Tuesday, 30 July 2013

It's All Happening Here...

at the MCG, to quote the great Bill Lawry. An apt title on the day that ground was announced as the venue for cricket's 2015 World Cup Final and a week on from the memorable game between Liverpool and Melbourne Victory there.

Also apt because it really is all happening. Nearly all the VPL clubs have announced their lack of support for the FFV's proposed structure for the NPLV. It is, as they say in the classics, about to get real.

It may not look like it;s all been happening on the Melbourne Soccer blog front, but looks can be deceptive. I'm currently in the midst of my most intensive spell of research in the history of the local game ever. It began just over a month ago, when for three consecutive Sundays I hit the newspaper microfilm archives at the State Library of Victoria (SLV). That run came to a halt when Richmond played Melbourne Knights away on a Sunday, but in speaking matters historical with Pave Jusup he offered to let me go through his vast collection of old documents and newspapers.

For a while the SLV visits saw me more immersed in the soccer split of the late 1920's than the current dramas. After attending more than my usual quota of matches recently though, that soon passed as talk of the looming confrontation between the FFV and clubs intensified.

After sorting out through a huge bundle of copies of Soccer Action from the 1970's and 1980's, there is a lot to process, which has kept me from posting on the blog. I'm not a greedy man, so I wouldn't want any more than 10 cents for every time Tasmanian journalist Walter Pless has written the name Ken Morton since then. The 1970's was big on Cups, there was the Dockerty Cup, the Harry Armstrong Cup, the Ampol Cup, the Federation Cup, the Cumberland Cup, the Provisional League Cup, the District League Cup and the State League Cup. All we really get from the FFV today though is one fuck-up after another. That last gag will only really work if read out aloud.

I've found a few of my own items I'd forgotten about, and many of my notes from the SLV sessions are starting to come together. With Pave telling me there are more boxes to come, the blog posts may still remain infrequent for a while to come. If you are desperate for my random musings, check out my twitter account


Apart from my struggle to bring back the return of monkeys riding greyhounds in races(#monkeyjockeys) as a mainstream sport, most of the content is football related.  

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Allo Allo Allo

What 'ave we 'ere?


Is revolution in the air? Will it actually amount to anything? Hopefully it does, as reform is sorely needed.

From their Candidate Statement, I like this:

As a Zone Representative I undertake to convene two meetings
annually inviting all the clubs within the Zone to drive and develop the direction within which
we wish to collectively head.
It sounds a touch more genuine than the current consultative processes undertaken by the FFV. Also it seems that their Zone Representatives would be maintaining more of a profile than the incumbents, who have well and truly earned the "faceless men" tag often attached to them.

 Ensure there is accountability on governance and financial performance of the organisation.
Again, a welcome change from the current regime. Appointing a temporary CEO who is an accountant does not make one accountable...

Their overall background page pretty much nails the main concerns of the critics of the current FFV.  Reform is needed. What the FFV passes off as Consultation is the biggest sham since Sham, the horse that ran second to the mighty Secretariat in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes of 1973. Governance is also an issue, who is running the show at the moment - the faceless men making up the Zone Reps or is the tail wagging the dog with the FFV staff calling the shots? Accountability has long been an issue, as we know Goal! Weekly had its funding withdrawn because columnists and editorial content dared to question some of the decisions of the FFV.

The results of the upcoming elections are eagerly anticipated.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Past, Present and Future

The present: Only attended two games last weekend, Richmond 1 Bentleigh Greens 1 on Friday night and then Eastern Lions 1 Western Suburbs 2. Richmond took the lead when Tom Cahill converted a penalty just before half-time on his return to the club, but conceded shortly after the restart. It was less auspicious return to his former club for Tom Matthews, who picked up a second yellow card to see Bentleigh reduced to ten men for the final half hour, but Richmond were unable to capitalise on their numerical advantage.

Eastern Lions went down 1-2 at home to Western Suburbs, conceding two "coach killer" goals from horrendous errors. First the Number 4 made a hash of a back pass, playing in his opponent and exposing his keeper for Suburbs to take the lead. A good team goal saw Lions level before half-time, but a late keeper howler saw the Ralph Reserve boys take all three points. The Lions keeper came out to take a long ball, but it became apparent that it would arrive outside the penalty area. It appeared he looked to leap out and head the ball away, but miss-timed it horribly, overshooting the mark and having the ball bounce by him and to the Suburbs player who got ahead of the defender and finished well from an angle.

The future: No news is bad news on the NPLV front. What chances of an early resolution for how the leagues will be comprised next season? Slim to none you would reckon. Hopefully they will be able to get the fixtures out at least a couple of weeks before the season begins.

The past: Started to track down some missing line-ups from past Dockerty Cup Finals. It's a shame that the South Melbourne and Melbourne Knights websites don't have all their winning teams listed in their otherwise excellent History sections on their websites.

Worked out a final table for the Second Division in 1948, won by Bradford from South Yarra. In the Third Division, in which 12 teams played each other just the once, only a score from Heidelberg B v Macedonians that didn't come to hand on August 7 leaves the table incomplete. Melbourne University won the competition from Olympic, with Heidelberg A and George Cross just behind.

In the First Division of 1928 P.Lewis scored 9 as Naval Depot thrashed Richmond 14-0 on July 14. May be close to the record. Lincoln Mills were revived in that year, in the Melbourne and District League which ran alongside the Metro District League and Suburban League in the midst of a split in the administration of the game.

The 1927 Dockerty Cup Final will go down as having the earliest ever kick-off time, commencing at 10.15 am. It was on Melbourne Cup day, hence the early start.

Enjoying the past a little more than the present at the moment with worrying concerns for the future.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

In Search Of... 1912

Having found the final tables for the Victorian League in 1910 and 1911 long ago, this week's trip to the library saw me target 1912. From the online archives of The Argus and The Sun, results were sporadic. So once again I went to The Herald microfilms to see what Jackeroo was revealing in the Friday edition.

New clubs in 1912 were Footscray, Melbourne Thistle, Sunshine, Birmingham Victoria and the juniors of Moorabbin. The former South Melbourne club had changed it's name to Albert Park, whilst Williamstown and become Williamstown-Yarraville to broaden their appeal.

Middle Park was still the home of football, with seven clubs using the ground there, namely Carlton United, Fitzroy, Burns, Melbourne Thistle, Albert Park, Birmingham Victoria and St Kilda. There must have been a few ground there, as up to four games were played kicking off at the same time on some days.

In June, leading referee G.Hawes was appointed the new press correspondent. The Herald football reports now had a new byline, written by "Centre-Half". The previous press correspondent had been Mr.W.Jackson (Jackeroo).

Early in the season there were results for the competition as well as a junior (no age group specified) competition. It's fair to assume the junior competition was near what we would call the Youth team age bracket, probably 18-20 year olds. A new club was formed at Preston (Ground at Bell Street, South Preston, colours light and dark blue vertical stripes, white knickers) for the first Second Division, which commenced on June 1st. The other teams in that league were all reserves teams from First Division clubs: St Kilda A, Burns A, Prahran City A, Footscray A and Birmingham Victoria A. To make things confusing, late in the season the junior results started to be listed with the Second Division results, though at no point did the teams crossover and start playing each other.

Once again there are missing results, so from the last table published, on September 27, the published results after that date give us:

BURNS 17 12 1 4 45 20 25
CARLTON UNITED 19 12 1 6 41 18 25
ST KILDA 17 11 2 4 42 20 24
ALBERT PARK 19 9 6 4 46 29 24
BIRMINGHAM VICTORIA 17 8 1 8 25 23 17
PRAHRAN CITY 20 8 1 11 29 42 17  
MELBOURNE THISTLE 17 5 3 9 19 27 12
FOOTSCRAY 18 3 2 13 14 36 8
FITZROY 15 2 0 13 17 44 6
SUNSHINE 15 1 1 13 17 66 3

The results for Burns v Birmingham Victoria and Footscray v St Kilda on September 28 are unreadable on the microfilm, whilst Fitzroy v Burns should have taken place on October 5.

From the Second Division results I could find I came up with:

PRESTON 7 7 0 0 37 7 14
ST KILDA A 9 5 2 2 28 14 12
PRAHRAN CITY A 7 4 0 3 16 16 8
BURNS A 5 0 2 3 3 13 2
FOOTSCRAY A 5 1 0 4 6 21 2

Looking through the weekly (Saturday) paper The Leader for a readable version of the September 28 results (unsuccessful) , I came across photos of the teams that played in the "Local International". This saw Scotland defeat England 3-0 with goals from Forbes, Spencer and Dick.

I thought I'd found photos of the Victorian state team in the same paper in a 1913 edition, but it turns out that was Aussie Rules. Didn't have time for a head count or to check if there had even been a soccer game between Victoria and South Australia, but there hadn't.

Back to 1910 for a second, so happy were they with the inaugural season that once it ended, a "third competition" was begun. The League would have been the first and the Challenge Cup the second. Only a few weeks in, Prahran and Williamstown withdrew, as it was now mid-September and the summer sport season was imminent. It's doubtful that this Third Competition was ever completed.

I have all the other First Division tables prior to World War I bringing proceedings to a half in 1915. By that time The Herald reports were coming from "The Spectator". The 1913 Dockerty Cup Final was played at "the Birmingham Ground" of Middle Park. Until the next visit to SLV, that will do for now.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Five Days, Five Games

I've been watching a bit of football lately (though Sunday also saw a solid session at the State Library Victoria which will be covered in the upcoming In Search Of...1912).

Friday June 28
Richmond 1 Pascoe Vale 1

Richmond recovered from a poor first half to probably be a little unlucky not to take all three points after an improved second-half showing. Poor marking from a throw-in and casual defending let Hernan Espindola stroll through the box before beating an exposed Aaron Romein from eight yards to give Paco the lead. There was an element of fortune with the Eagles equaliser, as Hamlet Armenian's shot appeared to many to be a cross initially. Sam Gallagher drove a shot into the underside of the crossbar which then bounced on the line, before he was dismissed for a second yellow card in the final minutes.

Saturday June 29
West Preston 4 Oak Park 3

It's fair to say this State League Division Five North clash had it all and then some. West Preston came back from 0-2 down to claim a late winner, with plenty of drama along the way. There was some questionable refereeing in the aftermath of a West Preston goal as a player looking to get the ball back for a quick restart was kicked across the shin by an Oak Park defender. The assistant referee flagged over the main official, which had some overly optimistic Oak Park fans and players hoping for the goal to be ruled out, a hope which would have evaporated when the assistant acted out a kicking across the shin motion for the referee. Suprisingly the end result proved to be a yellow card to the Oak Park keeper, who did not put in the kick whilst the perpetrator wearing No.2 escaped without sanction.

Further ill-discipline saw an Oak Park player sent-off late in the game, but as he crossed the line to exit the pitch he did a sharp turn to run ten yards back onto the field and throw a haymaker punch at the West Preston No.52 which saw chaos briefly ensue. Somehow the full scale riot which threatened to materialize was averted, and in the final minutes West Preston's No.8 completed a famous comeback.

Sunday June 30
Oakleigh Cannons 0 Melbourne Knights 1

Melbourne Knights were well worth their early lead, Adam Zilic heading in after a corner was headed across goal by Ljubo Milicevic. Wasting a couple of chances to extend the lead, it would be a nervy second-half for the Knights after Ryan Filipovic was sent-off following a second yellow card with half an hour remaining but they were able to hang on. In between abusing team-mates, Milicevic provides an amusing running commentary at times.

Monday July 1
Bulleen Lions 1 Heidelberg United 3

Heidelberg United went to the top of State League Division One with an emphatic win at the Veneto Club on Monday night. Star of the show was the Heidelberg Rooney, Daniel Heffernan with an impressive brace. Talk on the terraces mainly revolved around the unfolding drama at South Melbourne, with time of Peter Tsolakis as coach was coming to an end.

Tuesday July 2
Richmond 1 Melbourne Victory 2

Victory began their pre-season friendlies with a 70 minute game at Kevin Bartlett Reserve. They were led out by Leigh Broxham, even though Adrian Leijer was also starting, possibly an indication the Mark Milligan will be captain come the start of the season. In the second minute Leijer put in a double footed tackle on Timmy Purcell which would have seen him sent-off more often than not, but the referee was happy to give him just a warning.

The 2012 fixture was won 4-3 by Richmond, and in the eighth minute they took the lead with the sweetest of volleys at the far post by Hamlet Armenian. Victory equalised with a deflected shot from Jimmy Jeggo and then took the lead just before half-time when Andrew Nabbout got free on the right and finished well.

Victory only made one sub for the game, as Richmond changed their entire team over the course of a scoreless second-half. No flares this year, Blue Thunder Security cracking down hard.