Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Sydney Olympic Off-Season – December

I’ll start off with the more interesting and surprising news of the last couple of weeks. After a message that was sent to the Inner West Council Twitter account about the Tempe Project – which I thought would be ignored and not replied to – came an actual reply and then a tweet from the official Inner West Council Twitter account:

While it was too difficult to get any specifics about what is going on, according to the Inner West Council, discussions are on-going, I guess this is good news of sorts, even though we have heard nothing about the particulars, nor heard anything from the club about this in the last 12 months. 

I guess it’s “watch this space” with this one.

Onto on-field matters, and on Sunday Evening we had our first trial/friendly of the off-season/pre-season against the Stanmore Hawks, in what is becoming an annual event.

It is way too early to discuss form or how the players are looking given we are still 3 months out from the start of the season, but no doubt it was a good hit-out for the boys before they go away for the Christmas/New Year break and re-assemble in mid-January.

We secured a comfortable 6-0 victory, Niko Tsattalios scored a double, while Radovan Pavicevic, Jinya An, Darcy Burgess and Hagi Gligor all got on the score-sheet.

There were also a couple of players out there trialling and looking for a gig, we will see what if anything comes of that. As there have been a few whispers that the Club was done for signings and satisfied with the squad for 2018.

I hope this information is incorrect and we see a couple of more signings. As for the last few seasons we have had small squads and been caught with our pants down at the back ends of seasons, as players are too tired having carried too much of a load for the season, and in the big games that matter most we have failed.

That’s it for now and this year. Merry Christmas and we will see what the New Year brings for Sydney Olympic.

Monday, 20 November 2017

Sydney Olympic Off-Season – November

We are coming towards the end of November and another month this off-season has come and gone. It has pretty much been “crickets” from the Club when it comes to any news regarding Sydney Olympic, on various fronts.

What we do know thus far, is that the squad has begun pre-season training as of 2 weeks ago. That squad currently consists of:

Paul Henderson, William Angel, Niko Tsattalios, Jason Madonis, Jinya An, Darcy Burgess, George Timotheou, Tom Whiteside, Jake De Marigny, Stephen Athanaseris, Riley Woodcock, Nicola Kuleski, Rafa Jimenez.

As was announced by the Club a couple of weeks ago Radovan Pavicevic will be re-joining the squad as he was re-signed for another season. Hopefully he can have a better and more productive 2018 in the Sydney Olympic Shirt.

Obviously this squad is not the finished product (you’d hope) as there is no way a squad that thin can compete on all fronts, hopefully we see a few more signings over the coming weeks.

The annoyance that is the “Tempe Project” does not seem like going away any time soon, as no one seems to have heard anything official about its current status. All signs point to it no longer happening, but nobody at the Club has been able to clearly state one way or another.

The lack of acknowledgement by the Club in 2017 of the milestone of 60 years existence for Sydney Olympic has also been disappointing (November 28, 1957 for anyone interested). 2017 was as disappointing on the field as it has been off the field.

You may recall that a couple of years ago the Club started a Hall of Fame, which was a fairly good concept, as Sydney Olympic is worthy of having one.

The Hall of Fame events saw the likes of Gary Meier, Peter Katholos, Graham Jennings, Abbas Saad, Ante Juric, Grant Lee, Jim Patikas, Chris Kalantzis, Pablo Cardozo, Nick Carle, Les Murray, Mark Bosnich be inducted.

I am sure that all Sydney Olympic Supporters wish to see this continue and may I suggest going back to the likes of Comino Omeros, Sotiris Patrinos, Brian Smith for the next inductions.

All this type of stuff ties in with the lack of communication by Sydney Olympic and of course the AGM or lack thereof one, where you’d imagine a lot of these questions would be put to the Board and where you would hope to receive some answers.


Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Sydney Olympic Off-Season – October

At this time of the year it is always fairly slim pickings for news, especially in a competition where there is no news coverage anyway nor any media attention paid to it. In what is supposed to be Australia’s “2nd Tier”, a “2nd Tier” that has a 6-month off-season.

Anyway, at this point of the off-season squad wise, Sydney Olympic has re-signed the following players for next season:

Paul Henderson, William Angel, Niko Tsattalios, Jason Madonis, Jinya An, Darcy Burgess, George Timotheou, Tom Whiteside, Jake De Marigny, Stephen Athanaseris.

Since the Club announced this a few weeks ago now, they have also added Riley Woodcock, a Left-Back who played for Sydney United last season, Nicola Kuleski, a DM/CM type from Sydney FC’s NPL team and Rafa Jimenez from Spain who has represented Australia at youth level, he is primarily a Centre-Back.

So put them all together and we have 14 players so far for next season, most of them are Midfielders and Defenders.

The Achilles Heel for Sydney Olympic clearly has been, and every Sydney Olympic Supporter will tell you, is the lack of goals, the lack of Strikers and Centre-Forwards who can regularly put the ball in the back of the net.

Obviously, 14 players is not going to do it for you as a squad size, especially if you want to be challenging on all fronts.

Hopefully there are still a few announcements to come in terms of signings for 2018 and that a few of those are players who can score goals.

Onto other items of interest:

- First the AGM, no news has been forthcoming for this, maybe the fact we had one last year means they feel there is no need to have one this year? Defeats the purpose of the “Annual” part of the equation, maybe early next year, who knows, we will wait and see I guess.

- Second, the whole Tempe business, it certainly does not look good. Given the lack of any news about this I am going to assume yet another Local Government has put the pen through yet another Sydney Olympic Home Base plan. Other smaller park sides seem to be able to get what they want out of Councils and Governments yet Sydney Olympic cannot for some reason, frustrating.

- And Thirdly, bring back the Souvlakia to Belmore next year (I can’t believe this even needs to be uttered)

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Sydney Olympic - Club Records

Over the last few weeks through my own information and thanks to the assistance of several others who have helped by providing additional material, I am close to completing what I think are the Records and Statistics of the Club ie. All-Time Appearances and Goals from our First season in 1958 till today.

I still require Appearances and Goals information from our First 3 Seasons in the NSW 2nd Division - 1958, 1959, 1960 - as well as the 1975, 1976, 1980 NSW 1st Division seasons to complete this task. So if anyone has that info or knows where to get it, that would be great.

Appearances and Goals include League and Cup matches. 

It will surprise no one that Gary Meier comes out on top in the Appearances list, despite not having information for 3 of his seasons and therefore it is incomplete, he has so far amassed 342 Games for the Club, between 1972-1994. Fair to say that if the missing information is added he will have played well over 400 Games for the Club over 20 years, remarkable.

The Top 10 in terms of Appearances at this current time is:
1- Gary Meier - 342 Games (1972-1994)
2- Gary Phillips - 312 Games (1982-1993)
3- David Barrett - 281 Games (1988-1997)
4- Peter Raskopoulos - 259 Games (1977-1979 & 1981-1989)
5- Tony Spyridakos - 251 Games (1982-1990/91 & 1992/93-1995)
6- Brian Smith - 212 Games (1962-1972)
7- Elias Augerinos - 210 Games (1991-2001/02 & 2003/04)
8- Ante Juric - 210 Games (1994/95 & 1997-2004)
9- *Paul Henderson - 198 Games (2010-)
10- Robert Ironside - 193 Games (1988-1994 & 1995/96)

In terms of Top Scorers the Top 10 is currently as follows:
1- Brian Smith - 72 Goals (1962-1972)
2- Pablo Cardozo - 68 Goals (1990-1993, 1998-2001 & 2003/04)
3- David Harding - 61 Goals (1969-1975)
4- Marshall Soper - 60 Goals (1983-1989)
5- Norman Tome - 60 Goals (1993-2000)
6- Abbas Saad - 56 Goals (1987-1992, 1993/94 & 1996/97)
7- Mark Koussas - 53 Goals (1979-1985)
8- Robert Ironside - 44 Goals (1988-1994 & 1995/96)
9- Peter Katholos - 42 Goals (1981-1986 & 1991-1993)
10- Chris Kalantzis - 40 Goals (1983-1987 & 1997-2000)

Obviously all this is subject to change should I come across more information, particularly from the missing seasons.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Sydney Olympic Off-Season – September

It’s been a month or so since the season for Sydney Olympic has ended, losing in Week 1 of the Finals to Manly United. A Manly United who then went on to win the Championship. Given that we probably should have beaten them that day, it makes for another frustrating off-season for the supporters.

Looking through the season as a whole, you would have to say that it was another “what might have been” season.

Blacktown although up their challenging near the top again and they did flog us during the season, were not as good as they have been in recent seasons, Sydney United had an off year, not to mention Bonnyrigg’s fall from the top in 2017. Rockdale once again threw a truck-load of money trying to win something, failing once again, APIA re-emerged and looked like the real deal for the first time in a while, Wollongong were a dangerous outfit, but couldn’t put it together consistently, while Manly basically came from nowhere to win it all.

No doubt the door was open for a challenge from Sydney Olympic this season, but things needed to click for us and they never did.

With a poor Parramatta Melita being relegated this season and being replaced by a rejuvenated Marconi Stallions, season 2018 automatically looks like it will be much more tougher and closer competition.

Blacktown, Sydney United, Rockdale, APIA will for sure be throwing everything at it once again, Bonnyrigg will want to put a poor 2017 behind them, Marconi you would imagine, will spend even more than they did in NPL2  in a bid for Glory in NPL1. Manly United, the Champions, will be looking to defend their Crown, while murmurs abound that Wollongong, Sutherland and Hakoah have also recruited well in preparation for a tilt in 2018, while the Sydney FC NPL team will once again be competitive in all 3 grades.

The man charged with piloting Sydney Olympic’s 2018 campaign will be Gorka Etxeberria as we are hearing he will be staying on. Hopefully he has learned and seen enough of the League and Teams to know what is needed to be challenging on all fronts next season.

News is scarce on who we have signed for 2018, if you believe what was written in the Greek Herald last week, William Angel and Niko Tsattalios will be staying on. What is for sure is that the usual suspects will be looking to raid our squad and sign our players in a bid to weaken us.

What we do know is that Paul Henderson, fresh from another “Goalkeeper of the Year” season, will go around for another season, while the futures of most of our squad from this year are up in the air.

Like every year I plead for the Club to sign a Striker who consistently scores goals and rakes in 15-20 goals a season. We haven’t had one of those for a long time. We also need to sign a RB and LB and a No.10 type player to help out with our impotent attack.

The ground situation remains unchanged as we are still at the mercy of the Canterbury Bulldogs at Belmore, this situation has been one of the huge blights on this Club for 60 years. As for the alleged Tempe Project, it would be nothing short of a miracle if that proceeds, it will probably go the way of the other “Grand Plans” the Club has had, failure.

There is no news forthcoming from the Club in regards to this year’s AGM.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Season Over – Manly United 2-1 Sydney Olympic

Well another disappointing season for Sydney Olympic comes to an abrupt end, a season that started with so much optimism and promise, only to see it flounder like most of our seasons have since being back in the NSW State League.

Our chances in this game, an important Elimination Final, were severely hampered even before a ball was kicked, as Mitchell Stamatellis was ruled out before the game through injury and we certainly missed his leadership out there. This was coupled with the fact our best player William Angel, picked up an injury just before half-time and had to come off, it was always going to be an up-hill battle from there without 2 of our most influential players.

To the players credit though, they did put up a good fight, gave a good account of themselves and gave it their all, but it was never going to be enough unless we had a bit of luck on our side and we didn’t have any of that either. As it turned out, it was Manly United who progressed to Week 2 of the Finals and for our Sydney Olympic it is now season over.

It brings to an end a season where the description “up and down” wouldn’t do it justice. We had a great start, had our customary mid-season slump, had 3 coaches, had players coming and going on a weekly basis, had an embarrassing failure in the FFA Cup and finally barely managed to scrape into the Finals. What a way to commemorate the Club’s 60th anniversary hey.

As has been rumoured and given what I know and what has been written and said already, we will in all likelihood lose half of our squad from this season and as is becoming a bit of a custom for Sydney Olympic, we will in all likelihood have to build a side from scratch once again in the off-season. It is no way to operate in this League, we need continuity.

In a sane and ideal World, the Club and the Board should be doing whatever is necessary to re-sign and keep; Mitchell Stamatellis, William Angel, Yianni Spyrakis, Jason Madonis, Hagi Gligor, Niko Tsattalios, Darcy Burgess, George Timotheou, Paul Katsetis, Paul Henderson and Jake de Marigny who although didn’t play a game for us in 2017 due to a long-term injury, he showed us in 2016 how good he is and it is worth keeping faith in him.

- Max Burgess was by far our best player, but it was all too brief as he was gone less than 1/3 of the way into the season and we could never replace him.
- Tass Mourdoukoutas was impressive whenever he was available to be in the side, but from what we have been told he has already left and gone to the West Sydney a-league Franchise.
- Peter Makrillos was mooted as a great signing at the time, but he barely took the field for us this season and in hindsight, the essential swap we had with Rockdale for Harris Gaitatzis was a mistake.
- I don’t watch a-league so I don’t know what kind of striker or scoring record Radovan Pavicevic had, but what is for certain, is he couldn’t hit the side of a barn for us this season.
- Tom Whiteside was a bit hit and miss, some good games and some poor ones.
- The 2 Asian boys Jinya and Yu gave their all and were decent for us at times this season, but drifted in and out of too many games and I am unsure on their visa status or what their plans are for next season.

- Liam Youlley who came in as a new signing was gone 2 weeks later, I never understood that signing.

After the Club and Board ideally re-sign the players that I mentioned, they should not be resting on their laurels and they should be going out and looking to add quality players that will complement the re-signed players. First and foremost we need to sign a quality Centre-Forward, this has been a major Achilles heel for the team for many seasons. Also find a Left-Back from somewhere, another problem position.

It is a big ask to expect something different, but the Club and the Board should not make the same mistakes we have been making for the past 5 years. We should already be preparing for next season.

In terms of the Club Championship, anybody who has followed that closely this year, knows it has been an abysmal year, both the U18’s and U20’s were shockingly bad for the vast majority of both their seasons.

Of course this is what determines who is relegated at the end of each season, thanks to First Grade and a truly tragic Melita side, we stayed well clear of any relegation danger in 2017. But with a rejuvenated Marconi coming back up next season and with the expected improvements in the rest of the teams, next season will be a much harder task to stay up. We must be prepared accordingly.

Tempe ah Tempe, remember when there were optimistic announcements and even plans drawn up? In fairness we’ve heard this type of thing before, we’ve been hearing about various plans for several decades if truth be told, so maybe we should never have gotten our hopes up in the first place?

Depending on who you talk to, Tempe is off and has been off for a while – or – the Club is waiting for the outcome of the Inner West council elections which take place on Saturday September 9. Either way we shall wait and see, it is likely we will know fairly soon enough.

Last year we had an AGM for the first time in some 4 years, hopefully there is an announcement soon about the 2017 AGM and maybe we can get some answers to a lot of questions.

With the season now over, this blog will be checking in once a month for a monthly update, but you can always leave a comment or send a message via Sydney Olympic Supporters on Facebook or @SOFC_Supporters on Twitter.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Sutherland Sharks 1-2 Sydney Olympic

After a slump that saw us on the brink of being out of contention for this year’s Finals Series, we have steadied the ship somewhat and finished the regular season with 3 straight victories. Sydney Olympic came back from being 1-0 down at half-time to record a come from behind 2-1 victory against the Sutherland Sharks on Sunday, sealing us 5th spot on the Ladder.

It was a poor start to the match for Sydney Olympic, as within the first 5 minutes we managed to fall behind by conceding an early goal, meaning that we would now have to chase the game against Sutherland. This was always going to be a difficult task as Sutherland sat back after they scored and organised themselves so that they could hit us on the counter-attack, knowing full well we would come out trying to score goals. This is how the rest of the first-half played out. We created a couple of chances to draw ourselves level in the contest, but we could not put the ball into the back of the net. As we pushed, Sutherland predictably managed to find the space in behind us and get themselves into a couple of good goal scoring opportunities, but they could not add to their 1-0 lead. We continued to play well but we could not crack the Sutherland defence. After a fairly even first-half we headed to the half-time break trailing 1-0, knowing full well we had a job ahead of ourselves to come away with a draw let alone the 3 points.

In what could have been a carbon copy of how we started the first-half, the first 5 minutes of the second-half could have easily seen us cop another early goal to go 2-0 down, but luckily for us, Sutherland did not have their scoring boots on this time. After this brief scare we got back into the groove of the match. Around 15 minutes into the second-half we were awarded a penalty, this made a lot of the supporters nervous as our penalty-taking record in 2017 has been pretty abysmal, but Mitchell Stamatellis stepped up and confidently converted the spot-kick, to bring us level at 1-1. The goal seemed to give the players the boost that was needed to go on and hunt a winning goal. We were creating enough chances and even had a goal disallowed for offside, but with around 15 minutes to go we would get the all-important winner via Nick Tsattalios with his well struck finish. All in all it was not the greatest of performances from Sydney Olympic, but we did what was needed and head into the Finals with our tails up.

It was a good hit-out for the team, to experience going down early in a match, trail at half-time, but then be good enough to turn around the result in the second-half. The last 3 weeks should instill enough confidence in the players to know that they can beat anybody that is put in front of them.

As is usual at this time of the season, clubs have been and are preparing and putting their squads together for next season. I have it on good authority that several opposition clubs are circling and planning to speak to several of our players. Sydney Olympic should do everything reasonably possible to keep this year’s squad together and in fact add to it for next season.

For the Club Championship, the U20’s lost 3-0 and the U18’s recorded a 2-2 draw.

Sad news for the Club from the past week was news of the passing of former Sydney Olympic President, Jim Kelaiditis, who was President of the Club during the 1990’s. Our condolences go out to the Kelaiditis family.

Well it is now Finals time. This Saturday Night, August 19, we will play a 4th vs. 5th Elimination Final against Manly United at Cromer Park. Kick-Off is at 5pm.