Who cares if they hate us, say FFA Cup bolters South Melbourne

FFA Cup semi-finalists South Melbourne aren't planning on reining in the brash and brazen approach which has made them a club many love to hate, insisting it creates "competitive tension".

South Melbourne

South Melbourne celebrate their FFA Cup quarter-final win over Gold Coast Source: Getty Images

The proud four-time NSL champions have ruffled the feathers of long-time adversaries, and collected a few new detractors along the way, during a frantic headline-grabbing campaign to become the next cab off the rank in an expanded A-League.

They can create history by becoming the first NPL team to reach the FFA Cup decider should they beat Sydney in front of anticipated crowd in excess of 10,000 at their Lakeside Stadium base on Wednesday week.

Yet not every neutral in the land is necessarily in the corner of the club who divide opinions and don't mind stirring controversy.

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"We have a deep history and that has created a lot of competitive tension down the years," said South's A-League bid boss Bill Papastergiadis.

"That's what the game needs. What we have to strive to do is to get football into everyday conversation.

"The last thing people want to is play dead rubbers against teams that don't draw any passion.

"Not everybody has to love us ... respect is a lot more important, and being honest and fair.

"We are respectful to all our opponents. That's where we're coming from - but people clearly don't have to love us."



While South's audacious approach to spruiking their A-League credentials have been condemned by some in the court of social media, Papastergiadis sees the fire and brimstone that often rages around the club as "part of the discourse".

"We have to accept (criticism) as part of the game, it's part of the discourse," he declared.

"Any club worth its salt around the world gets similar treatment, I would have thought.

"We also trying to create a bit of a narrative and that on its own creates some competitive tension in the football market.

"We expect that, that's fine. We want to be part of the football fabric in this country.

"That's the story, not just about South Melbourne but about creating aspirational football throughout the country.

"The real story is about trying to do better ... we welcome people having an opinion and expressing themselves, whether they are for us or against us."

The clash against the Sky Blues offers the chance to further highlight South's A-League claims in front of a nationwide cable TV audience.

"It's the best opportunity for us on the national stage since the demise of the NSL," added Papastergiadis.

"We had a conversation with (coach) Chris Taylor prior to the season, and we said: 'look in the last three or four years you have won the state title twice and been minor Premier once, but we need to go deep in the FFA Cup this year'.



"We couldn't ask for any more than to have made the semi-final of a national competition which some 800 teams entered.

"This match gives us a great opportunity to showcase the club, our support base and the $3 million social club we have built.

"We operate on the fraction of the budget of Sydney and our players are up against some serious firepower."


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3 min read
Published 29 September 2017 at 1:09pm
By Dave Lewis