Carlton v South Melbourne

Grand Final musings by Kevin Christopher

As someone pointed out to me prior to the ECGF, here was our chance to feel a bit better after the trauma of November 29. It seemed appropriate therefore to head to the Cricketers Arms before the match. Sadly, the behaviour of the Greek children was such that future soccer gatherings in the CA will be discouraged. Dropping flares down the drains outside the pub was fairly bloody stupid, covering Punt Rd with smoke and reducing driver visibility to eff all was obviously funny to some people.

The publicans were thrilled about all the graffiti on the windows as well, NOT! I won't go into detail about the toilets but the next person to enter the pub with a Hellas scarf would be advised to take great caution.

As for events at Olympic Park, the whole country saw it for themselves, but I am fascinated to know what t-shirt John Anastasiadis was wearing under his Hellas shirt, and why he felt obliged to show it to the crowd after he opened the scoring. Surely it wasn't anything to do with THAT star, was it? Nah, of course not.....

Those on the eastern side of OP could see that Roly was fouled by Boutsianis, and what made it so infuriating was that Brazzale had been consistent on that sort of thing all night. Pity he couldn't see what we did. Unfortunately the linesman at that end of the ground was also on the western side, otherwise we might have had extra time.

I had to giggle when the security people retreated during the early stages of the pitch invasion. Given what happened at the BJS after the MSF 2nd leg, they were obviously aware that some Hellas fans had a few scores to settle. Which might explain why some flares were hurled AT security people with such force.

As much as I would have liked to stay and witness the presentation, I really felt a need to just get out of the place. South Melbourne were the best team this year and deserved to win the championship, but I was really hoping they could have done it with a little more dignity.

Grand Final musings by David Arnold

We've all read the comments on THAT goal. Did he slip, did he trip, did he miss, we were shit...

Pregame at the arms. Only Carlton supporter in front section. After being told where I can take myself, I went out back. Seeing as I wished to retain my expensive orthodontical treatment, I did not chant "Makedonia". One must hold tongue sometimes. Met 2 FISTERS out back, not doing it to each other, I hasten to stay. "Watcha doing out here?" "Ah mate, those fucking PAOK supporters..." nuff said.

A very funny game to me. Atmosphere. Well, maybe those who paid $41 had a better job of the atmosphere than we did near the light towers. To me, dead flat.

We could see the PAOK/AEK supporters on the far side of the ground. Carlton, as usual, were set about getting the best seats in the house. Slumming it with the rest of the fans was simply verboten. They sat high and mighty up in the East.

I wondered why SA officials bothered with the pregame fireworks. After being 'searched' at the gate, my mental estimate was for 50 flares, 100 bottles, 2 seats, 100 Greek flags, 200 firecrackers et al. Not far off, I might say.

DeAmicis was terrific. Jonesy came in for more than Baninni gets at the Knights, but responded with a great performance, easily his best of the finals series. 2 Greeks with an adjustment problem to Australia and/or Makedonia dogged him at the parade yesterday. To his credit, he didn't respond. He didn't out there either. My estimation of Jonesy goes higher now. Maybe it is time to seriously consider him for the socceroos.

It pisses me off Trimboli and Lozanovski have been chipping balls backwards and sideways all series, but the FISTERS have won the games. Lozanovski has done two things of note in the finals - scoring at BJS and hitting a 35m free onto the bar. His second free looked more dangerous, and Deano was in trouble taking it.

I'm glad it's over, I was exhausted by the end. Over the last month or so, Carlton have been in the six, out of the six, xferred down to Oly Park, back into the six, beat the FISTERS 5-0, lost 2 in a row, then beat Marconi at the death. Too much.

I'm very proud of Carlton for overcoming Collingberg. The stigma of that fiasco is the sole reason why we've struggled crowd-wise. laying them to death is the most impressive thing Carlton have done. In the SU survey, a significant % of melburnians don't support a club. To those - if you don't support Carlton after our efforts this year, you can fuck off for all I care. Aussie soccer doesn't deserve so-called 'fans'. "They're AFL", you claim. So fucking what? Should we build a $20m stadium, hire supermodels as dancing girls and sign Ronaldo before you'll support a team in Melbourne?

Where do we go from here? Bresciano and Marusic are leaving. We need to replace them. Marusic was the standout in our late season surge. You cannot easily replace a player like him. In 2 years, we'll lose Grella and Colosimo. Time to start thinking of their replacements. We could do with a natural left footer on the flank.

I'll be unimpressed if Krncevic leaves for Marconi. Very unimpressed. They can recruit Mitchell, Eddie Thomson and Gonzo for all I care. Krncevic at Fairfield is something I couldn't stomach.

We need to improve OO. Getting rid of the cricket pitch will do for starters. I am hopeful we can get some sort of terracing in on the open side. I'd rather have 10 people in the terraces than sponsor ads - they can go behind the south goals.

Northen Spiriter types - get behind your team. We need for the new clubs to work. Perth and Carlton have done it, in different ways. A triple would strengthen Hill's position. I'd *LOVE* for either Bris, Glory, Spirit or Carlton to meet in next years GF... Just imagine Farina or Halpin or Marusic or Jonesy being egged on by punters who care about football, and not what happened on the Greek- Makedonia border 500 years ago.

Grand Final musings by Sean Douglas

Well....what can I say. I'm very tempted to fly into an abusive rage about certain things, but realise that it wouldn't do any good. So I'd just like to comment on a couple of things.

For one, I was pushed in the back, and did not dive as I've heard a few reports suggest. All credit to South for winning, they were the best team over the season, and they had nothing to do with the way the game was refereed (sp?), but I felt we were the better team on the night.

#2: I'm really starting to hate Boutsianis. First the hand ball incident at Optus, then he was the one who "fell" to have Con Antho sent off and myself booked, and then thirdly, last nights incident.

#3: I've been told (and haven't actually read it myself yet) that Peter Desira has written that the players defied orders from Jack Reilly to not go out and receive our medals in protest at 'that' decision. This is absolute bull-shit, and Peter had better be very careful about what he writes in the future. Jack came into the rooms and tried to console the boys. He got us up and into a circle, and we sung a very emotional and angry version of the song that we normally sing when we've won. Alot of the players were in tears. We left the field at the request of police, and I for one was reluctant to leave. I must say that if any lout had come up to me to say some smart-arsed comment, then I was definitely in the mood to smack him. But at no time did Jack even suggest that we not go out. He was the one that went out to see if the field had been cleared and we could return.

Even writing this now has put me on edge and no doubt raised my heart-rate a few beats. But I would just like to say that I'm very proud to be involved with everyone at Carlton, and on this list. The players have been great, the fans fantastic, and everyone on here an inspiration. Looking forward to an off-season (well 3 weeks of it for us anyway!) of chatting and looking forward to next season. This has been the best year for soccer I've ever had.

Grand Final musings by Damian Smith

Firstly I apologise to Aus Soc fans. It's gone on too long, we must be stopped.

[comments from another source stating a SM official would have encouraged the behaviour of their fans at the grand final deleted]

No not with this. This is true. Like I reported a few weeks ago he told the supporters that this was their club and the club of the fathers and grandfathers.....he has been pushing the Greek thing full on. I can imagine what the Greek media have been saying all week. It's like they are preparing for a battle and the committee are preparing the troops.

In all my time, I've never seen this show of Greek as fervent as it has been the last few weeks. It is, it is disastrous. As one mate put it, "fuck Damian, these guys are more Greek than the fucking Greeks in Greece."

Could it be......South wants a final confrontation....divide the league.....Hill Vs The ethnics. Hill splits with his mob and the ethnics get together to form their own league with the support of local state federations. (I can just see the VSF rubbing their hands with glee)

In the wee hours of Sunday morning (4.00am) he was still the man. As he Greek danced around the social club, he was greeted with many, many well wishes...."thank you, well done, congrats !!. (yeah, like he scores goals and defends well).

The victory, however sweet it feels (and I can tell you after 7 years of crap it is sweet), will be tarnished by the behaviour of the fucking morons but most importantly for me, gives the club a false sign that they are doing things the right way at BJS...."fuck, we won the championship, lets keep the going the way we are."

I pray that Soc Aus throw my beloved South Melbourne out of the league. I have come to realise that there is no other way of getting through to anyone at the club unless it is drastic. The SG did an excellent job with the hooligans at BJS (although the club gets the credit) but now all that has been pissed up the wall. IT'S TIME FOR SOC AUS TO SHOW THAT THEY RUN THE GAME AND NOT SOME RICH MIGRANT CLUB.

[Why were there empty seats? After all, there were only 19,000 to fill.]

Ticket Prices & Optus Vision Coverage Grand Final Parties @ Uncle Costas. Olympic Park is not the best designed stadium in the world. Many areas have to be left vacant because of the lighting towers that block your view from the terrace. The seats vacant in the top left corner of the South grandstand were the last to be sold...and there is no way I would pay $41 for a ticket to sit with the pigeons!

A friend was aghast he had to pay $28 for general admission. Infact KC and I talked about boycotting the GF as the ultimate in fan action.....these prices were just bloody ridiculous!!

[Why were there flares?]

I tested the security by buying 3 mini M and M's container (cylindrical) and placing them in my jacket. I was hoping to be pulled over but after being patted down I (and the cylinders) went through no problem. I then knew that the GF would be flare heaven. Some of the flares came in through fencing behind the goals...thrown in from the street. And of course the Hellas girls would have been made couriers for the night. Remember they had been saving them up all BJS we would have had only 4 or 5 flares all season (44 less than the previous year)

I was expecting trouble..(espeically if we didn't win)..with the Markovski article....those who didn't were being naive. At the GF parade I was told that a "crew" had come down from Sydney.."and where here to help the boys." These dicks along with the South's morons plus the Heidelberg and PAOK and banned from BJS fans, all congregated together behind the goals. They were going to "stick it to Markovski"

Thankfully there was no physical violence and from reports no injuries to anyone.