Monday, 24 March 2003 12:00 AM
With South Melbourne’s 2002/03 Campaign over, the time is right to look back at what has been an eventful season.
Season 2002/03 will be defined as an important and historic season for the South Melbourne Soccer Club. Despite the obvious disappointment of not qualifying for the finals series, President Peter Mitrakas and his Board have delivered a number of notable achievements.
These achievements are all the more significant given the difficult trading conditions for all soccer clubs in Australia.
This season South Melbourne has embraced greater professionalism and business practices throughout the Club. These practices have already improved day-to-day operations and will continue to bear fruit in the coming years.
2002/03 Key achievements
As a result of the combined efforts of the Board, Administration, and our loyal supporters, the Club has achieved the following:
• A reduction in debt levels from $1.3M in May 2002 to $670,000 as of March 2003
• A “balanced budget” for this season with the Club on track to post a modern profit
– South Melbourne will be one of the few NSL Clubs to achieve a surplus this season
– Apart from World Club Championship revenues, this will be the first season the Club will post an operating surplus
• An extension of the lease for Bob Jane Stadium for a further 14 years on favourable trading terms
• The introduction of Coterie Groups based on successful AFL models
– Coterie groups have raised over $280,000 in 2002/03 and have introduced a number of new supporters to the Club
– They have also proved a valuable source of advice and expertise with these groups regularly providing input into the Club’s future direction
– A revamped Coterie system will attract additional members and revenues next season
• Ground redevelopments including an expansion of the Corporate area
– Construction of a further 16 corporate boxes which were largely sold
– Construction of dedicated Coterie entertaining areas
On the Field
On the field, whilst the disappointment of not making the finals cannot be ignored, the Club has established solid platforms for future success.
This is highlighted by the recent signing of promising young goalkeeper Eugene Galokovic. Eugene joins the core group of Vince Lia, Massimo Murdocca, Michael Baird and Vaughn Covney as contracted players for next season.
The decision to part ways with coach Danny Wright was a difficult one. However the clubs run of results leading up to his parting was not satisfactory, and action was required in an attempt to improve results and qualify for the finals.
Contrary to certain media reports and despite internal process problems, South Melbourne made news of the decision public immediately after informing both Mr Wright and the players (the players were informed at their next training session). The Club owed a courtesy to the departing coach and its players and staff to release the information only after the relevant parties were informed.
The Club has commenced work to secure a new coach for the 2003/04 Season. Interviews will commence in the coming weeks. The new coach will be responsible for finalising the player list for next season and establishing an integrated youth and junior set-up.
South Melbourne will also shortly be hiring a new General Manager. The Club has accepted the resignation of Steve Blair who was previously on extended leave. The hiring of the General Manager is part of a wider administrative review that has already seen a number of changes to the Club’s administration.
The Club will also be holding a number of functions in the coming months including a Grand Gala Auction Night and Annual Ball/Presentation Night. Details of these events will be confirmed shortly and tickets can be purchased from the Club by ringing 9645 9797 and all supporters are encouraged to attend.
The South Melbourne Board have commenced implementation on a range of strategic initiatives that will secure the ongoing viability and success of the South Melbourne Soccer Club.
• Extinguishing all debt within 12 months
• Securing a high-quality senior coach
• Developing a new playing squad and recruiting the best young talent in Australia
• Undertaking further ground developments
– Fans should expect more improvements at Bob Jane Stadium next season
• Continuing to be at the forefront of reform of the National Soccer League
– South Melbourne has played a leading role in the discussions over the structure and composition of a reformed NSL
• Positioning the Club for entry and success in a revamped NSL for season 2004/05
Questions can be directed to the Club on 9645 9797.