Monday, 25 February 2013

2013 memberships released

Here's the advertisement. Looks very slick and professional. Sneaky addition of a 'Hellas' banner in there. Nioe emphasis on the blue and white colours, (in Colin Mochrie voice) if you know what I mean.

Of course the very interesting thing for me is the change in who gets voting rights and access. Previously, it was only social club members - aka South Gold and above -that got access to the South Melbourne Hellas (owner/controlling body of everything) AGM.

And when the FFV brought in their mandatory changes to club constitutions, allowing parents and participants more access and rights at their clubs - I suppose as part of the Crawford reforms - we were told that it would not have much of an effect on us.

But that appears not be the case. Not that I have an issue with it, but certainly others more paranoid than me certainly do, and it wsill be interesting to see how this plays out. After all, this is an election year!

Anyway, the other thing to consider then is, if a regular season pass holder now gets access to both AGMs, why should anyone bother putting in an extra 60 or whatever it is dollars to go for the social club membership?

It's something I thought about for all of about five minutes. I decided to go 'Gold' again for the extra merchandise, the $25 voucher (which is there to encourage me to buy more stuff!) and 10% off social club food and drink, but will completely understand if people start dropping out of that membership category.

Let's not forget though, that the main benefit of taking up any of the membership options is that all the money goes back into the club, and not to anyone else.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

South pull out of Bouzis Cup?

They certainly seemed to be no-shows at today's match day, so I'm assuming they've pulled out of the entire thing. A bit of a pity for the three of us that made the trip out there, but what can you do except blame everyone responsible for this mess, especially those who informed no one

Still, we got to see Altona East draw 0-0 with a youthful Oakleigh side. East probably should have taken all the points, but scoring goals has been their achilles heel for a while now.

Also got to see Malvern against Essendon United. United took the lead, but eventually Malvern's dominance of posession told, with them winning 2-1.

The highlight of the day was heading over to Song Huong on Alfrieda Street afterwards for their fantastic (and cheap!) rice vermicelli with braised chicken, lemongrass and chili, and opening up my schedule to do something else with my time. Maybe go see a cup game next week.

Friday, 22 February 2013

First pre-season matches this weekend

Against Westvale on Saturday, against Old Camberwell on Sunday. Check the results/fixture tab for details, but don't blame us if something goes awry. Reports are that we'll be using youthful sides anyway.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Dutch striker signed + and confirmation of three outs

We've signed a new Dutch striker, one Renco Van Eeken. Apparently here to study, he was an off the street acquisition. He seems to have played in the third and fourth tiers of Dutch football, which as far as I can tell are mostly amateur. The brains trust are very excited about this player. Here's hoping he proves them right. The video footage available of him is promising, though most of us will reserve judgement until he starts performing for us. I still miss Jasper Valentijn.

On the way out are Steve Burton, Jason Saldaris and Glen Trifiro. I liked Burton, his finishing and strength were very good, but it doesn't appear to have worked out for some reason. I thought Saldaris was very unlucky not to get more of a go last season, especially considering Peter Gavalas' nightmare run. Glen Trifiro just never really got going in his year long South stint. Reports from some Sydney United people suggest that he's looking good during their pre-season. South of the Border wishes all three players well in their future footballing careers.

Friday, 15 February 2013

FFA announces Claytons Second Division

It's the second division you have when you're not having second division.

Example of a squad list, under possible NCR guidelines.
I saw this last year at an FFV information evening. Click to enlarge,
There was a bit of excitement caused on the forums - and nowhere else really - about the FFA launching the findings of their National Competitions Review. As far as I'm concerned, there was no need for that excitement, but people in offices have got to lower their productivity somehow.

FFA Cup coming? It's been coming for years now, not that I see it as a priority. Promotion and relegation? In a few years, maybe, but we'll make it as hard as possible for A-League teams to drop and for state league teams to go up.

Again, no surprise and from me, no complaints. I don't care what the 'purists' have to say, but just because it may be 'traditional' in other countries, it doesn't mean it would work here.

The other thing to get some people in a flutter was stuff that was released last year, namely, the player points cap system to be used for the revamped state leagues. It got some people hot under the collar. 'What will happen to 42 year olds! What about club loyalty! What about our juniors!'

Some Sydney Olympic fans should seriously learn how to read through a document before predicting the end of the world. Maybe they should also take a leaf out of  Matthew 24:36

But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only

The time to get more excited and panicky for South fans is when the FFV eventually gets around to releasing the criteria for its adaptation of the NCR. At the South AGM back on the Australia Day long weekend, we were told the FFV would release their criteria within a couple of weeks. We're still waiting.

First pre-season games this weekend

Westvale on Saturday, Old Camberwell on Sunday. For details, see the results/fixtures tab. Don't blame this blog if something changes though. Rumour also has it we'll be playing youthful sides, but who knows for sure?

Monday, 11 February 2013

Bourgeois Anthropology - Middle Class Handwringing Edition

It's funny, you live in the universe, but you never do these things until someone comes to visit
Still waiting for South action, and thus I made my debut appearances at the water polo and international cricket in the one weekend. My old Perth Glory supporting mate Chris Egan was in town last week. So that meant taking a chance that the world hadn't succumbed to nuclear apocalypse since the end of the last VPL season, and actually going outside and doing things. I managed to live to tell the tale - but only just. So think of this entry as a variation of last year's tennis escapade.

Water Polo at Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre
The UWA Torpedoes (men's and women's teams) were in town to take on the Victoria Tigers. I'm not quite sure what person thought that a tiger would be the best mascot for an aquatic sports team. The Tigers won both matches, the men's game a little more comfortably then the women's, but neither match was a blowout.

Anyway, it's quite a nice little set up they have going there at MSAC. Shot clocks, sponsor boards, scoreboard. I could have done without the continuous commentary though. I wouldn't have minded elaboration on scorers and ejections, but the rest seemed superfluous. They had a match program, and in retrospect I should have picked one up. Gold coin donation seemed fair. The team and player intros included bizarre clapping ceremony.

As for the sport of water polo itself, I'm sure it's a hell of a lot of fun to play for the participants, but like my opinion of field hockey, I reckon it's just another inferior version of soccer. There's a very limited range of scoring methods, and limited ways of moving the ball. Still, the fast breaks and bounced shots were exciting to watch, the constant minor fouls not so much.

Perhaps it would have been more exciting with some flares and ethnic tension. But then again, wouldn't everything?

I also learned that former Fremantle Dockers coach Gerard Neesham - and his water polo background - is the progenitor of flooding in Australian rules football. There's something for Steven Alomes to follow up on.

Paisley Park Prattle
Trundled over to see Altona East's seniors and ressies in their first friendlies for the season. Ressie lost to Melbourne University 9-0, so some work to do there. The seniors won 2 or 3 nil, I wasn't paying that much attention. Found out how Andrew Nabbout got the call up to Melbourne Victory ahead of several other possible. No disrespect to Nabbout, but it appears there's serious issues with talent identification in Australian soccer.

Prior To Yesterday
My only experiences of watching cricket live in the flesh - apart from seeing the odd ball bowled while my train was stopped was at South Kensington station on a summer Saturday - was at some regional junior representative match, and one day's play of Carlton's fourths against Footscray fourths at Tony Dodemaide Oval. So even though I know rules, histories, players and all the other hoopla, this experience was new to me.

Embracing Your Inner Billboard
Mike Hussey cardboard sheets sponsored by a bank. A tea break on field dance session sponsored by a brewer. Faux watermelon hats sponsored by a telecommunications company. And best of all, said telco handing out free clip on radios which were able to access either the ABC's and Channel Nine's commentary. Which was hilarious considering that outside the ground another variation of said radio was being sold at $20 a pop.

Future NFL Hall of Famers
Commiserations to New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who almost made it to the end of the match without getting kicked out. After having thrown an American football three times from the bottom of M10 - including one which smashed into the signage on the second deck - he wandered back to his seat as if nothing had happened. A little bit later on, it looked like he'd been escorted out, only to return a few minutes later.

As blokes were being thrown out left, right and centre, our group was wondering how the hell Brady was still in the venue. Later on during the evening, he moved around to the bottom of section M8 or M9 and threw the ball again, after posing with the ball for about half a minute. Eventually, his luck ran out, somewhat amazingly after he had taken off his jersey and tried to go incognito. It took until 10:15 for the Old Bill to finally get rid of him for good - perhaps they were waiting for Brady's mate Brian Urlacher to get out of the picture.

Fat Kid Messenger Services
One of the two off-field highlights was the use of a fat kid for the purposes of picking up chicks. Some blokes from the front row sent this kid to pass on a message to an attractive woman about 20 rows back. Kid became an instant legend.

Footy's Almost Back!
The roll call of footy jumpers I saw.
  • 1x St Kilda
  • 1x Footscray
  • 1x Collingwood, heading back towards Flinders Street before the match.
  • 1x Geelong, with matching shorts.
  • 1x Essendon - as soon as he appeared in M11, the 'Essendon are drug cheats' chant started.
  • 1x Sydney, dressed as Warwick Capper, including shorts which left nothing to the imagination.
Kostume Kapers
For some reason the marketing gurus at Cricket Australia thought it would be a good idea to encourage people to dress up in costumes, because goodness knows it's not the like actual game matters in any way. There were some good efforts, but where I was sitting, it seemed like an extra reason to get drunk for most of those people. Some of the more notable efforts in our vicinity included:
  • Warwick Capper - see above.
  • Spiderman - when not drinking, he spent a good portion of the match performing an incredibly annoying dance, trying ever so hard to get on camera. He succeeded.
  • A wizard, but not Gandalf or Harry Potter related.
  • About 5-6 blokes dressed in Jamaican bobsled outfits ala the film Cool Runnings, but sadly without anyone in the role of John Candy.
  • Some bloke wearing a pretty crap wedding dress.
  • Wonder Woman - perhaps unusually (considering the usual demographic of nerd dress up shenanigans), she was actually a woman.
  • Bananas in Pyjamas
  • The bloke in an obviously very hot and sweaty panda suit, on whose face one could read a ton of regret about wearing that suit on such a warm day.
Sneaky Sound System
Still going, still crap.

Pitch Invasions
Just the one individual. Tried to take on security, did not get far.

One bloke stripped down to nothing. He got turfed out. Later on, one bloke thought he'd be a bit of smartarse, and started having a go at two of the female coppers as they were going back up the stairs, by beginning a slow and sleazy striptease routine. Unfortunately for him, the most veteran police offer on duty came up from behind and grabbed his arms as he was about to lose his jacket - and the beauty of it was that everyone saw it coming but him. Even I had to laugh at that.

Western Australians
Along with Chris, I was with several other Perth Glory fans at this match. I hope no one mistook me for a Western Australian while they went off their nut every time a Western Australian player did anything. They were quite excited by Adam Voges' maiden international century. I liked Johnson Charles' equivalent effort a little better, but at that stage not many people were watching.

The Actual Match
In the sections we were in, the on field contest seemed incidental. You read newspaper reports about the bad behaviour, but it's worth getting a look at it first hand. As a newbie from a soccer background, several things struck me as significant.

I never realised how boring this game is.
Firstly, the way the rowdy patrons actually put some effort into getting thrown out was fascinating, like they were actually aiming for that result. They drink a lot and drink quickly (one group enjoyed smashing the empty plastic cups against each other's faces). The attempt to curtail the drinking culture by not opening the bars (or food) outlets on the bottom of the lower deck did not work at all. One bloke near me (whose mates had already been thrown out) threw an empty Pringles cylinder, and then followed it up with an empty Coke bottle. He tried to feign ignorance but it was no use, and he didn't put up much of a fight when he got spotted and asked to leave. I wonder if he and others like him will get charged the $563 on the spot fine for throwing items.

The second thing was how little fight most people - including bystanders - put up in trying to avoid being evicted. If that happened in a soccer crowd, I can easily imagine other people quickly becoming involved out of a sense of camaraderie. Here, while not dobbing in their fellow supporters, most seemed perfectly willing to let them be evicted. Indeed the well known chant 'you're going home in the back of a divvy van' seemed to undermine the notion that someone tried to put forward yesterday, that the performance of disobedience was an indicator of Australians' natural distrust and dislike of authority.

Thirdly, the different reactions of the police and security. The police seemed to laugh a lot of the incidents off. The security seemed to take more of an interest in trying to control matters, though that may have been because they tended to be targeted more by the antics of the fans. As the night wore on, so did the frequency of people getting booted out, with scarcely a ten minute period going by without one or more people being escorted out.

I can see why certain people want to get rid of this format of the game. Eight hours of meaningless play, low crowds, attracting mostly people who see it as an opportunity to get tanked. But it was good to get to a game. Unfortunately, cricket is a game in the wrong era. It's not suited to a culture that lacks patience and has no time for it anyway. Attempts to convince its constituents otherwise, by speeding up the game and taking every semblance of nuance out of it, just seem pathetic to me. They might as well convert to baseball.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Pepe in Papua

Want to know what happened to former assistant coach Joe Montemurro? Well, he's ended up in Papua New Guinea. Also good to know that the National Soccer League lives on.

NEW kids on the block, FC Port Moresby, WNB Tavur FC and NC Civil Works Oro FC will be out to impress their supporters when they debut in the 2013 Telikom National Soccer League tomorrow.

Aspiring newcomer, FC Port Moresby will face a baptism of fire against reigning champions, Hekari United FC, while Oro will take on neighbouring Milne Bay franchise, Eastern Star FC, in their opening match.

Under Italian coach Joe Montemurro, FC Port Moresby have been preparing well since making their intention known to take part in the semi-professional competition.

Known as Pepe, Montemurro was extremely impressed with the talent of his charges, which include eight national reps plus prominent emerging youth players who have won age group international caps.

“This blend of youth and experience of PNG’s finest home-grown players is a coach’s dream,” he said.

“FC Port Moresby players come from all four regions of PNG and we are excited about building a fan base that extends nationwide.”

On the prospect of facing Hekari first up, Pepe said “Every team wants to play against the champions to truly test themselves.”

“This is a fantastic introduction to the 2013 NSL season, of course, the premiers will start as favourites but I am confident that we can promise Port Moresby residents that your team is here to play.”

Senior player Reginald Davani said his squad had been preparing well for the opening match.

The club has secured the services of former Hekari United player Neil Hans, who will lead the side against his former teammates.

Hekari coach Jerry Allen could not say much about his chances

Saturday, 2 February 2013

The results of very novice hoarding

Bit of a slow time of year, isn't it? Not much going on for this blog to report on. So let's go back in time a bit, and relive some highs, lows and mundane parts of South history.

While doing some cleaning, I came across some old copies of Neos Kosmos English Weekly from 2001 and 2002. I don't know why I was collecting them, and I'd forgotten I'd even had them.

By contrast, I remembered that I had a half dozen copies of the AFL's Football Record. Goodness knows why. Biggest waste of money, but those were the days before you could get them all online.

You can rest assured that I'm no hoarder - it was just some stuff that had gone from drawer to shoe box to slightly less worn shoe box and so forth for about a decade or so. Then again, I have to share this place with four other people and their crap, so proper hoarding is not so much of an option.

There was other stuff, too, such as:
  • Reform of Soccer Australia, which of course we all thought would never happen.
  • Ian Knop and the state federations trying to justify the player levy increase to bail out Soccer Australia.
  • Something about Ned Zelic wanting to play for Australia again.
  • Soccer Australia frantically trying to get the National Soccer League finals onto television.
But none of that had any specific mentions of South. There were only four articles in that lot to do with South at all, and for the most part it's routine stuff. Thanks to my bro for scanning, cropping etc.

The first article is about one time South VPL player Evan Karavitis, when he was just a fresh faced youngster at the Victorian Institute of Sport, looking to make it big in the world of soccer. He got called up for one of the national underage teams, along with a bunch of other hopefuls including then South junior Stefan Piorkowski. Kristian Sarkies is there as well. Some bloke called Postecoglou was in charge of things. According to some basic research, the bloke couldn't coach his way out of box of corn flakes.

The second article is from when we 'miraculously' stormed into the finals of the 2001/02 season after being just awful for about half of it. Much harder these days to have these kind of occurrences when more than half the teams in our national competition qualify for the finals.

The third article is about Paul Trimboli looking to stay at South. Also has some bits about Steve Blair getting involved with the administrative side of the club.

The final article in this collection is about South's first home game of the 2002/03 season, and the difficulties Zeljko Susa had in getting a clearance from his club in Croatia, even though they no longer wanted him.