night, was a lot of what could have been and what might possibly bes, and a stupid joke involving Heidelberg, Green Gully merchandise and FK Pelister. If that makes any sense whatsoever.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Kiss of Death, Grand Final Edition 2010

I’m only doing this edition due to the amount of fan mail I have been getting the last week, begging for a Grand Final preview. The VPL died for me at the end of the home and away season. I will not be attending the Grand Final, and I certainly don’t give a dead dingo's donger who wins it. But suffice, I will preview it to appease my 72,000+ fans who have absolutely buried me in snail mail and emails.

Here it goes… (thinks of something stupid to open the preview with) Ah ha! Got it. AAMI Park this Saturday evening hosts the VPL Grand Final of season 2010 at 7pm. Conveniently parking will be easy to find with the Western Bulldogs taking on the Sydney Swans at the MCG at 7.20pm. Seriously what are the head honchos thinking? Scheduling a VPL final across the road from an AFL Semi Final which will most likely attract a crowd of 50,000+ fans. Do you think the AFL fans are worrying about parking? Do you think that the pittance of Green Gully and Richmond fans will be there early enough (around 4.30pm) to secure their spots somewhere around AAMI Park? Me thinks not. Anyone with a smidgen of a brain would’ve scheduled the VPL Grand Final at a venue appropriate to the average VPL crowd of 1,200. Let me remind you of some suitable venues. Knights Stadium, Epping Stadium, Olympic Village, hell even Paisley Park or Kingston Heath could’ve handled the masses on Saturday. But no. You people think you know something, but let me tell you, you know fuck all.

Richmond have been a top two side basically all season. Playing eh, not bad football at times, yet getting the results. A tip for all you prospective or current coaches who read this piece. In Australia, fancy football doesn’t win you shit. At the end of the day you need to win games, and frankly who cares how you do it. This is what Chatz has put into the minds of his players and the results are pretty much speaking for themselves.

Green Gully is giving away free tickets for this match. So if you want to save some hard earned coin, go to their website and read up on what you need to do. I haven’t seen it but people reckon it’s true. Gully has played well and has had a few problemos this year, but then again who hasn’t? They stabilised the ship on their run into the finals and have delivered a Grand Final appearance. I’d like to be a fly on the wall when security tries to confiscate the tea/coffee and bikkies from the Gully fans.

They will tell you that the attendance was 5,000+ people, but the real figure will be under 600. Note to the head honchos. Before you fudge the attendance figures, think of one very, very important thing. The Melbourne Heart also play from that venue and last week a measly 4,100 turned up. People will remember this when you publish 5,000 attended the VPL final and have a laughing fit.

I predict the game will end in a 2-2 draw and go to penalties with Gully winning 5-4.

Now a little rant which I have been keeping bottled up for a while. What a shit season. Not due to the teams who were in it, but due to outside powers who are hell bent on not allowing the result to be decided on the pitch. You know, it is frustrating when teams are handed fines and point deductions bigger than the competitions around the rest of the world. It’s as if they think that the clubs in this league are fully professional and bathe themselves in money. A lot of volunteers keep these clubs afloat by putting many, many hard, long, unpaid hours and money into them. They don’t get paid executive wages and are there for the love of the club and sport. I think it would be really cool if the head honchos start getting more actively involved in the clubs around the state and not only showing up to finals matches and keeping an eye on the till, and making out that they give a toss about the sport. Frankly, you people are the cause of people leaving the sport in droves. Why do you think the attendances are so low? Why do you think that no one gives a shit about you? It’s because when they see that teams are deducted 3 championship pts for not showing up to the Gold Medal night, or the tribunal hearings are so inconsistent it’s no longer funny or you’re so in love with the A-League you forget why you’re really there.

The Kiss of Death is in the process of undergoing a facelift and will become more active in bitching about Victorian Football. The Kiss of Death will name and shame and has found a new home. The Kiss of Death would like to thank the owner of this blog for providing me with a platform, for never asking me who I was, and to all my loyal readers, I bid you farewell. I leave you with one of my favourite quotes:

'I was surprised, but I always say nothing surprises me in football.'
- Les Ferdinand

This has made my day

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

De Moraes, Zois pick up awards at Gold Medal night

Congratulations to Peter Zois and Fernando De Moraes for picking up the goalkeeper of the year and the player of the year awards respectivly last night. Peter Zois got better and and better as the season went on, and Fernando clearly had his best season since 2006, a remarkable return to both form and consistency. The last South player to win the goalkeeper of the year award at this level was of course Dean Anastasiadis, who back to back awards in 2005 and 2006. Fernando is perhaps suprisingly the first South player to win the Gold Medal since its inception in 1971 - Jimmy Armstrong and Jim Pyrgolios had both won the Bill Fleming Medal in the 1970s for the media's player of the year, but not the Gold Medal. It takes a little of the edge off the season that's gone past.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Eddie Krncevic back as South coach

Ok, so the official site has announced it - but pretty much everybody seemed to know the facts of the matter a long time ago. The question of who leaked it - maybe even how many leaked it - is impossible to know, but it's the return of a bad old habit, one that I wish would go away.

Anyway, what to make of the disengaging of Horsey? I'm not one for syaing a first year coach coming in straight after finishing their playing career will always be a liability. That's a nonsense argument, and there's enough bad coaches who get job after job in this state to render it even more stupid.

Horsey has a reputation for being a tough negotiator, as well as stubbornness, certainly when it came to signing his last playing contract with us, and I would not expect that to have changed in his time as coach. He's obviously keen on making coaching a serious career - he's been racking up coaching licences - but the never ending circus surrounding the assistant roles never gave much confidence in regards to who was actually in charge and with whom the buck stopped - David Lugli got the arse, Joe Montemurro was often given credit for 'the right moves' and the other bloke 'Franz' did I know not sure what.

Of course, the six point deduction will come up and complicate matters. With those points we would have finished fourth - better than missing out on the finals and dealing with the interminable 'what could have been' argument. And the momentum kicked out from under you, and the sucker punch of having to deal with that for close to a whole season, something that was out of your control is still hurting the players - it was readily apparent at the MVP night.

But having said all that, the team should have done a lot better than it did. The forward problems never got solved, defensively we were a mess, and our brilliant fluid football which appeared every now and again made that all the more frustrating. Too much was left to too few this season - particularly Fernando's surprisingly good season and Peter Zois' pulling off several amazing saves to get us over the line or keep scorelines at least respectable. Some of the substitutions and set ups in particular seemed to boggle the mind. The insistence of still playing Gianni De Nittis alone up front for much of the year; the putting on of attacking wingers - notably Kyle Joryeff - when we were in the lead and needing to shut down the game; the often and obvious defensive incoherence, torn apart most notably by Northcote who made a mockery of the high line and offside trap style we attempted to play; and perhaps most tragically, the disappearance of last year's MVP winner Sebastian Petrovic off the face of the earth, in relative terms at least.

So, having said that all that, I'm personally not disappointed that Vaughan's been shown the door. But what of his replacement and his credentials? He coached a cashed up and professional Carlton, got them to a grand final, and then 11th. Coached Marconi, who by that time were making the finals and not much else. Of course, everyone will remember that Eddie coached us for a season in 2001/02 - the season after Mike Petersen (and several players) ditched us for the Football Kingz. But even more so, that season will be remembered for Con Boutsianis. It was Con's return half way through that season that turned around what was looking like a bottom two finish. Sure a lot of youth got blooded, but that was by necessity. Eddie didn't come back the next year.

For most of the past few years, he's been the player agent business. He obviously has to let go of that pursuit now that he's a coach, but it could well mean the addition of several clients to our playing roster, and possible, foreseeable complications. My opinions of him as a coach are, at best, cloudy and tainted by factors outside his control. It could be refreshing though to have someone with his sense of style back at the club - there was a guy with a gay leather biker jacket at the MVP night yesterday - not that there's anything wrong with that. How about that though? Bamboo Harvester replaced by Mr. Ed.

Politically Correct MVP night

An enjoyable evening was had last night at Honey Bar, with the usual and requisite personal quibbles. Fernando won the golden boot award of course, as well as the Theo Marmaras award for player of the year. What was perhaps a little surprising to me was how close it was - he finished up with 63 votes, just four ahead of Steven O'Dor and Peter Zois, and only overtaking those player with a nine point haul in the final round against Sunshine. I suppose it summed up the kind of year it was, where we flirted with both finals and relegation at various times during the year, playing at the extremes of appalling and brilliance often withing minutes of each other.

Fernando gave quite an emotional speech. The thing that was only semi-danced around, and not very well for most of the night, was the six point deduction. No sign of Horsey there - the rumours of his being sacked have been very strong, but nothing has been confirmed yet, no matter how strong the rumours are of Eddie Krncevic making a return to the South helm are. The notion of hiring of 91' championship hero Joe Palatsides has been been been buried - he's been having too good a time of it apparently coaching lower leagues sides in Greece, mostly recently at Karditsa in the Greek second division.

Lots of thank yous dished out. Echoing somewhat the omission of Kevin Nelson's name from the 2006 championship commemorative t-shirt, David Lugli didn't get mentioned. Maybe I don't have the stomach for such political antics, maybe he committed war crimes in the Sudan or something, but it seemed awkward. As did the somewhat cocky attitude of the players towards the Singapore Cup tie against Bangkok Glass - me, I don't know, maybe I read too many south-east Asian football blogs.

I was also offended by one George Koukoulas more or less accosting me and then berating me for not knowing about previous winners of our best and fairest, and then asking me what kind of club historian I am. Well, I'm not the official club historian, John Kyrou is - maybe Mr Koukoulas should check the South website. And considering the appalling record keeping of such matters within the club (with the exception of certain isolated individuals over the years, and the recent great work of John Kyrou), I don't see how it could possibly be my fault that I only know Steve Iosifidis won the award I think in one of our back to back seasons. It was hard enough even finding that out

But to focus any more than necessary on such small, petty individuals for too long is tiring. Back to the coaching situation. Some people seem convinced that a decision has already been made, and that they know who will be coaching us next year, maybe even this year. In better news, there's word that memberships and merchandise may very well be available even as early as this year, towards December of course. Now that's a level of progress that was mooted early this year, but seems to have much more to back it up this time around. I didn't dare ask about whether we could have a shirt with hoops though - I doubt it'd get up anyhow.