South Melbourne FC

The Blue and White Forever

Passion, Your Local Footy

Passion, Your Local Footy

Tuesday, 23 November 2004 12:00 AM

Passion is all important in football.
What’s more…. it’s all important in a football official. Newly elected South Melbourne FC President George Donikian is nothing if not passionate about his club.

And passion is not the only asset the new boss has in his arsenal, but it is the “most” over-riding trait that strikes you, when you meet him.

Throughout 2005, there is no doubt you will meet him, if you visit Bob Jane Stadium during a South home game in the VPL.

Donikian may be settling into his new position at South Melbourne, but he’s already managed to get the attention of Melbourne’s football fraternity.

His proposed “relegation moratorium” for 2005, has caused quite a stir.

“I have got to try and cover every eventuality that I possibly can for the upcoming season” says Donikian, “and who’s to say that in 3 months time the new coach of the Victory, or any A-League club for that matter, won’t come along to any one of our players and ask them to consider, moving to the A-League.

With the national competition set down for next August, it’s a distinct possibility that every club in the VPL will have to face, and it’s for this reason that Donikian sees 2005 as unique, and his proposal to the people who run the game in Victoria, is not ‘kite flying’.

Another thing unique to this season is that South Melbourne is building from scratch.

“The Melbourne Knights and South Melbourne got absolutely no compensation, absolutely none, when we lost all our players when the NSL shutdown earlier this year”.

As such, we have to create a championship winning side out of nothing, that is especially tough without good players and that is why I am attempting to cover every possible eventuality”.

So after the darkest chapter in the club’s proud 45 year history, when the club slipped perilously close to oblivion, where does the club stand financially?

Donikian is confident about the club’s fiscal health and corporate appeal going forward, now that old debts have been cleared.

“The one thing that South has had to endure over the past 10 years, is debts, debts, and more debts.

Well we start 2005, brand spanking new and are currently carrying no debts, after the previous board put the club into “voluntary” administration.

One thing I have made clear to the new board members says George is that we can’t sit back and expect money to simply roll-in, we actually have to go out there and find it.

But we have an energized and motivated Sales and Marketing team made up of very successful business people, who are looking to find ways of bringing money into this club”.

Donikian is keen for the rank and file members and fans to have a stake in the club too, understanding that many are oblivious to what went on during the off season.

“It is incumbent on us to let them know just what happened and that there is a new business team in town, keen to sweep away the old practices that hurt the club”.

We have a new business ethic and it’s about a win-win situation, for “all” – members, sponsors and the club.”

While some sponsors have already committed for 2005, Donikian is at pains to emphasise that he can’t count the dollars before contracts are signed and money is in the bank.

That said, things off the pitch are coming together, albeit slowly but properly.

So what about “on” the field then?

“Trimmers is in the training squad, Coveny is back, Con Blatsis has joined and there is a suggestion that Ante Kovacevic will return.

We also have a super crop of youngsters, some really outstanding potential, but we want that “potential” to mould into a fantastic team.

“Johnny A has a big task on his hands but we are confident he has the players to deliver.”

The message that is omni-present with Donikian and his new board… is faith.

Faith that South Melbourne’s sons and daughters will take up the challenge, despite the set back of ‘dropping’ from the NSL, into the state VPL elite.

One thing is for sure the grand old rivalries are back, and that will be fantastic.

But let’s make this clear. The club has aspirations to win a spot in the A-League.

How long that takes and how we’re going to do it I’m not sure, but we are looking to prove to the John O’Neill’s and Frank Lowy’s of the world, that we have understood what it takes.

We’re going out hard to tap into the market place and win back thousands of fans.

Then, we need to make them…members.

In the Donikian plan, we need all South Melbourne fans to stay the course.

To continue the club’s blue chip traditions and to utilise the great asset that is, the BJS.

While headlines in the papers “talk” of multi-million dollars to develop Olympic Park, the club believes BJS can play a meaningful role in the sporting landscape of Melbourne on a number of levels.

“We will try and turn our home ground into a money making facility, and a fortress.

We also want it to become a sporting and business centre for all in Albert Park”.

The President’s message is clear.

This Christmas …“Buy a membership, instead of buying something else.

Hey, why not buy your Uncle or Aunty, a membership to the Blue and Whites, and come and spend 13 home games at BJS.

Come join the passionate and super enthusiastic group of South Melbourne fans.

Let’s create a fantastic environment for the whole family to enjoy and bring your friends along also to enjoy the greatest theatre there is – your local football club.

South Melbourne FC needs everyone “on board” in 2005, to make this happen”.

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