Sunday, 9 February 2014

A Shambolic History

Friday was just another day in a long line of shambolic episodes from those that have run the game in this state. It was the day the FFV had promised to make significant announcements about this year's NPLV, but yet again it came up with a website update two minutes before close of business which failed to deliver.

On Thursday various clubs hit the internet to announce they had been accepted, but come Friday the FFV were only able to deliver a list of 30 clubs offered licenses. No further structure of the competition was revealed, with speculation that the league may be divided into two divisions (either First and Second or North West and South East) or left as a massive single division in which teams played each other only once.
Maybe next week we will be a little more the wiser, but I'd advise against holding their breath.

There is a history of poor administration in the state, but the well meaning honorary officials of the past should be given some allowances when compared to well-staffed FFV of today. Still, 1927 was a particularly chaotic season.

It was the year of a major schism in Victorian football, as the old First Division became the District League, in a predecessor of the zonal top flight the FFV have been trying to implement recently. There ten team District League, and the six team Sub-District League below it, were run by the Melbourne Soccer Football Association. Dissenting clubs who did not like the changes formed the Melbourne and District Association League, which was divided into two equal divisions, Section A and Section B.

The District League was well covered in the newspapers, with results from the Melbourne and District Association League not always being published. Only players from the MFSA league were eligible to play for Victoria or Australia. 

Both competitions began in April, and it wasn't until the end of the season that things became ridiculous. The Dockerty Cup does not seem to have been planned with much notice (when are the NPLV fixtures coming out?) and it's commencement in late September ruined the Melbourne and District (M&D) Association League season. Naval Depot, you see, the reigning Cup holders, were playing in the M&D League, not the District League. In fact, they had wrapped up Section B and were due to play Section A champions Heidelberg in a Grand Final for the League Championship. 

In what seems to have been a bit of a suprise, the Naval Depot were included in the Dockerty Cup draw. Or was it an act of sabotage? The game clashed with the M&D League Grand Final, and when they chose to play the Dockerty Cup tie, the M&D League expunged their record from the it's competition. It got worse though, as Heidelberg refused to play the new Section B winners Melbourne Thistle, demanding a game with the Navy or nothing. Which seems to have been the outcome, as I've yet to find any indication there was a Grand Final played.

Prahran won the District League Championship, with Naval Depot beaten 5-2 in the Dockerty Cup Final by District League runner's-up Footscray Thistle after extra time. The next season Naval Depot joined the District League and claimed a League and Cup double. The feuding leagues came back together in 1929 with four divisions of eight teams competing under the one umbrella.

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