Monday, 26 August 2013

The Olympic Park Record

Until Friday, I had never known of the Olympic Park Record. All the issues I've come across are from 1968, which is it's inaugural year and I'm not sure if it came out beyond that. It was the work of former star player and multimedia journalist Alex Barr, who you can find out more about in blogs here and here.

The Olympic Park Record was a four page booklet of team line-ups for the weekend's games at the home of big time soccer, Olympic Park. There were brief previews and editorials from Barr, who was not afraid to voice his opinion against the establishment. It seems he was taking on the official V.S.F. publication, Soccer News.

The home tenants of the Park that season were Alexander, Port Melbourne Slavia, George Cross and eventual State League champions, Croatia.

Great names of the past to appear in the line-ups include Mike Jurecki, Horst Rau, Hammy McMeechan, Billy Vojtek, Jimmy McKay, John Sanchez, John Bedford, Frank Micic, Ulyesses Kokkinos with the list going on beyond those I've just mentioned from the first two pages.


Tuesday, 20 August 2013

The Zonal Problem

No, not a tactical discussion but a look at one of the major stumbling blocks in the creation of the NPLV.

In the great plan of the FFV for the future of Victorian football, there would be an elite NPLV club in each of the zones it has divided the state into. Each zone then has it's community leagues, with the clubs in it developing players for the elite club.

Nice in theory, but putting it into practice was always going to prove problematic.

Take the Frankston area for example. Frankston Pines, Langwarrin, Peninsula Strikers, Seaford United, Skye United, Baxter and Mornington. Large area, with long established clubs, mostly with British heritage which does not come with the baggage of other ethnic groups.

Have these clubs banded together to make a consortium for an NPLV license? Is there a club that stands out as being the most elite amongst them? No.

Why not? Does the FFV understand why not?

Most club volunteers do what they do because of a long term attachment to their club. They may have played there, coached there, or started attending games because their friends or children did. These bonds being established is the lifeblood of the game.

With people already loyal to their club, most would be uninterested in switching to a new entity simply because it was to be labelled "elite". Under the promotion/relegation set up which has always existed in the Victorian game, their clubs have always had the chance to aspire to be amongst the elite. These clubs have had their highs and lows, and established genuine rivalries. To anoint one as elite and expect the others to fall in line and be subservient to the chosen club would be the utmost folly.

So by the Bay, the glamour of the NPLV has not seen a clamour from volunteers/administrators willing to get on board by starting up an elite venture. With no standout elite club that the others would accept getting a license without resentment, the area could go unrepresented.

Now the issue become more difficult when you look at other zones. Ones which have clubs from diverse ethnic backgrounds, some of  which may recently have been at war with each other. Zones which have two or three clubs already playing at the highest level. If the FFV expects people to put aside such grudges, they need to get some experts on human nature on their already ample payroll.

Moving from a promotion/relegation system to a closed shop top tier was never going to be easy, and given the backlash even if it comes to fruition it may not prove workable. With clubs already feeling the FFV does not support them, becoming officially designated second class citizens is not likely to see many working too hard to support the elite club of their zone.

It makes you wonder how well those that mapped out the NPLV masterplan knew the landscape.

Monday, 12 August 2013

So many questions...

but is there anyone able to give some answers?

How does a club with a few strikes against it's name get involved in a brawl with their opposition and escape without any punishment whatsoever?

Is it true that in the above tribunal case involving North Sunshine Eagles that the rocket flare at the 2012 VPL Grand Final between Dandenong Thunder and Oakleigh Cannons was mentioned? Would that be because like Thunder, North Sunshine Eagles are a club of the Albanian community? Is that not racial profiling?

How many clubs has Stuart Webster been registered with this season? Isn't there a limit as to how many transfers one can have in a year?

Why is Stuart Webster's request for an out of window transfer to Richmond denied, but his later out of transfer window exemption granted when he moves back to Bentleigh Greens after spells at Dandenong Thunder and Doveton?

Who is it at the FFV you have to slip some cash to to get an out of window exemption for a goalkeeper transfer granted? Should I ask someone at Bentleigh Greens, as they seem to be able to get one every year?

If there are 12 clubs in the VPL, and one has junior fees of $3200 per season, whilst everyone else has them below $1000 per season, is it not an outrageous lie to claim "these clubs $3200 to register for the year"?

How many of the 0-3 defeats suffered by the Ballarat Red Devils reserves have been due to forfeits for not being able to field a team? Does that bode well for regional NPLV clubs?

How is it that when Michael Lynch is finally able to cover some lower-tier football in The Age that the FFV CEO Mitchell Murphy should be unavailable for comment?

Why would the FFV's Tim Frampton, at a meeting of the Bulleen Lions members discussing the NPLV, make remarks about other clubs which were derogatory or slanderous (depending on how far down the Chinese Whispers line you were when they were relayed to you)?

Can anyone who insists the NPL is entirely directed by the FFA and that the model is the same across the states tell me how the NSW NPL does not include Northern New South Wales or Canberra?

Which one of the FFV's core values makes you laugh the most?

Unity - Victorian football stakeholders will work together to deliver a shared vision and purpose for the growth and  health of the game.

When was that supposed to have happened? Isn't the FFV currently playing clubs off against each other and creating divisions within individual clubs?

Pride - We are proud of the organisation we work for and bring infectious enthusiasm in pursuit of our vision for football.

But not proud of the clubs that make up that organisation, more like ashamed of them.

Integrity - The affairs of the FFV will be unconditionally embedded in honesty and fairness. 

It shouldn't be too hard for someone from there to answer a few of the questions posed above about out of transfer window exemptions in the comments section of this blog then? Surely they can offer a reasonable explanation of Webster situation?

Respect - We will treat others the way we expect to be treated. We will also earn respect through becoming a positive and powerful force capable of delivering meaningful sport and social outcomes within the broader community.

They expect to be treated like scum then? That's how they treat the clubs.

Openness - We will engage and communicate transparently with the football family and listen with open-mindedness.

Apart from the NPLV consultation process I assume?

Performance - We will strive for service and business excellence off the field and inspired results on the field for Victorian clubs, players, coaches and referees.

Losing $900,000 last year was business excellence? Melbourne Victory Youth results only became inspired after the club took over running the team from the shambolic FFV.

When will the madness end?