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.


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.