South Melbourne look to make peace with Victory

By Ben McKay, Ben McKay is a Roar Guru

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19 Have your say

    The head of South Melbourne’s A-League bid has extended the hand of friendship to Melbourne Victory chiefs in an effort to head off any animosity between the two clubs.

    With expansion in the air, the prospect of the former NSL behemoth and the A-League’s biggest club meeting on the field is as close as it’s ever been.

    It’s a potential meeting that has fans salivating, but one Victory may not be so keen on.

    With a bulk of South Melbourne’s support moving into Victory’s column on the creation of the new league, a school of thought suggests the three-time champions don’t want their neighbours in the A-League.

    Victory chairman Anthony Di Pietro raised eyebrows last week when he, in a fiery address, called on FFA to ensure expansion took the game to new audiences.

    “At the core of any expansion, we must be confident that any new licences don’t compromise the mainstream integrity and the marketability of the competition,” Di Pietro said.

    Those comments could be read as a not-so-subtle dig at South Melbourne’s candidacy but Bill Papastergiadis, South board member and A-League bid head, said Victory needn’t worry.

    “We’re absolutely no threat to Victory. We’re an asset to Victory, to the A-League and football in general,” he told AAP.

    “We’re not about cannibalising their membership, their supporters or the interest they’ve developed.

    “We think we can value add and that’s the beauty of the South Melbourne bid. It’s about the past coming to the future.”

    Papastergiadis said he would seek to talk to Di Pietro to help smooth the passage for their entry into the big time.

    “I’ve reached out to their president over the weekend for a coffee to talk to him a little bit about what we might bring to the table,” he said.

    “We’ve had discussions with (board member) Joe Mirabella and a few of the other people at Victory.

    “We see ourselves as working together with Victory as custodians of the game.”

    South’s potential entry into the league would create the “biggest and best” derby in Australia “by a long shot”, according to Papastergiadis.

    “It would be the perfect storm,” he said.

    “The latent interest in the former NSL powerhouse with the current A-League powerhouse. Those two coming together could only be for the betterment of football.”

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (19)

    • Roar Guru

      February 13th 2017 @ 8:03pm
      Mister Football said | February 13th 2017 @ 8:03pm | ! Report

      Hellas will need to do a lot of schmoozing to get in, even if their bid is miles ahead of anyone else’s.

      I wish them all the best, I hope they make it.

      • February 15th 2017 @ 9:35am
        Caltex & SBS support Australian Football said | February 15th 2017 @ 9:35am | ! Report

        “Hellas” is the nickname for the Greek national football team (Greece). If your are referring to Sth. Melbourne FC say so.

    • February 13th 2017 @ 9:50pm
      SonOfLordy said | February 13th 2017 @ 9:50pm | ! Report

      South Melbourne might have changed their name, but in their club colours, uniform and team emblem they make it patently clear that they are still a soccer club for Greeks.

      Are the A-League serious about shedding the ugly image of divisiveness and intolerance that plagued the National Soccer League.

      There’s no place for a Greek team, with Greek colours, a Greek emblem, and an informally used Greek nickname — in 2017.

      Just like there’s no place for Melbourne Croatia in 2017.

      It would be no different to having a Bankstown Egypt, or Sunshine Sudan in the A-League.

      Promotes intolerance, exclusion, divisiveness.

      Move on A-League. Stop looking to the past.

      The Victory embrace ALL Victorians.

      City embrace ALL Victorians.

      Melbourne Croatia embrace only Croatians.

      South Melbourne Hellas embrace only Greeks.

      Get it?

      • February 14th 2017 @ 9:33am
        Ian said | February 14th 2017 @ 9:33am | ! Report

        I’m from Brisbane and I feel disturbed for you after reading that tripe.

      • February 14th 2017 @ 1:23pm
        Mark said | February 14th 2017 @ 1:23pm | ! Report

        There should be no room in the A-League for clubs whose primary point of identity/differentiation is ethnicity.

        As Mr Football likes to continue to remind us, South Melbourne can appoint a couple of non-Greek directors and put on a nice PR show about being an ‘inclusive’ club, but deep down they are the same old ‘Hellas’.

        The FFA should do the decent thing and tell them straight up that their bid has no hope of success, rather than leading them down a path to nowhere to provide artificial competition for a couple of other preferred bids.

        • February 14th 2017 @ 6:18pm
          SonOfLordy said | February 14th 2017 @ 6:18pm | ! Report

          I agree Mark. It’s all a sham. They’re rubbing the FFA’s nose in it. Same with the Melbourne Knights. Has part of the Croatian flag on their logo for crying out loud. They shouldn’t even be allowed to compete in the FFA Cup.

          • February 15th 2017 @ 10:33am
            Mark said | February 15th 2017 @ 10:33am | ! Report

            At least the Melbourne Knights aren’t clamouring for admission to the A-League. They’ve seemingly chosen to embrace their ethnic roots and accept that their future is as an NPL club, not in the top league in Australian football. I have no problem whatsoever with that.

            • February 15th 2017 @ 10:55am
              Nemesis said | February 15th 2017 @ 10:55am | ! Report

              “At least the Melbourne Knights aren’t clamouring for admission to the A-League”

              Maybe not on their own, but they want skin in The Game.

              “Melbourne Knights have been approached by a Chinese consortium about a joint-venture A-League license. The Knights have agreed, in-principle, to commit $8.5m to the project.

              Knights vice-president Simun Samardzic confirmed that formal talks were taking place but refused to divulge the identity of the Chinese businessman.”


            • February 15th 2017 @ 10:55am
              Caltex & SBS support Australian Football said | February 15th 2017 @ 10:55am | ! Report

              Good comment Mark—the NPL is a very good fit for NSL ethnic clubs. Access to FFA cup competitions is very important and should be encouraged and perhaps in another 20 years time a fresh look as to where they’re heading in Australian Football will be better defined—then perhaps they can be considered for promotion.

        • February 14th 2017 @ 7:17pm
          Nemesis said | February 14th 2017 @ 7:17pm | ! Report

          I’m looking forward to eventually having all the old NSL clubs (those that survived) back in the football pyramid with the chance of playing ALeague.

          A huge point of difference for Football in Australia vs the Crash & Carry Ball sports. Going to suburban clubs for the FFA Cup is a far more real football experience than going to centralised stadiums that have no attachment to clubs.

    • February 13th 2017 @ 11:17pm
      Willy said | February 13th 2017 @ 11:17pm | ! Report

      I hope South get in to the HAL.
      The more rivalry the better the atmosphere will be.
      If SM are good enough on the own merit then I see no reason why they shouldn’t get the same shot as any other club.

    • February 14th 2017 @ 7:46am
      Nemesis said | February 14th 2017 @ 7:46am | ! Report

      First 2 posts on this discussion are from people who don’t watch ALeague & have no interest in the future success of ALeague.

      Battle is won when the haters can’t stop talking about football.

    • February 15th 2017 @ 8:27am
      Franko said | February 15th 2017 @ 8:27am | ! Report

      Are Melbourne Victory “W@gs United”? And the fear is the Greek portion of that will return to Hellas?

    • February 15th 2017 @ 10:19am
      jamesb said | February 15th 2017 @ 10:19am | ! Report

      At some point, those old ethnic NSL clubs need to come back to the fold either in the A League or ” A League 2″.

      Instead of getting rid of the likes of South Melbourne, Marconi etc, what the FFA should do is enable those clubs to become as mainstream as possible.

      Say in 10 or 20 years time, instead of been referred to as a Greek club, they could be transformed to an A League club with Greek origins, just like Brisbane Roar are with their Dutch origins

      If South Melbourne comes in, what happens to a club like Melbourne City who has struggled for identity?

      • Roar Guru

        February 15th 2017 @ 10:47am
        Griffo said | February 15th 2017 @ 10:47am | ! Report


        At some point jamesb existing clubs, if they meet criteria, will be preferred over newly minted ones. Especially if the number of A-League (and A2) needs to grow.

        How far into the future when maybe even an A3 is viable? Maybe never but not all clubs are going to spring up from a consortium…

        Perhaps not the 11th and 12th team, but South may be in the mix for 13-16th team.

        • February 15th 2017 @ 10:59am
          jamesb said | February 15th 2017 @ 10:59am | ! Report

          The other thing also is that in 10 or 20 years time, people will struggle to remember the old NSL. As time goes by, it does allow South Melbourne and other ethnic clubs to re-establish and rebrand themselves.

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