Thursday, 31 May 2012

Feeling the Love - Kiss of Death, Round 9, season 2012

Friday 8:30 PM Oakleigh Cannons (2nd) vs Dandenong Thunder (1st)
Top of the table clash. Oakleigh is coming off a 1-2 away win at the Knights, while Dandy had their bubble somewhat burst with a 1-1 at home draw to South Melbourne. Should be an interesting encounter, with both teams playing not bad football. I haven’t seen any of them this season but I might make an appearance on Friday night to see what all the fuss is about. Oakleigh Cannons 2 – Dandenong Thunder 2.

Friday 8:30 PM Richmond (8th) vs Hume City (6th)
This is the game that I will most likely be at. Yes, I’m a glutton for punishment with the cold weather and boring brand of football these two teams play. However, the kitchen is what drags me to this ground on cold wintery nights. Their fireplace, ice cold tap beer, boiled kranskys and of course who could forget, the Bavarian cheesecake. Richmond 0 – Hume City 0.

Saturday 3:00 PM Green Gully Cavaliers (4th) vs Melbourne Knights (10th)
Gully had a shock result last week against Hume, and the Knights have appointed Andrew Marth as head coach. This decision is laughable. Hardy har har har. Green Gully 3 – Melbourne Knights 1. Welcome to the VPL Andrew. May your stay be short lived.

Saturday 7:00 PM Southern Stars (9th) vs Moreland Zebras (11th)
The survivors versus the relegation battlers. More problems down at the Zebras from what I hear. They will be lucky if they have a playable squad by the end of the season. Southern Stars 2 – Moreland Zebras 0.

Sunday 3:00 PM Heidelberg United(12th) vs Bentleigh Greens(3rd)
A match of no real importance for the Bergers. Just another one they have to compete in until the season finishes. They are going down like Coles supermarket prices. Bentleigh will beat them very convincingly in front of a 50 or so crowd of onlookers. Heidelberg United 1 – Bentleigh Greens 4.

Sunday 5:00 PM South Melbourne (7th) vs Northcote City (5th)
An intra-club match for Northcote. LOL. South surprised many last week with their gutsy 1-1 performance at Dandenong. Northcote had a text book result 2-0 against Heidelberg. South is coming off a test, yet Northcote off a “gimme” game. Does this mean anything? No. Absolute diddly squat. Good to see South can grind out results. Good to see, they maybe took my advice from last weeks blog entry. Either way, a win against Northcote would be the minimum Gus would be looking for. A draw is ok, but a loss will be unacceptable. I have no clue what the injury situation is like, or if Fernando will be back in time. So please stop ringing me! South Melbourne 3 – Northcote City 0.

Send Us Your Feedback
I received some emails and feedback from Paul Mavroudis last week. The email I received was very interesting, thanks for that “R**” (you know who you are).

The feedback I received was from one of my fans, namely ex-Oakleigh gaffer Arthur Pappas. I always look out for feedback from people in charge of teams. This is what my column is all about. I want coaches and players to appreciate that the VPL is followed by people who are passionate, and have firm beliefs about how it should be run, played and coached. Arthur, I hope you enjoyed my column as much as I enjoyed writing it. I take my hat off to you for a well coached season, receiving the Coach of the Year award, and for your appointment at the Indian Under 23 team. I’d like to maybe email you back and forth, to gain an insight as to how your mind works in regards to football. Please email me at kodvic@gmail.com.

That also goes out to any other fans who would like to send me gossip, rumours and heaven forbid anything truthful. I now have an email address that anyone can send me any of the above at. I will attempt to post it on this blog (subject to editorial limitations), or help spread the rumour for you. If it is something that you do not want published, then I shall keep it confidential. I will also accept general emails in regards to football, or to anyone lonely, bored at work, or anyone who just wants some general VPL chit chat. I can be emailed directly at kodvic@gmail.com.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Interesting piece from Neos Osmos

Soccer growing in pre-WWI Melbourne.
An interesting long piece from the Argus (29 June 1914), speaks to the popularity and growth of soccer in Melbourne immediately prior to the First World War. The author acknowledges crowds of sometimes between two and four thousand down at Albert Park. By comparison the weekend after this piece was published 3,568 spectators turned up at the MCG to see Geelong hammer Melbourne, though this figure does seem to represent a lower crowd than usual.

It's written by an outsider, one brought up on Australian rules but who is sympathetic to the game. Clearly he sees soccer as a migrants' game, even though locals are starting to get involved. Victoria's strength in a recent intercolonial game against NSW was very much determined by its being made up of experienced migrant Scottish and English players as against the callowness of the native born from NSW. Soccer is seen to be technically skillful, a "pretty" and "clever" game lacking the corruption of professionalism that has poisoned the "Australian game". Moreover, it has a referee who tends not to interfere and is respected.

This latter point leads to the fascinating implied claim that Australian rules is a bastion of corruption and match-fixing.

Thinking about it in today's terms the piece reads like a Greg Baum/Richard Hinds feature (without the sarcasm and bad faith) commissioned by the editor after the regular soccer writer has failed to notice that something pretty interesting is going on down at Albert Park. The usual soccer fare of derisory team lists, basic results and no write-ups, or brief ones -- (when possible, when space is available, when people are interested, 'We're not publicists, you know') -- are shown up by this sustained and positive piece.



"SOCCER" FOOTBALL.
GROWING POPULARITY.
A PLAYERS' GAME.


Organised by a few enthusiasts from England, who found the Australian game, even as it was played several years ago, not at all to their liking, British Association football now draws from 2,000 to 4,000 people to Middle Park every Saturday. That the internal growth of the Victoria Amateur Football Association now affiliated with the governing body in England, has been equally steady is shown by the fact that there are 22 clubs in Victoria, with a roll of about 500 playing members, while New South Wales has 130 clubs. Most of those who are satisfied to stand in the open all the afternoon, threatened by batteries of artillery and stray horses, were keen followers of the game before they reached Australia, but there is a growing percentage of local "barrackers" who come down as curious sceptics, and soon find themselves fascinated by what is one of the prettiest and cleverest games in the world to watch. A game that will attract 100,000 Englishmen must necessarily have some good features, and these are beginning to be more and more recognised by many who are disgusted at the present condition of the Australian game. It might be thought that some of the supporters are won by the prospect of a free show, but no suggestion of that can be found in the appearance of the men and women round the side lines. To a great extent it is a family outing, and renewal of home ties.

Men who have seen the game at its best laugh when asked how the standard of play here compares with that in England, but the things that are done with the ball at Middle Park are eye-openers to followers of League football. The principles underlying British Association are the prevention of handling of the ball and the reduction of rules, and consequenty interference by the umpire or referee, to minimum. The playing area is smaller than ours, and there are only eleven men a side, who stand all in their own half of the ground at the kick-off and play largely in their places, the attack being made by the five forwards—centre and inside and outside left and right. The goalkeeper is the only player allowed to handle the ball, and he may not run with it. This formation and the use of a spherical ball make the game clean and open. Passing becomes a feature of the play, and even the mediocre player seems able to direct the ball to any angle with any part of the foot, toe, or heel while running. Naturally, the round ball is easier than the oval to deal with but the precision with which it is got under control from the air and 'dribbled' along a few inches in front of the feet at top speed is only less surprising than the use made of the opposite end of the body. Meeting the ball on the full a player will "head" it across to the wing with the front of his skull farther than an Australian would pass with his hand. A man prominently connected with a sport once as popular as football, but killed by corruption, was keenly interested in the play on "Saturday, and speculated as to the result if first-class League players acquired the same control over the ball as these amateurs. As he spoke an incident capped his remark. The ball flew high to the wing. A man "headed" it back. An opponent headed it out again and a fellow of the first smothered it with his foot as it landed, and swung it hard towards the goal.

After the skill of the players the insignificance of the referees part is the most striking feature. Imagine a league umpire in boots and blazer, walking about the centre of the ground most of the time! The only penalties he has to inflict are for handling the ball or the man, charging in the back, tripping and kicking, and "offside." But when he speaks he speaks with authority. Any player can be ordered off the ground. An incident on Saturday showed the spirit of the game. A player was tripped and he turned and kicked his opponent. Shouts of "Play the game" came from both teams and as the referee merely warned the kicker and gave a pen- alty against him, a burly spectator growled. "And he didn't order him off. No wonder the game doesn't get on in the colonies".

Still, it does get on and its supporters even prophesy that it will solve the problem of universal football. Australians are not yet excelling as players, for their speed is counteracted by a lack of restraint. That is why Victoria won all four matches against New South Wales recently. One has only to listen to the shouts of the players and the keenest supporters to discover where they hail from. But they hold that the morals of the game will win a way for it. Already the round ball has made its appearance in school playgrounds. The prime advantage claimed for British Association is that to achieve corruption one must buy most of the team. The referee has so little to do in comparison with the Australian umpire that he is a valueless asset.

SATURDAY'S MATCHES
LEAGUE.
Division I


Albert Park, 3 goals (Anderson, Cox, Campbell), beat Burns, 1 goal (Johnston).

St. Kilda, 1 goal (Slade), drew with Preston, 1 goal (Phelps).

Prahran, 1 goal (G. Brown) beat Thistle, nil.

N and D, 2 goals (Bell, Madden), beat Birmingham, 1 goal (Allen).

Yarraville, 0 goals, drew with Spotswood, 0 goals.

Division II

Hawthorn, 2 goals (J. Turnbull, T. Turnbull), drew with Burns A, 2 goals (Monk, Rawles).

Burns were fully expected to take 2 points out of Albert Park, but the latter team have improved considerably in the last few weeks, and have well deserved their victory 3 goals to 1. The Park won the toss, and kicked with the wind, the game being only five minutes old, when Liversedge crossed the ball, and Anderson opened the score with a shot which struck the bar, and turned into the net. Burns continued to act on the defensive for the rent of the first half, there being no further scoring. In the second half, the wind had dropped, but Burns soon took up the attack, but failed to score, and the Park, getting away the ball was crossed from the left, Cox making no mistake with the shot. Burns, who badly missed Ruddiman, now seemed to fall to pieces, and it was not long before the Park increased their lead. Campbell netting from some distance. A quarter of an hour from the end, good work bv Anderson for Burns brought up their only goal. Johnson accepting a pass, scoring with a cross shot, the game ending as stated. For the winners, Kelly, Cox, Liversedge, and Fraser were the best of a well-balanced team, the pick of the Burns team being, Jones, T. Anderson and Bellis.

Saturday was quite a day of surprises, Prahran gaining their first League win of the season at the expense of Thistle, who are at present the leaders in the the for premiership. The only goal came from G. Brown, who was entrusted with a penalty kick, for which he gave Russell no chance of saving. For Prahran, Calversley in goal was very safe, Luker and Earthey also doing well in defence, with Mark Caulfield at left full back in his best form, George Brown being easily the best of the forwards. Thistle seemed to have quite an off day, Bottomley being the best of the forward rank, whilst Goodson played his usual sound game.

St. Kilda were another team who were expected to win easily, but though Preston were without the services of Robson, Bailey and Purcell, they managed to make a creditable draw of 1 goal each. Slade, who, since his promotion to the first team, has been the most consistent scorer, was again successful in finding the net, but S. Lowe was badly at fault when be allowed Phelps to equalise, as he should have saved without difficulty.

Yarraville visited Spotswood, a goalless draw being the result, the visitors being unlucky in losing Joey Grieves, who was carried off with a broken ankle. For Yarraville, Dowser was not up to his usual form; but Hamilton, Stranger, Gardiner, and Blackburn all did well, the most outstanding player of the Spotswood side being Charlie Grieves.

Birmingham received a rare setback in their chances of the premiership in being defeated by N. and D., who had the best of a good game, Robinson (in goal) being brilliant as usual.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

A hard earned point - Dandenong Thunder 1 South Melbourne 1

Considering the outs we had, especially defensively, and the relative form of the two teams, I wasn't too optimistic about this one. But we ended up with one more point than I thought we would, and despite picking up only one point from the last two matches, I strangely still feel that we are on the right track. This sort of optimism in the face of adversity is not sitting well with me.

Credit to the team for fighting hard, though. That's the very least we expect.

Counter-attacking
Still not up to scratch. Rixon needs more support.

Crosses
We're scoring most of our goals from crosses. We should put in more crosses.

Dimi Hatzimouratis
Lot of improvement to be had yet from this player, but he worked hard yesterday and earned his goal. The connection isn't quite there yet with Trent Rixon, but hopefully we're on the right path.

Filip Jonsson
The fringe Swedish defender had packed his bags, ready to head home, but injuries to Luke Byles and Steven O'Dor (apparently not from his exuberant goal celebration against Hume, even though that's a cooler story) made his debut, and did OK.

Futsalroos
Fernando in action for the Futsalroos against South Korea
Fernando De Moraes and the squad are currently at the 2012 AFC Championships in the UAE. They lost two warm up matches to Thailand, but have won their opening two group games at the tournament proper. They beat Qatar 3-1, and South Korea 6-0 (Fernando scored a brace), to secure their passage to the quarter finals. Their final group match is against regional heavyweight Iran. The four semi-finalists qualify for the World Championships to be held in Thailand later this year.

Gazoza
It was listed on the board, I had my five dollars(!) worth of coins ready to go after the match, but they were out of stock.

Inventory
I've been helping out with the social club's inventory/stocktake, as we near the start of the renovations there. Finding some amazing items - more on that in another article - but I'm also worried that a hundred boxes worth of the club's archives will be thrown out. I've got nowhere to put them, and the argument so far has been that the club also has no place to store them. Hope that a solution can be found.

Kyle Joryeff
Had a quick chat with Kyle after the match. Among the issues discussed, were visa statuses and tribulations. Quite topical with the deportation of Stephen Weir who apparently overstayed his welcome. Just as interesting was discussing his futsal career, which had an interesting twist - in 2008, he even played against the Futsalroos, including our own Fernando De Moraes, at the Kuala Lumpur 5s tournament.

Language
Mine. Bit foul yesterday. I blame the orange tic tacs.

Luck
Probably on our side for once.

Next Week
Northcote A vs Northcote B. Northcote vs Southcote. At Lakeside, which is nice, because it lessens the confusion just a little bit. Another one of those no win games - in that, even if we win the game and take the three points, the moral battle can never be won, But once more, more on that in a different article.

Referee
Unusually outstanding, and a credit to their selection for the Olympics.

Squibs
Certain people decided not to turn up to this match, preferring to watch it on the FFV's live stream service. They know who they are.

Zenith
The Public Transport Faction was down to one member yesterday. I felt about as popular as the People's Front of Judea.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Laying down the law - Kiss of Death, Round 8, 2012

8:30 PM Friday May 25th - Hume City vs Green Gully Cavaliers
Both teams are coming of 0-1 wins. Gully at Southern Stars, and Hume at Oakleigh Cannons. The bigger win of course being the surprise by Hume. Will be a tough contest out at Epping on Friday night. The weather will be cold and rainy. Hume City 1 – Green Gully 3.

7:00 PM Saturday May 26th - Southern Stars vs Richmond
Southern Stars have not won a game since beating South Melbourne a few weeks back. This should come as no surprise. Richmond have struggled, especially with the home draw against Moreland last week. I was surprised by that result. I reckon this will be a very scrappy affair with a couple of reds. Southern Stars 1 – Richmond 1.

3:00 PM Sunday May 27th - Moreland Zebras vs Bentleigh Greens
I was at Bentleigh last week and saw them lose 2-3 to Northcote after going in at the break 1-0 up and dominating. Moreland will continue to struggle, even with the transfer window coming up soon. They have also recently lost Steven Weir due to visa issues. Moreland Zebras 0 – Bentleigh Greens 3.

3:00 PM Sunday May 27th - Northcote City vs Heidelberg United
I’m calling it from now, if I haven’t already called it. If Heidelberg lose this weekend, then they will get relegated along with Whittlesea or Southern Stars. Northcote was really good last week against Bentleigh and they should’ve had 5, 6 or maybe 7 goals all up. Greek derby which will only attract the usuals. Northcote City 4 – Heidelberg United 2.

3:00 PM Sunday May 27th - Melbourne Knights vs Oakleigh Cannons
The Knights have a chance to get another win this weekend after their excellent 1-2 result at Lakeside last week. They looked good, and their ladder position doesn’t do them justice. Unless it was a one off? Oakleigh is the usual rabble who gets the results you don’t expect. I can’t see them getting a result at Knights stadium however. Melbourne Knights 3 – Oakleigh Canons 1.

3:00 PM Saturday May 26th - Dandenong Thunder vs South Melbourne
Match of the season to date. A high flying perfect record Dandenong, vs an underachieving, morale in the shit South Melbourne. I am going to give an analysis of last week's match vs the Knights before I preview this match. Well. Where should I start? In last week's column I demanded a response to South's season so far with a win over the Knights. It never came. I am not going to defend shit. Even the Bergers beat the Knights. Are we contenders or pretenders? At the moment we are more like pretenders. Our results speak for themselves. There is no way that people can tell me that we are seriously contending for this years title. I’d rather they say that Gus is rebuilding and not to expect a championship this season, but for sure next season. Instead I have people in power pissing in the wind about how good this list is, how they all have the same goal, and how we will kill it this year. Seriously fellas!
  1. I think that Gus has been tactically outplayed in nearly every game this season except round one. Instead of drawing teams out of the backline, we batter ram them hoping they will crumble. Come on Gus and Joe, you two should know better than that. When a team is content with ten men behind the ball, you need to drag them up the park, not push them further back.
  2. There are players in the starting eleven who should not be in the starting eleven. I shall list them for you, and expect them to prove me wrong. Peter Gavalas, Brad Norton, Dimi Tsiaris, either of the Trifiro brothers, Matko Budimir and Trent Rixon. Gavalas is being continually rewarded for his below par performances, and there seems to be no faith in young Saldaris. Norton is not good enough for South Melbourne. The kid might try very hard, but makes too many errors. Tsiaris has underperformed and I still don’t know what his position is. The Trifiro brothers only play with each other. Budimir is good for the club, but not good enough for starting eleven as yet. Trent Rixon, well half the shit he misses, he would score for Northcote blind folded.
  3. Egos. We have too many egos in the team. If they aren’t up to it, they should be shown the door.
  4. Nice football. Does not work in the VPL. Anti-football is the key to winning anything in the VPL. We have so much possession, make so many passes, yet seem to walk away with only zero or one point. This isn’t a boxing match. It is football. You don’t score, you don’t win, regardless of statistical possession.
  5. Reaction to abuse. Yes, some people go overboard. However, people expect results. As members they are entitled to vent within reason. When players and coach react in a negative way to that abuse because they don’t like it, or because they think they are at a shitty little suburban club, then something needs to change. The members aren’t the ones going away. Remember that next time you pull a face, challenge a fan to a car park stoush, or come back out of the tunnel and abuse back, people are watching. No one ever blames the fans, instead they remember the reaction of the players. A word of warning. Do not go anti-fan. This will bite you in the ass big time. You want to win the fans back do you? You want the abuse to go away? You want the fans to worship the ground you walk on home and away? You want the fans to clap you off after a loss? Simple solution to all those questions. Play football to win games, and all the above will stop.
Now to this weeks match. Dandy is the form team by a country mile. South will struggle. There I’ve said it. For some reason I have that weird feeling that South might actually win this one. Either convincingly or by stealing it. At this stage, who really cares. Dandenong Thunder 0 – South Melbourne 2, in the upset of the season so far.

A word on the South Youth team. Pfft. Probably the worst team in years. Things have to change there as well. The fish rots from the head, therefore I am calling for the youth team coach's head. He has to go. How he can be the best candidate for the South Melbourne U21 squad is laughable. Whoever hasn’t seen this team should go down there one day and have a laugh. Woeful is an understatement.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Update on an old Floros Dimitriadis post

A few weeks ago I finally made it down to the Public Record Office in North Melbourne. It's like the more uptight sister to the State Library.

I looked through files containing details of the hotel interests of one of South's founding vice-presidents, Floros Dimitriadis, principally the Duke of Kent Hotel on La Trobe Street - where South was born. That is, it was the place where the newly formed Hellas - the merger between Hellenic and Yarra Park - amalgamated with South Melbourne United, completing the triumvirate.

Check the comments section of the relevant post to see what we confirmed, and what other tidbits we've learned.

Monday, 21 May 2012

There goes Fortress Lakeside - South Melbourne 1 Melbourne Knights 2

Every South loss hurts. Does this one hurt more than the others? I'd say yes, except the VPL era South is turning into a blur of disappointment and battle fatigue, interspersed with only occasional moments of joy.

Is that too depressing, melodramatic, maudlin and self-pitying? I'll get back to you after we start stringing some wins together, maybe win a title.

Chants
'Worst steward ever'

I thought it was a little harsh.

Dropkicks of the evening
The two young MCF boys who planted themselves on the fence in front of Clarendon Corner at the start of both halves. Trying to bait them with adolescent one liners and Nazi salutes. Happy to say that it didn't work, in part perhaps because their credibility was lessened with one of them holding a bottle of Sprite. Very hardcore.

From Despair to Where?
It's a lousy song. But if I was on the internet five minutes after the game, instead of after a few hours of quiet contemplation, watching Lakeside the soccer venue being packed away, maybe I'd be one of those people as well.

Gains
Going overseas for a couple of weeks. Will miss two, maybe three games. Have a good trip, buddy.

Improvement
It was a very disappointing loss. Having said that, after not really doing anything for 40 minutes, we woke up and started playing some not bad football - probably the best we've looked going forward in about six weeks, and I think there's improvement yet to be had - we are getting more direct, we are starting to play through balls earlier and go wide, but it's not quite where it should be.

Well done to the Knights, they rode their luck a little, but they took their limited chances, while we didn't make the most of ours. We've got to work harder off the ball, and we've got to defend better as a unit, and we've got to be on the ball from the first minute of the game, not half way through. No point dropping heads when you turn the ball over in midfield, you have to track back, and mean it.

It's not a perfect squad, but it's a good squad, and there's nothing there that can't be fixed. I suspect though, that holding such an opinion will make me a bit of an island for at least this week.

Joryeff
Must be close to getting a start, surely.

Matko Budimir
Not too bad yesterday.

Luke Byles
So far, without doubt, our player of the season.

Need More Greeks!
When all else fails, someone always has to pull out that pearler. Never mind that Gavalas, Hatzimouratis, Tsiaras and Gasparis all started yesterday.

Next Week
Dandenong Thunder. Seven game winning streak to start the season Dandenong Thunder. Seven game winning streak to start the season and the only goal they've copped was the dodgiest penalty of all time Dandenong Thunder. Away from home. The immediate panic button pushing part of me says we're doomed. The other part, which I like to keep hidden away, says that there's no time like the present. Maybe being the underdog for once will help. Maybe not.

Pleasantville
Not a bad little flick. Toby Maguire is very earnest in it though. But that's Toby Maguire for ya, I suppose.

Referees
You have to wonder sometimes.

Steve from Broady's Positive Spin
Me: I'm going to need your positive spin this week.
Steve: Fuck you, Paul.

Stewardship
After making my steward/marshal's debut during the Altona East reserves last week, I was hastily promoted to the big league yesterday. The longtime stewards are getting old, and we need fresh blood. If you're interested, contact the club. I don't mind doing it most weeks, but it'd be nice if we have a rotational system going.

Trent Rixon
If he is injured, get him to have a week or two off. There's still two thirds of the season to go, and excluding the Thunder, most of the finals chasers are pretty bunched up.

Yusef Yusef and the Case of the Rose Coloured Glasses
The former South player tore apart our defence for the Knights' second goal, leading some to wonder 'what if'. Now without wishing to denigrate 'Yuey', we should recall his time with us, a time when downhill skiing was king, and our squad's main claim to fame was that they were 'good off the bench'.

And let's not forget that it was Yusef² who was beaten defensively on our left, leading to the cross which created our goal. As Heidelberg Harismidis said to my buddy Gains a few weeks ago at a bus stop in Thornbury, 'it's about balance, Yin and Yang, you know what I'm talking about'

Zenith
Ended up with Steve from Broady at the new Hungry Jack's at Spencer Street Station eating cheeseburgers. That's a genuine new low.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Dose of Angry Pills - Kiss of Death, Round 7, 2012


Bentleigh Greens v Northcote City
Friday 8:15pm, 4th v 8th

Tough one to pick. Really it shouldn’t be. Hmm. Decisions, decisions. Oh, I dunno.
Northcote’s coming off two losses in a row, and Bentleigh one loss at high flying Dandy. Bentleigh should be capable. This should be bread and butter for them. Northcote has been poor. Against my better judgement, I’m tipping Bentleigh. Bentleigh Greens 2 – Northcote City 1.

Richmond v Moreland Zebras
Friday 8:30pm, 6th v 12th

Well ain’t this going to be a bumper crowd. Two teams with no fans. Fucken lucky if they get ten people on a cold Friday night by the tollway. Neither of these teams have impressed me, but I’m not the most impressionable type to be honest. Moreland got their first win last week against Northcote, but I wouldn’t say they are on their way to glory. Richmond will be a tougher task for them. A traditional panel beating mentality. This game has “Welcome to the VPL” written all over it. Plenty of cards, plenty of action, fuck all crowd. Richmond 3 – Moreland Zebras 1.

Southern Stars v Green Gully Cavaliers
Saturday 7pm, 9th v 3rd

Green Gully is the favourite big time according to the bookies. I can’t argue with that. The backpackers have done well, but Dobson will be too good for them. Another huge game for the Stars.
Southern Stars 1 – Green Gully 2.

South Melbourne v Melbourne Knights
Sunday 5pm, 5th v 11th

Photo: Paul Mavroudis.
Clash of the titans. The NSL derby. The only two teams that have been holding this league on their own backs for the last six years. FFV take note. Knights are in poor form, South is topsy-turvy. South played well last week against Hume, and won. Why? Because we played a direct style of football while cutting out those extra two or three passes in the area. There have been rumours circling that certain players feel ‘uncomfortable’ with the abuse they have been copping from South fans after some recent poor results. Well for those players who read this blog, take note. South Melbourne is a team that has fans, ones who care, a high percentage of who are fickle, a percentage who have never played the game, a percentage who are recognised coaches, and some who are just outright morons. Unlike the clubs you guys were previously at, the pressure at South Melbourne will always be there. So I suggest, you either embrace it, or pack your shit and fuck off. We are not your suburban club with no expectations. We are a powerhouse club whose fans want a win every fucken week, just like you guys should. Now, if you guys don’t hammer the Knights, you’re all for the tip and even I can’t defend a loss or draw. This will be a test for all of you. Yes, if you lose, expect to cop hell. South Melbourne 5 – Melbourne Knights 0.

Heidelberg United v Dandenong Thunder
Sunday 6pm, 10th v 1st

Another easy game to pick. Dandy is the favourite by a mile. The Bergers will not win this one, or draw. They are in a mess both on and off the park. Olympic Village was vandalised midweek according to soccer-forum.net with all the sponsor boards stolen. Who the fuck would steal the sponsor boards? That’s just crazy. Dandy is six from six. The form team of the VPL, the only team who is injury and card free, and disposing of all challengers with ease. The Bergers have no chance.
Heidelberg United 0 – Dandenong Thunder 6.

Oakleigh Cannons v Hume City
Monday 8:30pm, 2nd v 7th

Monday night? Let me guess. The ‘other’ game is on Saturday night and you think you’re going to lose people to that. Who are you fucken kidding? Fucken ass clowns. Then again, you don’t want to play on the same night as Bentleigh vs Northcote, because all the Hellas fans will go there instead of coming to your game. How about for once, you align a kick off to what ‘your’ fans want. Here’s something to think of. Pension day is on Thursdays, your fans are pensioners. If you play on Thursday nights, then they are flush with money and will blow it at the bar. Oakleigh is in better form than Hume and will beat them quite comfortably. Hume showed me nothing of note last week, and I don’t expect them to improve any time soon. Oakleigh Cannons 2 – Hume City 1



Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Monday, 14 May 2012

Fernando De Moraes in Futsalroos squad

Fernando De Moraes has been selected to play for the Futsalroos in the the 2012 Asian Fustal Championships, to be held in the United Arab Emirates. The tournament takes place from 25th May - 1st June.

Fernando has been a regular Futsalroo for a few years now, and usually one of the few Victorians to make the cut. I'm not sure whether this is because of NSW bias or because the futsal scene in Victoria is a mess.

With two warm up matches against Thailand in the lead up to the tournament, it's likely that Fernando will miss two league matches - the first, this week's home match against Melbourne Knights, the second, next week's game away to Dandenong Thunder.

Should the Fustalroos somehow have a breakout tournament, he may also miss the match against Northcote. But while making it past the group stage is the minimum goal,  the Futsalroos tend to falter once the group stage is over. Iran is the dominant force in Asian futsal, having won ten of eleven tournaments, with Japan the only other winner.

If they can make the last four, that'd be some effort, and we wish Fernando and the squad all the best.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Could have fooled me

In our recent match report on our victory over Hume City, there were some curious Preston related chants which made no sense to me.

Well, an explanation has been provided - they all related to the tickets that had been printed by the home team - and the fact that they had listed a different venue (Preston's BT Connor Reserve) and date to what was actually played.

There had been speculation during the pre-season about where Hume would play their home matches, while their regular home ground was under redevelopment, and Preston was one of the mooted venues.

Had I paid for a ticket, I may have become aware of this much earlier - instead I used my FFV season pass, which I received for my work or mere presence on the FFV's historical committee.

Thanks to Con, Michal and Nick.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

A little better - Hume City 0 South Melbourne 1

How do you go about describing that kind of game? Perfect conditions, but a scrappy affair. A draw might have been a fairer result, but we're not about to hand two of those points back.

Someone said that if we'd played like we did last night, against Southern Stars last week, we would have beaten them 3-0. I wouldn't go that far. There were still problems, still indirectness (which is not an endorsement of Steve from Broady's 'get it in the mixer' catchcry), but there was less of it, and maybe that made the difference last night.

It was Steve O'Dor with the winning goal, quite late, maybe deflected, with at best the barest hint of jogo bonito, tiki taka or total football, but it was 99% just getting the ball up the field quickly and putting it into a dangerous area. You have to walk before you can run.

The VPL is a grinding league, and we rode our luck a little, but got the job done.

Cameramen
Big shout to regular SMFCTV cameraman Tim Dovas, who broke his leg last week, and hasn't been able to perform his duties - hope the ekmek deliveries come thick and fast. Also a big shoutout to Paul Zarogiannis, the workhouse behind SMFCTV, who's back on camera duties, and must've come close to freezing last night.

Chants
I have no idea what kicked off this line of chanting.

'Are you Preston in disguise'

'Fuck off Preston'

'State League 2'

Cold
Indeed it was, but not as bad other times. Still one more trip there this season, in the middle of winter against the Zebras.

Drumsticks (the lack thereof)
Empty plastic coca-cola bottles had to make do.

Fighting to the end
No heads dropping, got the points.

Green Gully
Richmond vs Green Gully was the other Friday night match - we bring this up only because Green Gully came from behind for the third time in six matches, this time scoring twice in three minutes to overcome Alemannia. Very frustrating.

Handballs
Apparently there were a few.

Jealousy
Someone was annoyed with my getting four special event goals last week against Money Monkey on Hattrick, after the bad luck he suffers week in, week out - culminating in his bowing out

Next Week
Next Sunday, at home to a desperate Knights. How desperate depends on their result against Heidelberg tomorrow.

Parking
As were driving into Epping, the Kiss of Death made a salient point - is it right that clubs out there should be charged for parking, when there's nowhere esle to park? It didn't matter for us though, as we drove right through, as the security guys were too busy chatting with other people.

Relief
It was palpable.

Substitute
I think Gus Tsolakis is well and truly in the Johnny A' school of making subs - that is, don't make any to change the game until the 75th minute. Kyle Joryeff looked very frustrated. The fans were frustrated. The game was going nowhere, and nowhere fast - why not try and take the initiative, and take the game by the scruff of the neck? Or at least give some of the bench players a run - it must've been freezing for them, too.

Under 21s
Finished 3-3, coming down from 3-1 - though it helps when your opposition go a man down, as well as lose their only keeper to injury, requiring an outfield player to take up the gloves.

Zenith
A lot of people are probably going to look like clowns on the footage. When you win, it doesn't matter so much. Maybe some people will realise what this club means to us.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Shoot, farken! Kiss of Death, Round 6, 2012

Friday 11th May @ 8.30pm - Hume City (8th) vs South Melbourne (6th)
Epping stadium. The coldest place in the known universe. Fucken gotta trek out there tonight. The stadium where the food is laughable/non-existent, the bar that only sells beer and coffee (wow), and where you need to pay for carpark even though there is nowhere else to park down at that shithole. According to a mate of mine who's in the know, South should be beating Hume 5-0 tonight. He reckons they are rubbish and have been lucky not to have been thumped in their losses. South well, no, we are not Catalan. Pull that Barcelona shit out of ya heads. We are South Melbourne, not Barcelona. Saw Gus' whiteboard last week, or what was left of it. It looked more like a blue board with white spots. The players are not there to think. Players can't think. They just know how to do what they are told. Short sharp pre-game instructions. Not a fucking thesis. The team needs to lift this week and cut the excuses. Play the game how it's meant to be played. The team who scores more, wins the game. Can't score if we don't shoot. Shoot the fucking thing. Hume City 0 - South Melbourne 3.

Friday 11th May @ 8.30pm - Richmond (5th) vs Green Gully (4th)
Richmond was unlucky at Oakleigh last week, when a 93rd minute strike stole what looked like a comfortable win. Green Gully struggled against bottom placed Moreland after trailing 0-1 at the break. Tough one to pick. Richmond ain't too bad at home, and Gully struggles when away. In what will be a nail biter for the 22 or so people at the game (excluding players), Richmond will hold Gully to a draw. Chats, you have one more week of suspension. A little birdy tells me you were in the technical area last week at Oakleigh? Richmond 1 - Green Gully 1.

Saturday 12th May @ 7pm - Southern Stars (9th) vs Oakleigh Cannons (3rd)
Southern Stars shocked the footballing world last week with a 0-2 win at Lakeside against Barcelona. Oops, I mean South Melbourne. CNN had a break in their news broadcast, ESPN cancelled regular programming to cross live, and ANT1 showed the protests on the streets of Athens. They came to Lakeside and played a calculated counter-attacking game and got a brilliant result for them. Oakleigh had to wait three minutes into injury time for Diaco to equalise against Richmond. This will be a tougher than expected trip to the Stars for Oakleigh. Southern Stars 1 - Oakleigh 1.

Sunday 13th May @ 3pm - Moreland Zebras (12th) vs Northcote City (7th)
Fucken Moreland. The cesspool of hasbeens. Send them down already. Stick the money up your arses. Money can buy you a root, but it can't buy you success. Lost away to Gully 2-1 last week, while Northcote lost 1-3 at home to high flying Dandenong. Moreland City 0 - Northcote City 3.

Sunday 13th May @ 3pm - Dandenong Thunder (1st) vs Bentleigh Greens (2nd)
Probably the match of the round. Dandy unbeaten five out of five, Bentleigh only one loss. Someone will win this. I can't see it being a draw. I can't see Bentleigh being the winner. Dandenong Thunder 2 - Bentleigh Greens 1.

Sunday 13th May @ 3pm - Melbourne Knights (10th) vs Heidelberg United (11th)
Knights have won one, Bergers none. Vlahos out, Hodgson in. Hodgson doesn't want the job, Keeper is caretaker. All in two days down at Bergerville. Fucken rabble. If the Knights don't beat them this weekend, then they are for the tip as well. The Bergers are finished. Melbourne Knights 2 - Heidelberg United 1.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Peter Skapetis talks to OS Aussie

Former South junior and now member of QPR's Centre of Excellence Peter Skapetis has a brief interview with OS Aussie.

FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION

Peter Skapetis is a driven young man brought up at the famous South Melbourne football club who now finds himself at Premier League club, Queens Park Rangers. A goalscorer with a lot of energy, he is definitely one for the future. Let’s just hope that that future is with Australia.

You went through most of your junior development at South Melbourne FC. Can you tell us about your time there?

I played my whole junior career with South Melbourne and I owe a lot to the club, I loved my time there and developed life long friendships with all my team mates and my coaches. I was captain all the way through and over the years we acquired the best team having something like 8 of the starting 11 all in the Victorian state system, it was a great squad to be a part of and a great club to play for.

You’ve signed an 18 month contract at the QPR Centre of Excellence as a First Year Scholar. What is the set-up like at QPR?

The facilities at QPR are fantastic. It’s always great to be part of that professional environment and being in and around the first team every day really inspires you and gives you something to work towards. Everyday is structured really well combining football, gym and schooling.

Head of Youth Development at the club, Steve Gallen, described you as “quick, bright, and lively and he likes to score goals” How do you see yourself as a player? How much have you developed there?

Yeah I think I’m strong, quick and skilful and already even though I’ve only spent a short time at QPR I’ve seen a huge improvement in my game and that’s purely because of the constant exposure to Steve and his other coaches. They have definitely increased my knowledge and skill in the game and I know over my time at the club I will only get better.

Since moving to QPR have you had any contact from the National setup? Is being a part of the national teams a goal for you at this stage of your career?

I haven’t been approached by the national system yet but It’s always been a dream of mine to play for the national team and I would love a call up whether its for Greece or Australia. Its definitely a great honour and in my opinion it’s a fantastic achievement to wear your national colours.

Were you ever offered a chance to play for the Heart or Victory before the move abroad? If so, what made you decide not to join an A-league club?

I had trials at Melbourne Heart before I left but as soon as I heard I was coming to the UK that’s what I put all my focus towards so not really. Who knows what my happen in the future I might come back and play in the A-league later on in my career.

What has it been like living in London? Has there been much of an adjustment needed from living in Melbourne?

It’s a big change living in another city especially away from your family but I guess it’s what I’ve got to do to succeed and it’s for the better. The lifestyle is the same it’s just a busier version of Melbourne. Also catching public transport for me was a new thing and of course homesickness is probably the hardest part of being away.

At the end of the 18 months contract, what will you consider to be a success?

Success for me would only be a pro contract and nothing less. It’s what I work for everyday and I’ve never lost sight of it.

Which player do you look up to? And why?

My favourite player used to be Cristiano Ronaldo but as soon as I made the move to England it’s been Sergio Aguero. I play very similar to him and he’s a goal scorer who is in great form.

Which player at QPR has impressed you most?

From what I’ve seen in training and matches this year it has to be Adel Taarabt, he’s got great skill on the ball and is a real marquee player for the club.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Friday Night Farce - South Melbourne 0 Southern Stars 2

That was pretty dispiriting stuff. Here's this week's rundown.

Advice on Nutritional Supplements for Athletes
Valium is probably not the right thing to be taking before a match.

Beanies
They're navy blue as opposed to our more traditional royal blue (but since there's no official national blue on the Greek flag, it kinda fits that we chop and change), but they're a good size, and when your head is cold and you've somehow lost your previous much loved beanie somewhere on the corner of Kevin Bartlett Reserve and Night Time Junkie Boulevard, you hand over $15 and shut up.

Chants
When you're playing as poorly as we were last Friday, the gimmick chants come out thick and fast, and why not? Pretty much the only worthwhile thing to come out of the game

'You only sing about kebabs'

'Souvlaki's better than kebabs'

'We love our gimmicks when we're losing'

Credit Where It's Due
Everyone predicted that Southern Stars would come out and stack the defence, and while that was certainly true once they were 2-0 up, they had a good 25 odd minutes at the beginning of the match where their clear and simple game plan - which is not a criticism - was working well for them. So well, that they should have scored early on.

At times they strolled past our midfield, who didn't even know how to jockey or hold them up. They played to their strengths, and looked less like a team that was headed straight down from whence they came, than one that would comfortably avoid relegation even if they weren't in finals contention.

Friday Nights
I don't mind them - the stadium looked magnificent under lights, but it's not good for the kids apparently - once again we have to pander to families, even though single people are the largest demographic in the country. We have one more Friday night home game left this season, but I have a hunch we won't be seeing them much next year, if at all.

Gallows Humour
One supporter mentioned to me after the game, that one day we'll probably score the greatest tap in goal of all time.

It's a reminder that at the end of the day, we are playing football, not gymnastics. There's no bonus points for perfect landings, extra twists or degrees of difficulty.

The aforementioned greatest goal of all time will still count the same as every other goal. I'm sure Trent Rixon and his possible probable internet alter ego would agree.

Game Plan
Are we going for the VPL title or a Nobel Prize?
Speaking of style over substance, where's the beef?

Rumour has it that Gus Tsolakis' whiteboard inside our rooms is full of ink. Slathered in it, apparently, so one can scarcely make head or tail of it.

Now, tactics and playing style are important, but it is possible to over think the game, to walk before you can crawl.

There's something to be said for the almost Zen quote attributed to Melbourne Croatia great Josip Biskic: 'put ball in goal'. (from the infamous 'Australian Soccer This Is Your Life' list).

We have one of, if not the widest field in the league. We have the best surface in the league. Yet, we seek to inch perfect football, trying to place passes on dimes, as if we we're playing on a field with the dimensions of a futsal court.

Positive Spin, with Steve from Broady
He's been so demoralised by recent performances that he's gone back to eating Maccas, even after he said he'd quit. His 'Positive Spin' segment has struggled to get off the ground, and yet this should be his milieu.

So I'm just going to do it for him to get him started, by putting into the digital sphere at least one of his utterances about that game. The best he could come up with was that there's always next week. Before adding, we'll get smashed five or six-nil.

I sometimes worry about the effect I've had on him.

Silver Surfers
Rumour has it that the players chose to wear the silver away strip at home because they viewed it as some sort of good luck charm.

Here's how it works, boys. We are blue, and we are white. They are our home colours, and our away colours when there's no clash.

And another thing, I know athletes of all stripes are superstitious gits, but the bottom line is make your own luck. If we're relying on particular to get us over the line, we're stuffed.

True Supporters
What an elusive concept. A lot of abuse was directed at the players and the game plan, especially after the game. Some of it was completely over the top, however , did the players expect to be clapped off?

There are other clubs where people will be satisfied with a good effort, or who will clap their team off regardless of the result. This isn't one of those clubs.

Trent Rixon got fired up, and started dishing out some of his own abuse at the end of the game. Can't fault his efforts during the game, as he looks to be playing at considerably lower than full fitness - a pity though that the same urgency wasn't apparent in the rest of the team.

A woman at the end of the game had the gumption to yell out that those supporters should be ashamed of themselves, that they weren't true supporters. And while, as noted above, that the abuse was sometimes over the top, her assertion really annoyed me.

Since our demotion from the national spotlight, our supporter base has been decimated. Now I'm not arguing for allowing an anything goes approach, whereby no one gets banned, or sanctioned.

But accusing people who've been at just about every game and every ground in this part of our history, of not being true fans, is just ridiculous.

Who made the 16 hour round trips by bus to Canberra to watch a goalless 80 minute match?

Who makes up the 50-100 diehards at a freezing Epping Stadium night match?

When there's no glory of point left at the tail end of another wasted season, who's making the trip to Western Suburbs to watch the youth players get a gig to save on wages??

When the rain and wind bites cold, and the away support is huddled together on the muddy Anderson Road hill at Chaplin Reserve, are you there? Or are you at home in front of the heater, with nary a thought about the match?

And the blather about people being brought back to the club, and being appalled by such behaviour, and therefore never coming back, is nonsense. People like that are soft, and looking for any excuse to avoid going to South matches. Of course, similar behaviour at an A-League or AFL match doesn't prevent them from making repeat visits.

Assuming also that some of these players have ambition of playing in higher ranked leagues, they better get used to dealing with that kind of scrutiny. If they can't handle 20 odd angry men, how will they cope with a few hundred?

The flip side to copping such abuse, is that when the players do good, or at the very least leave nothing out on the pitch, we will shower them with praise. Witness the defence, then praise of the players at the Oakleigh match this season.

We weren't in the game for half an hour, and we were being hacked to pieces as well. The supporters tried to encourage the players, and defend them from the ill-treatment in the only avenue open to them.

And when they came out in the second half and destroyed the home side with scintillating football, we cheered and admired their persistence and their performance, without reservation.

It's not fickleness per se; it's the natural emotional response from a segment of the faithful, some of whom, like myself, have nothing else worthwhile in their lives.

Zenith
I wish we could forget, but we can't. See all you true supporters at Epping on Friday.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Football Manager, show us the way! - Kiss of Death, Round 2012

I’ve been so busy the last fortnight, I have lost track of the previous round’s results. Because I can't be fucked looking for them, there will be not much reviewing done this week.

Friday 4th May @ 8.15pm – Bentleigh Greens (2nd) vs Melbourne Knights (10th) 
Won’t be at this game. Bentleigh seem to be on a bit of a roll as is expected early on. The Knights are struggling, and I have no idea why *shock horror*. Being a closet Knights fan from way back, I’m hoping the Knights will do the damage and stop the run of Bentleigh. Bentleigh give me the shits just quietly. Bentleigh Greens 1 – Melbourne Knights 2.

Friday 4th May @ 8.30pm – Oakleigh Cannons (3rd) vs Richmond Eagles (5th) 
Oakleigh got a win at Gully in round four. Probably the shock of the round. Richmond parked the bus at home against South Melbourne and escaped with a 1-1 draw. Richmond didn’t impress me one iota. If anything, they are a team of panel beaters with absolutely no idea how to play the game as it’s meant to be played. I’ve always said that the coach's attitude reflects on his players, and with Chatz getting sent off early on from the bench, it’s no surprise his players are hacks. Oakleigh I have no worthy comment about. Here’s hoping for a draw with plenty of yellow and red cards. Oakleigh Cannons 0 – Richmond Eagles 0.

Friday 4th May @ 8.30pm – South Melbourne (4th) vs Southern Stars (9th) 
Keep a look out for Southern Stars' distinctive team bus this Friday.
Question to whoever from South Melbourne who reads this blog. Why are we playing on the shit time of 8.30pm on a Friday night? It might suit some chardonnay sipping suits upstairs, but it does not suit me. Not happy man. Anyhoo. South Melbourne struggled to break down a nine man Richmond a fortnight ago. Watched SMFCtv and I’m pretty sure Trent Rixon hit the nail on the head. Quote “Ya know sometimes we should just play direct, rather than from side to side”. Yes Yes YES! Gus, I know you’re a reader, let’s start playing some direct football. We finally have a strong, tall, quick striker at the club. Let’s start utilising him. The side to side can only work for so long before we become predicatable. For example, when I played Football Manager I also played a side to side wing type of game, until the AI picked up on this five games in, and that tactic no longer worked. So now I play a mix of direct and side to side football. Result? A couple of Euro cups, and a few championships. I can show you my tactic one day if you want. Southern Stars Backpackers FC aren’t much chop. Haven’t seen them yet this season, and don’t care to see them. Unfortunately, they got promoted to the VPL and they are drawn against South on Friday night. Under duress I will be forced to watch their shit. South Melbourne 3 – Southern Stars 0.


Saturday 5th May @ 3pm – Green Gully (7th) vs Moreland Zebras (12th) 
Pack your lunch boxes. Green Gully should beat the Moreland Zebras quite comfortably. No suprises here. Only surprise would be if the Zebras steal a point or three. Can’t see it happening. Will be the shock of the season if it does. Green Gully 3 – Moreland Zebras 0.

Sunday 6th May @ 3pm – Northcote City (6th) vs Dandenong Thunder (1st) 
Northcote was beaten by Morwell Pegasus last weekend 0-1 in the FFV Statewide Cup. Shock of the round. Dandenong Thunder is looking good, actually looking really good. Four games, four wins, twelve goals scored, zero conceded, twelve points. Perfect start to the season. How long will it last? All seems quiet down at the Thunderdome. Even their usual forum posters have been quiet. Opa Rok Opa Bro. However, this will be Dandy's first loss. Northcote has a thing of upsetting the runs of teams, and after their loss to Morwell Pegasus, they will be fired up to bounce back. Northcote City 2 – Dandenong Thunder 1.

Sunday 6th May @ 6pm – Heidelberg United (11th) vs Hume City (8th) 
Not much chatter about this one. Heidelberg is struggling hard. Hume is doing ok. Heidelberg 1 – Hume City 3.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Walter Pless, and measuring the size of Tasmanian soccer grounds

This is one of the more incredible blog posts I've seen for quite some time. Makes one wonder about the measurements at VPL grounds.