Wednesday, 15 January 2020

Sydney Olympic Off-Season – January

Welcome to the New Year and it has been an interesting start to the New Year to say the least for Sydney Olympic. Last blog, I mentioned the big rumours doing the rounds at the time, of Sydney Olympic looking to add the likes of Sebastian Ryall and Charles Lokolingoy to the First Grade squad.

These rumours were confirmed to be true this week, as the club announced their arrivals and that they will be part of the club in 2020.

Here is a reminder then, of our confirmed squad for 2020:

William Angel, Bai Antoniou, Darcy Burgess, Anthony Bouzanis, Fabio Ferreira, Hagi Gligor, Paul Henderson, Peter Kekeris, Nikola Kuleski, Charles Lokolingoy, Alexander Lopez, Zac Mackenzie, Jason Madonis, Giovanni Panuccio, Adam Parkhouse, Billy Patramanis, Dimi Petratos, Raul Beneit Romero, Sebastian Ryall, Alejandro Sanchez, Jack Stewart, Niko Tsattalios, Thomas Whiteside.

A few people have mentioned and I already have here on the blog also, of the heavy recruitment from the Sutherland Sharks. A team who have not performed great for a number of years now and we seem to have signed all of their players, there could also be the potential of a clique forming inside the squad, that could be damaging, especially if we get off to a poor start.

And supporters who have good and long enough memories, will not need reminding of the damage a clique can do to a club and to a season.

Also mentioned by various supporters, is the top heavy recruitment in the attacking 3rd of the field. These concerns are also legitimate, as within a squad of 23, there are not too many legitimate defensive minded players. A slight concern at this stage.

All those issues and any more, you’d think will be dealt with by the coaching staff and others at the club. You’d hope.

On the other hand, if the club plans on winning matches this season with score-lines of 4-3, 5-4, 6-5, I and most others would be OK with that, just as long as we win.

Outside of that, there has not been too much news around surrounding the club. Some will probably say that is a good thing, less chance of that news being bad.

Whenever the club in their infinite wisdom, decides to release details for 2020 membership, I would urge all Sydney Olympic Supporters to become a member this year.

It is as important as ever to contribute and become part of the club. The club does not get any grants from TV money, it has no foreign ownership, it is not controlled by some foreign Government or Country, nor does it have poker machine money, it runs on the passion of people who love the club and the supporters.

Plus with big issues such as the perennial headache of securing facilities, discussions about joining any potential National 2nd Division, the NCIP which was recently overturned by the FFA, plus many more issues, it’s up to us as supporters to help keep the club going, to be informed and be involved with the club moving forward.

In the last few years, it’s been around $100 for full membership, which gets you into all 11 home matches, access to the AGM, plus a scarf, shirt and that sort of stuff.

Very good value, hardly breaking the bank to be a part of the club.

The start of the 2020 season is now only 6 weeks away. Preparations are ramping up, with our season beginning with Round 1 - Sunday March 1 vs. Wollongong Wolves at Belmore Sports Ground. Kick-Off is at 4pm.

UPDATE | Just as this blog was posted, has come the announcement from Sydney Olympic that it is parting ways with Spanish striker Alejandro Sanchez on his request, as he wishes to return home to Spain and his family.

This is a huge loss and big blow for our season.

Sunday, 22 December 2019

Sydney Olympic Off-Season – December

Not much news to report from the past 2 months, the club website and official channels of Sydney Olympic on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter would show you the same thing, or that could just be their usual activity.

Anyway, the draw for the 2020 NSW NPL season has been released:

Of course, as always with these things, they are always subject to change depending on conditions and other circumstances.

Here’s a reminder of our confirmed squad so far for 2020:

William Angel. Zac Mackenzie, Peter Kekeris, Thomas Whiteside, Niko Tsattalios, Alejandro Sanchez, Dimi Petratos, Darcy Burgess, Jason Madonis, Nikola Kuleski, Hagi Gligor, Billy Patramanis, Jack Stewart, Giovanni Panuccio, Paul Henderson, Anthony Bouzanis, Bai Antoniou, Alexander Lopez, Raul Beneit Romero, Adam Parkhouse, Fabio Ferreira.

Of the list, Billy Patramanis who was set to have 
big season, has suffered an ACL injury and will miss most if not the entire season.

The club’s off-season policy of poaching players from Sutherland is a curious one. Sure, our coach is their ex-coach, but they have not been a successful club in recent years, so it remains to be seen if this policy will end up working out.

At the very least, the Sharks invasion has prompted some old Olympic Sharks jokes to resurface on the internet.

Recently, there have also been rumours of signing another ex-Sutherland player, striker Charles Lokolingoy, as well as former a-league player Sebastian Ryall, we will see what happens with those rumours.

It is also the end of the decade. We had 2 Championship winning seasons – 2011 & 2018 – we were Minor Premiers in both of those seasons as well.

We have had some good players play for the club in that time and have had some other good seasons during the decade, but no trophies or significant success outside of those 2 years.

As for players, I have selected an XI for the decade, some will agree and others will disagree. So here it goes:

That’s it for now, Merry Christmas and we will see you in the New Year.

Monday, 14 October 2019

Sydney Olympic Off-Season – October

We are only in mid-October; but it is already over 2 months since our season ended and around another 5 months, until the next season commences. That is quite a long lay-off. But that’s Australian soccer for you.

Obviously, that mostly has to do with us missing the Finals and not being involved in any of the FFA Cup action either.

A week or so after our final League match, the club publicly announced the resignation of Abbas Saad.

Numerous conspiracy theorists automatically went to work, claiming this, that & the other and who knows, some of it might be accurate. At the end of the day, it has happened and we all must move on.

Despite what was written here about the team’s performances, his coaching decisions or what not in this past season, Abbas Saad is a Sydney Olympic Legend, adding to that by delivering us the Championship in 2018 which will never be forgotten. We sincerely wish him all the best for the future.

The club moved swiftly in finding a replacement as a week or so later, the club announced the appointment of Sutherland Sharks coach, Terry Palapanis.

Personally, I don’t know that much about him as a coach. His Sutherland team beat us twice last season, both home and away, but in saying that, that ended up being not that great of a feat after all.

Palapanis also coached in the lower leagues with Mounties Wanderers and St George, but it remains to be seen what he can do for us at Sydney Olympic. We will just have to sit back and see.

On the signings front – William Angel. Zach Mackenzie, Peter Kekeris, Thomas Whiteside, Niko Tsattalios, Alejandro Sanchez, Dimi Petratos, Darcy Burgess, Jason Madonis, Nikola Kuleski, Hagi Gligor, Billy Patramanis, Jack Stewart, Giovanni Panuccio (from the U20’s) – have all re-signed for season 2020.

Paul Henderson will play on next season as the 2nd Goalkeeper, in addition to his new role as Goalkeeper coach.

In terms of new signings, Goalkeeper Anthony Bouzanis and Attacker Alexander Lopez, who were Sydney Olympic juniors, return after playing with Sutherland last season.

The club has also added Raul Beneit Romero from Sutherland, Adam Parkhouse from Manly and Fabio Ferreira from Adelaide City.

We will have to wait and see if there are any more additions to the squad or if that is it for this off-season. A quick look over all those players and there are quite a few offensive-minded players among them and not that many with a defensive mindset, but as I said, we will see what transpires over the next few months.

Monday, 12 August 2019

Season Over – SFC NPL Team 1-3 Sydney Olympic

It is season over in 2019 for Sydney Olympic, as an inconsistent and at time frustrating year wrapped up at Lambert Park on Sunday Afternoon, as we defeated the SFC NPL Team in the final regular season game.

Quickly on this particular match at Lambert Park, it seemed like all the air was let out of the place before a ball was even kicked. Everybody was aware of what needed to happen, what needed to go our way, for us to make the Top 5 and play Finals Football but you’d have to say, not many were optimistic it was going to happen.

Anyway, we held up our end of the bargain as we dominated the match from start to finish. Inside the first 5 minutes we had opened the scoring through Jack Stewart. Not long after this we made it 2-0 as Alejandro Sanchez finished off well, breaking his goal scoring drought in the process. Not long after this, the opposition fluked a goal back totally against the run of play and at the half-time break we were leading 2-1.

Midway through the second-half, Alejandro Sanchez got his 2nd goal of the afternoon, following some nice work from Jinya An, one of our best players all season, who crossed it for him to finish and make the score 3-1.

That is how the score remained at full-time, the positive was we ended the season with a victory, the negative was hearing that Sydney United had beaten Manly by the same score-line across town. Meaning it was season over.

You would have to say that overall, this season has been a failure and a massive disappointment for all concerned, supporters, players, coaches, board, given we were Champions last season and we could not back it up this season.

No doubt that this season, injuries have played their part in wrecking it. But, after that poor start to the season, we were chasing our own tails for the rest of it and it is just too even of a competition, to be having to play catch-up for most of it.

The World’s longest off season now begins, there is plenty of time between now and the time the next season begins, which will be some time next March, to get things right at least on the pitch.

For sure, several players will be on their way out, if not already gone and several others will be coming into the squad, we will just have to wait and see who they end up being and lets all cross our fingers that the club brings in the right players.

We all hope that someone other than Stevie Wonder will be in charge of recruiting during the off-season.

A lot of question marks remain both on and off the pitch for Sydney Olympic.

In the Club Championship the 18s won 3-1 and the 20s lost 2-0. We have ended up in 6th place. Thankfully, starting from next year, the Club Championship will no longer count as part of any promotion or relegation.

For the Sydney Olympic women’s team, they lost 1-0 to the Northern Tigers in their Semi-Final, but by virtue of finishing 2nd during the regular season, they will have another chance this weekend. They will play the Illawarra Stingrays in an Elimination Final on Sunday.

Monday, 5 August 2019

Sydney Olympic 2-1 Sydney United

Sydney Olympic kept its slim Finals hopes alive yesterday, after recording a gutsy come from behind, 2-1 victory over rivals Sydney United on Sunday Afternoon, at Belmore Sports Ground.

We started the match off well and had a couple of great chances to open the scoring, but once again, we could not capitalise on our good build up play. As has been the case many times this season, after we fail to put away our chances, we were once again sucker punched on the break. An opposition player was put through on goal, it was questionable whether or not he was actually onside, but nevertheless, we were punished on the half-hour mark and were now down 1-0. We tried hard to get back into the game during the closing stages of the first-half, but it was not to be and at half-time we were down 1-0.

Fortunately, we did not have to wait too long in the second-half to get back on level terms. As 5 minutes in, substitute Jack Stewart was found inside the box, before slotting the ball away to bring us level at 1-1. 5 minutes after our equaliser, we turned the match on its head as we were fouled inside the box and earned a penalty, Jason Madonis stepped up and put it away with ease to put us into a 2-1 lead. It was a lead that we would not relinquish and it was a well-deserved 3 points.

Coincidentally, this match signified the first time this season, where we were able to overturn a deficit after trailing at half-time.

It was a good performance, a well-deserved victory and it keeps our slim hopes of making the Top 5 alive.

Next week is the final regular season game of the season, against Sydney FC’s NPL team, on Sunday Afternoon August 11, at Lambert Park, Kick-Off is at 3pm.

For us to make the Top 5, a couple of things need to happen:

- Firstly we must take care of business and beat Sydney FC’s NPL team at Lambert Park on Sunday and;
- Somehow hope that Manly, who have nothing to play for next week, either beat or at least get a draw away at Sydney United. Highly unlikely.

There has been much talk, that Paul Henderson will hang up the boots at the end of this season, if true, he has been a magnificent servant for the club. Only 5 players have played more matches for Sydney Olympic and he has won 2 Championships and 2 Minor Premierships with the club.

This reason alone, should ensure plenty of Sydney Olympic Supporters head out to Lambert Park on Sunday.

In the Club Championship the 18s lost 1-0 and the 20s won 3-0.

On the women’s side of things, they lost to the NWS Koalas 3-2 on the weekend, but after the 22 Rounds they managed to finish 2nd on the ladder and will play Finals this year, in their 1st season in the NPL 1 competition. Well Done.

Monday, 29 July 2019

Sydney Olympic 0-1 Marconi

Sydney Olympic is limping to a meek surrender of its NSW Championship. As a poor season was compounded even further, by losing to an anti-football Marconi side on Sunday Afternoon at Belmore Sports Ground.

We are entering territory where we now don’t have matters in our own hands and we start needing “favours” and “results to go our way elsewhere” to even make the Top 5, play Finals and defend our Championship. Which all things considered, is very unlikely to occur anyway.

I will not be going through all the same issues and wasting everybody’s time, especially about things that I have been posting about all season, as it is getting all too repetitive, I’m sure. Most people who have eyes and who have either been to matches or watched the games on the internet throughout the year, know and understand what has been dished up this season.

Offensively, none of our supposed strikers have scored in any of the last 6 rounds. Obviously, relying on your midfielders and defenders to score your goals every match, is going to bring you nothing, and get you nowhere.

Defensively, we haven’t conceded this many goals (31) since season 2010, when we finished a pathetic 2nd last. Bear in mind that there are still 2 rounds to go though, so there is ample time to match the 40 we copped that year.

What a difference 12 months makes, we can’t score and can’t defend now and the doom and gloom times have returned.

We were on a hiding to nothing from the get go. Everybody involved at the club have dropped the ball. I’m not sure what went through their minds at the end of last year, we just rock up in 2019 and everything just happens like magic again?

Did they really think that was how it was going to play out?

Don’t bring in any new faces, don’t replace the talent that left in the off-season, don’t sign anyone of note, then sign players who are duds who were way passed it.

Good plan.

We got what we deserved in 2019 and that’s nothing. Not to mention the Cup run we had this season, where it was as if we were trying very hard to get ourselves knocked out by some random park teams at the earliest point possible.

People at the club instead have been too busy running around discussing frivolous things like alleged National 2nd divisions and chasing agreements concerning some sort of phantom promotion and relegation to the a-league.

I only speak for myself here, others may agree or disagree, but I couldn’t care less about any of it, our focus should be fixing our own problems and getting our own house in order, both on and off the field.

Speaking of which, there has still been no official communication from the club over the Tempe debacle. Where’s the transparency? Whatever happened to those CEO updates?

The official end to the season can’t come quickly enough.

In the Club Championship the 18s won 2-1 and the 20s won 2-0.

Next week is our final home match of the season, our home record in 2019 reads:
4 losses, 3 draws, 3 wins, with 1 of those home wins coming at Lambert Park in the match that was moved against Hakoah in Round 15, so it is 2 wins at home at Belmore this season. Disgraceful.

Next week: Sydney Olympic v Sydney United, Sunday Afternoon, August 4, Kick-Off is at 4pm.

On the women’s side of things, they have done very well in their first season in NPL 1. They are sitting in 2nd place, after a 1-0 win over the Northern Tigers on the weekend. In the final round, they face NWS Koalas at Peter Moore Field this Sunday, Kick-Off is at 3pm. 

Monday, 22 July 2019

APIA Leichhardt 3-1 Sydney Olympic

Sydney Olympic blew a chance to cement a Top 5 position on Sunday Afternoon, falling to what was a fairly unimpressive APIA Leichhardt side at Lambert Park. Sure, APIA have been and are a very good side once again this season, but they did not play in a manner which signified anything close to being levels above us or even dominant against us in the match yesterday.

In the first-half we were the better side, but that isn’t really anything to get excited about, as both sides were not that great. Even still, we managed to create a few openings, but when we did get ourselves in a position to have a shot at goal, our players preferred instead, to try and be cute and lay it off for someone else, instead of having a go themselves, this was all inside the box mind you. This cost us a few times during the first-half yesterday.

As is standard practice in this sport, if you fail to take your chances, the opposition goes down the other end and punishes you and that’s what happened. APIA hit us with a sucker-punch of a goal, when they really didn’t look threatening at all up to that point and at half-time we were down 1-0.

The opening stages of the second-half can only be described as a circus and cost us from getting anything from the match.

Firstly, everybody stood around as APIA walked the play inside our box, their shot was initially well saved but the ball rebounded flukily off the APIA player and nestled in the back of our net. Secondly, the same APIA player decided he was going to try his luck and swan dive inside the box as if he had been bowled over by a hurricane, the referee who was a prick all match decided yep, that’s a penalty. APIA converted the penalty and we were all of the sudden down 3-0 and the match was effectively all over.

We pulled a goal back but the players and the fans, never believed we could perform any miracles and thus ended a disappointing day, a 3-1 loss and a near fatal blow to our season.

The players could not overcome their poor display, especially the period between the last 10 minutes of the first-half and first 10 minutes of the second-half, the lack of concentration in that time killed us, but also they were never going to overcome that cheat of a referee which is what he was.

I’ve seen enough sport personally to notice a Championship let down season when I see one. The 2018 season swelled the heads of several players and many simply do not give a toss this season, which is sad to see.

The lack of motivation yesterday and all season has been extremely disheartening. One swallow doesn’t make a summer, as they say.

The board must take its share of the blame also, they simply did not rejuvenate the team at all. Other than losing Max Burgess, the squad is pretty much the same as last year. Standing still and resting on our laurels was never going to get us anywhere in 2019, we had to freshen up the squad and the few signings they did make, have been positively horrendous, atrocious, shocking.

We lauded the coach last year and rightly so, but this year he has to take his share of the blame and he showed that he could not adapt to a new season and a change in circumstances.

In the Club Championship, the 18s won for the first time in a long time, 2-0, and in the 20s we lost 2-0.

Next week is absolutely the last roll of the dice, it’s must win now, as we take on Marconi next Sunday Afternoon July 28, at Belmore Sports Ground, Kick-Off is at 4pm.

As for the First Grade women’s team, they smashed the Newcastle Jets 5-0 on Sunday and moved into 2nd spot on the NPL 1 ladder. Next Sunday Afternoon they travel to face the Northern Tigers, Kick-Off at 3.30pm.