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.