Monday, 22 February 2021

Sydney Olympic – 2021 Kick-Off

The start of the 2021 NSW NPL season is now less than a week away and we hope to see another successful season for our boys in blue and white, Sydney Olympic.

In terms of our pre-season form, it has been a bit of a mixed bag.

A 1-0 win over the Macarthur Rams, was followed by a 2-0 loss to Blacktown City and a 0-0 draw with Manly. We then beat Rydalmere 5-2, before losing our final 2 trial matches, 1-0 to Hakoah and 3-0 to St George City FA.

Hardly setting the world on fire, but at the same time, not taking these results too seriously, as there have been years where we have looked unbeatable in pre-season, only to flounder during the season and vice versa.

In saying all that, there is a degree of uncertainty as to what awaits us this year as Sydney Olympic supporters.

Like most seasons, there is obviously some optimism that we will do well, but the nature of this competition with the unpredictability of the other teams and what they are looking like, means you never really know for sure until after the first month of the season.

In saying all that, let’s get this show on the road and get down and support Sydney Olympic as often as you can throughout the season.

Onto some other news, the club’s Annual General Meeting (AGM), takes place this Thursday Night, February 25th, at the Terrace Bar inside Canterbury Leagues Club, commencing at 6.30pm.

All Life and Voting members are urged to attend.

There will also be an opportunity to renew your membership at the AGM, to all those who wish to become members of Sydney Olympic, it is very easy to do and affordable.

Just check out the link here - fbclid=IwAR1P67gSorzKmNPGraH5GB2nKHffCQ8Zc8eoVL_n7kmGRtY1l8ALIJxrfiQ

So, it all gets under way this Saturday Evening, February 27th. Round 1 vs. Sydney United at Belmore Sports Ground – Kick-Off at 5.30pm.


Friday, 29 January 2021

Sydney Olympic – Pre-season.

2021 will be an interesting season for Sydney Olympic. For 2020, there was a lot of talk doing the rounds about our signings, how we would romp through the competition and that we would be unstoppable.

The reality was very different, there were problems with the coach as well as in and around the squad from day 1. This showed itself in our performances during the season, where we lost our first 3 matches.

The season being cancelled after 3 rounds due to covid, was a blessing in disguise for Sydney Olympic in my opinion. Sure it was only the first 3 rounds and in theory, there would have been plenty of time to turn the situation around, but it did not look likely and we were odds-on to be involved in a relegation scrap.

We looked a bit better after the 4 month hiatus, with Ante Juric as coach. The players responded positively to his appointment, but the 11-match mini-season became irrelevant and other than being glorified training runs, the matches or the results didn’t matter all that much. But at least there was some improvement.

Coming into 2021, there is optimism that we can once again have a good season.

New signings include: Brendan Cholakian, Yu Hasegawa, Marley Peterson, Michael Glassock, Daniel Dias, Luke Kairies, Fabian Monge, Mohamed Adam.

Re-signings include: William Angel, Jason Madonis, Thomas Whiteside, Nikola Kuleski, Adam Parkhouse, Peter Kekeris, Hagi Gligor, Darcy Burgess, Nicholas Sorras, Ben van Meurs, Oliver Puflett, Billy Patramanis, Fabio Ferreira, James Cakovski.

A ball has not been kicked yet, but with a few new faces and some others leaving from last year, already that looks better than the much hyped squad from last season.

Expectations are always a tricky thing, especially in such a close competition. Very little separates the sides who finish 1st and say 7th, a bit of bad or good luck either way could make all the difference to where a club ends up.

But being Sydney Olympic, the high expectations are there every season and all supporters will be hoping 2021, a big year for Greeks in general, will be a big year for the club also.

2021 also marks 6 years since we have made the FFA Cup main draw – yes it has been that long! – after making the Round of 16 stage in the first 2 editions of the Cup in 2014 and 2015, we have not made it back to the main draw since, a huge disappointment for all supporters actually. Getting back there has also been a stated goal of Sydney Olympic club representatives.

As for the League season, it will be starting a couple weeks earlier than usual. Our Round 1 match is against Sydney United at Belmore Sports Ground, on Saturday February 27th – Kick-Off at 5.30pm.


Sunday, 18 October 2020

Sydney Olympic – 2020 Season Review.

A season we probably will never see the likes of again, an absolute circus from start to finish on multiple fronts. We started off the actual season in the worst possible fashion, losing our first 3 matches of the season and looking like massive relegation candidates.

The coaching appointment, the bewildering decision to let go of several players to other clubs and the bringing in of certain players on big reputations and I presume on big money was a failure, simple as that, I cannot be any clearer.

Then came the so called virus, a 4 month break in the season and then a re-start to the season, which Football NSW would cut in half. Making it an 11 round mini-season and essentially turning the competition into some sort of parody and not a real proper Championship.

Be that as it were, we actually started this mini-season in the opposite fashion to how we started the proper season, winning our first 3 matches this time.

This was followed by a poor loss to Manly, draw with Rockdale, before winning at Marconi, giving us a 4 Wins – 1 Draw – 1 Loss record after 6 matches and sitting in 1st spot. We then went W–L–D–W–D, in performances which were reminiscent of our play from the start of the proper season, to end any hope of picking up another trophy.

The club has a bit of work to do in my opinion, to be ready for season 2021, for us to be a competition threat and seriously challenge again.

Ante Juric as coach from what I have heard, was only temporary and a stop-gap solution during this mini-season, with Gary Phillips’ name once again popping up, as someone who will take charge for next season and beyond. Obviously, none of this can be confirmed, but we hope this can be sorted out as soon as possible, as time is of the essence in what is a shortened off-season.

We also must sort out our 1st Grade squad.

Glaring issues remain out on the playing field, particularly in defense. Madonis and Angel can do a job playing out at RB or LB, but it is not their natural positions and they are very much needed up the park. Signing a couple of defenders should be an absolute priority for the club.

Up front is also a worry; in this league you need someone who can score goals regularly if you want to challenge for any trophies. Sydney Olympic in 2011 (Alex Smith) and 2018 (Alejandro Sanchez) are categorical proof of this. We need some quality forwards and creators, which we lack.

In midfield we have no shortage of players, but we must sort out the balance, decide who will consistently play and where, not having to constantly chop and change in this area.

The squad is in need of a serious overhaul.

Also, most know by now, that the current directors of Sydney Olympic have gone and purchased Greek club Xanthi, recently relegated from the Greek Super League. The only issue I personally have here, is a potential loss of focus on issues that concern Sydney Olympic or neglecting the needs of the club.

They can and will do whatever they want with their own money, they saw an opportunity in Greece and have taken it, as there are no opportunities in Australia as the sport is at an amateur level and a basket case.

We will see what transpires at Sydney Olympic in the coming months. We look forward to announcements by the club in terms of coach and players.

Monday, 15 June 2020

Sydney Olympic – June

Three months since this virus came into our lives and turned everything upside down and 3 months since the 2020 NSW NPL season was halted, there might be some light at the end of the tunnel, in terms of seeing any football resuming this season.

It seems like a lifetime ago, since we saw any live football and some of you might need your memories jogged, on what happened in the first 3 rounds of season 2020.

Round 1 – 2-1 loss at home vs. Wollongong
Round 2 – 2-1 loss away vs. APIA Leichhardt
Round 3 – 2-0 loss away vs. Marconi

Most decent judges would say, that they have been and are the 3 best sides in the competition in 2020 and luckily for Sydney Olympic, we drew all 3 of them for our first 3 matches of the competition.

Nevertheless, it has been one of our worst starts to a season for a while, certainly one of the worst that I can remember. From afar, things didn’t look right within the squad.

Regardless of who our opponents are/were, to start the season 0 and 3, after all the hype and optimism about our squad and all our signings before a ball was kicked, to start like that was disappointing and has been a huge let down.

As mentioned at the top, we may soon see some football again in 2020, given that most other sports in Australia and around the world have started back up, or will start back up shortly.

Hopes of there being a full 22 round NSW NPL season however, look increasingly unlikely though, from what I have been told by various people. More than likely, we will see something of a shortened season of 11 rounds. If that does end up happening, promotion and relegation between the various NSW NPL’s, will almost certainly not be taking place.

Of course, there is still a possibility that we will not see any football at all and that the 2020 season will be abandoned.

All in all, we just have to continue waiting around for FNSW to make a definitive decision about what will happen to season 2020.

On another front, as for any hopes of there being some sort of National 2nd Division kicking-off any time soon, with promotion and relegation to and from the a-league, this virus seems to have put a serious dent in that discussion.

As the a-league (and I don’t follow what goes on there all that closely in all honesty), looks like is struggling big time, with a myriad of problems. Which is nothing new from what I hear and are told.

Plus on the whole, we have heard and been on the receiving end of a whole lot of lip service regarding this for many years now, so whether that actually happens or was ever close to happening is highly doubtful.

Thursday, 19 March 2020

Sydney Olympic – March

I was meant to do monthly blogs starting from this year, not for any specific reason, it’s just the way I want to go about it now. With what’s going on right now in the World and with the suspension of the NSW NPL season until mid-April, I have brought it forward.

What can anyone say? All that optimism before a ball was even kicked, has turned into frustration and a mini nightmare. The first 3 matches have been tough viewing for us Sydney Olympic Supporters.

The first 3 rounds have been performances littered with errors, careless and poor play.

We were not at our best in our opening 2 matches, but even still, we threw away vital points against both Wollongong and APIA, conceding late and devastating goals to lose both matches. Matches that we should never have lost.

Against Marconi in our most recent match, it was a different story. It resembled something close to an Under 10’s match. The conditions didn’t help, but there was plenty of hacking from the opposition as is their style as well as, a lot of kick chase and long ball stuff which would be OK, if we had personnel to play that style. Very poor to say the least.

But let’s go back to January, this is what we knew to be our squad for 2020:

William Angel, Bai Antoniou, Darcy Burgess, Anthony Bouzanis, Fabio Ferreira, Hagi Gligor, Paul Henderson, Peter Kekeris, Shato Kohno, 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.

Very impressive some would say, which sparked much of the pre-season optimism and hype surrounding Sydney Olympic.
Within that list of players – Henderson announced his retirement. Gligor, Lokolingoy, Ryall, Patramanis, Kohno (who has since gone home) all have long-term injuries, Stewart and Lopez have gone overseas, Sanchez has gone home and Petratos asked for a release and was given one.

Bad luck has played its part, but all-in-all, it has been a disaster in terms of recruitment and squad management.

All that, means we are sitting bottom of the table after 3 rounds, Mt Druitt are below us on the table, but they have a game in hand.

Relegation as we all know has changed for this season and beyond, no longer will it be judged via the Club Championship, which was a combination of points from U18’s, U20’s and First Grade. It is back to the traditional format of First Grade results.

Also and it was news to me when told, not only would the team finishing 12th (last) be relegated, but the team finishing 11th (2nd last), will find itself in a Promotion/Relegation playoff, with the team that finishes 2nd in the NPL 2 competition. So, bare that in mind also.

In the same vain, in the last blog I spoke about the importance of getting off to a good start. Especially in this competition, which goes for only 22 rounds and knowing how hard it is to fall behind early and to then, have to chase results from the get go. Well, those warnings have not been heeded obviously.

Not sure what’s going on at training or within the squad and this is not about pointing the finger at anybody, everybody needs to get their heads out of their asses and wake up and do it quickly.

Maybe this break will do us some good, especially when it comes to getting some of our injured players back on deck.

Other than that, no one knows when the competition will resume, so we will all have to wait around to see what happens. But when and if it does resume, we need to make up for our bad start, be ready and hit the ground running.

Tuesday, 25 February 2020

Sydney Olympic – Season 2020 Kick-Off

Here we go, another football season is upon us and as usual, no one quite knows what to make of it and how it is all going to pan out. But I suppose, that has always been half the fun/torment of following Sydney Olympic ever since I can remember and especially, at this level of the sport, where most teams are fairly equal.

There are seasons where you think to yourself – yep, this year we are looking strong, the squad looks great, we are going to give this competition (whatever level it may be) are real shake – only for everything to collapse in on itself.

And of course there are those other seasons, where you literally fear for the fate of the club and think the worst, about what the season might entail. Only for those fears to end up being unfounded and the season is a successful one.

You don’t even have to search that far back into Sydney Olympic’s history, to remind yourself of such seasons.

With that in mind, there has been much optimism surrounding Sydney Olympic for 2020 and quite a bit of buzz, over our chances this season.

In that vain, much has been made of the flurry of signings that the club has brought in during the off-season, which has seen the likes of:
Fabio Ferreira, Bai Antoniou, Raul Romero, Anthony Bouzanis, Charles Lokolingoy, Shato Kohno, Adam Parkhouse, Nicholas Sorras, James Cakovski come to the club. Other new signings – Alexander Lopez and Sebastian Ryall – are currently M.I.A. Apparently, the former is trialling overseas, while the latter has a long-term injury and we won’t be seeing him out on the pitch for a while.

But for all those signings made and positivity: Alejandro Sanchez, Jinya An, Radovan Pavicevic, Riley Woodcock, Jack Stewart, Mitch Stamatellis (again), Dimitri Petratos, Harris Gaitatzis, Michael Gaitatzis, Brendan Hooper have all departed the club, while we believe that Paul Henderson has officially given it away, as there has been a change of heart in the decision, to go around again as a no.2 goalkeeper.

Long serving players; William Angel, Jason Madonis, Nick Tsattalios are back, as well as Darcy Burgess, Nicola Kuleski, Hagi Gligor, Zac Mackenzie, Thomas Whiteside as well as promoted players Giovanni Panuccio and Billy Patramanis. Sadly, the latter is still coming back from a long term injury and will not be ready to play for a while yet.

On the face of it, the squad is not as impressive nor as deep as many thought it was, say 2 months ago, especially defensively where we do look vulnerable. Especially with 2 long-term injuries in that position.

Any thoughts that we would romp through the rest of the competition this season, not that it was at all realistic anyway, must be put on the backburner. We need to keep our heads down, roll our sleeves up and get back to reality.

Of course in this competition which is only 22 rounds long, it is of vital importance to start the season off on the right foot. The worst thing to happen, is to be chasing our tails and results from early on.

So, it all gets under way this Sunday Afternoon, March 1, as we host last season’s Minor Premiers the Wollongong Wolves at Belmore Sports Ground, Kick-Off at 4pm.


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.