Tuesday, 10 November 2009 12:12 PM
By John Kyrou and George Kouroumalis
South Melbourne FC farewelled the 2009 season and concluded its series of 50th year celebration events with the Gala Ball at Crown Palladium on Saturday night. The night was one of high nostalgia yet at the same time provided the 700 guests with a glimpse of what is sure to be a very bright and rewarding future for the club.
The evening opened with the trumpet tune made famous at Middle Park, Olympic Park and Bob Jane Stadium by Lefteri Manessis. This was followed by a 13 minute tribute video that wonderfully incorporated all the highlights of South Melbourne FC’s 50 year history. This ranged from the Victorian State League titles in the 1960s and 1970s (as well as the recent 2006 triumph) to the last game at Middle Park, the National Soccer League titles and the FIFA World Club Championships.
SBS Head of Sport Les Murray, known to many in this country as ‘Mr Football’, was the Master of Ceremonies. Mr Murray opened by recalling his first memories of South, that being in 1966 when the Con Nestoridis led side travelled to Sydney to play St George Budapest. Since then Mr Murray covered many South Melbourne NSL matches, which led him to mention how much he grew to strongly appreciate the exceptionally talented players that have played for the club over the decades. This is also evidenced by the fact that South has had 49 Socceroo representatives as well as players that have represented other countries, such as Con Nestoridis (Greece), Malcolm MacDonald (England), Steve Wooddin and Vaughan Coveny (New Zealand).
Following the opening address, State Labor Member for Albert Park Mr Martin Foley, South president Leo Athanasakis and Chairman Nick Galatas all made brief speeches congulatulating the club on 50 wonderful years. All three gentlemen also touched on the new stadium deal at Lakeside and how it will have enormous benefits for the club. Messers Athanasakis and Galatas also praised the previous presidents of the club for their enormous contributions to South Melbourne FC.
From there and in chronological year order, the championship winning players of the State League and National League were called onto the stage where each player received an individual plaque as well as induction into the South Melbourne FC Hall of Fame. On stage to present these awards were former presidents (or relatives of deceased presidents) of South Melbourne FC. Those presenting and those honoured were as follows:
1960 (First Division North), 1962, 1964, 1965 & 1966 (State League)
Olga Lappas (daughter of the late Theo Marmaras, President 1959-69 & 1971)
Ernie Ackerley, Jimmy Adam, Stratos Adamgikis, John Anderson, Tommy Anderson, John Bedford, Terry Budgen, Leo Damianakos, Sergio Fernandez, Stefanos Fortomanos, Chris Georgousis (Player/Coach), Antonis Hatzieleftheriou, John Hatzigeorgiou, Jordan Ieremiadis, Sam Kagioglou, Stratos Kalogeros, Boulis Kambouropoulos, Antonis Karagiannis, George Karpouzas, George Katsidis, Ulysses Kokkinos, Andreas Kosmopoulos, Bill Kourkoulakos, Peter Koutsoheras, Antonis Maikousis, Michael Mandalis, Takis Mantarakis, John Margaritis, Alekos Nanos, Con Nestoridis, Vekos Nevrous, George Papadopoulos, George Penzo, John Petris, Chris Picoulas, Babis Pipis, Manny Poulakakis (Coach), Jim Pyrgolios, Andreas Roussis, Savvas Salapasidis, Sam Service, Ted Smith, Con Solopotias, Ron Suecki (Coach), Panayiotis Tsitsos, Manny Tsolakis, Peter Tzaponis, Harry Vamvakas, Takis Xanthopoulos
1972, 1974, 1976 (State League)
Elly Papasavas (wife of the late Sam Papasavas, President 1972-82)
Jim Diamantaris (President 1985-86)
Jim Alexiou, Howard Andrews, Jim Armstrong, Tim Augar, Giovanni Batticiotto, John Bedford, Peter Bourne, Andrew Bozikas, Duncan Cummings, John Daperis, Vasilios Efthimiou, Marco Fode, David Gorrie, Steve Gaw, Gary Groenewald, Margaritis Hagegmanouel, Bill Hasapis, Kris Kalifatidis, Boulis Kambouropoulos, John Kennedy, Ulysses Kokkinos, George Kotaridis, Tony Koutrouvelis, Reno Lia, Jimmy Mackay, Michael Mandalis, Malcolm Manley, John Margaritis (Coach), Ian Marshall, Bill McIntyre, Nick Nechvoglod, Peter Ollerton, Jim Pirzas, Manny Poulakakis (Coach), John Pryde, Michael Pye, Jim Pyrgolios, Andrew Savage, Ron Smith, Lou Tsigaras, Manny Tsivoglou, Steve Walker, Arthur Xanthopoulos
1984 (National League)
Leo Anezakis (President 1983-84)
Peter Abraam, Steve Blair, Doug Brown, Gary Clayton, Oscar Crino, Alan Davidson, Charlie Egan, Carl Halford, Jim Kalambokis, Kris Kalifatidis, John Kanesoulis, Con Kiakos, Peter Laumets, Paul Lewis, Len McKendry (Coach), Ken Murphy, Ange Postecoglou, Bobby Russell, Mark Turudia, John Yzendoorn
1990/91, 1997/98, 1998/99 (National League)
Oceania Club Cup Champions 1999
Chris Christopher (President 1987)
Bill Georgantis (President 1988-89)
George Vasilopoulos (President 1990-2001)
Peter Mitrakas (President 2002-04)
John Anastasiadis, Tansel Baser, Steve Blair, Con Blatsis, Con Boutsianis, David Clarkson, Vaughan Coveny, Michael Curcija, Adrian Cuzzupe, Bill Damianos, Fausto De Amicis, Mehmet Durakovic, Paul Fernandes, George Goutzioulis, Carl Halford (Assistant Coach), David Healy, Steve Iosifidis, Chris Jones, Robert Liparoti, Goran Lozanovski, Bruce MacLaren, Michael Michalakopoulos, Harry Micheil, Mustafa Mustafa, Nick Orlic, Joe Palatsides, Steve Panopoulos, Mike Petersen, Michael Petkovic, Jason Polak, Ange Postecoglou (Player 1991, Coach 1998 & 99), Ferenc Puskas (Coach), Kimon Taliadoros, Steve Tasios, Paul Trimboli, Peter Tsolakis, Jim Tsekinis, Paul Wade, Danny Wright
2006 (State League)
Oceania Representatives at the Inaugural FIFA World Club Championships in 2000
Oceania Confederation Team of the 20th Century
Greg Kaias (President 2006)
Paul Dimarelos (President 2007)
John Anastasiadis (Coach), Dean Anastasiadis, Tansel Baser, Con Blatsis, Andrew Bourakis, Vaughan Coveny, Nic Curtis, Fernando De Moraes, Gianni De Nittis, Sam De Vito, Con Dimitropoulos, Dino Djulbic, John Gabrielson (Assistant Coach), Scott MacNicol, Antonio Naglieri, Bill Natsioulas, Steven O’Dor, Andreas Oliveira, Jonas Salley, James Stefanou, Rama Tavsancioglu, Arthur Tsonis, George Tzirtis
Whilst the presentations were taking place, photographs and videos were displayed on the screens showing highlights of those teams in action. At the conclusion of the presentations, another highly emotional video was played. The video included interviews with many players, such as Paul Trimboli, Con Boutsianis, Takis Mantarakis, Ulysses Kokkinos, Gianni De Nittis, Fernando De Moraes, Jim Armstrong, John Daperis, Con Nestoridis and Vaughan Coveny to name a few. All the players mentioned how much of a huge role South Melbourne FC has played in helping to shape their careers and in some cases their entire lives. Interviews were also conducted with various supporters and board members of South Melbourne FC.
South Melbourne FC congratulates all inductees on their deserved awards and would like to publicly thank the tireless efforts of Jim Armstrong, Con Mandalis, Paul Trimboli, Kimon Taliadoros, Vaughan Coveny, Peter Laumets and Takis Mantarakis for all of their assistance in helping to locate former players from all over the world in order to help celebrate this historic event.