Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Sydney Olympic Off-Season Blog #6 – February

We are now under a month away from the start of the 2017 NSW NPL season and our important season opener away against the Bonnyrigg White Eagles on Saturday, March 11 - 7pm.

Hopefully the players and everybody associated with the Club will be ready to put 2016 behind them, be ready for Match 1 and be ready to give the competition a real shake this season.

Over the last couple of months we have played a series of Pre-Season matches, with plenty of players getting a run in these matches to test themselves and to put their best foot forward into earning a spot in First Grade.

Stanmore Hawks 0-3 SYDNEY OLYMPIC
Bonnyrigg White Eagles 0-0 SYDNEY OLYMPIC
Mounties Wanderers 1-2 SYDNEY OLYMPIC
Blacktown Spartans 1-4 SYDNEY OLYMPIC

The squad is starting to take shape and given we are only working with what we have seen and heard so far, as well as on word of mouth, this is the current list we have of our current squad:

Paul Henderson
Will Angel
Yianni Spyrakis
Mitch Stamatellis
Jason Madonis
Niko Tsattalios
Jake de Marigny
Hagi Gligor
Peter Makrillos
Max Burgess
Darcy Burgess
Paul Katsetis
Steven Drewery
Costa Andricopoulos

Plus recent arrivals: Radovan Pavicevic, Yu Kuboki, Jinya An, Goran Subara

Not sure on the status of Howard Fondyke and Eoin Montford at this stage and whether they are still with us. I may have also missed a couple of players, if I have apologies.

Plenty of interest has also surrounded our new coach Jamie Monroy and how he has settled into the role. From everybody I have spoken to everybody is very impressed with him and how he is going about it, crucially and most importantly, the players seem to be enjoying having him as coach.

Our next Pre-Season match is this Sunday, February 19, at Cromer Park against Manly United, Kick-Off is set for 7pm.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Sydney Olympic Off-Season Blog #5 – January

Well we are now into 2017 (can you believe it) and hopefully everybody has had a nice and relaxing Christmas/New Year period and are ready for what hopefully will be a big season for Sydney Olympic, as we are now only a couple of months away from the 2017 season starting.

Firstly, onto one of the great bugbears of Sydney Olympic Supporters, the lack of communication from the club, whether it be the website or on outlets like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, there simply is not enough engagement with the supporters, who want to know what the latest is with the team and want to know what is going on generally.

I understand the need for a break over the recent Christmas/New Year period, especially since the Club does not operate in a full time capacity, but even still, the lack of presence by the Club during the last month and more generally over the past 12 months is disappointing.

Holidays or not, there should have been some form of news or message put out by the Club over these past 3 weeks. Also get someone to fill the job who firstly knows at least the basic history of the Club and what we’re all about. It is not that complicated surely.

The word around the traps is that the squad is taking shape and the players have taken to the new ideas of new coach Jaime Monroy, the environment in and around training seems to be a good one.

The squad at this stage to my knowledge seems to be:

- Paul Henderson, Eoin Montford, Mitch Stamatellis, Jake de Marigny, Niko Tsattalios

- Will Angel, Howard Fondyke, Jason Madonis, Yianni Spyrakis, Peter Makrillos, Darcy Burgess, Hagi Gligor, Paul Katsetis, Nikita Andricopoulos

- Michael Gaitatzis, Evan Patramanis, Max Burgess

I am also lead to believe that there is room for a couple more players and they are on their way.

After last year’s debacle and farcical end to the season, all the Supporters are hoping for a big year for the team and the Club as a whole.

Sad news for the Club and for Australian Football in general was the recent death of former; Supporter, Player, Administrator and President of Sydney Olympic, John Constantine, a Giant figure for our Great Club.

John Constantine also held the position of President at the NSW Soccer Federation and at the Australian Soccer Federation.

Once again condolences to Mr. Constantine’s family and friends.

Finally some news of our first pre-season match of 2017, which will be on Saturday Night, January 21, at Valentine Sports Park against the Bonnyrigg White Eagles, Kick-Off is set for 6pm.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Sydney Olympic Off-Season Blog #4 – December

After a few years of not having one and as promised by the new board, Sydney Olympic has had its Annual General Meeting, which took place on November 30.

Several outcomes and assurances were given by the Board during the AGM, concerning several issues.

1) There was a thorough examination of the Club’s finances, which was undertaken by an accounting firm. It was discovered that the Club was left with a significant amount of debt by previous Boards. The current Board, has been working extremely hard to manage this situation.

2) The current Board assured us and is confident, that the Tempe-Redevelopment will be going ahead as planned and it will become the new base and home of Sydney Olympic, with talk that it will be ready by 2018. Now with all of these things and given how many “projects” and “new homes” we have been promised and have had fall through for the Club throughout the years, I personally will remain pessimistic about the whole thing until I see it has become a reality, with my own eyes. I’m sure many others feel the same way.

3) The Club is also pushing through with trying to get a synthetic surface installed for Peter Moore Field.

4) The Club is aware of the lack of communications, via the Website and via Facebook, Twitter etc. and will be taking steps to resolve this problem.

5) The Board has also made assurances that First Grade will not suffer or be neglected as a result of the many other issues the Club is currently dealing with, they also re-iterated that Sydney Olympic will be more than competitive for season 2017.

Continuing with the playing side of things, with some team news. There hasn’t been much more to add to the previous blogs in this regard. What is for certain though is Jacob Boutoubia, who was decent for us during season 2016, before he was seriously injured towards the back end of last season, has left the club to play on the Gold Coast.

So at this stage without being able to confirm it 100%, as more players may have come and gone over the last few weeks, this is roughly what our current squad looks like:

Paul Henderson, Eoin Montford, Mitch Stamatellis, Jake de Marigny, Niko Tsattalios

Will Angel, Howard Fondyke, Yianni Spyrakis, Peter Makrillos, Jason Madonis, Hagi Gligor, Paul Katsetis, Nikita Andricopoulos

Michael Gaitatzis, Evan Patramanis

Looking at this list alone, we need a couple more defenders and at least 1 quality striker if we are to seriously challenge on multiple fronts next season.

Finally, we also have some pre-season hit-out news, we will be having a match this Sunday Night, December 11, at Arlington Oval in Dulwich Hill against Stanmore Hawks, Kick-Off is set for 7pm.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Sydney Olympic Off-Season Blog #3 – November

Well we are deep, smack bang in the middle of the off-season, with the First Grade squad only recently beginning pre-season training in the hope of a better campaign for Sydney Olympic in 2017.

First order of business is news on our coach. After 3 and a half seasons Grant Lee is no longer the coach of Sydney Olympic and from what I understand he will be fulfilling a different position for the Club.

His tenure as coach you’d have to say was a mixed bag. 2013 was a write-off when he arrived in difficult circumstances and he came in and steadied the ship. The next 2 seasons, both 2014 and 2015 we genuinely had good football teams, but unfortunately we were not capable of capitalising on the great opportunities and we came away empty-handed on the trophy front in both seasons. 2016 was a disaster which was not of his own doing, a late season surge was unfortunately not enough for us to seriously make a challenge.

Unfortunately and sadly, zero trophies is the main legacy during the last 3 and a half seasons.

Our new coach is an unknown quantity, Jaime Monroy Zamith, a Portuguese who allegedly has experience coaching in Barcelona’s youth programs. All Sydney Olympic Supporters are hoping he can deliver us to the top and of course we wish him well.

Onto the Sydney Olympic communications front, it has been virtually impossible to find out much about what is happening given there are no announcements anywhere, minimal Facebook activity, not much on Instagram and zero updates on the Club’s Twitter account for the past 4 months, (as I write this, they have made a Twitter post, a very significant one at that). Again I will say this needs to be rectified and soon.

As for news on the squad, to the best of my knowledge the following list of players is what I believe to be our current squad at this current moment. Obviously it is impossible to know for sure if it is 100% accurate. But here it goes:

Paul Henderson, Eoin Montford, Mitch Stamatellis, Jake de Marigny, Niko Tsattalios

Will Angel, Howard Fondyke, Yianni Spyrakis, Peter Makrillos, Jason Madonis, Hagi Gligor, Paul Katsetis, Nikita Andricopoulos

Jacob Boutoubia, Michael Gaitatzis, Evan Patramanis

From what I understand a few players from the 20s will be moving up. The club is also looking to sign 2 to 3 more players over the next bit of time, hearing a couple of Defenders and a Striker.

Onto the ground situation, according to everything I have been told, the Tempe Re-Development Project is the Club’s No.1 priority, as it should be. It is vital for the future of the Club and would be great if we can pull it off.

As for the present situation with Belmore, the Club is endeavouring to improve the relationship with the Canterbury Bulldogs and the Council which will see us be treated better and more fairly than we have in the past few years.

Finally on the AGM front, the new Board has followed through with its promise to sort through the clubs records and hold one this year.

The AGM will be on November 30 at 6:30pm at the Cyprus Club in Stanmore. All Life Members and Club Members are encouraged to be there.

Details here:

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Sydney Olympic Off-Season Blog #2 - October

Much talk has centred on the spruiking of the launch of a “new era” for Sydney Olympic and by all reports the Legends game and the end of season function was done well and went well.

But apart from a change in the Club Emblem, most things are as you were, especially on the communications front.

The Club either does not understand or does not have the resources to fill in a major role, and that is having someone who actively updates all of the Club’s social media channels; Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc. 

It might not sound important but these are major avenues where supporters find out any information about the Club as well as Match Day details. For these channels not to be utilised is a shame. The Twitter account for example has not been active for 3 months, not good enough. Granted we are now in the off-season, but the point still stands.

It also couldn’t hurt to have someone who knows a little bit about Sydney Olympic running these channels.

It appears that the Club has appointed a CEO, John Boulous, who was formerly the CEO of Football Federation Tasmania. 

Up until recently he was CEO of the Parramatta Eels NRL Club. I’m not across the whole Parramatta Salary Cap story, as I’m a South Sydney man, but yes it is that John Boulous. As I said I’m not totally across what happened there but obviously that whole salary-cap debacle would have involved more than just one person and as we all know it all ended in tears there at the Eels.

What is interesting however, is that the Board and the Club felt the need to appoint a CEO, we’ll see how this pans out.

Obviously with the lack of official announcements or activity from the Club this list may not be 100% correct, but I am fairly certain the following players will be with Sydney Olympic for 2017:

Paul Henderson, William Angel, Niko Tsattalios, Mitchell Stamatellis, Jason Madonis, Hagi Gligor, Jacob Boutoubia, Jake De Marigny, Eoin Montford. Plus a few U20s players who will be part of the First Grade Squad from 2017.

Michael Gaitatzis, Yianni Spyrakis, Peter Makrillos are 3 players reportedly close to or have already signed on for 2017.

As for the departures it is looking fairly certain that the Green brothers, Oliver and Jack as well as Anthony Tomelic won’t be with us next season, all 3 are fine players and all the best to them if in fact they are no longer with us. Leigh Egger and Howard Fondyke may also be moving on.

It also looks likely that Brayden Sorge may not be with us for 2017, injuries have hampered this player for a while, which is disappointing as he has been fantastic for us and seemed to have a big future in front of him before his injuries.

Also confirmed as gone is Harris Gaitatzis, who for the past 3 seasons has been terrific for us and many times he’s been a lone wolf in what has been an ineffective Sydney Olympic attack. But how anyone can play for that disgraceful mob I will never understand, is it only about money? Who knows? But we wish him all the best, hopefully he scores every game but his new team loses every game.

And finally, there still has not been an announcement regarding the AGM.

Till next time…

Friday, 16 September 2016

Sydney Olympic Off-Season Blog #1 - September

Well it has been a month since our season ended and that time has been needed to get over the general disappointment of the 2016 season and the circumstances in which we missed the Finals.

Some good news has been the resurgence of our 20’s team which had been wallowing down near the bottom of the ladder, made a late season resurgence to sneak into the Top 5 and managed to go all the way and win their Grand Final against Manly United last Sunday, to be crowned Champions.

There is a good chance we will see a few of these players regularly in First Grade next season, hopefully for Sydney Olympic, with quite a few having had a taste of First Grade already.

Speaking of First Grade, a substantial amount of the squad which appeared this season should be re-signed by the Club for 2017, obviously the current situation and plans of these players are unknown at this time and as usual, the teams with the bigger budgets will be looking to swoop.

The Club as a priority should do everything possible to swiftly re-sign our main group of players, the likes of; Paul Henderson, Will Angel, Mitch Stamatellis, Harris Gaitatzis, Brayden Sorge, Jason Madonis. The ridiculous situation of last season of losing 10 First Grade players and not replacing them, must never be repeated again.

The re-signing of these core players should be only a start, obviously there have been other good performers this season, they should be seriously looked at, added with the growth and improvement of some of the 20s players and we should have a decent looking squad for 2017. Of course there are also some fine players at other clubs who are worth looking at.

There were some obvious problem areas in the team during season 2016, there are certain positions on the field that we must surely fix;

- The troublesome Left-Back position caused us issues all season, this must be resolved in the off-season, we must bring in a competent Left-Back.

- Another area which needs strengthening is the Centre-Back position, there were far too many defensive errors during pivotal moments of some very important matches. We need to bring in another quality Centre-Back.

- And what I believe to be the most glaring problem was the lack of a quality Centre-Forward. Not only was it evident in the statistics (the 3rd worst attack in the league). But also we went into several matches without a recognised No.9, something that is a necessity if you want to have any chance of having a successful season.

At this point of the year there are plenty of rumours floating around, but there is no concrete news on the signings front for Sydney Olympic.

One position which we’ve been well served in for many years now is that of goalkeeper, with Paul Henderson again having another outstanding season and again being awarded NPL Goalkeeper of the Year at the FNSW end-of-season awards. At 40 he’s still one of the best goalkeepers in Australia.

As you may or may not have heard already, Sunday September 25, will be a big day for the Club.

Starting at 2pm at Belmore Sports Ground there will be a Legends Match between the Sydney Olympic Legends and the NSL All-Stars. Many of the Greats of the Club and of Australian Football will be on hand, so make sure you come down and check it out.

Following this at 3pm, the Club will hold its end of season function next door under a marquee at Peter Moore Field. There will be plenty of Food and Drinks and plenty of entertainment and activities for everybody.

The Club will also unveil its new Emblem for 2017 and onwards, as it heads into its 60th anniversary next season.

Hopefully there is also some sort of an announcement and a date set for the long overdue AGM.

Until next time…

Monday, 15 August 2016

Season Review - Blacktown Spartans 1-0 Sydney Olympic

News from midweek was that we were stripped of 3 points for fielding an ineligible player in our win over Wollongong 2 weeks ago, essentially destroying our season. It seems to have been a real blow to the morale of the team, a blow that it could not overcome.

So onto our last match of the year, there was really not much to report
, you could sense that all the air had been let out of the season, the players were flat. That’s not to say that the players didn’t try, but there was a sense of resignation that there was not much to play for and it was not really a surprise to see us go down and end the season with a whimper, after it was looking like we had turned the corner during the last 6 weeks.

Overall for the expectations of Sydney Olympic, the 2016 season has been an un-mitigated disaster. A failure of epic proportions and most supporters saw it coming last November.

2013 need not be spoken about at length, but when Lee and Zorbas came in they had to sift through the rubble yet still we managed 8 wins and comfortably avoided relegation. In 2014 the team saw steady improvement, 10 wins, a 4th placed finish and a Grand Final appearance. In 2015 we had 13 wins, another 4th placed finish but a poor exit in the Finals, in both years we experienced decent Cup runs.

We have gone backwards in 2016, instability at Board level saw that uncertainty last the entire 2015 off-season which meant no heed was being paid to the needs of the team for the up-coming season, as a result we lost the services of 10 players. People like, Troy Danaskos, Petar Markovic, Brendan Hooper, Go Shirai, Taiga Soeda, Dimitri Hatzimouratis, Scott Balderson, Yianni Spyrakis, James Andrew and Ryan Keir.

The club responded by signing 3 players, 2 of which Mark CIndric and Chris Triantis offered very little and did not even last half a season, the 3rd was Mitchell Stamatellis, who arguably was our player of the year and a welcome sight back in the Sydney Olympic shirt.

With that many players not being replaced, it wouldn’t take an Einstein to figure out that we might struggle and struggle we did. We managed to win only 2 of our first 10 matches and dug a massive hole for ourselves. We did manage to turn the season around with a couple of good signings during mid-season and through the emergence of some younger players who all improved as the season progressed, which was one of the few highlights and positives for this season. But unfortunately by then it was too late and it left us too much to do to seriously challenge the top of the ladder. The bungling of yellow cards and not knowing how many certain players were on only added to the circus that was 2016, that bungle put the exclamation point on the season.

Sydney Olympic as a Club, should never have been in the position that it found itself in. We were chasing our tails it seemed during the whole season. I hope big lessons are learned so that it never happens again.

Of course off the park, big questions still remain in a number of areas and they will be talked about all off-season.

Ground Situation -
The relationship between Sydney Olympic and the Bulldogs seems to be at an all-time low, the bullying of the club by the Council backed Bulldogs has led to the club being frozen out of the entire Belmore Sports Ground precinct. Of course when the Bulldogs needed Sydney Olympic to claim millions in Council money they were Sydney Olympic’s best friend, it seems that since now the Bulldogs have gotten what they wanted, they want to on top of that oust Sydney Olympic from Belmore entirely. We could be in a situation where we might need to find an alternate venue for 2017.

There have been no further updates by the Club or Marrickville Council (or whatever name that Council goes by now) regarding the alleged Tempe project. With every passing week it seems like this project will go the way of so many others throughout the years.

Lack of Media -
I’ve been mentioning this for a long time; it is of vital importance for a Club like Sydney Olympic which finds itself in its current predicament. A predicament where there is no exposure or coverage of the League that it plays in, the supposed 2nd tier of Australia. The Club therefore should take the bull by the horns in this instance and make sure that its website is updated regularly, make sure places like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are always active and updated. The Club is failing to adequately inform the members and supporters on the goings on of the club. This must change.

The wait goes on for an Annual General Meeting, it has been a few years since the last one and we have been assured repeatedly that there will be one before the end of 2016, we wait with baited breath.

Over the off-season this blog will do its best to inform and update the Supporters on any news that might be around about the Club.