Wednesday, 26 June 2013

But All You're Doin' Is Leavin' Me In Pain - Bits And Pieces III

It's been very quiet on the NPLV front since the countdown clock to get the EOI's hit 0.00, eerily quiet. It was a busy time with clubs taking to MFootball or twitter to announce their intentions, and the FFV website making wild claims about the number of clubs interested in getting involved. Apparently 44 EOI's were received (NPLV gaining momentum with 44 clubs on board), but that momentum may have been lost as little news has come out since. Has the FFV succeeded in it's attempts to blackmail the Geelong and Gippsland clubs? Which regional clubs would remain viable if being uncompetitive early on leads to players opting out of grueling travel requirements? Will we get a countdown clock until the 5.00pm July 31st deadline for NPLV Applications? Any chance of letting the vast majority of football stakeholders, the so-called "community clubs" aka average shmucks, where they stand next season? Or will it like the case of Melbourne Heart being put into State Two North West earlier this year where clubs will only find out when the fixtures are released nest year a few weeks before the start of the season?

Reading a lot of old newspapers at the moment, it's apparent that even in the days when many were openly hostile to our code, the coverage of local football was better then than it is today. It was certainly a different world then. A few things younger readers may not know:

High scores - not all down to bad defending or more adventurous attacking. Sometimes eleven players did not always turn up, which brings us to...

Reserves - there were no reserves teams at all in the early days. Before there was a Reserves League, larger clubs entered a reserve team in the lower leagues which went under the name of the club with the suffix "A".

No substitutes - the reason eleven players didn't always start a game was because squads were smaller as substitutes did not enter fray until the late 1960's. Without a bench, any setback to a player on game day would leave a team short.

Smoke Nights - clubs would occasionally advertise social functions known as "Smoke Nights". Not sure what went on, doubt it was smoking of the Cheech and Chong variety though.

Replays and no penalty shoot-outs - Drawn cup ties meant a replay, another draw meant another replay and so on and so forth. The 1923 Grand Final between St Kilda and Footscray Thistle went to a second replay, and the VABFA Council declared another draw would have seen the Championship shared as no ground could be obtained and players couldn't be retained with the cricket season having commenced to allow for another replay.  The famous win of Wonthaggi Magpies in the 1931 Dockerty Cup Final came after a Second Replay. The 1914 Dockerty Cup was shared between Thistle and Northumberland and Durham United (imagine their Twitter account) after a Second Replay could not be scheduled.

The headline on a recent article on the FFV website had me wondering if justice had finally been served. Port Phillip Prison visit had me thinking the FFV staff may have gone to visit some of their colleagues who were doing time for the crimes against football they have committed.

Breaking news of high drama at South Melbourne, be sure to keep an eye on South of the Border for more details as they come to light.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

In Search of... 1909

Back when I first went to research Victorian football history at the Newspaper Reading Room of the State Library of Victoria (SLV), I was aiming to one day get at least the final table of the top division each year since league football began in 1909.

I was a little lazy in my approach to this task. I went through the microfilm reels looking for the easy answers which I soon realised were not there. Head to July/August/September to find the tables did not work when the final table wasn't always published. Sometimes, just the points tally was published. It was becoming apparent that in some years, it would require recording all the results, and compiling the table myself. Then, more sadly, it was clear that for many seasons finding a record of all the results would not be happening.

So for the 1909 season, won by Carlton United, things didn't pan out. Adding up the results I'd written down made for a ridiculous ladder. So it was put on the back-burner for a few years, hoping that John Punshon at OzFootball would put something up.

Recently I began re-checking the results on the online archives of The Age and The Argus. A discovery then clarified one problem, which was having teams having played more than the 10 game season a 6 team competition should produce. The season started on Saturday May 8, and any results before that were from friendlies. So that took away the teams over 10 games, but still there were a few short, so I set off for the SLV today looking to fill the gaps.

Now we need to understand the times were different then. For the result of a Saturday sporting contest, you would need Monday's newspaper, as there were no papers published on Sundays in that time (right up until the late 1960's or early 1970's I think). The Herald was an evening paper, and did have Saturday's results in it for footy and racing, but not always for the "British Association" or "Soccer". By Monday those results were old news and often not carried.

I made a breakthrough when I discovered the day for soccer news in The Herald was actually the Friday edition. The previous week's results were often found there, gradually growing in column inches with the author's nom-de-plume, "Jackaroo" even getting a byline late in the year. On July 23rd there was even a final table, of sorts. It's not a real final table because Goals For and Goals Against are not included. It also takes the format of Wins Losses Draws rather than the modern Wins Draws Losses. I guess this was due to perhaps following along with Aussie Rules lines. After finding a few more results, I'm only two matches short (and one blurry number) from compiling a proper final table.

CARLTON UNITED 10 9 1 0 32-4 19
The goal difference is still not final, missing the scores for their wins over Fitzroy
ST KILDA 10 7 0 3 40-17 14
This is complete
MELBOURNE UNITED 10 4 0 6 16-32 8
Goal difference not final, missing the score for their win over Prahran on June 12
WILLIAMSTOWN 10 3 1 6 22-32 7
This is complete
FITZROY 10 3 1 6 14-25 7
Goal difference not final, missing the scores for their defeats by Carlton
PRAHRAN 10 2 1 7 9-22 5
Goal difference not final, missing the score for their loss to Melbourne United on June 12

So just three issues remain. A hard to read score for Carlton against Fitzroy on July 17, which is either 5 or 9 to nil. And the June 12 game between those sides as well as Melbourne United v Prahran. The Herald did give a score of  Melbourne 7 Prahran 2 but the report stated it was played as a practise game for some reason the reporter did not agree with. Perhaps the result stood, but I have failed to find any mention of that. The Age and The Argus and The Leader all only have the St Kilda 10 Williamstown 0 scoreline from that day and nothing else.

All games in 1909 were played at grounds in Middle Park, except for Williamstown home games. I'm not sure if there were actual change-rooms at Middle Park, or if a room at the Middle Park Hotel was all that was used. Harry Dockerty, who donated the Cup which would eventually be named after him (called the Challenge Cup initially) was a back for runner's-up St Kilda. He also captained the Scotland side which lost 2-3 to England in the local "International" game, an annual fixture that would continue up until the 1938 contest set for July 23rd was abandoned due to lack of interest.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Weekend and Millennium Wrap

VPL action for the weekend began with a 1-1 draw between Bentleigh Greens and Port Melbourne. Graham Hockless gave Port the lead from the spot, Greens equalised through Luke Pilkington and then held on for a point after having Luke Sherborn sent-off with a quarter of an hour remaining. Both sides remain contenders in 2013.

The same night saw Dandenong Thunder go down 0-1 to the flying Northcote City. In a game the FFV Facebook updater seemed to have fallen asleep at, it was Milos Lujic who produced the winner on 65 minutes. Northcote are still unbeaten, and Thunder should still be in the mix come the business end of the season.

Two goals from Osagie Ederaro saw Green Gully defeat Southern Stars 2-1 at Kingston Heath. Stars only have Richmond below them on the table, and Gully look unconvincing as they try and bridge the gap to the pacesetters above them.

Hume City moved up into third place with a hard fought 1-0 win over Pascoe Vale at Broadmeadows Valley Park. Hume can mix their form, but if goalscorer Nick Hegarty can retain it are set to be in contention for a while yet. Paco continue to battle away and remain closer to the Finals contenders than they are to what would normally be the relegation places.

Richmond missed a few easy chances, which mixed with conceding soft goals is a recipe for disaster and went down for the eight count, 2-4 to Oakleigh Cannons. Oakleigh have plenty of new signings lined up, but money can't buy you love and may not get them back in the Finals mix for 2013.

Finally the old NSL Derby saw honours even, with South Melbourne and Melbourne Knights playing out a draw at Lakeside Stadium. Much mirth has been made of big mouth Ljubo Milicevic scoring an own goal which made the final score 2-2. 

Onto the wrap from the last millennium. 1929-1931 was a tumultuous time for the Brunswick club. I'm not able to come up with a final table for the lower leagues in 1929, with a few results still missing, but Brunswick were promoted to the First Division as runner's-up in Division Two behind Caledonians. 

Beginning their time in the top flight with consecutive wins before a loss to Melbourne Thistle. Three more wins followed before the upheaval of Saturday June 14. The expulsion of Croatia from the State League in 1972 is well documented, but Brunswick being thrown out of Division One in 1930 is less well known.

The year prior the Victoria Soccer Football Association had taken a lease of the Motordrome for the winter sporting season. The venue was used to host a weekly match of round at a time when soccer clubs were having trouble getting access to enclosed grounds. In fact the practice of taking around a collection plate whilst playing in open park was still taking place in the 1950's.

On that fateful day in June the proverbial hit the fan when Brunswick refused to play their "home" game against Footscray Thistle at the Motordrome. They were not happy about having another game moved there by the VSFA. Their May 10 clash with Melbourne Thistle had already been allocated as a Motordrome game by the Association. With a succession of away games and a weekend off for the annual England v Scotland fixture, they faced going three months without playing an actual home game at Royal Park. They argued that such a break made it hard to gain an enclosed ground from their council given it would be used so infrequently. A letter was sent to the VSFA and the game was announced as not going ahead the day before with the Division Two clash between Caulfield and Williamstown moved to Swan Street instead. The VSFA Council then suspended Brunswick for the remainder of the season, their results expunged from the records.

Footscray Thistle went on to retain their State Championship, with Caledonians runner's-up. Appeals were dismissed, with the great Harry Dockerty resigning from the Council in disappointment. Unlike Croatia, Brunswick's exile would be brief. South Melbourne were relegated after finishing last, losing all 12 games. Travel from Crib Point every second was becoming an issue for 1928's unbeaten Champions Naval Depot, and they withdrew from the League. Therefore upon the end of their suspension Brunswick remained in the First Division for 1931.

1931 would be their year, winning the Championship by six points from Caledonians, winning 12 and drawing 2 of their 14 games. In J.Lyons they had the league's top goalscorer with 14 goals. In an epic Dockerty Cup Final, which required two replays, they finally lost out 0-1 to Wonthaggi Magpies after two goal-less encounters. Their decline was imminent and just as dramatic, finishing only fifth in 1932 before being relegated when coming last in 1933 when conceding 103 goals in the course of an 18 game season, picking up a solitary point.   

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

'Cause Night is Day and Day is Night - Bits and Pieces II

Another random thoughts column, losing on penalties in the indoor soccer semi-final taking up most of the time tonight. Making the loss worse is the preliminary final is on Sunday afternoon and will clash with VPL game between Oakleigh Cannons and Richmond, which is where I will be.

Great win by the Socceroos last night, giving us the reasonable equation of winning against Iraq next Tuesday equaling World Cup qualification. Milligan, Kruse, Holman and Bresciano amongst our best with opening goalscorer Bresciano far and away still the best passer of a ball we have. Or maybe it just stands out more amongst those that are more athletes than footballers like Wilkshire.

The things that infuriate most when going through The Age and The Argus online archives can be too numerous to mention. But I will have a crack. Results are often listed in the format of Winner 2 d Loser 1, rather than Home Score Away Score. Results are pretty consistent, but actual league tables are few and far between. Some years the results are conveniently placed at the bottom of the match reports, but some they are not and you have to read the full match reports to determine final score and scorers which is fairly time consuming. There are some times when not all goalscorers are listed in high scoring games, with only those that, in Aussie Rules parlance, "kicked a bag" rating a mention. 

In the time before lights and longer working hours, there were no midweek catch-up games. There were no penalty shoot-outs, so postponements and replayed cup ties would often extend the season to the point where it could not be finished because clubs lost venues when the cricket season began.

I would probably change my stance on the whole NPLV shambles if Flinders Naval Depot had put in an Expression of Interest and were brought back to top flight Victorian football. Is there a scoreboard big enough to accommodate the name Northumberland and Durham United? Footscray Thistle and Melbourne Thistle used to give us a great Thistle Derby. 

John Wren's Motordrome was one of the early homes of Melbourne football. The pitch was surrounded by a concrete saucer track used for cycling, motor bike and speedway racing. The latter two were not particularly safe events, and it's a sobering thought that more than a few lives were lost at the arena.

The above mentioned online archives are all well and good, but the true gold can only be found on the microfilm at the State Library Victoria, in the little reels marked Sporting Globe. I'm old enough to remember The Sporting Globe being in publication, with the primary sport if covered always having been horse racing. Many pages were devoted to Aussie Rules (for a long time the Victorian Football Association (VFA) was almost on par with the VFL (now AFL) and other sports though. Soccer was usually pretty well covered, exceptionally so in the 1960's in the post-War migrant boom years. The Globe came out twice a week, a midweek edition on Wednesday, and a Saturday evening edition which contained all that days race results and footy match reports. This was of course largely in the pre-television era.

Actually, there is greater gold than even The Sporting Globe. Accordingly it is also even harder to come by. Have a look at:

where you can find a few of these beauties:

Next bits and pieces I will ponder the question, does the FFV have a copy of each of the Yearbooks the VASFA and VSF used to produce?

Monday, 10 June 2013

The Forgotten Grand Finals

Many hours of looking at the online archives of The Age and The Argus have left me closer to insanity than usual and neglecting the blog for the longest time in it's brief history.

I guess most casual observers of the local game may know that the VPL switched from a first past the post Championship to a Finals series in 1992, with North Geelong taking the first Grand Final 4-1 after extra time against Brunswick Juventus. Despite the old First Division, and then from 1958, the old State League awarding the Championship to the side the headed the ladder at the conclusion of the season, there had been "Grand Finals" prior to 1992.

In 1915 the fledgling League was contested in two Sections rather than Divisions. In the Semi-Finals, Albert Park (top of Section A) defeated St Kilda (runner's-up in Section B) 4-0. Section B leaders Thistle got past Section A runner's-up Northumberland and Durham United 3-2. Thistle claimed the Championship of Victoria by triumphing 1-0 over Albert Park at Middle Park, Brown being the scorer.

With the disruption caused by the First World War, soccer in Melbourne went into recess as most players enlisted to serve their King and Country. When organised football got back underway in 1919, there were only enough teams for one division, but in 1920 the two section set-up was back in use. The first Grand Final between Northumberland and Durham United and St Kilda was drawn 1-1, leading to a replay in which N&D (a much needed abbreviation) claimed the title with a 2-0 win.

The competition then went back to the traditional divisional structure, but again a Grand Final of sorts was required in 1923. This time it was because deciding the Championship on goal difference or goal average was considered inadequate, so St Kilda and Footscray Thistle, locked on 20 points each faced each other in a Championship Play-Off. The two sides still took a bit of separating, the first encounter ending in a 2-2 draw. The replay was also drawn, this time without any goals, before St Kilda finally took the honours 2-1 in the second replay, making it a double by winning the Dockerty Cup 1-0 over Preston as well.

There was upheaval in the administration of the game in 1927, with a "District" competition set up by the new Melbourne Soccer Football Association. Some older clubs were cast aside and played in their own competition, which was not covered by the major papers.

In 1928 the District League was divided into North and South Sections, again requiring a Grand Final to determine the Championship of Victoria. Naval Depot, playing out of Crib Point, went undefeated in the Southern Section, and Footscray also failed to taste defeat in the Northern Section. The Grand Final at the Motordome saw the Navy men take the honours 2-1 with goals from Crowe and Lewis. P.Lewis would go on to represent Victoria and play for Brunswick and Hakoah before his death on May 26th, 1936.

The District set-up was abandoned in 1929, as was the use of sections in the top league. They say war is hell, and it certainly was for local football in the latter part of World War Two. The league continued to shrink, back to a single division for much of the hostilities. In 1945 the teams played each other once, before the second phase saw the top five play each other once again, the bottom five doing likewise.

By 1947, it was back to the two sections top division concept, this time with ten teams each. It turned into a farce, as the difference between some clubs was vast. Sunshine United hammered Heidelberg Rangers 21-0, South Melbourne United won 13-0 at Woodlands, the R.A.F. beat Olympic 12-1, Moreland crushed Woodlands 15-2 and Park Rangers defeated the same hapless Woodsmen 18-1 amongst the many uneven contests which resulted in numerous double figure scores. Angus Drennan netted 8 goals in the above mentioned romp by Sunshine United. The Grand Final was also a high scoring affair, with Sunshine United getting up 6-2 against Moreland at Olympic Park.

The debacle saw a permanent return to the traditional divisional league structure from 1948. So there were Grand Finals before 1992, but I've yet to ascertain enough information from match reports to see if we can declare retrospective Jimmy Rooney Medal winners.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

In Search Of....

This is not a post on the American tv show that ran from 1978 to 1982, but I will digress in that direction for a paragraph. If seen at the wrong age, many episodes would have well and truly freaked some kids out, like The Abominable Snowman, Bigfoot, The Bermuda Triangle and the big one, The End of the World. It was what I knew Leonard Nimoy from, not Star Trek.

Last month I mentioned the passing of Alex Barr was noted in the minutes of the VSF Board of Management from April 24, 1990. Since then, I've been in search of more information on Alex Barr and here's some of what I've come up with. He was a Glaswegian, who came to Australia after WWII. In the course of his Victorian career, he would play in every outfield position for Brighton, featuring as an outside left at his peak, which came with a single appearance for Australia in 1949. It was against what was billed as "Yugoslavia", but was in fact touring club side Hajduk Split.

He played for Brighton between 1948 and 1954, apart from a small stint with Prahran at the start of 1953. In that time Brighton were Champions of Victoria in 1949, also winning the Dockerty Cup in 1952. Whilst still playing he was contributing items for Soccer News from 1951, and when he retired his media work grew as he became the soccer reporter for The Age in the 1960's. He also had spots on various radio programs as well as sports panel shows on GTV-9.

The history of the game in Victoria has, sadly, long been neglected. Even now there is no outright History section all on the FFV website. I have been to Gold Medal Nights run by the FFV which have featured people being inducted into the FFV Hall of Fame, yet the link to anything about a Hall of Fame on their website is well hidden. It deserves a more prominent link rather than being hidden in an About Us section. I wouldn't expect it to compare with:

The FFV should do more than their once a year token effort and truly honour some great people with something more substantial.

So that is what I'm in search of, more of the hidden history of Victorian soccer. I have a book, Spurs: A Complete Record by Bob Goodwin. And a complete record it is, even having the line-ups of friendly matches played in the 1890's. Currently we do not even have the final ladder for every season of the Victorian First Division/State League/Premier League since it began in 1909, let alone the results of all the top flight games. The gaps are vast.

I'm in search of information on Lincoln Mills. The huge textile factory located on Gaffney Street, Coburg fielded a side in the Second Division in 1924 and 1925 before disbanding in 1926. They were probably around in 1923, but The Age only published Division One results that year. The Argus tells me there was a massive fire at the Mill in 1923, there were frequent break-ins and robbery attempts, and at least one unfortunate female worker got her hair caught in a knitting machine and met an untimely demise. Their ground was listed as being "Batman", the name of the nearest train station just off Sydney Road. The former factory site is now a retail block containing Bunnings and Harvey Norman stores, with one great big brick chimney still preserved for posterity.

In the next In Search Of... post, I will go back to 1909 and list what is needed to complete the final table for the inaugural season. Until then, if you want to search anything for yourself, try starting at these links:

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Consistently Inconsistent

Let's start with a look at various abandoned games (mainly VPL, but one Provisional Three North West) in recent years and how the FFV handled the situations:


Friday March 17 Richmond 0 Heidelberg United 2
Abandoned after 33 minutes, floodlight failure.
Replay from 33rd minute
Wednesday April 5 Richmond 0 Heidelberg United 3


Saturday July 26 Altona Magic 1 Coburg United 0
Abandoned at half-time, floodlight failure
Full replay
Wednesday August 20 Altona Magic 4 Coburg United 1

Wednesday August 20 Melbourne Knights 0 Oakleigh Cannons 0
Abandoned after 18 minutes, floodlight failure.
Full replay
Tuesday August 26 Melbourne Knights 1 Oakleigh Cannons 0


Saturday June 13 Dandenong Thunder 0 Green Gully 0
Abandoned at half-time
Full replay
Sunday July 5 Dandenong Thunder 5 Green Gully 1


Sunday April 11 South Melbourne 1 Heidelberg United 1
Abandoned after 91 minutes, pitch invasion.
Match awarded 3-0 to Heidelberg United
Upon appeal, 1-1 score reinstated and South Melbourne deducted 6 points

Saturday June 15 Watsonia Heights 3 Upfield 0
Abandoned 70th minute, serious injury to Upfield player.
Full replay
Tuesday August 24 Watsonia Heights 1 Upfield 1

Saturday July 25 Dandenong Thunder 1 Northcote City 4
Abandoned after 58 minutes, floodlight failure.
Full replay
Wednesday August 18 Dandenong Thunder 1 Northcote City 4


Saturday May 14 Dandenong Thunder 0 Melbourne Knights 0
Abandoned after 20 minutes, floodlight failure.
Full replay
Saturday July 23 Dandenong Thunder 3 Melbourne Knights 1


Friday May 31 Richmond 1 Green Gully 2
Abandoned after 71 minutes, waterlogged pitch/lightening
Replay from 71st minute
Wednesday June 19

No wonder the FFV have people calling them corrupt on their Facebook pages. Combined with the anomalies/inconsistencies with the outside of transfer window goalkeeper signing rule, the discretionary decisions of the FFV are usually highly questionable. Given the decision regarding the Richmond v Green Gully game yesterday, Watsonia Heights in 2010 can feel highly aggrieved. 3-0 up, twenty minutes to go, an opposition player suffers a back injury and can't be moved leading to the game being abandoned. Yet they has to come back and start from scratch.

The greatest injustice was inflicted upon Northcote City that same year. 4-1 up at Dandenong when the lights went out, they didn't get a resumption of play from the 58th minute either. Instead indecision from the FFV and a drawn out appeal saw them finally have to squeeze in a full replay in midweek (which ended up 4-1 again) before the final round of the season. Not ideal playing three games in a week when they were chasing a finals spot.

Hang your head in shame FFV. Full replays for all games abandoned prior to 70 minutes like it used to be, or all abandoned games to be restarted from the minute they came to a halt. One or the other, it's not hard.

Monday, 3 June 2013

An Incomplete Wrap

So the weekly VPL wrap is a little incomplete, as there is still no resolution on the likely outcome of the abandoned game between Richmond and Green Gully on Friday night. In the era of emails and smart phones, waiting for the FFV to take possession of the referee's report seems somewhat inadequate. Maybe they need the time to work out how to handle the situation, given the current rules are written in shades of grey rather than black and white.

The other Friday night games saw two outcomes of 4-2 scorelines. Oakleigh Cannons went down at home, 2-4 to Hume City. If Miron Bleiberg had a towel, he'd be contemplating throwing it in already, with Oakleigh only sitting above Richmond and Southern Stars on the table. Not good enough considering you could combine and then double those club's wage budgets and still not be close to what Oakleigh pay. Turhan Sumbul was a hat trick hero for Hume, with the ever dangerous Nick Hegarty on the also score sheet once again.

Port Melbourne triumphed 4-2 at home to Southern Stars. Stars let an early lead slip before Port gained the upper hand, and there was no coming back after Andrew Viola was sent-off for two yellow cards in quick succession.

Pascoe Vale and South Melbourne engaged in a 0-0 draw, Paco holding on to claim a point after having Luca Santilli sent-off inside the first ten minutes. After a rocky start to the season, Pascoe Vale have become the new number one plucky little club mixing it with the big boys in the VPL.

The top of the table clash at John Cain Reserve saw Northcote City drop their first points of the season in a 1-1 draw with Bentleigh Greens. The Metropolitan Fire Brigade has been negligent in their duty, as Dean Piemonte is still on fire, notching his seventh goal for the season.

The celebrations for Melbourne Knights continued from the Australian Croatian Association (A.H.D.) Croatian House in Footscray on Saturday night to Knights Stadium in Sunshine on Sunday afternoon. The day after celebrating 60 years of Melbourne Croatia/Knights, the Knights twice came from behind to claim a dramatic 4-3 win over defending champions Dandenong Thunder with a goal from skipper Adam Zilic in stoppage time. Zilic features in the following video on the club's history, a fantastic tribute to a great club.


Saturday, 1 June 2013

Blame It On The Rain

Until last night, that was the last game I attended that was abandoned due to heavy rain/flooding. It was on Saturday July 29, 1995 (one day before my birthday) in State League Division Two. Moorabbin City were hosting Springvale White Eagles in a top of the table clash at Kingston Heath. It was before the current facility was completed, as evidenced by the portable cabin dressing rooms behind the goal Moorabbin are attacking, and the temporary clubrooms on the far side on the right. Even the trees on the hill at Capital Golf Course have yet to be established.

Springvale White Eagles had scored in the first half before the above goal from Iain Stirton (proud father of current Bentleigh Greens star David) equalised in the second period after the heavens had opened up. The referee, Dennis Voutsinis I think, abandoned the match which was replayed on September 16. In the replay Moorabbin triumphed 1-0 with a goal from Mickey Maguire, to seal promotion, with White Eagles having already clinched the championship.

Stirton was pipped for top goalscorer honours in the league that season by Waverley City's (now Eastern Lions) Alex Livingstone by a goal, with big Stirts getting 16 for the season. The White Eagles pair of Michael Michalakopoulos and Zlatko Mihajlovic both got 14 for the campaign. The NSL was won by Melbourne Knights, with Mark Viduka winning the golden boot with 18 goals. Altona Magic defeated Bulleen 3-2 in the Grand Final to win the VPL in the year Port Melbourne dominated but stumbled in the Finals. Oakleigh City (now Cannons) were relegated from Division One, with South Dandenong (now Thunder) promoted as runner's-up in Division Three.

Last night at Kevin Bartlett Reserve it was Green Gully leading Richmond 2-1 at around the 72nd minute when Luke Brennan pulled the pin. Apart from flooding, there was also thunder and lightening making things frightening. If the referee's report indicates the game was stopped due to thunder, it is highly possible that the FFV will deduct further points from Dandenong Thunder as well as fine them.

The pageviews counter indicates not too many people are reading the blog, and comments are virtually non-existent. But I take heart from the fact that since my last post on Thursday, the VPL Live TV icon alongside the club logos on the VPL website has disappeared. Co-incidence or not?