Tuesday, 13 August 2013

What's not to like? South Melbourne 6 Hume City 1

Finally here - post took a little longer to put up than usual because I was waiting for Steve from Broady's reports. The delay however means that this is a fairly bumper edition.

The scoreline perhaps flatters us a little. At least from the point of view of the first half, while we were the better team, Hume missed some outrageous chances. OK, three of those came within the space of about five seconds, as we somehow managed to keep out three consecutive point blank efforts, and a later one on one opportunity against Gavalas - who was in goals yesterday instead of Maynard - should also have been put away. Instead, with the opportunity to shoot left or right or even round the keeper, the Hume player hit the shot straight at Gavalas.

Still, those complaints aside, thanks to Rixon's Resurrection, we managed to go into halftime 2-0 up, and we were not without chances apart from those two goals. Hume started the second half in a sprightly manner, but didn't necessarily do anything spectacular. We scored our third, Hopper with his first of the day, and we looked more or less home. Hume pulled one back, and our propensity for being defensively rickety made me get the jitters, but the team soon put that to rest.

The final three goals came towards the end of the match as Hume threw everyone forward with unusually reckless abandon, not only getting themselves humiliated but damaging their goal difference, while we got a well needed boost in that area. Hopper managed to get a hat-trick, while Soolsma opened his South account with a fine free kick into the top corner, temporarily silencing those in the stands who were asking for Fernando to be brought on. Admittedly, there was also a festive atmosphere as the rout reached its apex, when the old Mighty Ducks quacking was brought out of the woodwork.

I reckon Rixon should have been taken off earlier. Old mate Perry was reffing, so that means a lot gets let go (though unlike that other old mate Bruno, Perry will actually punish the heinous stuff), and that means with the game wrapped up, all that was left for Rixon to do was get hacked within acceptable VPL standards. He got subbed off eventually for Kearney. Cartanos even got a few small minutes at the end of the game, pulled out one party trick on the sideline, though I think fewer people would have been amused with his attempt to dance around three defenders. In comparison, Rhys Meredith seems to have joined Fernando in South's version Guantanamo Bay.

Speaking of Perry, even though I reckon he leans towards the more physical side of the reffing ledger for my tastes, he usually puts in a good effort, lets players compete physically, and doesn't give players who flop over too obviously after losing a battle of strength what they think they deserve. Still, we probably should have got penalty at one point in the second half, but with Perry reffing it's pointless asking for it and even more pointless getting angry when he doesn't give it.

Anyway, word is that Chris Taylor isn't satisfied. No clean sheet, too much showboating, maybe even too much entertainment. Is this why the Knights and Taylor parted all those years ago? Can his no-nonsense grind it out style fit into the culture of a club that demands excitement and results? Will anything less than a championship satisfy anyone? Or is this plain speaking exactly what we need? Does this discord between wish and reality make things even more exciting?

Steve From Broady's Under 21s Report
South Melbourne's under 21s were coming off a 3-1 midweek loss to Pascoe Vale on Sunday afternoon, when they took on Hume City at Lakeside Stadium. With the title now looking out of reach, South was still looking to finish as high as possible on the table.

Hume kicked the game off and it was obvious early on that it was going to be a tight game. Chances were few and far between and both teams shared a decent amount of possession. In the 25th minute South made a fast breaking attack and had the first serious shot of the game. The ball was not cleared and got caught in a massive goal mouth scramble and Baggio Yousif poked it home for his 11th goal in five weeks to give South the lead.

Not long after the goal South were forced into an early substitution due to injury. Sebit Muon was the man to come on after 30 minutes. And not long after that substitution a Hume City striker who looked offside was on the end of a beautiful long ball from the centre back and he strolled in and fired past the South keeper to level the scores, and level it stayed until the half time break.

South kicked off the second half, but it was all Hume City early trying to get into the lead and in the 60th minute they did just that when a failed South clearance went so wrong and the Hume City striker put the ball past an already off balance keeper to give Hume City a 2-1 lead. South could not get into the game and had few chances to get an equaliser. Hume City rode the game out comfortably, the game finishing 2-1 to the visitors, as well as being South's second loss in a week. South's next game has been rescheduled for Sunday 1:00PM, until then, see ya next week.

Steve From Broady's Canteen Report
It was back to the South food van on Sunday afternoon. I had a souv - it was pretty decent, and it's getting better each week. I'm getting my hopes up for South to crack the perfect 10 before season's end. I give this week's souv an 8 out of 10. We are at Oakleigh next Sunday - I don't know what to expect from that canteen. From previous experience their souvs are shit, the only ever good one I had there was when Oaks played Victory, and Oaks were trying to impress everyone that evening.

  1. Pascoe Vale 10/10
  2. Hume City 8/10
  3. Bentleigh Greens 7/10
  4. Richmond 6.5/10
  5. Northcote City 3.5/10
  6. Southern Stars 2/10
  7. Green Gully 1/10
  8. Dandenong DQ 
South food truck
  • Week 1 - 4.5/10
  • Week 2 - 7/10
  • Week 3 - 8.5/10
  • Week 4 - 5/10
  • Week 5 - 5.5/10
  • Week 6 - 9/10
  • Week 7 - 6/10
  • Week 8 - 7.5/10
  • Week 9 - 8/10

Next Week
Oakleigh away in another crunch game. Win, we keep ourselves in the finals race, and knock out Oaks from contention if they aren't out of it already.

Please note - this game will not be played at Oakleigh's usual Friday night timeslot. Instead, it will be on Sunday, at 3:15PM.

Tom Kalas on Soccer Stoppage Time
Soccer Stoppage Time is some sort of Sydney radio program. First time listener, and I was impressed. If they were a Melbourne based show and I was a fan of an A-League team, I'd listen in again. But neither of those things are true, so it ain't going to happen. More's the pity.

Anyway, the magic of the internet alerted us to the impending appearance of one Tom Kalas on this show. But first we had to wade through some Joe Didulica stuff and how the Heart have signed three 35 year olds or something. "Yoof!" as Victory fans would say. Interestingly, Didulica claimed that Heart aren't for sale. Also talk about Heart making a profit, which seems to be news to some of the presenters, even though I figured that everyone knew about that news. Next to no mention that I can recall of how they made that profit - selling a truckload of players for some decent coin.

Then Ray Gatt.

Then news or rumours or something. Patrick Kisnorbo asking for too much money apparently. Ah, here we are.

Tom Kalas 'the' director of South Melbourne? First up he starts by disagreeing with Didulica's assertion that Heart aren't for sale, pointing out how Scott Munn had been talking about Heart's meeting with overseas investors. Maybe investing means not for sale? Buy in, not buy out?

Then the questions about South's A-League ambitions. Where's the money coming from for a South A-League bid? Kalas replies that we have guarantees from a 'Big 4' bank, but it's all down to firstly doing your due diligence and such. What a relief.

Are we ready? Kalas replies with talk about our now four year old transformation program. Third largest broadcaster of football in Australia (pretty easy when no one else outside Fox and SBS does it), mention of our youtube stats, with no mention of it being it watched by Russian gamblers. But Youtube stats have always been a rubbery concept to me.

Sustainability seems to be the main selling point. We can do the job of being Melbourne's second team better, and more efficiently. Mention of Heart's alleged $75k cost per home match at AAMI Park. But what about South's facilities? Surely they're not up to scratch? Kalas and one of the hosts make the point that the lighting and corporate facilities are what need improving, and those can be done fairly quickly, with government support.

The questioning moves on to what form a South team would take in the national league. Kalas makes the very interesting assertion that 'The South Melbourne Football Club brand will always be a state league based club'. It's the FFA who will have the final say on what would happen in that situation, what we could call ourselves etc. The follow up questions are obvious - if all of that is the case, could a South Melbourne takeover bid take over the entire Heart licence and remain as Melbourne Heart? Well yes, that's an option.

Now, a brief break from me. Kalas is seriously having a laugh here, and more or less repeating the same routine that our erstwhile friend Jim Mellas performed so many years ago - a whole five of them, my how time flies - during the Southern Cross bid era. Remember this stuff? Will it, won't it be South Melbourne? Is it a Trojan horse bid? Broadbased and compelling? Kalas tried to make the point that 'a broadbased club in the A-League' is what we hope to get, as well as a member run (owned?) club in the top flight (who's members?) and that we are football club, not an ethnic club.

So, under the model that Kalas was discussing, South as South would stay in the Victorian system, and whatever this new thing is would be 'our' national league representative. Who would support such a thing? And without my trying to second guess what our fans would do this in situation, Kalas seemed hopeful that enough Heart fans would come over to make it a genuine combination of efforts. You must be kidding. Regardless of how pitiful and inconsequential I think Heart's raison d'etre is, and by extension the feelings that their season ticket holders have for that organisation, in their fantasy world that feeling of belonging to something important is very real.

And before anyone jumps on that sentence, let it be clear that I consider that fantastical sense of attachment as scarcely more ludicrous than the fantasy we South fans have about our club being the biggest, best, demanding of excellence etc. Because that fantasy is real, the idea that they could easily switch allegiances to this supposed mulatto entity is just absurd. Maybe some could, but most wouldn't. And to do so would require a certain amount of magnanimity and humility from our end, traits which South has seldom if ever possessed.

Kalas tried to talk about the soccer demographics that only go to Melbourne A-League derby games. What makes him think that those people could be relied upon to commit to a full length season? The next question is why aren't South attracting more people if we have so many people on our database, and watching our TV show? A truly daft question, but it gave Kalas a free hit. It's because we play in winter, in a state league competition, with no marketing from the FFV and no mainstream media attention. Could the Heart or Victory do any better? Kalas reckons it's apples and oranges, and he's surely right on this point. It's why even Collingwood can only get a couple of hundred to VFL games at Victoria Park.

So how did Kalas go about talking about our history? By deliberately goading me with references to 1884. Now I'll preface this part of the discussion by not claiming divine authority for the accuracy of this history, only for where my understanding currently lies of the limited details we have at present. Any corrections, new info, send it our way.

For those not up to speed on 1884, here's the deal. The original South Melbourne soccer club began playing way back then. That club went through a number of changes and periods where they (and soccer in Melbourne in general) didn't exist. At some point in the 1930s - 1936 according to this article - they amalgamated with South Melbourne Juniors (a separate club previously called Middle Park Schoolboys).

South Melbourne United would of course become one of three clubs to merge to form the South Melbourne Hellas we know and mostly love. It is my strong opinion however that when Kalas makes these claims about claiming that history - and I've warned him about this - he makes serious factual and cultural errors. Factual, because we aren't even sure what and who the original South Melbourne were for large periods of time. Factual, because even the article mentioned above which claims South Melbourne United involved a merger of South Melbourne with another entity in 1936, is clearly missing some important detail, as both the South Melbourne and South Melbourne United clubs are listed as being in existence after that year.

In 1937, South Melbourne was in Division 1, South Melbourne United in Division 2. The same goes for 1938 as you can see here and here. In 1939 they finished first and second in Division 2. In 1940 both teams played in Division 1. South Melbourne ceases to exist after this season. South Melbourne United struggle during the war years, but re-emerge after them.

When looking at the 1959 foundation date for South Melbourne Hellas, this is a bit of misnomer. 1959 is when Hellenic and Yarra Park merged. The merger of that new entity with South Melbourne United happened in early 1960. The Greeks needed a ground, and United took a chance that the Greeks would respect their identity and history. That lasted just a few years, and the most visible part of United's contribution to the new club - outside of the venue itself - the red 'V', was ditched, and little to no pretense seems to have been made that this was in any way a local club. Callous perhaps, but at least eventually honest. I reckon it was an awful thing to do, but it was done and most people never gave it a second thought.

On rare occasions the official wing of the club has dug out the 'heritage' shirt, but not often. Again, if that's the way the majority of the club's support feels about South Melbourne United, that's OK. But having overwhelmingly rejected the history of the clubs that preceded South Melbourne Hellas (and this includes the complicated Greek club history), and focusing only on what was created in 1959, I find claiming that 1884 date is unconscionable, and a ruse designed to get away from the real problem.

At best, we can claim that we are a living representative of the soccer tradition that has existed in the South Melbourne/Albert Park/Middle Park area - perhaps the original heartland of soccer in Melbourne - since 1884. That also includes teams like Hakoah, Park Rangers, Middle Park, Albert Park, St Kilda, and both defunct and new teams with those names.

Some more temperate minds may try to claim the 'custodian' tag, but I consider that an illegitimate attempt to monopolise a history and local tradition that is not completely ours to claim, especially considering the over 50 year rejection of that tradition and history mentioned earlier. To even begin to be able to start claiming that history as our own, we have to show a humility that is not in keeping with the traditions of this club, and for better and worse I have seldom seen here.

Which leads us to the real problem. Who are we? When we talk among ourselves, we are pretty sure of who we are. While some still hang on to an older style Greek nationalist or patriotic identity - as is their right - most younger supporters I think are able to easily claim the identity of being a club with a mostly Greek past and heritage, with an Australian future. These two ideas do not have to be mutually exclusive. We can be both, and I would argue that we actually exist in that manner right now.

So why can't we take that to the outside world? Why do we have to lie about who we were and who we are? In some deranged way, I can understand why we tried to do it back in the Southern Cross days - because we knew (even those who argued otherwise) the FFA and general public was utterly against us. But these days we go out there with the claim that the FFA is encouraging us to make a push for the A-League, a claim which was reinforced by one of the radio show hosts.

To finish up this discussion, let's just say that one of the hosts made the point about being ourselves and owning our history - the parts we actually had a part in creating - and his response to one of his co-hosts, who brought up the spectre of the old NSL was just as good.

'You use the term old NSL like it's contaminated'. 

Hit the nail on the head right there. It's time to get out of the trap of the cringe and the cringe inverted, and take up instead AA Phillips' notion of the 'relaxed erectness of carriage'; the state of being unconsciously ourselves, not inherently better or worse than other clubs, just different, yet with something worthwhile to bring to the table.

Finally, there were no questions about the more pressing matter of NPL Victoria, which was disappointing.

Film Festival Follies
Saturday was the first time I'd been to the cinemas in over a year. I can't even remember the last thing that I saw. I didn't even make my usual trip to the animation festival in June. So, when you get the chance to see a North Korean football film, let alone one which has been described as 'the best North Korean football-themed movie of all time', the decision is more or less made for you.

So it was off to the Melbourne Film Festival to see Centre Forward, a black and white soccer flick from 1978, a bit of a Rocky via Pyongyang production, replete with your typical sports montages. The story is pretty basic. In Son, a young forward, after sitting on the bench for three (?!) years finally gets his chance in the starting line up. Needless to say, he completely blows it.

He gets dragged, the team loses its first match, and somehow after this one loss they go into crisis mode. I'd call it an overreaction, but this is a South blog after all, and thus we can relate to that. The rest of the film follows the well worn path of athletic redemption. What's interesting here are the necessarily different values used to get to that redemption point. The triumph of the individual for his own sake is not enough. The triumph of the individual is done for the whole of the North Korean people.

So yes, there are the requisite musical propaganda numbers, references to the Juche system, the Fatherly Leader, the Motherland. It's an uncomfortable aspect of watching this film, knowing that these same values are what keep the North Korean people under a brutal autocratic regime. Would this film have been played had it been promoting fascist values?

The players are hardly pampered. They sweep the yard, mark the lines, live in relatively spartan quarters at the club, and take part in a new and frankly brutal training programme, where hard work and loyalty are valued more than skill.

Still, some things remain familiar. The difference in generations; youngsters doubting their abilities; older players realising that fame doesn't last. The chairman of the club and his henchmen becoming involved in team selections and even tactics! Family angst played out via a grandmother and mother watching the game at home on TV (strangely, despite having a TV set, they don't seem to have a washing machine).

Oh, and the absolutely best part? Apart from the team bonding session montage, which included a scene on what looked like the world's most boring roller-coaster, the best moments were the comic relief provided by two fans in the stands. They're there every week, but when the team struggles they love to complain - one even sends weekly letters to the coach with suggestions on how to improve the team. When In Son and the team have their big success at the end of the film, the main complainer somehow manages to get into the locker rooms (which for some reason reminded me more of a hotel foyer or lounge) and more or less gets back on board the bandwagon. It was unnervingly like looking into a (North Korean) mirror. Just goes to show that the peculiarities of football fandom cross all borders.

Not being much of a film buff, from doing a bit of reading elsewhere it appears this film takes after Soviet minimalist/realist film making. So the acting is a bit stiff, and the dialogue mostly plain and sincere. Irony doesn't seem to have entered North Korean film vocabulary at this stage - though humourous moments are found throughout the film, including one of the players being a bit of a boozer. In fact, that naiveté in style and content is what eventually carries the day. The football scenes themselves aren't completely awful, even getting a little bit creative at the end of the film, though it's interesting to see the same shot of the ball going into the back of the net at least twice. Films from North Korea with a soccer theme aside, this ain't a classic of any genre, but it runs at a brisk pace and doesn't overstay its welcome. Worth a look if you can find a copy somewhere.

You Kiss Your Mother With That Mouth?
Back to Sunday for a moment. It was a largely enjoyable afternoon. However, it was made less pleasant by some disgusting sexist banter from a very, very small portion of the crowd, directed at the lineswoman on the far side of the field. Now whether you think this kind of behaviour is or isn't acceptable - and it isn't - one should at least have a sense of self-preservation, if only to prevent the club getting punished due to your own easily preventable stupidity. This isn't some attempt at implementing some kind of PC mandate by stealth. Indeed, the kinds of comments being bandied about were so daft that they don't warrant being repeated here. Just leave that kind of garbage outside the ground.

Final Thought

5 comments:

  1. Kudos for highlighting the inappropriate comments directed at the referee's assistant.

    Fans/supporters need to be smarter. The groans from the surrounding areas didn't seem to deter the idiot either. Perhaps the club needs to tap the guy on the shoulder and politely let him know his comments have potential to damage the club.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What made it even worse for me, and not that it probably means anything, is that I reckon she got most of those calls right.

      Delete
  2. Reffing isn`t as easy as it looks, she did an excellent job.

    Oakleigh souvs are crap, am predicting a 3/10 result in the canteen championship

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    Replies
    1. They tell me that the Valkanis family are running the canteen out there these days.

      Delete
  3. THAT SOUV IS NO WHERE NEAR AN 8!

    ReplyDelete

While I like people commenting on the blog, it would be useful if different posters could at least leave some sort of nickname to make it easier to sort through all the different 'anonymous' posters. If your post doesn't get approved straight away, it's probably because I haven't seen it yet. Lastly, just because I approve a comment for publication does not mean that I endorse its content.