Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Anyone for Surfing?

In Australian football the phrase "I told you so" is now synonymous with the late, great Johnny Warren. Sadly there are too many instances where it can be used in looking at the foolish errors made by those who administer the game in this state.

One would be the Whittlesea Zebras debacle of 2009. Taking sides with ousted President Sam Cuteri, the FFV saw to it that the Zebras were left homeless at the start of the season by listing their venue as "to be confirmed" in the VPL fixtures. When the FFV should have stood by it's member club, it tried to assist one of it's sponsors in getting the club evicted instead. When the matter went to court, the Zebras were reinstated as tenants of Epping Stadium and the Federation took a financial hit for their troubles.

For the Zebras the damage was done. A pre-season of trying to source grounds to train on leading to players on occasion only getting text message notification of that evening's venue early in the afternoon was a major setback. As was playing home games at their opponent's venues. It all took it's toll and the Zebras were duly relegated.

One would think that the FFV could have been told that council's generally issue ground leases to clubs rather than individuals which would have avoided this shameful episode. When pondering why the FFV took the path it did, it is mainly the C-word that comes to mind, that being corruption.

Once again the FFV was headed for the courts last year, as a coalition of clubs challenged the way it was implementing the NPL in the state. In early November it declared on it's website that as a result of that action, that there would be no NPL in Victoria in 2014. That's the NPL that was won by South Melbourne a few weeks ago. Most people with a clue knew that despite the dramas the NPL would be implemented this year, which leaves us to wonder how clueless the people running the game really are.

Adding two regional teams to the top tier of the NPL was another mistake many could see the outcome of before a ball was kicked in anger. Ballarat Red Devils and Goulburn Valley Suns ended up finishing bottom of the table, and will be relegated barring further FFV manipulation. Would both clubs have benefited by starting out in NPL1?

Whilst the Red Devils put a brave effort, their young side only relegated in injury time on the final day of the season, the Suns were the very definition of a shambles of a club. Highly paid underachievers who were un-competitive for much of the season. They had a high turnover of coaches and those that would tell you so could have made a killing on betting on them being relegated if they could source the illegal foreign bookmakers that may frame markets on such things.

Have the overpaid mercenaries helped the youth of the Valley? Has a season of losing made the Suns a potential crowd-puller or have them written off as not worth bothering with? Can the "lack of preparation" excuse carry any validity if it was only the FFV that though the NPL would not come to pass in 2014?

The new regional side in NPL1, FC Bendigo, at least managed to beat a few strugglers home on the table. Many find it a delicious irony that the one regional club in NPL1 that earned it's place at that level going by it's place in the old State League Division One achieved promotion to NPLV via it's efforts on the pitch. The long established North Geelong Warriors came to the fore, whilst the proposed Greater Geelong Galaxy can remain in one that's still far, far away.

Sadly, for those of us who like to revel in being able to say "I told you so", Surf Coast United did not accept the NPL license offered to them after a very late change of heart. Going by their less than stellar eighth placing in State League Division Four West, there is nothing to suggest they could have been anything other than an embarrassment to the competition.

All they threatened to bring to the NPL was the LOLS. Maybe it was the proposed new game of Great Ocean Roar (presumably of Laughter) that saw some at the club see the light and tell the others so. Good for football, bad for those looking to surf the wave of the FFV's poor vision and incompetence being further exposed.

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