Tuesday, 19 September 2017

The Sad Situation of Richmond

Some of the following could have been included in the Why I've Arrived Where I'm At post from March, and some from Elitist But Not Elite as well but I was trying to put a limit on my rambling at the time.

On Friday the Richmond Soccer Club put the following message on their Facebook page:


I would be lying if I said I was surprised, as this has been a long time coming, six years in fact.

A poor start to the 2011 season by the Under 21's precipitated the end of Helmut Katizki's presidency at Richmond. Donald MacLaren had taken over the side after assisting Jim Maclean, and an element of the committee from the juniors side were not satisfied with performances. The pressure to make a change continued to build, and eventually a newcomer to the committee, Jean-Marc Imbert, was made caretaker coach for the remainder of the season.

The following year it was senior coach Michael Chatzitrifonos who was under the pump. Early season losses prompted agitation from some of the committee. He had cut Didier Imbert from the senior squad during pre-season, before politicking forced a reconsideration. The tensions reached a head in early June following a 0-2 loss at home to Hume City when Chatzitrifonos quit his post after being confronted post-game.

Kalitzki managed to get Chatzitrifonos back on board the following day but the damage had been done. Captain Michael Ferrante, struggling with a back injury that would not see him play regularly for another year after surgery, left the club dismayed at the politics that had crept in, clearly able to see the writing on the wall. The team's results would improve, eventually finishing just three points off a finals berth, despite the turmoil off the park.

The committee was now dis-functional and having failed to oust Chatzitrifonos they now set their sights on Kalitzki. Their meetings required security intervention. Prior to the final game of the season, Kalitzki met with the players to announce he had stood down as president. Though he always honoured promises over player wages, he told them to see the new committee about payments for the final game but hoped that they would still turn out and play for each other and their coach. Following a spirited 1-1 draw away at the league champions Dandenong Thunder, Chatzitrifonos finished his tenure at the club after five years.

The new committee appointed Imbert as first team coach for the following season. The core of the playing squad moved on, though Davey van 't Schip was happy to stay and play with his mates who had remained. A bust-up with Imbert in pre-season though saw him follow Ferrante and Tom Milardovic to Pascoe Vale where he remains to this day, one of the best players in the NPLV. After four straight defeats at the start of the 2013 season, culminating in an embarrassing 2-7 defeat at home to Northcote City, Imbert was dismissed. By the end of the year the club was relegated, and those that had ousted Kalitzki had all jumped off the ship they had sunk.

                          Sub Bill Fleming Medal for Gold Medal and.....


The club rallied under a new committee and in 2015 with the backing of sponsorship from Concave won the then NPL1 to secure promotion back into the top tier. Instantly relegated, it was a second successive relegation this season that has brought the club to the brink on which it now sits.

So in reading the commentary to the club's EGM announcement it was interesting to see how some apportion the blame for the predicament.

There were some fingers pointed at the FFV and also the NPL set-up as a whole. What is clear is that relegation from the NPL will have a more devastating effect on clubs than relegation from the VPL did. What can a club do if the bulk of their junior players may be looking to stay in the NPL system by moving to other clubs? When committee people may be pondering such a move for their own children, it's easy to see how a crippling exodus may occur. Battling to meet the costly NPL requirements no doubt causes a lot of burn-out as well.

Does the NPL set up, particularly in NPL2 do clubs any favours? I recall in the heyday of Friday nights at Kevin Bartlett Reserve, the bar and canteen would make twice as much as it would with the same crowd on a Saturday afternoon. So what does hosting a single busload of players and officials from Goulburn Valley or Murray United on a Saturday offer? A 28 game season means six more week's worth of wages need to be found than previously. Not that every club relegated from the NPLV will find themselves in Richmond's predicament, but there would be a few others skating closer to the edge than they'd like to admit.

Of course the lack of stability since the departure of Kalitzki leads some to point out the perils of relying on a single benefactor. From what I've seen though, few clubs would cover their costs on gate takings alone. Surely a benefactor or sponsorship is preferable to using junior membership fees? The old chestnut of clubs being at the mercy of the whims of such benefactors also rises, as if they just like to withdraw their support for a laugh. Most benefactors would prefer clubs become less reliant on them, but that can take years to achieve. Since Kalitzki the club was aided by various sponsors, none of whom have been long term.

I think the situation Richmond has found itself in illustrates how committees with junior parents dominated by self-interest will destroy more clubs than these supposedly flip-flopping benefactors do. And for that the FFV has to shoulder some of the blame. A decade ago now the FFV forced clubs to alter their constitutions to allow the parents of junior players a vote at club's elections, which probably assisted the ousting of Kalitzki at a club with a small member base like Richmond.

Of course the two A-League clubs with teams in the NPLV do not have to comply with these rules. These privately owned clubs are allowed to operate without the ability of a group of Under 14's parents upset at being confined to the back pitch all season to wrest control from Sheikh Mansour. Melbourne Victory's chairman Anthony Di Pietro is safe in the knowledge he doesn't need to placate the parents of the kids sitting on the bench in their NPL2 West U20's team to keep his role. Funnily enough the person I used to argue with on Twitter about the unfairness of this is currently on the run in Romania from Australian taxation authorities so we are not able to resume that debate.

Though the FFV saw fit to meddle with constitutions, there's no protections put in place that could prevent the scenario that has occurred at Richmond. When those on the committee failed to get their way in sacking the coach and demanded money they had put into the club back, the president had the option of paying them, or standing down and letting them have their way once the situation had become untenable. When the following committee failed to achieve what they wanted and left, they were free to be able to do so. They did not have to be held to account, it was left to others to pick up the pieces if they wanted the club to carry on, and saddled with debt they managed to move it on a little further to the crossroads it now finds itself.

It also needs to be noted that none of the changes to the competition made with the introduction of the NPL where made with the clubs, and their best interests, in mind. As with much of Australian football decisions are made on a "top down" basis. The authorities give little consideration to those running clubs. If clubs fall over they know another one will take it's place.

Having put in 30 hours a week at the club for over ten years, it would be sad to see it go under. Cannot say, though, that I'd be sad enough about it to go through all that again to save it. Which in itself is the saddest part.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Boo Reviews Some More Yearbooks

Another batch of VSF Yearbooks have been scanned and uploaded, so time for another review.

Not a VSF Yearbook, it's the Australian Soccer Yearbook

Australian Soccer Year Book 1963

Or more accurately, the Soccer World Yearbook for 1963. This is a treat, a wonderful record of the season in NSW and pretty good coverage of other states. All the line-ups for the interstate championship and Australia Cup are there and player appearances for the NSW top tier. The great names leap from every page, Marston, Baumgartner, the brothers Ninaus, Jaros, Warren, Watkiss etc

Not a VSF Yearbook, it's some Queensland Soccer Federation Yearbooks

Queensland Soccer Federation Yearbook 1968

Queensland Soccer Federation Yearbook 1969

These are also great, up there with the early 1960's VSF Yearbooks and better than what the VSF was offering at the time.

About to enter the Golden Age, the 1974 VSF Yearbook

1974 VSF Yearbook

The new World Cup trophy on the cover. All the framework for the classic Yearbooks of 1976-78 are there without the fancy extras. Lots of fixtures, tables and cup charts.

From the top shelf, the 1976 VSF Yearbook

1976 VSF Yearbook

Another trophy on the cover, this time it's the Rothman's State League Championship Trophy. Tons of fixtures and tables. There's results grids and cup charts, and a list of VSF Cup Finals for the year prior. There's a list of the state team games from a tour of New Caledonia, and the Bendigo League gets a mention.

Returning to the Dark Ages, the 1980 VSF Yearbook

1980 VSF Yearbook

Plain, lame cover. Fixtures and club contacts book, more like. Not even tables from the previous year, let alone results grids or cup charts. Nothing about the juniors. A few pictures and the state team line-ups for the season the only highlights. Pocket sized, but no pocket rocket like the 1960's VASFA versions.

Same crap as the year before, the 1981 VSF Yearbook

1981 VSF Yearbook

Did Oliver Twist ask for some more slop? It's delivered here in spades, another shocker with the plain lame cover now a signature for mediocrity.

Page size is bigger, just makes it a bigger waste of space, the 1983 VSF Yearbook

1983 VSF Yearbook

The pocked size has been increased a bit, but the plain, lame cover offers the same dire content as it's 1980's predecessors. Scanning it made me sad.











Friday, 8 September 2017

The 2017 NPLV Grand Final Soccer Marathon

One of the great Melbourne institutions is the HSV7 (7 Network) Grand Final Footy Marathon. Late night on Grand Final Eve the station would run highlights or full games of previous VFL/AFL Grand Finals all through the night, leading in to the coverage of the Under 19's then Reserves Grand Finals leading up to the main event.

This year I start what will hopefully be a new tradition, the NPLV Grand Final Marathon as we build up the big clash between Heidelberg United and Bentleigh Greens at Lakeside Stadium on Sunday. There's all the links to the highlights or full games of  previous VPL/NPLV Grand Finals that I have found so far.

Maybe next year we can find a few more videos to add for the next marathon.

1992 North Geelong v Brunswick Juventus


1995 Altona Magic v Bulleen Lions



2003 Green Gully v Frankston Pines


2005 Green Gully v Heidelberg United


2006 South Melbourne v Altona Magic


2009 Altona Magic v Dandenong Thunder


2010 Green Gully v Richmond


2011 Green Gully v Oakleigh Cannons


2012 Dandenong Thunder v Oakleigh Cannons


2013 Northcote City v Bentleigh Greens


2015 Bentleigh Greens v South Melbourne


2016 South Melbourne v Oakleigh Cannons


Saturday, 12 August 2017

Boo Reviews Some Yearbooks

Some more old VASFA and VSF Yearbooks have been scanned and uploaded to the Yearbooks & Annuals archive, and I thought I'd discuss their relative merits in a blog post.

Not a VSF Yearbook, the 1968 Victorian Soccer Yearbook

1968 Victorian Soccer Yearbook

Although a VSF product, this is not the actual VSF Yearbook for that year which can be found here.

It is basically a laws of the game booklet with last season's tables thrown in. Maybe they gave them out to schools for promotion/publicity, but even today I wouldn't waste thirty cents on it.

It cost shillings and pence, the 1959 VASFA Yearbook

1959 VASFA Yearbook

VASFA emblem on the cover, a lion and a kangaroo around a football with a crown on it. You could buy Stanley Matthews brand boots and balls in Queen Street. Good solid yearbook, list of VASFA officials and fixture list all nice. Slight shame the players are not identified in the picture of the previous year's State League Champions. Tables perfect, great results grids and cup charts. Slight let down with the list of champions, it's a shame Cup finals don't have further details as in scorers and line-ups. Some reasonable history with lists of previous champions and tours results. A quality production.

Here comes another one, just like the other one, the 1960 VASFA Yearbook

1960 VASFA Yearbook

Very similar to the previous year's version. The pic of the previous year's champion was ditched, and profiles of the leading officials was added. A good historical record.

It's a little bit different, but not in a good way, the 1966 VSF Yearbook

1966 VSF Yearbook

Cover photo is nice, Mike Jurecki of Victoria taking on Torpedo Moscow. Lists of officials and fixtures are all there, as well as additional editorial content with plenty of club profiles an a few photos. It fails to pass muster as a paper of record though, with the results grids and tables on covering the State League and Metropolitan League seniors only. No Cup charts, or even a list of winners, no state team match details, no reserves tables and no junior tables. G.T.Edgar, you are/were a fraud. Not fit to shine Stuart Beaton's shoes.

Gold on the cover but not enough gold, the 1970 VSF Yearbook

1970 VSF Yearbook

Nice action shot on the cover, but sadly the Hakoah and Hellas players aren't identified. Tables still unsatisfactory, none for reserves, the District League or the juniors, but some from interstate and country leagues. Cup charts are back, as are state team match details. Passable.

As old as me, the 1972 VSF Yearbook

1972 VSF Yearbook

Another unidentified player on the cover. Tables issue improving, with reserves, thirds and the District League back in the fold and only the juniors lacking. Cup charts and state team details all there, now with a review of all the State League clubs and a piece on the Argus Medal winner. There are team pics from state team games, again sadly unlabelled. Improving.

Entering the vintage era, the 1975 VSF Yearbook

1975 VSF Yearbook

Cover photo, with the team identified on page 8. What is this sorcery? Fixtures - even the Industrial League is included. Tables - seniors, reserves, thirds, District League and Provisional League. Only junior table included is an Under 20's league though. Gone - State League club reviews, results grids and state team details. Plenty of Cup charts though. On the verge of the Golden Age that was the 1977 and 1978 editions.


Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Completing The Set? VicSoccer '89




Earlier this year Paul Mavroudis of South of the Border scanned and shared my copy of VicSoccer '88. Now I'm able to share with you all the copy of VicSoccer '89 loaned to me by George Cotsanis of My World Is Round.

As noted back in May, VicSoccer was the annual/yearbook of Les Shorrock's Soccer Star newspaper. In a way it was a local successor to the Australian Soccer Annual's of Australian Soccer Weekly. While Soccer Star went on into 1990, I'm not sure there was a VicSoccer '90 as the paper didn't last beyond that year.

Personally I prefer the 1988 edition, finding squeezing multiple team photos onto the one page a bit of a let down. Though the records of the State League clubs is nice.

Anyway check it at the link below:

VicSoccer '89



Sunday, 25 June 2017

State of the Blog 2017

I'm doing a bit of housekeeping on the blog as I prepare for a bit of a revamp in the coming weeks.

I will be keeping the existing major pages, but by adding pages within pages in the History Documents section I hope top make it less unwieldy. The same method will be used to clean up the Video Archive as well.

End of Financial Year Stocktake

Soccer News Archive - 76 items

Soccer Action Archive - 387 items

History Documents - 201 items

Posts Record Statistics



Page Statistics


                                        (Click on images to enlarge)


Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Not So Random Pictures

Yes, it's the return of one of the Blog's franchise series, a Random Pictures post. Only not that random as they are all from a collection of photos loaned to me by Heidelberg United, so there's a strong Alexandros theme.

Speak of the devil....



No doubt there are some in football that will cringe at this image of our ethnic football past. Even less doubt that many of those aren't as tolerant of other cultures as they like to make out. Screw the hypocrites, all hail Alexander!


Ollie Norris interviewing then Sydney Olympic coach Tommy Docherty.


Manny Poulakakis and Ollie Norris present legendary VFL coach Tom Hafey with a commemorative Phillips Soccer League plate.


Ange Koutos presents Collingwood FC icon Lou Richards with a ball in the short-lived Collingwood Warriors era.


The multi-media mega star takes on Koutos.


A youthful John Anastasiadis.


Peter Tsolakis heads the ball under pressure from George Petrov.


Heidelberg's Phil Stubbins is tackled by Melbourne Croatia's George Hannah with Stuart Stevenson watching.


Jimmy Rooney tries to get away from Croatia's Ned Batinovic.


The third of the trilogy, Jamie Paton battles with Croatia's Steve Kokoska.


Celebrations for Gary Cole, Jimmy Tansey, Derek Hunter and Jimmy Campbell.


Heidelberg United from the Victorian Premier League in 2000.

Back (LtoR): Andrew Charalambous, Bill Makris, George Angelos, Peter Di Iorio, Alfonso Opazo.
Middle: Cameron Brown, Manny Pappas, Arthur Tsonis, Leigh Tsoumerkas, Sean Cunningham, Robbie Grakovski, Gerry McAleer.
Front: Jeff Stefanidis, David De Propertis, George Katsakis, Jeff Olver, Phil Peladarinos, Mile Medjedovic.

                                           (Click on images to enlarge)