SOUTH MELBOURNE FC READY FOR NATIONAL RETURN?

This is the year that South Melbourne FC could prove themselves ‘ready’ for a return to the big stage. 

 

South has always been a big club, in fact the International Football Federation of History and Statistics (IFFHS) awarded them the Oceania Confederation Club of the Century award. South began their campaign for a third consecutive NPL Victoria Premiership in perfect style, humiliating their rivals Heidelberg United with a derby record 6-0 win on Sunday night.

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The opening fixture generated a large interest from Melbourne’s local football community, which saw just under 4000 people walk through the gates. Melbourne City played at 5pm at Aami Park on the same
night which only saw 7,535 in attendance- a number that South would be confident of surpassing if they played at national level.

South are also taking the next step forward in developing their Social Club.

Managed under Chris Taylor, South have signed some of the most promising players in the state. With Milos Lujic at their disposal already (NPL Vic top goal scorer three years running), the additional signatures of Marcus Schroen, and former Melbourne Victory defender Matthew Foschini only adds more strength to an already dominant side.

Founded in 1959, South prides itself for its Greek background and heritage. Often identified by its strong Greek following, South’s amazing growth has evolved from a so called ‘ethnic based club’ into a united
footballing community.

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South Melbourne at the 2000 FIFA Club World Cup in Brazil

Surrounded by a sanctuary of parkland’s and water, Lakeside stadium is the place South Melbourne call home. The stadium holds a total capacity of 12,000, which is more than sufficient for the A-League.

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Financially speaking, the club is thriving after recently signing a 40 year stadium lease, administration offices and over 50 sponsors for 2016. The club also have a strong youth development system which has given some of Melbourne’s most promising young guns a once in a lifetime trip overseas with the big boys in Europe.

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SMFC Under 12s team defeated Atlético Madrid 2-1 in January 2016

The highly debated argument between fans has been whether South Melbourne deserve an A-League license. Their rich history in the National Soccer League has ironically sparked a negative talking point for so many sceptics and the FFA. This is due to a series of unfortunate events that which marred the reputation of the NSL. Despite the many great memories shared at the top of the original national stage, South are ready to take a giant leap of faith again.

The FFA Cup has been an avenue for South Melbourne to test themselves against the country’s best. It’s an avenue which could see the long awaited fixture against Melbourne Victory come true. A home game at a packed Lakeside is the fixture every fan wants to see. There has always been a sense of bitterness for South fans, after their clubs effort for an A-League license was snatched up by the Victory.

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Former Captain and Coach of South Melbourne Ange Postecoglou 

South are a growing club with the financial backing of a committed board, a die-hard set of fans and an arsenal of talented players.

If the players let their boots do the talking the FFA must listen.

Watch this space…

By Ari Charilaou (He’s also on twitter here)photography courtesy of South Melbourne Football Club Cindy N

 

Ari Charilaou