Thursday, 29 December 2011

Four More Years! Four More Years!

Another year gone by on the blog. Least amount of posts in a calendar year, but still kicking on.

From the beginning of the year, thanks to Walter Pless and everyone who made the blog's trip to Hobart so enjoyable.

Thank you to The Kiss of Death, whose infectious enthusiasm kept the blog ticking over. Too bad you didn't get around to doing your end of season roundup, but I understand the reason why. Much praise also to everyone who provided photos, or had them used by me. I hope I provided proper attribution.

Thanks to the organisers of the Hellenic Cup, whose inability to maintain a coherent and up to date website meant that this blog was the only place for people to get even a semblance of what was going on, thus getting us some heavy off-season hits. Thanks also to Jim Marinis for the unintentional lols and resultant hits.

Kudos to Mia Hayes, erstwhile of the FFV, who thought it fit that I should have access to a media pass in my own right. Costa from Goal! Weekly for letting me write in his paper; and to Southpole for having such poor internet access combined with superfluous social and sporting commitments that I was able to write on state league soccer for the aforementioned paper.

Thank you to every reader both South affiliated and non-South affiliated, especially those who left a comment at some point. Some notable mentions: Soccer-forum.net's Needledown for eventually getting the bee out of his bonnet; and Krizar, for discussing similarities and differences over a quiet drink.

The South Melbourne Hellas Hattrick crew. Most of us are slugging it away in divisions four and five, but in our own way we punch above our weight.

It's always a pleasure to spend time with Gains and Steve from Broady; the bus rides, train trips, quiet dinners and weekly stories starring Greeksta made the season that much more tolerable.

And of course, Ian Syson, who points out tics in my writing that I never seem to see for myself.

Monday, 26 December 2011

Review of John Maynard's 'The Aboriginal Soccer Tribe'

This review first appeared in Goal Weekly. It's a pretty sloppy review which probably doesn't do the book justice, but I do hope people give it a chance (use any book vouchers you got for Christmas if you must), as there's several important stories it has to tell.


There are plenty of people out there who will tell you that sport and politics should not mix. And yet throughout John Maynard's The Aboriginal Soccer Tribe: A History of Aboriginal Involvement with the World Game (Magabala Books), for many of the Aborigines involved in soccer, the two are impossible to separate.

Make no bones about it, Soccer Tribe is an important book. In large part this is because it seeks to cover new ground in an uncharted part of our soccer history, and attempts to link the game to the broader Indigenous struggle for social justice. Soccer Tribe's best sections are those which merge the personal with the political, recounting the important players of the past, and the social and political obstacles still in place preventing more Indigenous Australians from taking up the game.

In the 1950s, when Charles Perkins, John Moriarty and Gordon Briscoe emerge on the Australian soccer scene, Maynard showcases the role that soccer played in this trio's overcoming of social disadvantage and their subsequent entry into the political and public sphere. The self-esteem gained from their success in the game, and their treatment as equals by the Continental European migrants who had come to dominate Australia soccer by the early 1950s was crucial to their political awakening. The late Perkins recalled that soccer:

“brought me into the migrant community where I found great satisfaction, no prejudice, no history of bad relations, no embarrassing comments or derogatory remarks, they welcomed me into the fold and I've been there ever since”

Also crucial to their political awakening was that all three travelled to Europe to try their hand at soccer careers. Most Australian soccer fans would be aware only of Joe Marston and his appearance for Preston North End in the 1954 FA Cup final. But Moriarty, Briscoe and Perkins were just as pioneering in their endeavours, though they mostly played for high ranking amateur clubs. There too, they found an acceptance among the English that was wanting in Australia.

Harry Williams, the first Indigenous player to play for the national team, also gets his due recognition. A powerful advertisement for what soccer can do for Indigenous people, Williams was part of the groundbreaking 1974 World Cup squad. As Aboriginal activist Warren Mundine noted on watching Williams play in that tournament, 'with his big afro hair, he was a big inspiration to us all, because in those days only a handful of us played the game'.

Maynard also dedicates several sections to current and future Aboriginal stars of the game. This is one area where some may consider Soccer Tribe to have slipped – and it's a somewhat inevitable failing in a book seeking to celebrate Indigenous achievements in soccer – as Maynard is prone to over-hyping the talents and potential of several contemporary players. Some readers may query the merits of some of Maynard's appraisals.

One of the most pleasing aspects of the book is the significant section on Aboriginal involvement in women's soccer. Though several of the player profiles are short, those that do go into more depth provide stories equally as gripping as those of their male counterparts.

The story of Karen Menzies in particularly moving. Taken from her mother as an infant, raised as a 'white' child without any knowledge of her Indigenous background, breaking through barriers that female athletes have always faced in pursuing male dominated sports, and being openly gay to boot, Menzies reached the heights of playing for the Matildas. Sadly, her involvement in the game stopped when she became faced with further discrimination when she sought to a high profile assistant coaching role. More reassuring is that there were and are still Indigenous women who have followed in her footsteps towards playing for the Matildas, such as Kyah Simpson and Lydia Williams.

Maynard also covers the problem of getting more Indigenous Australians into the game. Soccer in Australia, apart from the notable exception of Newcastle and the Hunter Valley, is a sport whose heartland is based in the large metropolitan centres. To counter the appeal of rugby league and Australian rules in particular, who have such a healthy engagement with regional Australia, and thus with Indigenous people, the game must make a concerted and committed effort to promoting the game outside the major cities. In addition, Indigenous soccer players need to be better utilised in promoting the game, and showcasing the huge opportunities there within it. As with all codes, emphasis is also placed on the particular needs of Aboriginal players, especially those from remote communities and the problems of homesickness.

While all those points are crucial, occasionally Maynard also neglects to provide the wider context of a given situation. While being an Aboriginal soccer player from a rural area such as the Sunraysia region is not easy, especially with regards to the huge distance from the game's metropolitan strongholds and higher standards of competition, these same problems also exist for non-Aboriginal soccer participants, albeit obviously not to the same extent.

Likewise, the lack of primary accounts in some sections also creates a jarring effect when put up against those parts of the book where participants and their families are interviewed by Maynard. When relating the story of Mildura United, and Chris Tsivoglou's noble attempt to provide opportunities for Indigenous youth from the surrounding missions, Maynard relies on reports from the Koori Mail and Sydney Morning Herald, thus denying people like Tsivoglou and his charges from providing more in depth analysis of the wider Mildura soccer scene.

One other issue pops up repeatedly in Soccer Tribe – the lack of a binding narrative. Given the history of Indigenous Australians since European settlement, this is easily understandable, to the point where this lack of narrative becomes a key part of the narrative in itself.

To illustrate this point, Maynard uses the story of Bondi Neal, a star goalkeeper who played for several clubs around Newcastle and the Hunter Valley in the early 1900s. Despite several reports on his goalkeeping prowess in contemporary newspaper accounts, there are scarce details of his origins – and after the passing of stricter laws controlling Aborigines circa 1910, Neal disappears entirely from the public record, along with any known Indigenous participation in soccer.

Soccer Tribe's main flaw is almost an inevitable one – in the past, so little effort has been put into compiling work on the past, present and future of Aboriginal soccer, that it is difficult to know where to begin. Maynard opts to go for a sort of sprawl, trying to cover as much content as possible. Nevertheless, it is still a satisfying and intriguing starting point for coverage into the Indigenous soccer experience, and a worthwhile addition to the collections of Australian soccer aficionados. Hopefully it contributes to being a launching pad for more investigation into Aboriginal soccer.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Lucky With Disease

Fell like a crippled crow/
Spinning through and breaking branches

I was filled with a lot of bitterness last night. And yes, even this morning when posting the initial AGM gist. But then again, people have claimed that I'm very bitter and cynical anyways - I could go on about the assisted epiphany I received in early 2004, but it's kinda pointless.

I suppose people want more detail. And yet, how do you go about providing that sort of depth which is reserved for the members of this club? One angle may to provide details of things which may happen in the future anyway, and thus will become common knowledge in due course.

Like the social club redevelopment. Why hasn't it started yet? Well, because they were waiting for WATPAC, the construction firm in charge of the stadium redevelopment, to finish up and move out. And what are they going to do with it once we can get in there? Use it for a bistro/restaurant kinda space, along with a museum feature - hopefully I'll be having something to do with the latter when the time comes.

There's also stuff on which I've been unintentionally been misleading people with. With regards to the food and drink vendors, apparently we do get a cut out of that. So eat and drink up! Also, with regards to the VIS gym and pool facilities, while they are currently off-limits to us, that may change in the future. Even if they don't, MSAC is not too far away.

Some pet peeves. Serving food and drink was a neat touch. Too bad the twit behind me thought it was fine to crinkle and crunch his empty plastic cup throughout the majority of the meeting. Still, better than that other twit who kept kicking my chair. Also, would it kill some of our members to shut up and let someone ask a question? Or ask their questions at the suitable time and place instead of interrupting my carefully planned attack on certain board members?

And yes, the cost of water has gone up in recent times, but is that any reason to have to get up every five minutes to refresh your glass? And did we really need that five minute digression on not calling Peter Tsolakis 'Gus'? And could clowns turn your phones off or put them on silent?

Also, yes I blew a gasket with regards to the thankfully aborted hiring of George Angelopoulos as general manager, but the shutting down of that debate was a disgrace. It's not just about what we supporters think of Angelopoulos - it's also the process that lead to that point which needed to be addressed.

The timing of the event wasn't great. Four days before Christmas? Still, most of the usual suspects turned up, while most of the usual absentees also did their thing. Presidents room was nice. A beautiful view of the field, air conditioning - for a certain period at least. Maybe one day we'll even start on time, though the initial projector problem didn't help.

I wonder what my buddy Gains made of the whole affair, after attending his first AGM? When it comes to Greeks and South Melbourne, simple black and white answers seldom emerge. No wonder they made a national holiday of the one time they did take a definitive position.

As for that clown who thinks that there's not even a perceived issue with his son playing in the under 21s while he sits on the football sub-committee, he should perhaps open his eyes and ears and acknowledge the disbelief and fury that exists some of our South Melbourne family. Too bad he seemingly has enough support from others on the board to justify his stance that it's not an issue. Coincidence that they left this issue to the very end when everyone was busting to get home to their loved ones/repeat of Letterman?

No one asked where the World Club Championship money went.

Also, I apparently have to watch more things that Tim Roth has been in since he's on a t-shirt of mine.

2011 AGM gist

Off-field, they have a plan, and it's decent enough. Well planned, seemingly achievable and sensible. On-field, if we somehow do win a trophy that isn't the Hellenic Cup, it will be in spite of the board and its football sub-committee, and not because of it.

Some board members were willing to answer questions patiently and in appropriate detail. Others sought to shut down debate. Unfortunately, some of our members, who were more interested in talking among themselves and asking about trivialities, helped these wannabe oligarchs control the meeting.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

John Bedford passes away after long illness

Sad news from yesterday, that 1960s and 70s South stalwart John Bedford passed away after a long illness. Australian football historian Roy Hay was kind enough to provide this overview of Bedford's career, along with the accompanying photos.

The only notable thing omitted from this obituary is his status as a South Melbourne Hellas Team of the Century squad member. 

John Bedford (7 August 1941–18 December 2011), by Roy Hay


Springheeled John Bedford leaps to control a high ball. Source: Les Shorrock collection. Deakin University Library.
John Bedford was part of the South Melbourne Hellas team which won the first State League championship under the auspices of the Victorian Soccer Federation in 1962.

John died this week at the age of 70 in Wodonga. He was born and brought up in Box Hill and Bill Stewart persuaded him to start playing soccer at the age of seven. After heavy defeats in the early years, the Box Hill juniors won their leagues from under-9 to under-11 and by the age of 15 John Bedford was making his debut for the Box Hill seniors. He won the club’s best and fairest award twice in four years. Unfortunately the glory days of Box Hill were behind them and in 1961 the team was relegated from the State League.

In the match against Hellas that year, however, the young Bedford played and scored, and coach Manny Poulakakis moved quickly to sign him. Box Hill did not want to let him go, but eventually the transfer went through. His first game for Hellas was against Sydney powerhouse Pan Hellenic and he scored twice in a 3–1 win. But as John tells it, the details of his move to Hellas had not been settled when he went along to watch an Ampol Cup night game between Hellas and Polonia. Someone grabbed him from behind and told him he was playing. So he took the field and scored. Not a bad start to a career at Hellas which lasted until 1974. He was ever present as Hellas won the State League title in 1962.

Some weeks into the 1964 season, Hellas signed some new players and John was told that he would be on the bench. ‘No, I won’t’, he replied and went off to play footy with his mates at Box Hill Pioneers, winning a premiership in the process. Next year new coach John Margaritis came back for Bedford and he resumed his soccer career. A tendon injury and a bout of hepatitis kept him out of a number of games in 1963, but he contributed to the 1964-66 seasons when Hellas completed three in a row.

His form with Hellas saw him selected for Victoria 28 times and he was on the fringes of Australian selection but unfortunately never received his full international cap, though he had a couple of games for the Australia B team. The only two games he remembers missing for Victoria were against AS Roma in 1966 and Manchester United in 1975.

John Bedford (right) of South Melbourne Hellas and Eddie Sacco of George Cross at Olympic Park in 1962. Photo: Uwe Kuessner.
In his 18-year career he played 553 games and took part in 6 championship victories. Hellas also won the State League in 1972 and 1974 when John had reached the veteran stage. In the 1960s he represented Australia in the Laidlaw World Cup for local ‘national’ teams. He had a very strong left foot and began as goalscoring winger, though often moving back to a midfield role as his experience grew.

A signwriter to trade he retired in 2007 but still kept his eye in, helping out with the firm when necessary. He was as enthusiastic about the game and his part in it as he was when he was playing. He played for some of the great coaches, including Manny Poulakakis, John Margaritis, Bill Curran and Les Scheinflug. ‘The teams in New South Wales thought they were the best. We went up to play against Prague in the Australian Cup one year and were told we would be hammered, but we beat them 5–1. The only team which beat us was Hakoah,’ he said. A Soccer Weekly writer said John Bedford was ‘a fast, brainy and determined player, who is never beaten till the final whistle’.

John Bedford is survived by his wife, Margaret, his two sons, Darren and Andrew and four sisters, Anita, Sue, Catherine and Julie. His funeral is in Wodonga on Thursday, 22 December.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

2012 membership ad - it's not bad

First official details on 2012 Hellenic Cup

HELLENIC CUP TOURNAMENT 2012

The Hellenic Cup tournament will commence on Sunday 22 January 2012 with the play offs between the lower seeded teams. Games will be played on Sundays only but no games on Sunday 29 January (long weekend). It will finish on Sunday 12 February and the four (4) top teams will join the other 12 teams in the tournament.

The 16 teams will then commence their games on Saturday 18 February 2012 with the finals taking place on Saturday 10 March 2011.

The venue will be advised once all applications have been received. Closing date is 27 November 2011 and no late applications will be accepted.

You may download the application form from our website and either post back to our post office box or email to elliniko@yahoo.com.au

Monday, 12 December 2011

Notes from the return to Lakeside

Just very quickly, as I have a throbbing headache and am feeling a little nauseous.

Was there from about 12:45 until the end of the last game. It was by turns chilly and warm, but the rain held off, and it was a pleasant day overall.

Bought my membership, and got a Coke ball and Coke plastic 'glass' as part of some sponsorship arrangement. Was told that memberships were selling well, but they say that every year now, don't they?

Our stand is looking fantastic. New seats, new lights, new facilities. I'm not sure exactly how they're going to patrol and make sure only Gold members will have access to the padded seats, but they were comfortable. The view, while of course distant, is more than adequate. The media/scoreboard room is terrific.

The opposite stand is a bit more bare bones compared to our side, but the view is just as good, though leaving design holes in the back of the stand at the top will mean it gets a bit chilly during winter time. The setting sun still gets in your eyes, overall making our side the better choice.

Behind the goals is problematic, though those who insist on being part of the behind the goals faction will still probably soldier on. Standing room in between our stand and the track is not too bad. I managed to get a lap around the track before security got a more serious with that kind of thing.

Food wise, you're probably better off bringing something from home, or bringing your cheque book. Pricey and mainstream for the most part. Will have to wait and see what kind of fare the social club offers when its renovations are complete. But we do have vending machines!

The scoreboard is visible from outside the ground, but is angled more towards our stand, again making our stand a better choice. Its software crashed at one point, but the potential is there for some awesome usage. Hell, even having a match clock is something to be proud of.

The lights came on, but weren't really needed. Nice that we can do that now, and hopefully there's the possibility of a couple of night games there in 2012. The surface itself looked a treat, and seemed to play just as well.

Believe it or not, there was actually a game on as well - well, several to be precise, as our juniors took their turn to christen the stadium. The main game got off to a lively start, as one of the Trifiros scored within the first 30 seconds after some sweeping play across the ground.

We could have scored a couple more in the early stages, but then Olympic woke up and played the better for the rest of the half, deserving their 2-1 lead I suppose. They were a little too keen for my liking in their attempts at the tackle, and it ended up costing one of their players a trip to the hospital.

Both sides threw on some young players in the second half. We managed to get it back to 2-2, had a blatant onside called offside, copped a late goal, and the match finished 40 minutes into the second half. Then most of the estimated 3,500 crowd left while another junior side played for some reason.

Geoff Lord turned up, as did apparently several belly crawlers from bygone eras. Dom Barba, coach of Whittlesea Zebras was there. Clarendon Corner was there... or was it over there... or perhaps over there, as they struggled to find consensus about where to place themselves. The Olympic Ultras, if they were there, were barely noticeable.

All in all a good day, and now with only the AGM to go before the new year, the people responsible for providing the entertainment - and this wonderful facility - can rest a little easier, knowing that their efforts were worth it.

Pity that one of my preferred Clarendon Street eateries has changed branding/hands and I can't get a club sandwich there anymore.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Article on the architecture of the new Lakeside

A decent article looking at the architectural challenges of combining old and new architecture. There are some factual inaccuracies - our stand is not from the 1970s, it's from the 1990s - but other than that, it's not too bad of a read.


Splendid rebirth of stadium from mish-mash of decay

Joe Rollo

LIKE Lazarus, the old South Melbourne football ground in Albert Park has risen from near-dereliction as the new home of track and field sports in Victoria. And a pretty splendid vision it is, too.

Olympic Park Stadium, the hub of athletics in Victoria since 1956, is no more, fallen prey to the tentacles of the Collingwood Football Club, so welcome to Lakeside Stadium. It is here, amid the pleasant green surrounds of Albert Park and its eponymous lake that fans of athletics will come at twilight tomorrow to see the 51st running of the Zatopek 10,000 Classic.

H2o Architects, the design architects for the $60 million redevelopment, were handed a mish-mash of rotting and degraded buildings and managed to transform them into a world-class track and field arena and FIFA-approved soccer field, home of South Melbourne FC soccer club.

The heritage-listed grandstand of 1927 has been preserved, a 2000-seat stand from the 1970s designed by Daryl Jackson refurbished, the soccer pitch brought up to world-class standard, a new eight-lane composite running track laid and two new structures - a 2500-seat stand and a hall for ball sports - added. Gently-raked grass terraces grace the goal ends and an electronic scoreboard and screen have been erected. In all, 8000 people can be accommodated now in pleasant and comfortable surroundings, in close proximity to the action on the running track or the soccer pitch.

In contrast to the spectacular, cloud-like forms of AAMI Park, next door to the old Olympic Park Stadium, the architecture at Lakeside Stadium is modest. But in its sum of parts - the white concrete of the new buildings, the brilliant sky-blue composite running track, the old red-brown grandstand, its setting within the park and the intimacy of its scale - watching the action on the running track or the soccer pitch, sitting in the stands or standing on the terraces on a balmy summer evening, is going to be a joy.

The new northern stand is a plain affair, remarkable only for its sequence of sculptural diamond-shaped concrete piers supporting a cantilevered roof of steel and corrugated iron, folded like the roofs of petrol service stations from the 1950s and '60s. The ball sports hall is a cube of white concrete and glass attached to one end of the old grandstand; the hexagonal pattern in its concrete panels ''fractured'' along the top and filled with glass to introduce natural light and soften its appearance.

What seems incongruous is the preservation of the heritage-listed 1927 grandstand, which now houses the Victorian Institute of Sports. The ground floor has been extended to include gymnasium and sports sciences facilities, a 50-metre indoor training track and a series of pools. The seating in the stand is gone; the original timber slats ripped out and in their place, a series of minimalist two-storey modules inserted, containing the VIS offices and administration facilities.. Sadly, the net result is that all that's left to see of the original grandstand is the overhanging red iron roof and redbrick structure.

Two rows of seats were left at the front of the stand as a gesture to its past. But these, though not for public use, are all but useless for watching track and field events. Pushing the ground floor training facilities closer to the running track and soccer pitch means an extended roof creates a vexing blind spot that obliterates all views of one corner of the running track.

It must have seemed like a good idea on paper, but it reveals how complex is the job of marrying old with new in the design of modern stadiums.

Mass exodus of junior teams?

Reports have been circulating on soccer-forum.net that former head of football Ange Dallas has left the club entirely, and taken five 'elite' teams with him. Apparently the vacant slots have already been filled, and the renegade teams attempts to join with Bayside Argonauts have been slightly hit on the head, with one of the coaches seeking to move his team across being effectively barred from doing so.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Party like it's 2004 - South Melbourne vs Sydney Olympic this Sunday

Everyone else has been talking it up for some time now. The re-opening of the stadium is at hand, with tons of junior teams playing games throughout the day, and the main game between ourselves and Olympic at 5:30.

Entry is free all day, memberships will be on sale, so encourage everyone with even a passing interest to come on down and have a look at the facilities.

I know the people behind the scenes are super keen and raring to go, especially one particular reader who can't wait to play with the electronic scoreboard.

For those extra keen to have a look at the stadium, there's also an athletics launch tomorrow evening, with the main event being the Zatopek Classic. Still undecided if I'll head for that after an unrelated FFV shindig, as Star Trek Voyager is on television that night.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

No Heart of Victory youth teams in 2012 VPL

The FFV today issued a press release announcing that the Melbourne Heart and Melbourne Victory youth teams would not be participating in the 2012 VPL season. There had been much speculation in the local soccer scene that their inclusion was likely, if not inevitable, but the FFV said that the FFA's competitions review, due to be unveiled in the first quarter of 2012, meant that any changes to the structure of the VPL were best left until after the review was released.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Luke Byles signs with South

As one observant fan noted, pay attention to the Melbourne Victory shorts he's wearing during the training footage. Also with Joe Keenan and Kyle Joryeff already on board, the addition of Byles harkens back to an earlier, 1970s and 80s British influenced South Melbourne, albeit one that is now more English than that period dominated by Scots.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Yeah, I've finally snapped

But blue was doing my head in.

2012 memberships available

They've been out for at least a couple of weeks now, but this relatively late post is still worthwhile, to emphasise the remarkable point that new season memberships are out before the new year.

It's also worth noting that you'll be able to purchase memberships at the Lakeside relaunch on Sunday, which is what I'm planning to do.

Kudos to the membership department for streamlining their packages (corporate packages will apparently be launched separately). Also good to see the costs have remained relatively stable.

My pick as per usual is the South Gold. No polo this year, but you get a scarf, hat (and I really need a new South cap) and 50% off your ticket to the jersey night, as well as the usual social club rights, which is my main reason for choosing this package.

It is also worth noting that since the Trust which oversees Lakeside now takes a percentage of our gate takings, it is even more imperative that our supporters become members, thus ensuring that more money stays with the club.

There's also an interesting deal in conjunction with the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre whereby South members can get some decent discount and access to their facilities. Not my cup of tea, but might be good for those more athletically inclined or who live in the local area.

For more details, head to the club's membership page.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Everyone should have the opportunity...

...to have lunch with former FFV president Tony Dunkerley, at the very least to disagree with him.

Just don't do it at Leo's Spaghetti Bar, or if you do, avoid the ricotta and spinach ravioli - blandness personified.

It is also politically incorrect on a heinous level to afterwards play Slayer's 'Angel of Death' on one's music player, and feel that it's the perfect song for the situation.

I suppose I came out of it understanding, or believing that I understood, where the concept and ideological spark for the zonal system and Victorian Champions League originated from, as it was intended to run by Dunkerley.

I've been lead to believe, by people who could be considered responsible adults (unlike this writer), that discussing the contents of off the record and off the cuff remarks are not suitable for public comment.

For shame limiting me to just my feelings.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Apparently we have a womens branch again

After a very long time of hearing nothing about the state of our affiliation with the entity calling itself South Melbourne Women's Football Club, comes this press release. It appears that we have a (re-)started our own branch, being headed by an Irene Stamatopoulos. Things just got kicked up a notch.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

The Laurie Schwab and Les Shorrock collections at Deakin

Today I traveled down with Ian Syson to Deakin University's Waterfront campus to be shown around the Les Shorrock and Laurie Schwab collections by Roy Hay. This was part of work being done with the FFV's historical committee, which I'm now a part of, as well as part of work which may help South related historical research.

The collection of photographs and other materials is quite substantial. Most of these photos are in black and white, and date from the 1970s onwards. They are arranged in some sort of alphabetical order, but they are not indexed in any way. Therefore one may find, as we did, a photo of John Kosmina grabbing an opponent by the throat (A-League supporters may note some sort of irony there), but with no identification of said opponent. Still, those obstacles can be overcome by cross referencing with other materials.

More problematic are the complex copyright and ownership rights, which make it difficult for the general soccer public to access and utilise this treasure trove for its own efforts at historical preservation and education. There are few digitised elements of these collections, and unless the ownership and related preservation issues are resolved, the usefulness of the archives may well be restricted to those in academic circles, who can make use of the rules allowing access and creation  of duplicates for research purposes.

Hopefully a mutually beneficial solution can be found.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

2012 VPL fixture released

You can view it here. A section for only our fixtures will be created on this blog some time this weekend.

First up, home again, home again, jiggidy jig, against newly promoted Generic Black and White Italian Backed Team, with a few of our exes playing there. Of course again we play Oakleigh away in the first half of the season. No ANZAC Day Cup nonsense against Hume. And a final round trip to Olympic Village. No sign of the mooted inclusion of the Heart and Victory youth teams, nor of the NTC/VTC.

Before we go, kudos to the FFV PR person for their sense of humour on their media release.

It’s the always popular battle of the Greens when defending champions Green Gully Cavaliers travel to Kingston Heath to take on Bentleigh Greens.

Monday, 21 November 2011

South Melbourne in FIFA 12... sorta

If you have the FIFA 12 game for xbox, ps3 or pc, you can also play as South Melbourne - albeit only in exhibition matches, online friendlies and user-created tournaments.

To access this service, you have to visit the FIFA 12 site, sign in, and select the 'Creation Centre' under the 'Play Now' tab. You then do a search for South Melbourne, where you should be taken to a section where there are several South Melbourne sides available, including one by our old friend Cliff. Select the one you want, and bookmark it. When you next connect online to your game on your console, select 'Creation Centre' and download the teams.

There are also other former National Soccer League teams, including extensive if arbitrary selections by users named 'NSL Warrior' and Australian soccer forum veteran ZimzuM - Parramatta Melita Eagles have a team, but their Maltese cousins Sunshine George Cross do not. Add the of course already in Perth Glory to the list, as well as several random teams - yes, there's an Inter Monaro team available to download - and you can go back to the hazy, crazy days of the NSL in your own self made tournament, albeit with completely unrealistic crowds.

Another side of the unrealistic nature of this scenario is that the teams tend to be greatly overpowered, being mostly in the range of 4 1/2 stars, which I suppose helps you play against people who insist on using Barcelona, Manchester United etc. One wonders why people insist on full licensing when 3/4 of the online crowd pick the usual teams.

I suppose it doesn't matter - what counts is that there's people out there having a go at some sort of tailoring this game, and South of the Border is proud to promote these people's initiative.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Lex Marinos reading Neos Kosmos

I'm allegedly busy with trying to complete my honours thesis, which is due next Friday. In the meantime, this blog will hopefully be very quiet. Here's something to tide you over for a little bit longer. So allegedly busy I didn't even bother editing out all the stuff like the browser tabs.


Tuesday, 8 November 2011

AGM? Happening any time soon?

Seeing as it's one week into November already, and there needs to be a certain amount of notice given to the members, one wonders when and where it's going to happen. Anyone?

Monday, 7 November 2011

The Pig is in the Poke

Seems as if I'm now on the FFV's history committee. I'm pretending that I'm not sure how that happened.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Comprehensive sports coverage

Time for a change, perhaps

Have had this layout for a long time now. Colours, fonts and widths have changed, but the basics have remained the same. Not a huge fan of the new dynamic templates, but chances are I'll be switching to one of them soon enough. Will look a little less cluttered I hope, even if some of the functionality (ie, long list of labels) bites the dust. So don't freak out if it all comes up looking a little different some time soon.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Vandalising wikipedia... how 2006

Allegedly busy writing my thesis, I turn my back on the South Melbourne wikipedia page and this crap turns up.

2011-Onwards

With the recent signing of the Scotch College product David Henning, South Melbourne has come under heavy scrutiny from FIFA and the Royal Spanish Football Federation for negotiating with the prodigious goalkeeper while he was already on contract at FC Barcelona, where he was the understudy of Víctor Valdés. South Melbourne were not fined for their illegal meetings with Henning and the two parties managed to come to terms with FC Barcelona agreeing to send Henning on loan to South Melbourne FC for the entirety of the 2012 Victorian Premier League season. The addition of Henning has strengthened South Melbourne's defence and pundits have tipped the club as the favourites to win the Victorian Premier League as a result. Henning has been rumoured to be interested in making the loan agreement permanent due to his fondness for the club as a youth but this appears unlikely as South Melbourne is unable to afford the €5 million necessary to activate the buyout clause in his contract.

Friday, 28 October 2011

There's No Place Like Home

Football's coming home and all that, and it's about time too. As speculated upon earlier, the new, improved Lakeside will be officially launched on December 11th with a match against Sydney Olympic. It's still a little bit aways, suffice to say entry will be free, and there'll be tons of junior games throughout the day beforehand, giving people plenty of opportunity to get there early and explore the venue. And hopefully we give those Olympic tossers a right thrashing, too.

Stuck in Sydney

Monday, 24 October 2011

Memories, light the corners of my mind

Meh, Melbourne Victory in some early strife on field, and for some reason Michael Lynch cautiously infers that a successful NSL/VPL coach might have been a better choice. Not one of ours thankfully (?!), but the VPL's King of Kings, Ian Dobson. Strange how people start thinking in a crisis.

Anyway, more curiously, Lynch's Age colleague Greg Baum thought it would be pertinent to compare the current Melbourne derby to one of former years - ours and the Knights rivalry.

This is not the derby of Manchester or Milan, because it cannot be. It is certainly not Glasgow's Old Firm. It is not yet even South Melbourne versus the Melbourne Knights, from Australian soccer's pre-reformation.

It's only one line, but someone remembers, or at least pretends to. Of course Baum then does what he does best, and brings aussie rules into the picture. But this is Melbourne and thus it is unavoidable I suppose.

Australian soccer's pre-reformation is an interesting notion though. I always preferred the imagery of the Rapture, with the well-behaved and pious A-League fans taken up to some kind of dull heaven, while all us unrepentant wogs are left below to deal with the Apocalypse as best we can.

To make Baum's analogy work however, we'd surely need a counter-reformation. Armies of wog club missionaries - maybe like the Olympic Ultras! - walking down the (internet) streets, proselytising. But who will be our Ignacio de Loyola?

Friday, 21 October 2011

More Braindead B-League Banter

The B-League idea is the proverbial thing that will not die. Good to see also that the FFA's competition review is also still going. Wasn't it supposed to be released like six months ago? Or was that another review? And what was our input into this review? My goodness what a slow off-season we're in. This is from Adelaide's 'Advertiser'. 

Asia's demands would transform the competition

LYALL Gorman says a B-League is high on the agenda as the A-League prepares to manage soccer's biggest laws upheaval in two decades.

The A-League chief is keen to expand the game professionally with promotion and relegation.

Dino D'Ottavi, president of three-time national league champions Adelaide City, welcomed the incentive, "but the figures would have to stack up as we're establishing our home base at Oakden Central," he said.

Gorman is also preparing for FIFA to re-write the Laws of the Game. On the agenda is two extra match officials, goal-line technology and radio communication for match officials.

The changes are set to be endorsed by the International Football Association Board at a special meeting after the UEFA European Championships in July.

IFAB is the only body that can change the Laws of the Game. Its voting structure is made up of four FIFA representatives as well as the English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish governing bodies.

Changes are likely to start in the 2013-14 season.

But before this occurs Gorman is devising an A-League strategy in the hope of conforming with demands put together by the Asian Football Confederation's Professional Leagues Project committee.

The committee is forcing the introduction of second-tier competitions across Asia's better men's leagues. The 14-point plan includes promotion and relegation, a Cup competition and the league to run as a separate entity rather than being controlled by Football Federation Australia.

Gorman said the FFA Cup - involving all of Australia's FIFA-sanctioned men's teams - was planning to kick off next year but was not set in stone, nor was there a deadline in place for the B-League.

"We've undertaken the national competitions review," Gorman said.

"It will be complete within six months and there's a time factor and infrastructure needed to make sure we can move to that." He said the game's second-tier competition was tipped to be aligned to a unified states' competitions calendar but the finer details were still in their infancy.

When the AFC issued the ad-hoc document in 2008 it also alluded to taking Champions League spots away if nations didn't meet the new second-tier demands by 2012.

"I don't believe the process would cost us a Champions League spot," Gorman said.

"We are determined to get the competition stronger all the way through, A-League, youth league, where we're helping to take that to another level."

Friday, 14 October 2011

Say it ain't so, Joe

Daniel Vasilevski and Carl Recchia both gone to newly promoted Whittlesea Zebras. Which is a pity, because even though Vasa didn't have a great year he could still be useful, and Recchia when he was available was our best and most important player, also showing a fair bit of leadership. That's part of the consequences of having a sort of cashed up club get promoted replacing clubs that had no money.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Gus Tsolakis confirmed as South coach for 2012

It was the worst kept secret in Victorian soccer in quite some time. But I don't blame anyone for that. One could argue that it was a given, once soccer-forum's Northcote posters changed their tune from 'he's staying at Irakli 100%" to "99% sure", to the recent Neos Kosmos article where the man himself said it was "50/50".

So, Peter 'Gus' Tsolakis is back for another stint in the top job at South, after previously having had a couple of caretaker matches in charge after Danny Wright got the chop just before the end of the 2002/2003 NSL season. His coaching reputation has been won the hard way - taking Northcote to successive promotion from state league 2 to the VPL, finals last year and a goal short of it this year. And all on allegedly one of the smaller budgets in the league.

Good move. or bad move? Hell I don't know, ask me again in about 12 months time. Gus is just about South royalty, one of the few father-son combos in the club's history - so he at least understands the culture of the place. How will this affect the sister club relationship nonsense with Northcote? Buggered if I know. Who's staying and who's going and who's coming over? Dunno, Vasilevski and Recchia allegedly and dunno again.

Good to get it out of the way at last. Would have been nice to hear a few words from Gus himself, but that will come in time.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

The Continuing Adventures of Jim Marinis

It should be noted that this has naught to do with SM Hellas, so if you don't care about the AFL, you can look away now.

Yes, it's true, away from South Melbourne Hellas, I do take a more than passing interest in the Collingwood Football Club. Feel free to send all hate mail via the comments section.

Been wondering what our old friend Marinis has been up to of late? Me neither until this:

Collingwood furious as manager shops Alan Toovey around via email 

All I can say to Jim is, take that overrated poor man's Rupert Betheras and fuck off.

Hopefully something more South related in the next post.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Sivasspor 1 Buyuksehir 2

Yes, this bloke played for us this year. Also, does anyone still watch SBS's The World Game?

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Would South get more mainstream coverage if it was in the NSWPL?

Just killing time until Gus Tsolakis comes back from holidays.


With all due respect, both teams in the New South Wales Premier League grand final can go to hell. But what's more interesting is that apparently they have heaps more space to use in the Sydney Morning Herald, allowing for a sort of grand final preview, while The Age and Michael Lynch simply can't manage to scrounge up the requisite inches.

Old soccer still has a place in the new football world 

There’ll be more than a scent of past glories at Belmore Sports Ground tomorrow. And, no, we’re not talking Bulldogs.

It’s the grand final of the NSW Premier League between two of the game’s proudest clubs. Sydney Olympic, the minor premiers, and Sydney United. Both formed at the same time to represent the local Greek and Croatian communities respectively. Both formed in the same year, 1957, that newly-arrived immigrants precipitated the split between Newcastle and Sydney and created what was then known as the NSW first division, but is now known as the NSWPL. They’re as old as the competition itself - a semi-professional competition Sydney United have won five times, and Sydney Olympic just once. But it’s at national league level that these two clubs really made a name for themselves, helping to groom some of the finest players of the modern era. Brett Emerton. Graham Arnold. Robbie Slater. Zeljko Kalac. Ned Zelic. Jason Culina. And many more. Sydney Olympic won two NSL championships [1999, 2002] - one in front of nearly 50,000 fans in Perth. Sydney United, heartbreakingly, lost three grand finals - one in front of 40,000 fans in Brisbane. The bridesmaids but never the bride.

Times moved on, and these clubs didn’t move quick enough. The NSL closed down in 2004, and they were never likely to survive the transition to the fully-professional A-League. ‘Old soccer’ became ‘new football’, and there was less room for ethnicity. Besides, neither club had the money. It’s been a tough adjustment back to the ranks of part-time football for two clubs accustomed to being at the pointy end of the pyramid. Sydney United have done marginally better, winning the NSWPL title in 2006. This will be Sydney Olympic’s first grand final in the post-NSL era, and it will be the first time these two fallen giants have met to decide the title. There’s talk of a record NSWPL grand final crowd, upwards of 5,000. There’ll be the chants ‘Cro-at-zia, Cro-at-zia’ and ‘O-lym-pic, O-lym-pic’. Bet on a flare or two, and mindful of the usual braggadocio from would-be hooligans, officials have put plans in place to try prevent anything more serious than that. It’s old soccer, out and proud.

Mark Rudan and Ufuk Talay are as proud as anyone of their NSL heritage with Sydney United and Marconi Stallions respectively. After the match these best mates are heading into retirement, and there’s a big chance they’ll be reflecting on their achievements with a post-match smoke behind the grandstand. Two of the better players never to have played for Australia - and teammates when Sydney FC won the first A-League title - they’ll be aiming to go out as winners. Rudan, especially so, because he’s back where it all began.

It won’t be easy. Sydney Olympic are favourites, marginally. Like Sydney United, they’ve got a clutch of players [Chris Triantis, Paul Henderson, Brett Studman] with A-League experience. And they’re playing on their home ground.

For rivals coaches, Jean Paul de Marigny and Peter Tsekenis, there’s also the chance to put a stake in the ground. Tsekenis, 38, is a young coach with a growing pedigree. This is his fourth NSWPL grand final, and twice he emerged victorious with his former club, Bankstown City. Like Rudan, the shirt has special meaning. ‘‘I grew up supporting Olympic, I captained the club, and now I’m the coach,’’ he says. Where his coaching career takes him remains to be seen, but his apprenticeship is going nicely. ‘‘I definitely want to get involved in the A-League at some stage because I believe I’ve got something to offer,’’ he says. ‘‘But I’m not looking too far ahead because I know I’ve still got a lot to learn.’’

De Marigny, 47, is further down the road, and it’s a travesty he’s still waiting for his big opportunity. An assistant coach at Newcastle Jets, and shortlisted for the North Queensland Fury job, the former Socceroo keeps banging at the door. De Marigny guided Sydney United to their last NSWPL title five years ago, and is clever enough to do so again.

The waft from the souvlaki stands will tell us this is not A-League. But it’s the next best thing. With the new A-League season kicking-off next weekend it’s a timely reminder of the game’s heritage, but also of it’s potential. Rejuvenating, and respecting, second-tier football is an issue which despite six years of neglect from head office simply won’t go away. Next year, the FFA Cup will be launched in the first concrete step to mend the fences.

In the meantime those in the know appreciate where things stand. Robbie Slater will be there to present the medal for the man-of-the-match award named in his honour, and has promised to wear his old Sydney United shirt to the ground. Mark Bosnich will be there as a board member of Sydney Olympic. A-League coaches, and players, will be there in abundance. Fact is, despite plenty of propaganda to the contrary, the game does have a history and it’s not going away. ‘‘We are Football’ is the new slogan for the A-League. That, you’d assume, means everybody.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Gosch's Paddock Gossip (and other stuff)

So yeah, I was at Gosch's Paddock yesterday with a snow bunny talking about my thesis and paying attention to groins and hamstrings while trying to cope with the overwhelming boganity in the surrounds.

And the snow bunny told me that we had actually hired a general manager, allegedly one Peter Kokotis, local player agent and occasional contributor to Neos Kosmos English Weekly. If this is true, it's an interesting end to the saga which started here and thankfully ended here.

Also rumours flying around that we've signed goalkeeper Griffin McMaster. If this is true, what does it mean for Zaim Zeneli? What does it mean for our youth keepers? And who is taking on the role of football director? Interesting times as per the norm.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

South to host Olympic in Lakeside relaunch?

This is how bored I was yesterday. I went to the Box Hill United vs Whittlesea Ranges State league 2 playoff game at Yarraville's McIvor Reserve. It was cold, and it was windy.

I stood in line for what seemed like forever to get a souvlaki which may have contained some sort of hybrid of chicken and pork. I couldn't tell what it was. At least it was in pita I suppose.

And during this outing, I was told by someone that our grand re-opening of Lakeside will be a match against Sydney Olympic on Sunday December 11th. Make of that whatever you wish.

Whittlesea Ranges won 1-0 in extra time, but Langwarrin should beat them next week.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Some nonsense I whittled two years ago

Neos Kosmos English Weekly used to do this thing where they profile a local Greek-Australian soccer personality. I don't know if they do it anymore, because my folks don't buy the Saturday edition, and I don't buy it unless I've written for it, which hasn't happened for a long time. Anyway, I offered James Belias, the editor of the sports section, the opportunity to take up my profile, even though I don't play or coach or ref or administer - in the real world anyway. He declined to make use of a Hattrick profile answering the same questions. Pity. Well, I have a blog which is sitting idly here doing squat, may as well use it for shameless self-promotion.

Name : Paul Mavroudis
Club : Juniper Hill
Position : Club owner/chairman
Occupation : Associate Editor of Das Libero
Last season : 5th of 8 teams in our division 4 series. Lost relegation playoff 3-0.
Greek clubs played at : None.
Ambition : Get my club as high as possible. Not suck.
Career Highlight : Against all odds finishing fourth in division V.150, even knocking off the top team. A round six cup run two or three season back.
Football heroes : Robbie Fowler, Paul Trimboli
Current favourite local player : Julius Stoker
Current favourite international player: Timothy Dahl
Fav Aus Soccer Moment : 3rd South goal in '99 grand final
Team in Greece : I'd be lying if I said I took Greek football seriously.
Other sports : Aussie Rules and Gaelic football
Away from footy : Reading, writing, blogging, arguing, music, surfing web, collecting enemies
Fave cafe : none
Fave night club/bar : None.
Fave music : Elbow, Eels, The Autumns, Lift To Experience, Manic Street Preachers, Faith No More, Weird Al Yankovic
Holidayed in Greece : Back when I was 12.
Favourite Movie : Millennium Actress
Best thing about being Greek Australian : The incredible achievements completed several thousand years ago by a minority of people that I can attach myself to. And supporting South Melbourne Hellas.
Worst thing : Being associated with Acropolis Now.
Hidden Talent : Ability to tell the truth and not be believed.

Friday, 16 September 2011

And now it's official

Eddie is gone. All these things are viewed best with hindsight. In the end, Eddie was a victim of his inability to stamp his authority on the side. For most of the season, Joe Montemurro and even Ange Dallas were doing most of the coaching, with Eddie cowering on the bench.

Though restricted in the middle of the year by injuries and suspensions, his squad selections at times seemed to favour certain players over others regardless of form or suitability. The side should have finished at bare minimum with a double chance - instead they squeezed into the finals on the final day, and were helped by other teams having points docked.

Where South goes from here is an interesting question. There is still no proper football director to make such a decision; then again, look how far well we've done even with someone in that paid position; The names of former players Peter Tsolakis and Joe Palatsides have been bandied about, while others have suggested that Mike Chatzitrifonas, current coach of Richmond, might be a left-field choice of sorts.

With Eddie gone, which players of his will also go? It sadly seems almost a given that Jesse won't hang around; Topalovic leaving would please a few; the fate of Sebastian Petrovich and even Fernando De Moraes may also hinge on what the new coach has in store. Long off-season ahead of us.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Is Eddie still with us?

Reports circulating on soccer-forum and in Neos Kosmos that Eddie is gone, but no confirmation from the club as yet. Also in Neos Kosmos, interview with '91 championship player and current Mirabella Cup winning coach with Northcote Peter Tsolakis, where he claims he has made no plans on who he will coach next year - but that Northcote naturally has first rights to his services for next year.

Only mentioning it because Gus' name has been bandied about a bit. And look at me go - South of the Border officially into the 2012 pre-season. The Tintin jokes managed a brief moment in the sun.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Pros and Cons of having Greek Tycoons

I've been keeping my ear to the ground, hoping for something interesting to pop up. No sign of coach sacking, let alone hiring. All pretty quiet when it comes to South at the moment. But there have been intriguing rumours circulating that Greek-American tycoon Roberto Rastapopoulos is interested in tipping his money into South Melbourne. Rastapopoulos is no doubt a clever and inventive character, but it's worth weighing up the pros and cons of having such a figure involved at South. Here are some points both for and against having Roberto on board that I came up with at short notice.

Points For
  • Quite wealthy individual, would allow us to start becoming really ambitious about what we could do with the club.
  • Well known identity, one which could garner lots of media attention for South.
  • Well connected individual, especially in the entertainment industry.
  • Has no baggage from previous club administrations. Could be part of a genuine fresh start.
  • Could get us into A-League? They let the Gold Coast in after all.
  • Could help placate those who think South is not Greek enough. 

Points Against
  • His involvement might well mean the privatisation of the club, a move which our members have been historically opposed to.
  • Has no known background or prior interest in sport.
  • His Greekness could be used against us by those who claim we aren't open to others outside our Greek heritage.
  • Alleged links to elements of organised crime.
  • Hostile attitude to certain parts of the media.
  • Is a fictional character from a children's comic book series.

As you can see, there are good arguments on both signs of the ledger. Just have to wait and see what, if anything, comes out of this scenario. There have been similar claims made before that people are ready to come in and put their considerable wealth and business nous to work for the South cause, and so far these predictions have never come true.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

South of the Border Awards 2011

Player of the year: Carl Recchia. This was a close run thing in my mind. Considering how many players were absent for extended periods throughout the season, as well as the fact that we used over 30 players during the season, ultimately I had to look for the most versatile, most determined and most valuable player, and Carl was that person this season. With apologies to Zaim Zeneli, who did a good job in goals as an unknown quantity; Jesse Krncevic, who scored lots of goals but could have scored more had he been on the field; and Kyle Joryeff, who I marked harshly last season, but was this season's biggest improver.

Under 21 player of the year: The Cliff Hussey Memorial Trophy goes to Jake Vandemey and Josh Colosimo. Yeah, I know, ties suck. But also, wow, this was hard to pick again. Despite churning through a few young players, not many of them got an extended go, and those that did - Kamahl Ibrahim and Kliment Taseski - didn't impress me all that much - please no more more loaning of young playesr when we have our talent to draw on. Even the under 21s team went through a mountain's worth of players. Injuries and defections

The reason I pick these two lads, is because even though they spent most of the season not even playing for South, and instead participating in a league several notches lower in terms of standard, their willingness to see their tenure at Hobart Olympia as an opportunity rather than as a barrier to their ambitions to play senior football in the VPL. They certainly seemed to provide a positive influence on a previously struggling Olympia outfit both on the field and off it with their professional attitude.

Goal of the year: Kyle Joryeff, against Bentleigh round 2. The obvious choice would be Jesse Krncevic's effort against Northcote, round 22. There were some good free kicks and such along the journey, but Joryeff's control, turn and shot for what turned out to be the winning goal in the game was an early season highlight of mine.

Best performance: Oakleigh away, during the home and away season. We thoroughly deserved the win, and only conceded a goal from a stupid free kick.

Best away game of the year: Purely from a fan's point of view, and disregarding the result and the frankly woeful performance, the semi-final loss against Oakleigh. A good crowd, and South fans created a terrific atmosphere. It was great to have Lefteri back this year as well. Hopefully we see him at plenty of away games next season also.

Call of the year: "Northcote have received so much money from us over the past two years that they should have 'South Melbourne' on the front of their shirts". Probably a bit harsh, but at least it was memorable and more than just a little insightful.

Chant of the year: Maybe I missed some really good ones not being near Clarendon Corner, but I reckon it'd have been hard to top this one. When Ljubo Milicevic had a decision go against him in the home game against Springvale White Eagles, the chant went up 'the referee's an Anglo'. Classic. Runners up were Clarendon Corner chanting my name early in the season, and MCF's effort against Cobram Victory in the Mirabella Cup. "Give me a 'C', give me an 'O', give me a 'B', give me an 'R', give me an 'A', give me an 'M', what does spell? INCEST!" Crude, tasteless, wonderfully oldskool

Best after match dinner location: Look, it has to be during the season proper. Otherwise the Hellenic Club in Hobart would have won this hands down (and even the call of the year for tha matter). But the Hot Space Szechuan Bar in Russell Street makes a fiery but awesome gung po chicken that even manged to stop Steve from Broady from shoveling it down in his usual reckless manner. How about that? Consecutive years of spicy chicken dishes win this title.

Friends we lost along the way: Aussie Disposals blue/white no.2. What a piece of crap umbrella that was. Carked it upon opening against some team or other. Supermercado; don't think we saw him any any game this year. Wherever you are Mercs, please come home, we miss you.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Lynchy, Lynchy, Lynchy

If you ever get a chance to listen to the Martin/Molloy skit 'Gordon Gordon', a parody of a certain strain of AM talkback radio programming, you'll come across the bit where they have an old fogie of a television reviewer as part of the regular guests.

The catch is, of course, that the quality of the programs he's reviewing are in no way related to what was on screen; rather, all the programs are judged by the quality of the food and wine at the relevant launch, as well as the gifts that all the press members at the launch receive. Hence, a Channel Nine program gets rave reviews, while a Channel Seven program gets slammed because of the crap food on offer and the keyring which fell apart as soon as he got home.

All of which leads to the point of this article. So, after the Twitter stoush between The Age's top-flight only soccer writer Michael Lynch and curmudgeonly academic Ian Syson, Lynch somehow managed to get one over the editorial top brass and sneaked in some VPL paragraphs into his regular reporting. The fact that we were supposed to be grateful for any coverage didn't seem to get past Lynch. It also didn't seem to get past the FFV, who invited Lynch to their Gold Medal night.

The photographic evidence in Goal Weekly seemed to indicate that Lynch had a pretty good time, and they even let him present the Bill Fleming Medal for the soccer press' player of the year to Richie Cardozo. Meanwhile as a holder of a media pass, which includes writing match reports and such, and even the occasional article for Goal Weekly, I'm still waiting for my voting slip. For the record, I would have voted for Andy Vlahos by the way, because of the added coaching responsibilities he undertakes in addition to his excellent season.

Anyway, I'm just about over the nonsensical situation of having a guy who admits he doesn't know when games are on because he hasn't been told - even though he's on the South Melbourne mailing list for example - getting feted like a king by the football authorities. Just about over that is, until I was informed about this little exchange on Twitter.

Michael Lynch @ KopThatWyld 4K for a Grand Final is disappointing. Maybe not the level of support that some assume - or was it just 2 lesser supported team
Ian Syson @MickLynch_Age @KopThatWyld #VPLcoverage ML, you gave some good coverage in recent weeks but 4K to a GF that received nil promo is quite ok.

Ah, Lynchy, couldn't help yourself could you? Nevermind that there was, as noted by Syson, basically zero promotion; that even though the game was played on a catch up week for most leagues, it was still played in direct opposition to most of those catch up games; that an offer of four free tickets to other clubs was only emailed late; that despite having two poorly supported sides in the final, the game still managed to have an increase of about 2000 spectators on the previous season's crowd, which also featured two poorly supported clubs.

No; despite the many things anyone could come up with to mitigate the supposed 'poor crowd', you still felt you needed to put down the VPL to try and score a personal point. And the FFV must feel great for having invited you to their annual aren't we awesome piss-up. Hell, half the people in the FFV offices have probably been to as many Victorian league matches as you have anyway. What you and they do is just a job - I mean, why should anybody working in such a field actually care about soccer after they clock off at the end of the working week?

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Video showing the creation of the track at Lakeside

Enjoy.

Wow. Just wow.

So, last night the club MVP was awarded for 2011. And it was a tie. Half of that tie was Jesse. The other half was Topa. Did not see that coming. I know we had a screwed up season, but wow. Might need to add something to the list of dumb AGM questions.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

2011 MVP Night tonight

Late notice I know.

It's on at 7pm at Honey Bar, 45 Clarendon Street, South Melbourne. Entry is $30.

I'm out. Bit sick at the moment.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

FFV works hard for the money

I don't endorse football violence, or referee abuse which borders on the psychopathic, or any other moronic behaviour which brings the game into disrepute. Discipline should be dished out, and goodness knows there are still people out there who just don't get it, and never will get it.

But the FFV, in its self-professed quest to clean up the game, has become increasingly reliant and addicted to the hefty monetary punishments it doles out to clubs, even to those with long incident free stretches, and whose reputations have been sullied not by large scale riots but by the actions of individuals.

If a club can legitimately make the claim that it did all in its power to prevent an issue from coming up, how responsible can they be held for the actions of their supporters, especially infrequent spectators? The question has been asked - how can a club prevent something happening at the potentially half dozen grounds its youth teams in particular might be playing at during any given week?

If fines in the realm of tens of thousands of dollars for first offences become the norm, what can clubs expect for second offences? That's if they survive of course. Clubs at a certain level will be able to grit their teeth and get through, but clubs in the provisional leagues playing in open park lands?

But that's a debate for soccer-forum. What I'm more concerned and interested in is in here.

By 4pm on Monday, 04 September 2011, the Maribyrnong Greens SC shall identify the name and contact details of:
  • (a) The individual who ran onto the ground with a corner flag at the above name fixture.
  • (b) The individual who posted comments on the Facebook page of Abbas Allafta as referred to in this Tribunal hearing (31/08/2011).
Failing either of these the Club will be charged with Misconduct by the FFV.

So now the FFV is hunting people down by reading Facebook pages. Well, at least we know what they're doing now when they can't seem to organise a cup tournament properly. The two marquee teams are forced to pull out; you've set aside no dates for the fixtures; you mistakenly put teams from zone into another, despite coming up with the zone system yourselves; you even forget to put one of the entrants into the comp at all; but stalking clubs and people on Facebook? Too easy.

FFV CEO Mark Rendell; whatever you do, don't fall asleep.
What next? Hanging out in pubs with supporters? Hiring private investigators to play for teams? Find a way of trying to get into people's dreams. And knowing the FFV, it wouldn't be a stylish homage to the late Satoshi Kon and Paprika, it'd be more like an even worse sequel to Nightmare on Elm Street than that horrible Wes Craven's New Nightmare which Channel 9 buried after midnight a couple of times.

Just got to keep watch on what we say and how we say it everywhere nowadays, because churlishness and faux-nostalgia aside, this seems like an organisation willing to go to lengths unknown to achieve its goals, whatever those goals happen to be.

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Harismidis not happy with Lakeside Redevelopment

Don't ask why Con Harismidis decided to reply to a seven year old blog post on another site. Also, don't ask how I came across this piece at all. 

Con_Harismidis_Is_Hellas said...

My cousin freild Rick say this is maybe South melbourne Hellas mesagae board or do you now if where sm sc borad is.

I come back here and all is diferent. Many bad thing are in Melbouren and my uncle even say if you want to seeHellas there is now track and feild track. What is happening is there tracka nd feild track for Hellas soccer stadium.

I now Premiere Brack does not like Greece but to put a track and feild track at the home of Greek and all soccer is a bad thing. My uncle is old and if he has to see with track and feild track in the way it is hard to see that far.The anglo football league is crime. The rugby is crome and a aleague is crime. South Melbounre Hellas is I am told elected best soccer club in all australai asia ocenia.

All the government do is take from Greek and give to people of crime and bad country. 60 year ago the Australai is third world and the Greek invited and build the dam and the roada and the bridge. To have a stadium for Hellas soccer is deserved and good. Now Sergee Bubker and Daily Tomson take it over. How can you play soccer with hole from javelen and sout putt in grass.

Why do the Greek make good country and then the anglo give it to asia, africa, mexico , turk and they do crime. My uncle say he will nevr go on train again in Melborune if someone like Mannix is not there to protect him and good people.

When i come on the bus and go back to Melbouren there is africa people at spencer street station wanting me give them money. I tell my uncle and he say it is very difrent and scarry. My uncle would go to Dandonong to see his freind and he say there are so manyh africa in Dandeonong that it look like France.

My uncle is wise. he is Greek born and bread. My uncle say what if there is Mesolongion who are good and Kardhitsa is bad. If Mesolongion has good people who build a good place and Kardhitsa burn the house in Kardhitsa down and have no crop. Mesolongion can help Kardhitsa build the house and help the cr0p and give them maybe some fish. You do not say to bad people come live in my house and burn down my house.

Greek and some nonGreek make the NSL. Then shopping mall person and other people steel from good people for aleague. I nevr go to aleague or if Hellas is there I will or if Anwar Sedat come and chain me and drag me to game.

I have one country to cheer for World Cup and other team. Yes Greece you are the best. I also want the team that play cheeting bush socceroo to win. Pim Ver Beak is very ugly.

My dream and your dream is Greece in World Cup final and bad Austraali scocceroo in final. the score is Greece 24 and other team 0.

my uncle also say Yusif Yusif is a player South Melb9orunr eHellas. That can not be right. Mustafa Mustafa then Yusif Yusif. What is the world coming to. Anastasiadis. Boutsianis. Anastasiadis. Those are the name you want to here for the team. Is Yusif Yusif the Cat Steven.

I was waiting for the bus on tuesday or wensdeday with my cousin and the woman walk by with the pillow case on the head. I said to my cousin "What was that" and he said "She a muslem. A few minute later a big guy with bald hair and giant beard and a black t shirt with map of Austrlia colour with Lebanon flag walk by. When he had gone away and I stop hiding I said to my cousin 'what was that" and he said "She a muslem". Just before bus was there a tall person with white shiek shirt and trouser walk by and I look at my cousin. My cousin told me "Sunny muslem". The the morale of it is that sunny muslem where brighter clothe than she a muslem.

I want stadium for only soccer and only Hellas.I vote for no track and feild track.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Former South player Frank Munro passes away

Amidst the chaos of last week, former South Melbourne defender Frank Munro passed away at the age of 63. A 'tough as nails' centre back, Munro played a handful of games for South in 1978 and '79 under Dave MacLaren. The bulk of his career however was spent at Wolverhampton Wanderers, where he played 296 games for the Molineux club and became a firm club favourite..

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

All Over, Red Rover for Season 2011 - Oakleigh 1 South Melbourne 0

Curious. I did only write this up last night, but thought I had already posted it. 

The simple truth of the matter is that we created few chances and were reliant on Zaim Zeneli making several important saves. Oakleigh dominated us with their physical approach to the game - aided by lenient officials - and the absence of either Carl Recchia (playing in defense) or the suspended Sebastian Petrovich in midfield meant that far too often we were second to the ball and on the back foot.

Much speculation had been raised during the week over who who would take the place of Petrovich and the injured Steven Topalovic. The latter's place was unsurprisingly taken over by Rhodri Payne, while the former was the surprise of the night and perhaps season when Yanni Galanos, who had played all of 25 minutes for the entire campaign was picked ahead of Marinos Gasparis and Fernando De Moraes.

Hindsight is a terrific thing to have, but the coaching staff must have felt that Galanos' ability as a defensive midfielder would make up for the creativity lost by not playing one of the other two. As it turned out, even when Fernando did come on, he had little impact on the game, and as has often been the case, looked a shadow of his 2010 Gold Medal winning form. Galanos, too, had little impact, while Payne, so often a Jekyll and Hyde player, reverted to his Hyde persona, constantly giving the ball away in dangerous areas.

Fernando though, was not alone in producing a sub par performance. For whatever reason, the side looked flatfooted and bereft of ideas, with perhaps the effects of playing several cutthroat games in a row eventually taking its toll. From the Dandenong Thunder game onwards, just about every game the side had played was do or die. In some ways, it was a feat to reach this far, but five consecutive sudden death games was too much for the side.

Zeneli was undoubtedly South's best player. He pulled off several important saves, including one from point blank range in the first half. He was also the victim of two crude challenges, one of which by Oakleigh hardman/biggest dog in the VPL Josh Groenwald left Zeneli with a large gash on his head which required several minutes worth of medical attention. Neither challenge, nor several other rough moments, were dealt with in any serious manner by the officials except for belated yellow cards.

Perhaps the worst and most heinous of all those challenges was from former beloved captain Ramazan Tavsancioglu who, to borrow the words of one spectator, had been lining up Jesse Krncevic since January. An awfully late challenge on the striker off the ball in front of the South bench did little to endear the 2006 championship player to his critics, as well as denting the respect that he had among those supporters who sympathised with his exit from the club.

The closest we got to scoring was early on when Stephen Weir, who otherwise was shut out of the game, hit the crossbar; and midway through the second half, when Jesse Krncevic broke through for a one on one opportunity against Peter Zois, and while he put the ball in the back of the net, the flag had gone up for offside. From my vantage point behind that goal, my instinct was that it was a fair goal. Reports from the better placed patrons on the sideline generally claimed that it was onside, but there was the odd fan who claimed that it was offside. Perhaps the video, when it comes out, may clear up the matter. Perhaps not.

Coach Krncevic delayed in making substitutions, seemingly hoping that the game would reach extra time. It was always a dangerous tactic to pursue, and the team paid for its reluctance in going for the win when a long range shot by Oakleigh nestled into the opposite corner. The player had an eternity to line up the shot, and there was little that Zeneli could do to prevent it going in. Kyle Joryeff was brought on at the death, but had little chance to change the situation, and thus South's rollercoaster season ended with a whimper.

At the time of writing of course, the fate of the coach and several players was yet to be known, and is as usual likely to be hotly debated in the months ahead. As for the blog, the standard procedure will apply, as I wrap up the season that was, hand out the awards, let the Kiss of Death runs its course for 2011 and eventually slow down to the usual off-season pace.

Fair to say that I'm still devastated by the loss, but in full acknowledgment of the crazy season that we had.

The Peter Zois Barriers/The FFV wouldn't know what to do with a crowd
One of the more ludicrous things ever seen at a VPL game - and really, that's some effort to make such a shortlist - were the taped off areas behind each of the goals, allegedly to prevent the goalkeepers from having items thrown at them or have them come into contact with rowdy fans. Among a large part of the Clarendon Corner/smfcboard and assorted hangers on community, this was taken as at least a moral victory for the vocal fan known as Stathi.

Stathi is not even close to approaching any sort of wordsmithery. He can be crude, but he generally never enters the more turgid and offensive territory of the fan known as Columbo, who is currently serving a suspension for his role in last year's pitch invasion against Heidelberg. Both have their supporters and detractors. For all the antics of this game however, Peter Zois didn't snap this time until the end of the game, when he turned around to pick up his towel and grab hold of the badge on his chest and step forward to try and have a few words.

What price Zois places on any sense of loyalty to any club is a mystery to me, and probably many other VPL folk who could rattle off several clubs he has been at and left - but perhaps that is hypocritical to point out considering that we were at least fourth in line out of those clubs. Still, the whole 'I love this club' saga obviously did rankle with him, and will do so into the future. That, and the fact that Joe Keenan speaks better Greek than he does.

As for the FFV, a large crowd turned up, were accommodated poorly both in lining up and inside the ground, and left the poor security staff to their own wits as to how to try and prevent a pathetic barrier not be moved at all. By the time the game had ended, the blockaded area I was behind in the second half had moved closer to the fence by about 3-4 metres, almost as if by magic. There was also a moderately dicey moment early in the game when the lights flickered ominously, but they stayed on. The field itself was a bobbling hovel, sand everywhere and not suited to playing a decent brand of football. Still, if we'd had the double chance we perhaps could have avoided the situation.
The FFV's idea of soccer crowd control. It's so genius that they should think about exporting it to the Balkans or South America. Photo: Gains.

Drinking/How Clarendon Corner keeps on keeping on
I do like a drop of cider, but never to excess.

Clarendon Corner almost always rises to the occasion at Jack Edwards Reserve, and last night was no exception. The return of Lefteri helped things even further, and the interplay with the behind the goals crowd was also very good, considering there were very few chanting types on that side.

Apparently next year is Clarendon's 10th anniversary, with the majority of that spell being spent in the club's most difficult years. For better and worse, it's been one constant that has kept some people coming back, and provided a bit of atmosphere, colour and a point of difference to the other clubs and their crowds that increasingly being made up of old men. I've never always approved, occasionally found myself on the opposite side of an issue, and tend not to forgive the mistakes, but at the same time, been through a lot of good times as well. Maybe time to finally bury whatever hatchets we all have?

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Syson vs Lynch!

The Age's chief soccer writer Michael Lynch (left), has his undies snapped by academic Ian Syson (centre), as part of a fledgling annual tradition in which local soccer fans take Lynch and The Age to task for not publishing material about the Victorian Premier League. South of the Border creator Paul Mavroudis (right), looks on, characteristically unamused by the spectacle.

This entry is also known as why Twitter sucks, and The Annual Disaffected, Bitter, Semi-Literate, Quasi Intelligent VPL Fan's Snapping of Michael Lynch's Undies.

I don't like Twitter and therefore I don't use Twitter. The website sucks and 160 characters is a daft number to choose. 255 is a much better choice.

Of course, if like me you don't have a smart phone, it's probably utterly pointless.

And besides, I like to waffle on, see where my muse leads me.

But epic manifestos on my self-diagnosed depression and where to get a good and cheap feed in Melbourne on a Sunday evening aren't for everyone.

And some of you like to consider yourselves as more technologically savvy than this blog, and more power to you in that regard.

So if you're one of those people with the attention span of a newt, then I suppose something like Twitter is your friend, and you may be interested in the stoush being played out between The Age's 'sokkah' writer Michael Lynch and academic (and sort of friend of South of the Border) Ian Syson, about why the VPL doesn't get more coverage in The Age.

Is there anything new here, in comparison to the last time we had this conversation? Nah, but it's become an annual ritual which we like to think we've played a part in establishing courtesy of an angry email I sent a few years ago after our last grand final win, but which is now lost because it was on my Bigpond email account and I'm on TPG now, and I didn't have the foresight to save it.

Why was it via Bigpond? Because I reasoned that The Age would probably automatically filter out my hotmail and gmail attempts at reaching them. All of which should be a footnote, because the arguments being employed are still much the same.
  • We don't cover second tier sport.
  • There's not enough interest/it's only followed by a few hardcores.
  • I would love to do it, but there's limited space.
  • I'll try and get something online next year.
  • The Age is about selling papers and entertaining people, not informing them.

To which this year there's been a couple of new additions
  • We (Fairfax) have a deal with the FFV to get stuff published in local papers.
  • Coverage of Victorian soccer is the best it's ever been!

There are obvious responses to all these things, which have been covered before (see the above links and the Michael Lynch tag on this blog) as well as in this current mini-fracas, but to save time, let's go over them one more (last?) time.

  • The Age does cover second and third tier sport, when they report on VFL, VAFA, District Cricket etc.
  • There would be VPL crowds that would easily match or cover an equivalent VFL, VAFA, District Cricket fixture.
  • The notion of limited space is a crock. Ghostwritten articles by AFL players which probably no one reads are somehow more important and integral than a VPL grand final?
  • When it comes to the internet and getting more content on there, next year never seems to arrive for our daily newspapers. 
  • Yes, yes, we know that we can follow our teams in the free suburban papers. But that goes for the aforementioned aussie rules and premier cricket competitions as well, and yet they still get press coverage in the dailies.
  • Unless one counts the coverage of the Victory and Heart as part of the tally, coverage of Victorian soccer is non-existent in The Age.
  • It is easy to prove that soccer coverage was more extensive just by looking up old papers. Was it as well written? Probably not. Was it to the point and did it cover the main details of the weekend's action? In quite a few cases, yes.
  •  
I don't think anyone in their right mind is asking for wall to wall coverage of the competition, merely acknowledgement of its importance relative to the other junk that they cover, as well as a cessation in the bullshit they peddle about why the VPL does not get coverage in their paper. That's what I want at least. If they discarded all the other lower tier sport, then there'd be one less bit of hypocrisy for the cynics, who perhaps see this as just another part of the australian rules conspiracy, to aim at.

The Age may be operating in a global field, but it is a Melbourne paper which should accurately reflect the things which are happening in this city, and not merely favour those things which are the enclave of a few Old Boys, nor use their professed parochialism solely as an advertising tool and not as a deeper operating philosophy. Yes, I've walked past your ads at Spencer Street Station, and no, I don't believe what they're telling me.

Then again, with so much of their material operations being outsourced away from Victoria, are they even a genuinely local enterprise any longer? Who the hell cares, as long people are entertained by what they read in preference to being informed about their world; because the logical conclusion about selling papers and giving people what they want to read, is that you eventually stop giving people items that they should be reading.

I'd wager that there's plenty of people out there who already think that The Age has headed down the path of treating it's readership in an increasingly condescending manner. Me, I just hope to see everyone here again next year, so we can give this ride another whirl.