Tuesday, 10 January 2017

TSP's top 10 tennis players

From Christmas until just after the Australia Day fireworks give somebody the shits in the middle of their service it's time to pay close attention to a sport that we give chuff all to the other 46 weeks a year.

I could have been a tennis player, if not for the fact that I was completely shit at it. Like cricket where trying to hit every single ball for six always seemed to backfire I just wasn't made for a sport where concentration and precision was required - and wasn't going to practise a killer serve to compensate. Roped into playing some rock bottom level of junior competition I was roughly 0-20 in singles and 1-19 in doubles over two seasons - and even the doubles win was because my partner did all the work.

Eventually on a morning where health and safety regulations hadn't yet been invented we were told to keep playing in 40 degree temperatures at 10am, and finally realising that wasn't going to be the sport for me I smashed my racquet around the net pole and walked off. Surely no 15-year-old has ever enjoyed a better exit to their sporting dreams. If you double those two fruitless seasons with my competition table tennis career 15 years later my overall singles record was about 2-50. It's enough to give you a complex.

So hail then to these legends of the court, who controlled themselves long enough to win a motza in prize money.

Apologies: Michael Chang for the underarm serves in that French Open, Yannick Noah for the hair, to all of Jaime Yzaga, Anna Smashnova and Ludmilla Richterova for their names, Firey Fred Stolle for the commentary and to Pam Shriver for her epic acting in an 80s Kraft Singles ad that has regrettably been removed from YouTube.

Contemporary female winner: Andrea Petkovic
Basically these days grit and success won't do, it's a case of give me gimmicks or GTFO.


Honourable mention: Damir Dokic
Not a player, but what a titanic figure in the early 90s. Did lots of suspect things and cracked the shits over the quality of catering at Flushing Meadow but he provided a proper villain for the world to rally around - and tennis has rarely been more exciting. At least appearing on this list doesn't earn him a sweet pay day, unlike say Kia making him the face of their ads. For all the good 'social media' has provided us (e.g. the chance to instantly comment on how shit ads are) it also means the fear of backlash will stop companies from ever appointing such a wacky spokesman ever again.



10. Nick Kyrgios


Speaking of villains I was initially aghast at this guy's over the top behaviour and tantrums. Then I realised that he's not playing the tour to represent Australia and that it matters not a jot to me whether his natural talent is "wasted" or not and started to enjoy his provocative gimmick. Let's stop carrying on like we're the All England Club and are trying to protect the sanctity of tennis, his on and off tag team with Bernard Tomic has been the only thing keeping up interest in this sport outside of December. We should embrace it.

If you were writing it as a wrestling storyline (and if you think about everything that happens in the world like a sports entertainment angle your life will be enhanced) he'd have a bust up with Tomic and agree to become Lleyton Hewitt's protege. For a while things would be nice, and Bernie would seen as the bad guy while people gushed over Nick's reformation under Lleyton's wing. Then they'd both be picked for a Davis Cup tie, the other members of the team would be injured during the weekend and force them to play doubles together. Then just before the match starts they'd have a tense 'strategy' session with the coach which would lead to them both turning on him, wrapping a racquet in a flag before smashing it and walking off laughing as Australia loses by default to the Central African Republic. This inspires Hewitt to launch a comeback, and after a few months of vigorous training and taunting from the dynamic duo they play the greatest exhibition match since Bobby Riggs vs Billie Jean King in the middle of the MCG in front of 100,000 people.

Or he could just go to a sports psychologist and emerge dancing down the street like a Hare Krishna. But if he does he won't still be on this list in a year.

9. Petr Korda

As a thin, weedy, pale child there was something thrilling about watching a man of similar stature (but with the added bonus of being fit and healthy) make millions of dollars as a sportsman. There was also an element of this to Wayne Ferreria and Wayne Arthurs as well, but at least both of them looked healthy - this guy appeared as if he was battling malaria.

It was even more impressive that he'd do well in Australia given that he a) looked likely to die at any minute and b) would often wear one of those hats with a flap at the back that's mandatory for primary school children. If you believe Marcelo Rios he may have had some assistance in battling through the oppressive January heat.

8. Patty Schnyder

I was a big fan of her large, charismatic hair and she fit right into my world view of players who might make the semi final of the French Open but would need their opponent to die on court if they were any chance of going further.

She was also quite angry, cracking the shits in an email to the WTA Tour comparing the list of players given preferential treatment despite being outside the top 20 to handing wildcards to Michael Jackson and Donald Duck (neither of whom we think would have qualified for the women's tour, especially Donald and his controversial views on the wearing of pants). A further blowup came when she refused to shake Conchita Martinez's hand, and when asked about it in the press conference said:

I just wanted to look at her. I just wanted to stare into her eyes what I wanted to say to her and so I have to have the hand before and then I took it away.

What a legend. No wonder she was so angry, an 'alternative medicine practioner' who she'd fallen in love with convinced her to turn vegan and drink three litres of orange juice a day. Her parents later hired a private detective who specialised in deprogramming cult members to rescue him from Dr. Tennis. This worked so well that he not only rescued her but took his place - presumably with less orange juice. In 2011 the pair was reported to be 400,000 Euros in debt and they split in 2013 but at least she'll always her spot on this list.

7. Mats Wilander

First rose to world prominence by winning the 1982 French Open as an unseeded 18-year-old but didn't mean much to Australia until the Open moved to Flinders Park and the good players started to arrive. I first took interest in the sport in 1988, and my peak viewing years of Seven's Summer of Tennis (+ the Hopman Cup) coincided with his greatest successes on these shores. Many were distressed when he eclipsed Pat Cash 8-6 in the fifth set to win the championship, I said the best man won.

Even when I was that young he just looked like the kind of guy you'd like to hang out with. Compared to the more conservative, some may say boring Stefan Edberg, he was the rock and roll option in Swedish tennis just as their fans were riding the crest of a gigantic wave of public acclaim. Nothing says tennis in my youth more than Mats, a Ford sponsor sign and the sea green court that inspired Fremantle's 1995 playing strip.

In 1995 it was revealed that there were many splendid reasons to knock about with Mats as an adult, as he tested positive for cocaine. He had to return $290,000 worth of prize money after being busted, which makes it some of the most expensive gear ever consumed.

7. Boris Becker

Not only was he so elated at winning the 1991 Australian Open that he dashed straight through the carpark and on to Batman Avenue (risking being run over by the Route 70 tram in its pre-Citylink incarnation) before leaping in the Yarra, but years later found further fame by shagging a waitress in a broom closet. He later described the session as "just poom-bah-boom", but his luck ran out shortly after the boom and nine months later he found out by fax that there was a Boris Junior on the way. Now an email would drop and you'd know you were in trouble immediately, but imagine the look on BB's face as that piece of paper slowly made its way out of the machine while that awful clingy clangy telephone sound was adding to the confusion.

That was all good fun, but this is the real reason he's cracked the top 10. Welcome to the madhouse Boris. To top it all off he went to a game and we lost to the bottom placed side *thumbs up*.
5. Gigi Fernandez and Natasha Zvereva

This has nothing - I repeat nothing - to do with the time Zvereva celebrated victory at the Australian Open by flashing her bra to the crowd. They just seemed like an effortlessly cool combination, with Gigi playing the straight woman (as it were) to the Belarussian's wildcard antics as they pocketed 12 Grand Slam titles between 1992 and 1997. Both won slam doubles titles with other partners, but I can only induct them as a team.

Post-Gigi there was more in store for Natasha. Early in her career she narrowly kept Australia's own Nicole Provis out of a French Open final before losing 6-0, 6-0 to Steffi Graf in 34 minutes - and at the end she teamed with the significantly less interesting Anna Kournakova in a losing effort against the Williams sisters before sticking her arms in the air and flipping the crowd off.

4. Martina Hingis

A quick look through my sporting history shows that I'm unlikely to pick a winner. Of the many and varied teams that I follow the only major titles I've ever seen are the 1995 World Series and 2005 NRL. I expected that something exciting would happen in 2015, but no.

I'm not going to start claiming grand slam tennis tournaments in my collection but here's a success story I was backing right from the start. And let's not turn this into a "boo, sexism" incident where reporters are camping in my front yard but it had chuff all to do with tennis, and everything to do with being a horny 14-year-old who was madly in love. I managed to see her Grand Slam debut win against some jabroni called Jolene Watanabe, pretending to my mum that I wanted to watch for sporting reasons. Not long after she was off to centre court and off went any chance of her cracking onto some slightly younger munter from the crowd in glasses Elton John would have turned back for being too flamboyant.

What a low moment it was in my household when Switzerland were eliminated from the 1996 Hopman Cup after Marc Rosset broke his hand punching the wall. I may have cracked the shits and thrown things. By the time she started winning tournaments left, right and centre I was over tennis and onto silent teenage misery. Somehow I managed to miss the Grand Slam doubles tournament where she won in partnership with the aforementioned Natasha Zvereva, which was practically my dream combination.

In later years she turned out to be quite the party animal, becoming the third person on this list to have been nabbed for doping violations and the second who was alleged to have racked mad lines of coke. Also it seems that I may still be a chance.

3. Thomas Muster

Not only did he look like the tracksuit wearing villain in a tennis themed Die Hard movie, but the resume of my all-time second favourite male player speaks for itself:

- First Austrian to qualify for the ATP top 10
- Had to default a final in 1989 due to being run over by a pisswreck motorist shortly after the semi final
- Made a comeback courtesy of a special chair designed to let him keep practising while crocked
- Recovered to forge a grand career kicking the shit out of people on clay courts across the world
- Won the 1995 French Open
- Reached #1 in the world seven years after being run over
- Bonked the host of Australia's Funniest Home Videos
- Made a surprise comeback aged 43 and reached #847 in the world.

2. Gustavo Kuerten


How I wanted to be this guy in the mid to late 90s and early 2000s. The lady friendly looks, the zany outfits and a hometown called Florianopolis which could be the biggest shithole in South America for all I know but always sounded like the sort of place a Brazilian version of Batman would live.

The French Open of the 1990s was great for random winners that you never otherwise heard of, and Guga's surprise run to the title while ranked 66th in the world in 1997 fired my imagination. Like the obscure victories of Andres Gomez and Sergei Bruguera before him the victory went unnoticed by most clay-phobic Australian fans (too many troubling memories of having to drag that device around the court at the end of every set while playing on that shithouse fake clay stuff they love here?), but I was in an era where I'd stay up all night watching any old shit then wonder why I was no good at school so I was right across it courtesy of Channel 9. Fred Stolle was definitely involved, Ken Sutcliffe may have been as well.

He was never any good in Australia - never getting past the third round - and was only a quarter finalist elsewhere but on clay he was king. In my dreams there's a French Open final where he plays Muster at their peak.

1. Brenda Schultz

The late 80s were a great time to discover sports, and just as I got into following Melbourne I also discovered another mid-range contender who often threatened great things before winning fuck all. There's nothing on record to explain why I had such a fascination with Holland's #1 sporting export. It certainly wasn't for the same reasons as the person who uploaded the above photo to Wikifeet (!) as Brenda-Schultz-McCarthy-Feet-1764541.jpg

I think what attracted me to her (in a sporting sense you foot worshipping perve) was that in an era before Venus and Serena showed up and started blasting everyone off the court with power Brenda was the biggest server on the women's tour. It was most likely the 1989 season where she made the final in Brisbane and the fourth round of the Australian Open that hooked me in. There was little reward, she never won anything on our shores and seemed to hold out for a tournament in Quebec City where she won twice and played in the final once.

 As with most sporting choices in my life there was an element of the underdog about it. If you decided your favourite players were Steffi Graf and Ivan Lendl they'd be on TV every 10 seconds, if you were in the Brenda Schultz fan club there was genuine glee when she'd randomly show up - usually being beaten senseless by a top seed but that was enough. Patty Fendick and Amanda Coetzer fans must have felt the same way.

My childhood memories of summer mostly revolve around being in this weird religious compound my grandmother would spend her days at where I'd first watch Open All Hours on Channel 7 and then whatever tennis tournament was on. What a rush you'd get when your favourite obscure players came on, and BS (later BSM after adding -McCarthy in a Dianne Fromholtz-Ballestrat style hyphenation by marriage) was my favourite.

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Weird sports shit you don't see enough of

For all the time we waste watching sports you have to admit that eventually it gets so tedious and normal that you just want something insane, stupid or unusual to happen. Here's to odd scenarios continuing to surprise us.

Outfield players in goal
The ultimate, now sadly ruined by the era of having an extra keeper on the bench. These days you really have to be unlucky and lose two keepers before some poor untrained bastard is given the gloves and ordered to try and keep the damage down as best possible.

Given that Ipswich Town once lost 9-0 at Old Trafford I'd say Vinnie Jones did surprisingly well to keep the damage to six on this day. I feel an affinity with his performance, because he's going about it exactly how I used to when our idiotic indoor soccer goalkeeper failed to turn up and I had to do it. Any shot at the legs or head high was dealt with well, but due to total lack of understanding about positioning all you had to do was aim your shot at my torso and I'd either go to water and let it in or unconvincingly parry into an oncoming player who'd gleefully smash it home.



Wicketkeepers bowling
As the #1 ticketholder of the Tim Zoehrer Fan Club it comes as no surprise that this would tickle my fancy. The added bonus is that you not only do you get an odd player rolling the arm over, but also its closely related cousin the unqualified wicketkeeper. What a tragedy it was when Matthew Wade had to go off the other day and the Australians had another keeper in the XI who could replace him. Speaking of Matthew Wade, here he is doing his best Tim Zoehrer impersonation.

Stay tuned until around the two minute mark when you can hear Chappelli say "that's bollocks, no way" in the background. Which will just have to make do until he can find a video of the time he was caught saying "fuck" live on air.


Fat men throwing touchdown passes
Usually the heavier the player the funnier the highlight is no matter what the sport, but what really brings this 346 pound man's successful throw to life is the dainty way he just rolls it over the top. And what's with the weird mascot that walks on to celebrate at the end? The team is the Chiefs and it looks like an alien.



Trying to exploit unusual and forgotten rules for a score
Speaking of American Football, there is a little used 'free kick' rule where if you catch a kick you can have a free ping at a field goal without being troubled by the opposition. Nobody's landed one since 1976 but it hasn't stopped a few visionaries from trying in the dying seconds of a half.

Here's one from 1980, because clearly everyone who has uploaded footage of one since then is so scared of the NFL suing them that they only show the kick and not the lead up. Drink it in. Obviously I've already given away that he misses, but hooray for the novelty. Listen carefully for somebody's 'disappointed' reaction in the background after it's flubbed.



For an added bonus see players drop-kicking the conversion for a laugh, and a one point safety that the commentators provide no regard for until it's called.

Defenders kicking goals
Admittedly it was an end of season game so free of spark that at one point North Melbourne fans spent five minutes booing the wrong player, but after 60 games without a goal here's Tom McDonald kicking two in a couple of minutes. The historical significance was so great (for me anyway) that chippy North fans tried to start an argument about it. I've suffered enough that the views of North fans no longer seem relevant.

It's what we want, players who you would never consider as attacking threats going forward and kicking a crucial goal. This was hardly Neil Crompton in the 1964 Grand Final but I liked it. See also the day full back of the century Stephen Silvagni plundered Fitzroy for 10.6.



Players scoring directly from a corner 
There's nothing like the joy/agony of the ball whipping in and somehow finding its way into the net, preferably untouched but we'll take a cheap deflection as it long as it means the iconic vision of a keeper trying to pin the blame on his defenders by holding his hands in the air like it's anyone's fault but his.

On this night the long suffering Australian national team took out 30 years of frustration by battering a bunch of hapless amateurs from American Samoa - it started with a goal from a corner and ended in a demonstration of what a great soccering power we were. Unfortunately when it came to playing competent, professional teams we weren't much chop. Which makes beating the snot out of American Samoa look a bit less impressive eh?



Commentators cracking the shits
These days commentator 'controversy' is reduced to whatever stupid shit Brian Taylor has just said, but back in the day of REAL COMMENTATORS you'd have people who carried enough weight and respect that they could do a quick editorial and you didn't want to climb through the TV and throttle them.



'At him' goals
Is there anything more painful than a keeper dandily messing about with the ball at his feet instead of either picking it up or thumping it as far down the ground as possible? No there is not. Unfortunately I can't find a video of the prime example of what I'm looking for, so instead here's Colombia's eccentric netminder Rene Higuita trying to execute a fancy turn in midfield during the 1990 World Cup and quite frankly fucking it up.



Goalkeepers scoring
Any keeper will do, even if it's the old Chilavert style howitzer free kick from halfway, but for importance and reaction you'll do well to beat Jimmy Glass on the last day of the 1998/99 season. With Carlisle United dead and buried at the bottom of the football league the on-loan keeper decided to have a go.

Watch not just for Jimmy's goal, but for the poor bastard Scarborough fans who are pictured celebrating prematurely before we cut back to them looking like they're about to die in agony. It got worse, the whole club went tits up less than a decade later. If he ever visits Jimmy may wish to book his hotel room under a false name.


Dunks that break the goal
No explanation necessary due to the exciting visual when they shattered the backboard glass. Roll on the hundreds of kids who crippled themselves trying similarly rim shaking dunks in the mid 90s.



Boxers doing an elaborate pre-match dance ritual...
... preferably before having their previously perfect record ruined by a journeyman battering them in the first round. I first saw this just before the 2007 Grand Final, and it was a great warm-up for what was about to happen to Port Adelaide.


Spectacular crashes which end without injury
Hooray for the safety of motor racing drivers, and as much as people secretly deep down want to see a big stack and damn the consequences what better result that it ending with the car still (sort of) going in a straight line.

That's what we got when Christian Fittipaldi, the rather less successful member of the family, at the 1993 Italian Grand Prix. On the last lap his Minardi teammate Pierluigi Martini tried to shut the gate on him in the high profile battle for seventh (back when you only got points for six, good work mate) and chaos ensued. The location of the crash and the perfect landing meant they were both credited with finishing the race. No doubt words were exchanged in the Minardi garage afterwards.



Violent fighters walking out to incongruous theme songs
I tried to get into UFC, but for every comedy knockout or an arm being torn from the socket there's 20 minutes of people rotating on the canvas. Give me the legalised rorts and pageantry of the pro wrestling game or GTFO.

The other reason I can't get excited to participate is that I missed the era where Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipović would trot out to Duran Duran shortly before kicking somebody's head off. Call me when somebody starts walking to the ring to Afternoon Delight.


Unqualified players attempting the conversion
Why in god's name is there no available footage of John Skandalis trying to land one at Balmain Oval in his last game for Wests Tigers (first stint) in 2006? He'd had a ping at one a few years earlier, but I wasn't there to see that live so it didn't count.

To make up for that oversight in the history of YouTube here's some British bloke having a similarly unusual bash from an obscure angle with surprising results. And is that the guy who calls the darts on commentary?



Darts players having a bust-up
... and speaking of darts you'd think that despite its pub origins any sport where the crowd are encouraged to come dressed as Postman Pat would enjoy an air of decorum. Alas no, there's so many angry dartists that somebody has helpfully done an 18 minute compilation of their great moments.



One day crowds acting the goat
One day crowds in general really, but preferably the 80s/90s edition where the odd racist banner was off-set with some of the most entertaining civil disorder in the history of sports. Regrettably no footage exists of the SCG crowd hurling a frozen chicken at Pat Symcox, so we'll have to settle for the iconic footage of Shane Warne being used as a human shield to try and stop the Melbourne crowd achieving a holy trinity of getting blind off smuggled alcohol, throwing shit in the air/on the field, being chucked out to the strains of "You're going home in the back of a divvy van".

Note Bill Lawry covering up for Victorians by suggesting the trouble is down to a 'small minority' when the entire bottom deck of a stand is participating. Isn't this what you went to ODIs for back then? Even when they played for a trophy that seemed to mean something when you were 12 the real thrill in going to these games was watching (and occasionally being drenched in) what went up with the wave. So a few people were covered in urine or had a bottle land on their head, there are worse things that could happen.



We'd like your suggestions on other obscure happenings that you'd like to see more of. Send your suggestions on a postcard to:

I LOVE WEIRD SHIT
GPO Box 999 in your capital city.




Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Confirming the obvious - 2016 a record year for celebrity deaths

So many well-known figures have toppled this year that as we approach December 31 people are almost willing more to cark it just for the narrative. But was 2016 really the worst year in living memory for famous people? As you may have gathered from the title of this post, yes.

We worked with scientists from the Ponds Institute to scientifically rank the Celebrity Death Impact of every year since 2000. By trawling the deaths section of Wikipedia's Year in Review pages we compiled the top 20 celebrity passings, assigned them a rating out of 10 based on their influence and gave 3, 5 or 7 shock points depending on whether the death was expected, plausible due to age/circumstances, or made us sit up and go "cor blimey, that's unusual".

Sometimes (as you will no doubt quickly realise) it was a struggle to find 20, sometimes there were a dozen contenders for the last spot - so if your favourite didn't get a mention you can be comforted by knowing they wouldn't have changed the overall score.

Your top 17 is as follows - and if there's any big names who I've missed please let me know and I'll reassess. Out of respect to the people involved we won't be revealing individual ratings. It should also be noted that not all the names considered were people that you'd necessarily want to keep alive, but who am I to tell you how to feel about Idi Amin?

P.S - Complaints on an envelope to PO Box 999 in your capital city.

17th place - 2000
Influence: 62
Shock value: 72
Total: 134 points

Deaths considered: Hafeez Al-Assad, Steven Allen, Don Budge, Sir Robin Day, Ian Dury, Sir Alec Guinness, Screaming Jay Hawkins, Reginald Kray, Hedy Lamar, Tom Landry, Kristy MacColl, Walter Matthau, Sir Stanley Matthews, Charles Perkins, Tito Puente, Jason Robards, Charles M Schultz, Pierre Trudeau, Yokozuna, Emil Zatopek

When I had to include a wrestler well known for using his incredible bulk to sit on people I knew this year was going to struggle. An overall lack of star power and shock value sees it finish at the bottom of the rankings by some considerable margin.

16th place - 2008
Influence: 61
Shock value: 68
Total: 139 points

Deaths considered: Cyd Charisse, Arthur C Clarke, Michael Crichton, Bo Diddley, Bobby Fischer, Estelle Getty, Jorge Haider, Isaac Hayes, Jesse Helmes, Charlton Heston, Sir Edmund Hillary, Eartha Kitt, Yves Saint Lauren, Heath Ledger, Bernie Mac, Paul Newman, Bettie Page, Sydney Pollack, Roy Schneider, Jorn Utzon

Despite significant top end talent like Heston, Hillary and Newman a sheer lack of volume made this our equal lowest ranking year for influence - which is pretty obvious when the guy who designed the Sydney Opera House qualifies for the top 20.

15th place - 2006
Influence: 69
Shock value: 74
Total: 143 points

Deaths considered: Syd Barrett, PW Botha, Gerald Ford, Pierre Gemayel, Saddam Hussein, Steve Irwin, Don Knotts, Freddie Laker, Floyd Patterson, Wilson Pickett, Augusto Pinochet, Gene Pitney, Anna Politkovskaya, Billy Preston, John Profumo, Ferenc Puskas, Aaron Spelling, Clay Regazzoni, Alfredo Stroessner, Shelley Winters

The top star power of Saddam Hussein, and the instance on dispatching him on December 30 instead of doing the Australian thing and skiving off until early January, was the saving grace of an otherwise weak year for influence. Dual assassinations and a rogue stingray provided our highest shock points score so far, but all in all a slow season.

14th place - 2012
Influence: 67
Shock: 78
Total: 145 points

Deaths considered: Neil Armstrong, Ernest Borgnine, Ray Bradbury, Dick Clark, Michael Clarke Duncan, Hal David, Phyllis Diller, Nora Ephron, Robin Gibb, Andy Griffith, Larry Hagman, Whitney Houston, Sun Myung Moon, Patrick Moore, Murray Rose, Vidal Sassoon, Yitzhak Shamir, Donna Summer, Gore Vidal, Mike Wallace

Even with a couple of influence headliners 2012 still scored equal fifth lowest out of all years, but even with fewer complete surprises the overall figure held up due to a lot of mid-range scores.

13th place -  2010
Influence: 60
Shock: 96
Total: 156 points

Deaths considered: Captain Beefheart, Manute Bol, Stuart Cable, Gary Coleman, Tony Curtis, Ronnie James Dio, Eddie Fisher, Michael Foot, Alexander Haig, Corey Haim, Dennis Hopper, Lena Horne, Lech Kaczynski, Malcolm McLaren, Alexander McQueen, Leslie Nielsen, Lynn Redgrave, JD Salinger, Jean Simmons, Joan Sutherland

With respect to the above this was the lowest year for influence rating, but they were lifted out of the bottom four due to several passings that we didn't see coming.

12th place - 2007
Influence: 67
Shock: 90
Total: 157 points

Deaths considered: Chris Benoit, Ingmar Begman, Benazir Bhutto, Joey Bishop, Jerry Falwell, Robert Goulet, Lee Hazlewood, John Inman, Evel Knieval, Norman Mailer, Marcel Marceau, Luciano Pavarotti, Charles Nelson Reilly, Anna Nicole Smith, Ike Turner, Kurt Vonnegut, Kurt Waldheim, Tony Wilson, Bob Woolmer, Boris Yeltsin

More star power in this group that 2010, but despite four top shock value ratings the number of unsurprising deaths leaves this year floundering in lower mid-table.

11th place - 2005
Influence: 76
Shock: 82
Total: 158 points

Deaths considered: Don Adams, Ann Bancroft, Ronnie Barker, James Callaghan, Johnny Carson, Robin Cook, John DeLorean, Rafic Hariri, Edwarth Heath, Peter Jennings, King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, David Lange, Arthur Miller, Pat Morita, Rosa Parks, Pope John Paul II, Richard Pryor, King Rainer III of Monaco, Hunter S Thompson, Simon Wiesenthal

With a diverse field containing two kings, a pope, a Nazi hunter, the guy who invented the Back To The Future Car and Mr Miyagi it's no surprise that this year scored what is to date our highest influence rating. Where it loses out is in shock value, with not one surprise ending to be had by the contenders.

10th place - 2002
Influence: 69 
Shock: 90
Total: 159 points

Deaths considered: Milton Berle, Rosemary Clooney, James Coburn, John Entwistle, Pim Fortuyn, Richard Harris, Thor Heyerdahl, Stephen Jay Gould, Jam Master Jay, Wayon Jennings, Chuck Jones, Peggy Lee, Linda Lovelace, Princess Margaret, Spike Milligan, Dudley Moore, Queen Mother, Dee Dee Ramone, Davey Boy Smith, Ted Williams

A light on year for influence given a significant kick along by a pair of royals and several out of the blue dismissals.  Respectable mid-table finish given that I was scraping for a top 20 and had to include both dog related figures Davey Boy Smith and Linda Lovelace.

9th place - 2009
Influence: 61
Shock: 100
Total: 161 points

Deaths considered: Corazon Aquino, Bea Arthur, JG Ballard, David Carradine, Walter Cronkite, Dom DeLuise, Farrah Fawcett, John Hughes, Michael Jackson, Maurice, Jarre, Jack Kemp, Ted Kennedy, Al Martino, Patrick McGoohan, Les Paul, Natasha Richardson, Bobby Robson, Patrick Swayze, John Updike, Abdurrahman Wahid

A year that finished equal second last on influence alone is nearly boosted into the top eight courtesy of its equal first shock rating. Surprise passings, including Michael Jackson and that guy out of Kill Bill in a potential stranglewank scenario pushed this year higher than it would have gone on merit alone.

8th place - 2004
Influence: 75
Shock: 94
Total: 169 points

Deaths considered: Yasser Arafat, Marlon Brando, Laura Branigan, Ray Charles, Eddie Charlton, Brian Clough, Rodney Dangerfield, Jacques Derrida, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Rick James, Stieg Larsson, Janet Leigh, Marco Pantani, John Peel, Queen Juliana of the Netherlands, Johnny Ramone, Tony Randall, Ronald Reagan, Harold Shipman, Theo van Gogh

Welcome to the top eight, where things really start heating up. After a tight mid-table tussle this year left a surprisingly large gap to ninth, with Reagan bringing the star power and a number of surprise passings both accidental and otherwise providing much needed shock points. Wasn't much of a year for volume but ended up putting in a decent overall showing.

7th place - 2001
Influence: 77
Shock: 94
Total: 171 points

Deaths considered: Aaliyah, Douglas Adams, Michele Alboreto, Chet Atkins, Christiaan Barnard, Sir Donald Bradman, Perry Como, Morton Downey Jr, Dale Earnhardt, George Harrison, John Lee Hooker, Lauren-Desire Kabila, Pauline Kael, Ken Kesey, Stanley Kramer, Jack Lemmon, Robert Ludlum, Anthony Quinn, Joey Ramone, Joan Sims.

Remember this year? I don't due to barely ever going outside. Thankfully I had an internet connection, otherwise I'd a) have had to go outside and b) might not have known that these people had passed away. In a consistent year for influence a few surprise dispatches lift this one to its lofty heights.

Equal 5th place - 2015
Influence: 86
Shock: 91
Total: 177 points

Deaths considered: Jules Bianchi, Cilla Black, Ron Clarke, Wes Craven, Anita Ekberg, Malcolm Fraser, Lesley Gore, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, BB King, Lee Kuan Yew, Lemmy, Jonah Lomu, Patrick Macnee, Leonard Nimoy, Maureen O'Hara, Terry Pratchett, Ruth Rendell, Omar Sharif, Percy Sledge, Rod Taylor, Scott Weiland.

Remember back to an era where celebrities never passed away and... oh, it was just 12 month ago when we were on the verge of the top four. Try telling the people listed above that 2016 was a worse year (spoiler - you won't get very far).

Equal 5th place - 2013
Influence: 79
Shock: 98
Total: 177 points

Deaths considered: Ronnie Biggs, JJ Cale, Hugo Chavez, Tom Clancy, Ray Dolby, David Frost, James Gandolfini, George Jones, Nelson Mandela, Ray Manzarek, Cory Monteith, Tommy Morrison, Ken Norton, Peter O'Toole, Lou Reed, Mel Smith, Jean Stapleton, Margaret Thatcher, Rafael Jorge Videla, Paul Walker

This study is not like a music festival, you can't get away with a couple of massive headliners if the rest of the lineup isn't pulling their weight. Neither was 2013's case helped by the complete lack of surprise at some of the big name passings. Still, a strong effort and worthy of its top five finish even if I had to scrape for a 20th man and ended up including the guy who played Tommy Gunn in Rocky V.

4th place - 2003
Influence: 92
Shock: 92
Total: 184

Deaths considered: Idi Amin, Charles Bronson, June Carter Cash, Johnny Cash, Marc Vivien-Foe, Maurice Gibb, Curt Hennig, Katherine Hepburn, Bob Hope, Qusay Hussein, Uday Hussein, Elia Kazan, Herbie Mann, Robert Palmer, Gregory Peck, Nina Simone, Elliot Smith, Robert Stack, Barry White, Warren Zevon

The perfect balance of influence and shock, a worthy top four finish and a double chance going into the finals. Not the most star-studded cast considering the guy from Unsolved Mysteries and Mr. Perfect are playing the Clay Sampson style role of accidental premiership players but consistency the key.

3rd place - 2014
Influence: 88
Shock: 98
Total: 186 points

Deaths considered: Maya Angelou, Richard Attenborough, Lauren Bacall, Jack Brabham, Sid Caeser, Joe Cocker, Eusebio, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Bob Hoskins, Casey Kasey, Rik Mayall, Harold Ramis, Mickey Rooney, Ariel Sharon, Eduard Shevardnadze, Shirley Temple, Ultimate Warrior, Gough Whitlam, Robin Williams, Bobby Womack.

Oh so close for a year that took its fair share of victims but has been forgotten in the wake of people telling 2016 to fuck off and die. Certainly not the highest influence, but the shock value of a few completely random demises leaves it on the podium.

2nd place - 2011
Influence: 90
Shock: 98
Total: 188 points

Deaths considered: Seve Ballesteros, Osama Bin Laden, Nate Dogg, Peter Falk, Betty Ford, Joe Frazier, Muammar Gadaffi, Vaclav Havel, Gil-Scott Heron, Steve Jobs, Kim Il-Jong, Sidney Lumet, Pete Postlethwaite, Gerry Rafferty, Jane Russell, Ken Russell, Randy Savage, Gary Speed, Elizabeth Taylor, Amy Winehouse

The mastermind behind 9/11, a pair of brutal dictators and the guy who did Stuck In The Middle With You together at last. I suspect Gerry would sit on the bench next to Nate Dogg for most of the day in a cast like this, with well known players on every line. All 20 players made a positive contribution to the score in one way or another, and we'll be forwarding a silver medal on to all their next of kin.

1st place - 2016
Influence: 106
Shock: 88
Total: 194 points

Deaths considered: Muhammad Ali, Boutrous Boutros-Ghali, David Bowie, Fidel Castro, Leonard Cohen, Johan Cruyff, Carrie Fisher, Glenn Frey, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Merle Haggard, Joao Havelange, Harper Lee, George Martin, George Michael, Arnold Palmer, Shimon Peres, Prince, Nancy Reagan, Alan Rickman, Gary Shandling

And here we are, the year where seemingly the only celebrity who didn't kick it was the Grim Reaper himself. The strange thing is that even though 2016 thumped the influence level of all other seasons by a massive margin it almost lost due to lack of shock value - lower than the nine spots below it. Maybe everything just feels more shocking when it suddenly appears on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram simultaneously, but as much as you love a celebrity it's hard to call it a top shelf shocker when a 70-year-old who spent years having cocaine for breakfast pulls the plug.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Joining the Cartel: South Melbourne and the A-League

Let's not be too optimistic here (or pessimistic if that's your thing), the seas will rise and swallow the eastern seaboard of Australia before the FFA, A-League, the media and assorted shadowy figures will allow South Melbourne to rejoin the national competition. I've got a vested interest but it's not the worst idea in the world, years later they've finally realised that supercharged derby games are where the TV money is so why not bang a third team each in Melbourne and Sydney and start theatrically rolling around in money like Scrooge McDuck? Or you could put new teams in Hobart and Canberra just because and 3000 enthusiasts can get their rocks off while TV executives slash millions of what they'll pay for the rights and the rest of us die of boredom.

But before we get to the pros and cons of a return to what is almost universally considered "a return to the bad old days" the TL:DR story of how I came to take an interest.

My first exposure to football was through English first division highlights in the late 80s, and for the next few years I followed what was happening on the Monday night highlights show and via a permanent order for the latest Shoot! and Match magazines at the Tooronga Village newsagent (you know, the one that had the Rolling Thunder arcade machine which for some reason let you pick what level you started on). They were usually three weeks behind but that didn't matter, it was a new world where teams rose and fell on the strength of their performance rather than scraping along on the bottom for years on end because there was nowhere else for them to go.

Around 1993/94 I decided it was time to stop sitting on the fence and take interest in a particular, and for no better reason than them being the most unfashionable side in the top division I chose a long distance love affair with Wimbledon. Season 1996/97 was as good as it got, the season where we were the last team standing in the race for the treble before winning nothing but a start in the Intertoto Cup. It couldn't last, and by the end of the decade we were in permanent survival mode.

When the Dons slipped out of the EPL I expected they'd never return, and steadied myself for a life of following the club via the internet and the BBC World Service like the pre-Pay TV era. Due to some colossal unpleasantness they not only missing promotion back to the Premier League but were forced to reform in the ninth tier of the system. In most countries you live in hope of hauling your team up from the ninth level to the top flight, here if you're not in the big league you can only hope to boss a state competition. Whoopee.

In early 2002 the search for meaning in football took me somewhere I never thought I'd go. In my household the NSL was like the VFA, something you'd see the scores of and go "ooh, that's interesting" if a team registered an irregularly large thumping. The only time it ever registered with me was when the Greek dropkicks at school lied through their teeth when claiming to have been pivotal to the low level wild scenes at the '98 Grand Final. Didn't care, wasn't interested in anything happening domestically even after they introduced flavour of the month "broadbased" sides like Carlton or Parramatta who would go on to die unloved. But like a vulnerable person stumbling into joining a cult my distress at Wimbledon's plight led me to explore dangerous new territory. Or as it turns out actually quite safe territory.

My first game was January 18, 2002 at Bob Jane Stadium. It might have been media coverage over the re-signing of Con Boutsianis that led me there, I knew he was the guy who'd fucked up his big chance in Britain by agreeing to drive the getaway car for an armed robbery, and thrillingly despite the fact that he probably shouldn't have been playing as part of the agreement that facilitated his transfer from the lamentably named Football Kingz he scored the winner against them in the dying minutes. I don't remember the goal (certainly not as much as this one, still the best I've ever seen live) but it was reportedly a cracker so no wonder I was immediately hooked.

My first true love will always be the Melbourne Football Club, but this was something I could very much get into during summer. I knew very well how soccer worked and had been racially profiled more than once for championing it in the school ground over more 'Aussie' pursuits like clotheslining your classmates while playing British Bulldog. I'd hung off every goal from far flung English grounds for years but being there was different. The crowds were ordinary even by NSL standards but there was an electricity in the air that you didn't get at an AFL game. The atmosphere drew me towards people, to join in with the community. On the other hand an AFL crowd is something to be avoided by sitting as far back in a stadium as it takes not to get away from them. Even 10 years after the peak of my commitment to South I've probably still got more personal connections there than I do amongst Melbourne fans.

For the rest of that season and the next two years watching South gave me a rush that even Melbourne didn't. Maybe because I was into them but losses didn't ruin my life like Dees defeats did (before we just got used to them) it was less tense and therefore more fun. Maybe because my best mate and I could actually follow the same team for the first and last time.

People would be astounded that we'd be going to these games, expecting that non-Hellenes were not welcome and that we'd be ceremonially drowned in Albert Park Lake. But nobody there cared, in fact gave a shit. You'd get the odd look of contempt from some 15-year-old prick who was only there to try and crack onto chicks under the cover of summer but the general atmosphere could not have been more respectful to anyone who was willing to pay their money and respect the club's background.

I thought I was going to be some sort of trailblazer but there were a significant number of non-Greeks there, and there still is now even when the core constituency has largely abandoned the club. In later years I always found it amusing that the NSL would make everyone stand for the national anthem but the all-Australian "fit in or fuck off" A-League don't bother. Maybe it was just an epic troll by Soccer Australia but by the time I turned up it was well observed, nobody sat there with arms crossed trying to belt out a foreign anthem over the top.

It was watching sport for fun, with all sorts of ridiculous antics like the "Dental Plan! Curcija needs braces!" call and response chant that led to one fan to complain about how terrible it was that people were mocking his teeth, when really it was just because his name rhymed with Lisa and the constant mockery of Sydney Olympic - including this classic sacrilegious seasonal ditty lifted from one or 92 different English clubs:

Away in a manger
No crib for a bed
The little lord Jesus lay down and he said...

*dramatic pause*

Fuck off Olympic! *clap* *clap* *clap* *clap* *clap*
Fuck off Olympic! *clap* *clap* *clap* *clap* *clap*

There was the odd internal conflict but at least it never reached the level of Victory fans putting out pompous statements about how awful it is to follow the game in this country and how poorly they're treated. Incidentally their statements look a lot like what I used to write as a parody of supporter groups.
My favourite moment of the NSL seasons was when I'd somehow ingratiated myself to the point where I was involved in a supporter meeting with the "head of security" about a particular fan who'd been banned for some perceived naughtiness, and just as this clown was running through all the reasons why Mr. X would never be allowed back at South who should walk right behind him but the man himself. He's still going, the head of security didn't last the season.

Of course for all the good times like the 6-4 win over Sydney Olympic or beating Melbourne Knights away we all knew the league was going to be killed off sooner rather than later. That wasn't such a big concern, how could they leave out the best drawing side on the east coast? Quite easily as it turned out, but only pessimists saw that coming at the time. Maybe we should have seen it coming when questions at the AGM (usually about where the money from the FIFA World Club Championship went) would be answered quickly in English then the Greek translation would take about five minutes but nobody expected a full scale ethnic cleansing of the competition.

The article that labelled the NSL "the dead man walking of Australian sport" was right, but when it opened a story about 10,000 people watching a game against Parramatta I just expected that the good thing I'd stumbled upon was going to continue. Incidentally somebody nicked my primitive Nokia 3310 phone with a ridiculously large Snake II high score that night, so feel free to use that as evidence towards keeping South out when you're calling SEN talkback.

Right up until 2008 there were times when I felt like I preferred going to VPL games than the AFL, and that if any club was going to drive a wedge between the Dees and I that it would be South. Then the Dees went utterly tits up in a way that no other club has since Fitzroy (which you can read all about here sports fans), and as much as it sounds like a convenient excuse that crisis occupied all the energy I had for caring about sports.

I started to lose interest after the famous South vs Victory friendly in 2007, when our fans did everything they could to behave themselves (except one bloke who was running away from security for some reason and face-planted a locked 'automatic' door which he'd expected to facilitate his escape by sliding open) while the lot at the other end spent the evening ripping flares only to get in the car and hear a cavalcade of talkback callers moaning about how the ethnics had done it again and how this was proof of why they should never be admitted to the top flight. What was the point in going on against that?

Once the pipedream of that night opening the door for South to become Melbourne's second A-League team died my interest started to ebb away quickly. The travelling circus of playing village teams at shit grounds in a competition run by gibbons became progressively less attractive, and once I did what I thought I'd never do and first got married then had a kid my days of spending one half of the weekend on the Dees and the other half on Hellas were over. South in Summer would be far more convenient, but it's not going to happen.

I still hang on the results now, and the handful of times I've been to games in the last few years it still feels right to be there supporting the club but when you've got nothing to play for other than a state league trophy what's the point? If they shut off the English league at the EPL and left everyone else playing for the glory of winning The Championship would anyone bother? Not every team can be in the big time, but that's my fault for choosing to follow the biggest side in town for the first and last time ever. If I'd obstinately followed the Port Melbourne Sharks there wouldn't have been so many problems.

Ever so slightly to my shame 2007 was the first time I properly sampled the A-League. My bitterness had subsided just far enough that I'd developed fear of missing out and decided I had to go for somebody. I didn't mind the like, just still harboured a grudge against Victory and its fans so decided to sneakily cavort around with the newly formed Wellington Phoenix. I still watch them on TV but it's not the same, a loss doesn't affect me even remotely as much as a South one. The first time they ever played in Melbourne I tried to capture some of the same atmosphere by going to the pub with the fans beforehand but it offered nothing except a free ride to the ground in a minibus put on by the cops because they were spooked about fan violence after a Victory vs Adelaide dust-up before the last home game.

The people who really deserve to see South have their day in the sun again are the ones who have admirably hung on while the mentally weak like me dropped away. Maybe they don't want to be in the A-League, maybe they prefer the club's almost guaranteed survival at a lower level instead of a death or glory tilt at the top flight. Either way I'm not sure they'll say no if it happens, and they're what this should be about. If you're tempted to bang away at your keyboard or call the radio to lament how awful it would be to reopen the door to some mysterious spectre of violent behaviour maybe seek one of those people out and talk to them. Ask them why they never declared even a token interest in an A-League club, and why South is so important to them. Chances are they're not going to run you through with an ornamental sword for making a polite enquiry.

So if expansion is inevitable why not South? At least this time they're seemingly doing it under their own name instead of hiding behind ridiculous disguises like "South Pirates" or "Southern Cross FC" *vom*. Other than a pair of inflatable sauce bottles and a band belting out the Tetris Type A music they're probably better suited for being in the competition than Central Coast, and the aforementioned third leg of the Melbourne derby circuit will do a lot more for coverage of the competition than another thrilling clash between the Mariners and Newcastle which has no better basis for being hyped up than that they're connected by the same highway.

The same people who are deeply concerned about South slicing a few thousand off Victory and City's supporter base (and in the case of the latter, how will anyone be able to tell the difference?) are probably the same ones who'll clap like trained seals when a team is parachuted into Sydney's southern suburbs. So if that argument is unrealistic, and if we're all in agreement that the list of other reasonably safe expansion candidates in Australia is paper thin, what is there left to say no with? Why, tired cliches that haven't been relevant in the 21st century of course.

It's popular to rubbish the claims of any 'traditional' aspirants to a national league place with the claim that it will somehow turn the terraces into a multi-ethnic war zone that will require the intervention of UN peacekeepers. There's a strange political alliance promoting that view between "sack ALL foreigners" Herald Sun readers and the sort of people who spend 75% of the day arguing over the internet about how Australia is a terribly racist country.

I have no doubt that if South somehow got a start (and I bet you if a good old fashioned English giant owned by an international oligarch backed the bid the FFA would do a hammy trying to admit them as quick as possible) a few people would make dickheads of themselves and some outsiders would try and provoke drama to try and make them look bad but overall I don't see anything happening worse than say fans hitting each other with computer equipment, throwing chairs in the street, attacking innocent diners in a steak restaurant, planning to kidnap each other or just plain old punching on with security guards. The fact is that unless you've got Clive Palmer's golden touch and can crash attendances to near triple figures then every team is going to attract some percentage of dickheads. It's just a case of whether your agenda requires covering it up or screaming it from the rooftops.

The same people who almost have a stroke rushing to complain about these stories are a fix up by a pro-AFL/NRL media are often the exact same ones you can rely on for a "nah, we don't want to go back to the bad old days of the NSL" quote whenever the idea of a traditional club being admitted is raised. At least the rabidly anti-soccer people are honest in their hatred instead of being two faced gits.

Even if you do choose to believe that the introduction of a single club traditionally identifying with a single nationality is going to open the gates of hell then answer this. Who are they going to ethnically riot against? Have the Newcastle Jets recently been sold to a consortium from FYROM? Are Central Coast Mariners going to relocate to Northern Cyprus? No they bloody well aren't, so explain to me exactly how this is going to change anything other than by adding a team which will instantly be more relevant than Melbourne City in every aspect other than having owners with more money than brains.

In the meantime please compile a list of your all time top 'ethnic' riots. The way people speak about them they must have happened at every game, so it only goes to reason that you'll easily be able to reel off at least five absolute rippers. Here's your starter for 10 points...
Now that you've compiled a definitive list try removing any involving teams that weren't in the NSL when it closed down. Old mate swinging the suitcase is out, as is anything involving thinly disguised political parties like Footscray JUST or Preston. You'll still find a few but it's a cheap lie to try and pretend that it remained a scourge on the top level of the game until the old league was mercifully euthanised. Unless you count a team from New Zealand as 'ethnic' then in the last season of the NSL eight of the 14 teams were 'broadbased'. You could bring all the teams back right now and it wouldn't set off any more than the lowest level soccer panic alarm. It is a complete non-issue, but if you tell a lie long enough etc.. etc..

If I was going to argue against South for the A-League I wouldn't bother with the tired cliches, I'd point out that moving 10,000 people to Lakeside Stadium was a prick of a thing to do then and it would be again. Great news for the Route 12 tram, even better news for the City of Port Phillip whose parking inspectors will run riot fining people for illegally parking in suburban streets. It's a reasonable ground with an unreasonably small parking capacity. Not to mention a bright blue bloody running track between the stands and the pitch. Still, you'd play at Waverley Park if that's what it took.

The league can't go on forever with this same tedious handful of teams playing each other every six weeks. It will eventually expand, but that won't come as the result of any 'old' clubs being allowed in. That idea is the dictionary definition of 'too hard basket', and everyone involved at the top level will be so scared of the media screaming "I told you so" at the first sign of trouble that they'll be much more comfortable introducing Red Bull Geelong. Good luck to them I suppose, at least if Red Bull turn up with their millions of dollars that will be one team the league won't have to financially bail out when they get themselves into deep shit.

And if South somehow make it back I will respectfully disengage myself from the Phoenix and like an Oakleigh or Heidelberg fan I'll slink back in the side door and resume play like the last nearly 15 years didn't happen. Is Kristian Sarkies still poised to be the next big thing?

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Revisiting the Australasian Super League via Football Manager

Ever since Football Manager crossed over from the greatest series of computer games ever invented to a confusing ordeal that resembles one of those complicated Excel spreadsheets with formulas and VLOOKUP (?) my only remaining interest has been stuffing about with the database to see what kind of weird shenanigans I can pull off.

Previous projects include:
  • Tipping the English divisions on their head, moving all the League Two clubs to the Premier League, all the EPL clubs to League Two - the Championship and League One swap places and god help whoever is promoted from the Conference in the first season. Then we sit back and watch Accrington Stanley accidentally become international powerhouses while Man City slowly work their way up the table and Bournemouth run aground on the rocks because they can never escape the bottom division.
  • Bringing back East Germany, including the national team and splitting off all the eastern clubs into their own league
  • Creating a country from scratch with its own league structure
  • Running Victoria as its own country. The slightly more ambitious idea of breaking up all the states and abolishing Australia was a step too far before losing interest.
And today we return to my favourite idea, one that was recreated in every edition of the game for several years - the Australasian Superleague featuring every AU and most NZ sides in the game in one baffling 14 division megaleague.

I'm so jaded with the actual Football Manager gameplay that I haven't bought it since the 2015 version, and after looking at the new features available in the upcoming 2017 edition that's not going to change. $60 US for the introduction of a random Brexit simulation? I would not have thought so. So in this case it's back to 2014 era players.

Now, let's be fair here I'm not applying for a consultancy job with the FFA so obviously this couldn't happen in real life (well, maybe the first couple of divisions...). Other factors in play are that after about the third division none of the teams have any players, so you end up with entire squads full of relatively equal randoms. For this reason you never see a side storm up the league table from total obscurity into the top division - but now I'm intending to play for long enough that it might happen. I've also never found a good way for clubs to compensate lower division sides for pinching their players, they are usually valued at $0 so they're just pinched for free.

In the past I've found that for the first few years the league table is always original A-League teams, then everybody else below before the best of the state league sides eventually get up enough money and start developing youth players so that they can break into the top 10. Maybe I haven't played long enough but I've never seen a non original A-League side win the comp, Sydney United running second after a brave tilt was the closest I came to an upset.

Starting lineups for the 2014/15 season...

Hyundai A-League
  • Top two teams play off in a Grand Final
  • Bottom three relegated automatically
  • 17th plays off against 4th in B-League
1. Adelaide City
2. Adelaide United
3. APIA Tigers
4. Auckland City
5. Brisbane Roar
6. Brisbane Strikers
7. Central Coast Mariners
8. Marconi
9. Melbourne City
10. Melbourne Knights
11. Melbourne Victory
12. Newcastle United
13. Perth Glory
14. South Coast Wolves
15. South Melbourne
16. Sydney FC
17. Sydney Olympic
18. Sydney United
19. Wanderers FC
20. Wellington Phoenix

Hyundai B-League
  • Top three promoted automatically
  • Fourth plays off against 17th in A-League
  • Bottom two relegated automatically
  • 18th plays off against 3rd in C-League
1. Bentleigh Greens
2. Blacktown City
3. Bonnyrigg White Eagles
4. Brisbane City
5. Canterbury United
6. Croydon Kings
7. Dandenong Thunder
8. FNQ Heat
9. Green Gully
10. Heidelberg United
11. Hume City
12. Manly United
13. Oakleigh Cannons
14. Olympic FC
15. Perth SC
16. Rockdale City
17. Sutherland Sharks
18. Team Wellington
19. Waitakere United
20. West Adelaide

Fox Sports C-League
  • Top two promoted automatically
  • Third plays off against 18th in B-League
  • Bottom three relegated automatically
1. Adelaide Blue Eagles
2. Balcatta
3. Ballarat Red Devils
4. Bayswater City
5. Blacktown Spartans
6. Campbelltown City
7. Cockburn City
8. Hawke's Bay
9. Inglewood United
10. Northcote City
11. Para Hills
12. Pascoe Vale
13. Port Melbourne
14. South Hobart
15. St George Saints
16. Stirling Lions
17. WaiBOP United
18. Werribee City
19. Western Strikes
20. WT Birkalla

Westfield D-League
  • Top two promoted automatically
  • 3rd - 6th play-off in league format for promotion
  • Bottom four relegated automatically
  • 29th and 30th play-off with 4th and 5th of D1 League
1. Adelaide Comets
2. Adelaide Raiders
3. Armadale SC
4. Avondale Heights
5. Bankstown City
6. Box Hill United
7. Cumberland United
8. Dapto-Dandaloo
9. ECU Joondalup
10. FC Bendigo
11. FC Bulleen Lions
12. FFA COE
13. Floreat Athena
14. Fraser Park
15. Goulburn Valley Suns
16. Kingston City
17. Macarthur Rams
18. MetroStars
19. Moreland Zebras
20. North Geelong Warriors
21. Northern Tigers
22. Olympia Warriors
23. Parramatta FC
24. Preston Lions
25. Richmond SC
26. Rochedale Rovers
27. Sorrento FC
28. South Adelaide
29. Springvale White Eagles
30. St Albans Saints
31. Subiaco AFC
32. Sunshine Coast FC
33. Sunshine George Cross
34. White City

D1-League
  • Top three promoted automatically
  • 4th and 5th play-off with 29th and 30th from D-League
  • Bottom four relegated automatically
  • 29th and 30th play-off with 4th and 5th of D2-League
1. Altona Magic
2. Brisbane Wolves
3. Broadmeadow Magic
4. Brunswick City
5. Canberra FC
6. Cobram Victory
7. Dandenong City
8. Easts
9. Edgeworth Eagles
10. Fawkner Blues
11. FC Clifton Hill
12. FNSW Institute
13. Gold Coast Knights
14. Hakoah Sydney City East
15. Hills Brumbies
16. Lions FC
17. Mt Druitt Rangers
18. Murray United FC
19. North Pine Utd
20. North Star
21. Palm Beach
22. Peninsula Power
23. Pine Rivers
24. QAS
25. Redlands United
26. SASI
27. South Springvale
28. Southern Stars
29. Taringa Rovers
30. Toowoomba Raiders
31. VTC Football
32. Wanneroo
33. Western Knights
34. Weston Workers FC

D2-League
  • Top three promoted automatically
  • 4th and 5th play-off with 29th and 30th from D1-League
  • Bottom four relegated automatically
  • 29th and 30th play-off with 4th and 5th of D3-League
1. Adelaide Hills
2. Adelaide Olympic
3. Altona East Phoenix
4. Belconnen United
5. Bunbury Forum Force
6. Canning City
7. Capalaba
8. Cooma
9. Dianella White Eagles
10. Dulwich Hill
11. Frankston Pines
12. Glenorchy Knights
13. Hobart Zebras
14. Ipswich Knights
15. Kingsborough Lions
16. Knox City FC
17. Lake Macquarie City
18. Langwarrin SC
19. Launceston City
20. Launceston United
21. Mandurah City
22. Marlin Coast
23. Mitchelton FC
24. Modbury Jets
25. Mt Gravatt
26. O'Connor Knights
27. Olympic Kingsway
28. Playford City
29. Salisbury United
30. South Toowoomba Hawks
31. Souths United
32. Spirit FC
33. Tuggeranong United
34. Western Suburbs

D3-League
  • Top three promoted automatically
  • 4th and 5th play-off with 29th and 30th from D2-League
  • Bottom four relegated automatically
  • 29th and 30th play-off with 4th and 5th of D4-League
1. ANU
2. Ashfield FC
3. Burnie United
4. Canberra City
5. Canberra Olympic
6. Clarence Utd
7. Devonport City
8. Forrestfield United
9. Gosnells City
10. Gunghalin United
11. Hurstville FC
12. Ingham FC
13. Innisfail United
14. Malvern City
15. Metro FC
16. Morley Windmills
17. Morwell Pegasus
18. Mounties Wanderers
19. Myrtleford SC
20. Narangba Utd
21. New Town Eagles
22. Northern Rangers
23. Prospect Knights
24. Queanbeyan City
25. Queens Park
26. Riverside Olympic
27. Rockingham
28. Somerset
29. Sydney University
30. Ulverstone
31. Uni QLD
32. University of Tasmania
33. Whittlesea Ranges
34. Willowburn

D4-League
  • Top three promoted automatically
  • 4th and 5th play-off with 29th and 30th from D3-League
  • Bottom four relegated automatically
  • 29th and 30th play-off with 4th and 5th of D5-League
1. Altona City
2. Byron Bay FC
3. Caboolture FC
4. Camden Tigers
5. Centenary Stormers
6. Edge Hill Utd
7. Grange Thistle
8. Greenbank FC
9. Inter Lions FC
10. Joondalup Utd
11. K.S.S Jets FC
12. Kinsgcliff Wolves
13. Lalor Utd
14. Lara SC
15. Litchfield FC
16. Logan Village FC
17. Mackay Crusaders
18. Mackay Wanderers
19. Nambour Yandina FC
20. Noble Park United
21. Rebels FC
22. Ross River FC
23. Shamrock Rovers
24. Shell Cove FC
25. Southside Utd
26. Thornton Redbacks
27. Tweed United
28. United Warriors
29. West Preston SC
30. Western NSW FC
31. Westgate FC
32. Woden Valley
33. Wodonga Diamonds
34. Woombye FC

D5-League
  • Top three promoted automatically
  • 4th and 5th play-off with 29th and 30th from D4-League
  • Bottom four relegated automatically
  • 29th and 30th play-off with 4th and 5th of D6-League
1. Adamstown Rosebud
2. Annerley FC
3. Bluebirds United
4. Caloundra FC
5. Capricorn Coast
6. Casuarina FC
7. Central Queensland Mariners
8. Coffs Coast Tigers
9. Dandenong South
10. Darwin Olympic
11. Endeavour Hills
12. Falcons 2000
13. FC Strathmore
14. Frenchville
15. Hoppers Crossing SC
16. Hume United
17. Ipswich City
18. Jimboomba Utd
19. Kangaroo Point Rovers
20. Keysborough SC
21. Mareeba United
22. Newmarket SC
23. Northern Storm
24. Picton Rangers
25. Port Darwin
26. Shepparton SC
27. Singleton Strikers
28. Southern Branch
29. Surf Coast FC
30. Tatura SC
31. The Gap
32. Twin City Wanderers
33. Wide Bay Revolution
34. Wulguru United

D6-League
  • Top three promoted automatically
  • 4th and 5th play-off with 29th and 30th from D5-League
  • Bottom four relegated automatically
  • 29th and 30th play-off with 4th and 5th of D7-League
1. Ashburton Utd
2. Beaumaris SC
3. Belmore United
4. Brothers FC
5. Clinton FC
6. Cobram SC
7. Coolum FC
8. Darebin United
9. Ellenbrook United
10. Fortuna 60
11. Garuda FC
12. Hawkesbury City
13. Holland Park Hawks
14. Leichardt FC
15. Maddington White City FC
16. Melbourne Tornado Zadar
17. Moreland City
18. Northbridge FC
19. Oxley United
20. Park Ridge FC
21. Peninsula Strikers
22. Point Cook FC
23. Prospect United
24. Redcliffe PCYC
25. Ringwood City
26. Samford Ranges
27. Shepparton South
28. Sporting Whittlesea
29. St Kilda FC
30. Stratford Dolphins
31. Warragul United
32. Western Condors
33. Whittlesea United
34. Wollongong Olympic

D7-League
  • Top three promoted automatically
  • 4th and 5th play-off with 29th and 30th from D6-League
  • Bottom four relegated automatically
  • 29th and 30th play-off with 4th and 5th of D8-League
1. AC Carina
2. Across The Waves FC
3. Albany Creek Excelsior
4. Bingera FC
5. Brighton SC
6. Brisbane Knights
7. Buderim Wanderers
8. Caulfield United
9. Charlestown City
10. Corio SC
11. East Gosford FC
12. Enfield Rovers
13. Fremantle United
14. Geelong SC
15. Hellenic Athletic
16. Kawana
17. Logan Lightning
18. Mackay Magpies
19. Maroochydore FC
20. Melville City
21. Mindil Aces
22. Mornington SC
23. New Farm Utd
24. Nunawading City
25. Palmerston FC
26. Rowville Eagles
27. Shepparton Utd
28. Springvale City
29. Stanmore Hawks
30. Uni-Azzurri
31. USQ FC
32. West Griffith SC
33. Western Spirit
34. Yoogali SC

D8-League
  • Top three promoted automatically
  • 4th to 6th play-off with 29th and 30th from D7-League
  • Bottom five relegated automatically
  • 28th and 29th play-off with 4th and 5th of D9-League
1. Balmain Tigers
2. Bayside United
3. Booroondara Eagles
4. Brandon Park
5. Brisbane Force
6. Cairnlea
7. Coniston Lions
8. Croydon City Arrows
9. Derwent United
10. Gawler SC
11. Hampton Park United Sparrows
12. Hanwood FC
13. Joondalup City
14. La Trobe University
15. Melrose FC
16. Monaro Panthers
17. Monash University SC
18. Monbulk Rangers
19. North Caulfield Maccabi
20. North Sunshine Eagles
21. Northern Demons
22. Quinns FC
23. Rydalmere Lions
24. Slacks Creek
25. South Coast Utd
26. Southern Bulls
27. Southside Eagles
28. Spearwood Dalmatinac
29. Surfers Paradise
30. SWQ Thunder
31. Taroona FC
32. UWA-Nedlands FC
33. Waverley Wanderers
34. Westvale

D9-League
  • Top three promoted automatically
  • 4th to 6th play-off with 29th and 30th from D8-League
  • Bottom four relegated automatically
1. ACTAS
2. Bankstown Berries
3. Banyule City
4. Broadbeach United
5. Burleigh Heads
6. Casey Comets
7. Diamond Valley Utd
8. Doncaster Rovers
9. Eastern Lions
10. Fitzroy City
11. Geelong Rangers
12. Gladesville Ryde Magic
13. Heatherton United
14. Hurstville City Minotaurs
15. Keilor Park SC
16. Lambton Jaffas
17. Magic Utd
18. Maribyrnong Greens
19. Moreland United
20. Mudgeeraba SC
21. Murwillumbah FC
22. Northern Fury
23. NTIS
24. Port Kembla
25. Skye Utd
26. Sunbury United
27. Sydenham Park
28. Tarrawanna
29. Tasmania NTC
30. Valentine Phoenix
31. West Wallsend
32. Western Pride
33. Williamstown SC
34. Yarraville Glory

D10-League
  • Top three promoted automatically
  • 4th to 11th play off for promotion
1. AC Utd
2. Adelaide Cobras
3. Albion Park White Eagles
4. Berwick City
5. Bulli
6. Coomera
7. Cove FC
8. Cringila Lions
9. Doveton
10. Eastern United
11. Essendon Royals
12. Fernhill
13. Granville Rage
14. Hamilton Olympic
15. Mazenod Utd
16. Merrimac
17. Moggill FC
18. Moreton Bay Utd
19. Musgrave FC
20. Nepean FC
21. Nerang
22. Noarlunga United
23. Old Camberwell SC
24. Old Scotch
25. Pine Hills FC
26. Port Adelaide Lion
27. Seaford Rangers
28. South Cardiff
29. South Yarra SC
30. Southport FC
31. Sturt Lions
32. Swan United
33. Toronto Awaba FC
34. Western Toros
35. Wollongong United
36. Yoogali FC

In addition the cup competitions are as follows (in a previous version I had individual state based cups but bloody hell that was hard work, also I'm assuming the last two versions of the game haven't fixed the issue where you can't play a cup instead of pre-season games and teams end up playing about 10 games in 10 days)
  • FFA Cup (512 teams - all the above divisions + all the NZ lower leagues, the PNG league and the East Timor league)
  • Westfield D-League Cup (The 342 D-League sides in a knockout)
  • Australian League Cup (The 74 B-League, C-League and D-League teams in a knockout)
For the purposes of the simulation all the Asian leagues are turned on (with the exception of Singapore which won't work with this setup due to some obscure cup qualification rules) + England, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Spain and Wales.

End of season updates:

2014/15
  • A-League: Perth Glory d. Sydney FC (inc. Andy Keogh 38 goals for the year including two in the Grand Final)
    • Relegated - Melbourne Knights, Brisbane Strikers, Marconi
      • Adelaide City survived relegation playoff vs Hume)
    • Sydney United were the highest of the new teams, finishing 8th. Newcastle Jets the only old team to finish outside the top 10 in 11th.
    • Biggest transfer out: $1.1m Kutaiba Elrich from Sydney Olympic to Al-Ain
    • Biggest transfer in: $875k Shane Lowry from Leyton Orient to Sydney FC
  • B-League
    • Promoted - Team Wellington, Oakleigh Cannons, Rockdale City
    • Relegated -  Brisbane City, Manly Utd, Sutherland Sharks
  • C-League: 
    • Promoted - Bayswater City, Pascoe Vale, Campbelltown City. 
    • Relegated - Cockburn City, WT Birkalla, Ballarat Red Devils
  • D-League: 
    • Promoted - Dapto Dandaloo, Preston Lions, Parramatta FC
    • Relegated - Armadale SC, FFA COE, FC Bendigo, Avondale Heights
  • D1-League: 
    • Promoted - Lions FC, Palm Beach, Redlands United, SASI
    • Relegated - Weston Workers, Gold Coast Knights, Toowoomba Raiders, Fawkner Blues, Cobram Victory
  • D2-League:
    • Promoted - Capalaba, Ipswich Knights, Mitchelton FC, Adelaide Hills, Souths Utd
    • Relegated - Marlin Coast, South Toowoomba, Knox City, Launceston City, Hobart Zebras
  • D3-League:
    • Promoted - Sydney Uni, Canberra City, Uni QLD, Canberra Olympic, Gosnells City
    • Relegated - New Town Eagles, ANU, Narangba United, Hurstville FC
  • D4-League:
    • Promoted - United Warriors, Noble Park Utd, Thornton Redbacks, Altona City
    • Relegated - Greenbank, Grange Thistle, Lalor Utd, Woombye FC
  • D5-League:
    • Promoted - Keysborough, Bluebirds Utd, Southern Branch, Tatura
    • Relegated - The Gap, Wide Bay Revolution, Twin City Wanderers, Endeavour Hills
  • D6-League:
    • Promoted - Leichardt FC, Darebin Utd, Holland Park, Redcliffe PCYC
    • Relegated - PRospect Utd, Ashburton Utd, Ellenbrook Utd, Fortuna 60, Maddington White City
  • D7-League:
    • Promoted - Charlestown City, Mornington, Mindil Aces, Buderim Wanderers, Mackay Magpies
    • Relegated - Melville City, Nunawading City, Rowville Eagles, West Griffith, New Farm Utd
  • D8-League:
    • Promoted - SWQ Thunder, Southern Bulls, Surfers Paradise, La Trobe Uni, Slacks Creek
    • Relegated - Monaro Panthers, Melrose FC, Monash Uni, UWA-Nedlands, Northern Demons
  • D9-League:
    • Promoted - Western Pride, Northern Fury, Hurstville City, Tasmania NTC, Yarraville Glory
    • Relegated - ACTAS, NTIS, Burleigh Heads, Lambton Jaffas
  • D10-League:
    • Promoted - Moreton Bay Utd, Western Toros, Nepean FC, Granville Rage
    • The worst team in the country was Essendon Royals with a 1.1.33 record and -103 goal difference.
  • FFA Cup:
    • Wellington Phoenix d. Marconi
    • Giant Killer - Macarthur Rams of the D-League to the quarter final
  • League Cup:
    • Rockdale City d. Blacktown City
  • D-League Cup
    • S.A.S.I d. Palm Beach
2015/16
  • A-League: Perth Glory d. Melbourne City for a second title in a row.
    • Relegated - South Melbourne, Oakleigh, Sydney United
      • Rockdale survived relegation playoff vs Bonnyrigg
    • After saying the new teams never get close to win anything 4th place APIA Tigers went within three points and six goal difference of qualifying for the Grand Final.
    • Biggest transfer out: $3.8m + part exchange for Nick Ansell from Victory to Malmo
    • Biggest transfer in: $1.2m for Hagi Gligor from Sydney to Central Coast
  • B-League
    • Promoted - Bentleigh, Hume, Heidelberg
    • Relegated -  Perth SC, FNQ Heat, Croydon
  • C-League: 
    • Promoted - WaiBOP United, Manly, Northcote
    • Relegated - South Hobart, Balcatta, Adelaide Blue Eagles
  • D-League: 
    • Promoted - Bankstown City, Springvale White Eagles, Palm Beach
    • Relegated - White City, Fraser Park, Box Hill Utd, Kingston City, Northern Tigers
  • D1-League: 
    • Promoted - Ipswich Knights, QAS, Pine Rivers United, FFA COE, FC Bendigo
    • Relegated - Hills Brumbies, Edgeworth Eagles, Southern Stars, Mt Druitt Rangers, Broadmeadow Magic
  • D2-League:
    • Promoted - Uni QLD, Fawkner Blues, Sydney Uni, Cobram Victory, Belconnen Utd
    • Relegated - Cooma, Launceston, Altona East, Glenorchy Knights, Adelaide Olympic
  • D3-League:
    • Promoted - Marlin Coast, Knox City, South Toowoomba, Hobart Zebras, Willowburn
    • Relegated - Whittlesea Rangers, Thornton, Noble Park, Ulverstone, Northern Rangers
  • D4-League:
    • Promoted - ANU, Narangba, Lara, Edge Hill, Ross River
    • Relegated - Southern Branch, Mackay Crusaders, Shell Cove, Bluebirds Utd, Litchfield
  • D5-League:
    • Promoted - Picton Rangers, Frenchville, Grange Thistle, Greenbank, Woombye
    • Relegated - Singleton Strikers, Darwin Olympic, FC Strathmore, Falcons 2000, Hume Utd
  • D6-League:
    • Promoted - Twin City Wanderers, Wide Bay Revolution, The Gap, Endeavour Hills, Whittlesea Utd
    • Relegated - Samford Rangers, Northbridge, Clinton, Mackay Magpies, Warragul Utd, Mindil Aces
  • D7-League:
    • Promoted - Fortuna 60, Prospect Utd, Ellenbrook Utd, SWQ Thunder, Maddington, Shepparton Utd
    • Relegated - Springvale City, Logan Lightning, La Trobe Uni, Albany Creek, Kawana, Geelong SC
  • D8-League:
    • Promoted - Western Pride, West Griffith, Northern Fury, Coniston Lions, Melville City, Cairnlea
    • Relegated - Spearwood Dalmanatic, Bayside Utd, Brisbane Force, Monbulk, Taroona, Hampton Park
  • D9-League:
    • Promoted - Northern Demons, Monash Uni, Monaro Panthers, UWA-Nedlands, Melrose, Maribyrnong
    • Relegated - Geelong Rangers, Keilor Park, Eastern Lions, Banyule City
  • D10-League:
    • Promoted - ACTAS, Burleigh Heads, NTIS, Lambton Jaffas
    • The worst team in the country was Wollongong United with 3.6.26 and -70 goal difference 
  • FFA Cup:
    • Wellington Phoenix d. Adelaide United
    • Two in a row for the FFA Cup specialists. No real giant killing runs worth mentioning
  • League Cup:
    • Bentleigh Greens d. Olympic FC
  • D-League Cup
    • FNSW Institute d. Western Pride
    • Two in a row for state academy 
2016/17
  • A-League: Perth Glory d. Melbourne City for their third straight title.
    • Relegated - Sydney Olympic, APIA Tigers (a year after almost making the Grand Final), Hume City
      • Bentleigh Greens survived playoff vs South Melbourne after coming from two goals down)
      • (Brisbane Roar survived with a run of wins in the last few games after being a mile in the hole)
    • Highest placed 'new' team - Auckland City - 5th
    • Biggest transfer out: $1.9m - Nicolao Dumitru - Melbourne Victory to Millwall 
    • Biggest transfer in: $1.5m - Luke DeVere - Brisbane Roar to Sydney
  • B-League
    • Promoted - Pascoe Vale, West Adelaide, Bayswater City.
    • Relegated - Bonnyrigg, Dandenong Thunder, WaiBOP
  • C-League: 
    • Promoted - FNQ Heat, Palm Beach, Preston Lions
    • Relegated - Stirling Lions, Inglewood United, Western Strikes
  • D-League: 
    • Promoted - St Albans Saints, Macarthur Rams, SASI
    • Relegated - Subiaco AFC, FFA COE, Pine Rivers, Olympia Warriors, South Adelaide
  • D1-League: 
    • Promoted - Uni QLD, Taringa Rovers, Altona Magic, White City, Souths Utd
    • Relegated - North Pine Utd, Mitchelton FC, Peninsula Power, Brisbane Wolves, Murray United
  • D2-League:
    • Promoted - Canberra Olympic, Canning City, Kingborough Lions, Western Suburbs, Gold Coast Knights
    • Relegated - South Toowoomba Hawks, Southern Stars, Gosnells City, Broadmeadow Mgaic, Lake Macquarie City
  • D3-League:
    • Promoted - Launceston CIty, Altona East Phoenix, Narangba United, Edge Hill, Mounties Wanderers
    • Relegated - Myrtleford, Burnie Utd, Ingham, Uni Tasmania, Metro FC
  • D4-League:
    • Promoted - Woombye, Camden Tigers, Inter Lions, Frenchville, Noble Park Utd
    • Relegated - Wodonga Diamonds, West Preston, Keysborough, KSS Jets, Shamrock Rovers
  • D5-League:
    • Promoted - Whittlesea Utd, Litchfield FC, Caloundra FC, Twin City Wanderers, Central Queensland Mariners
    • Relegated - Port Darwin, Dandenong South, Holland Park, Darebin United
  • D6-League:
    • Promoted - Darwin Olympic, Shepparton Utd, SWQ Thunder, Stratford Dolphins
    • Relegated - Brothers FC, Point Cook, Gardua, Wollongong Olympic, Charleston City, Buderim Wanderers
  • D7-League:
    • Promoted - Northern Fury, Western Pride, Samford Ranges, West Griffith, Brighton, Coniston
    • Relegated - Maroochydore, Hellenic Athletic, Across The Waves, Slacks Creek, Enfield Rovers, AC Carina
  • D8-League:
    • Promoted - Nunawading City, Albany Creek Excelsior, Monash Uni, Kawana, Logan Lightning, Balmain Tigers
    • Relegated - Yarraville Glory, Maribyrnong Greens, Rydalmere Lions, Derwent Utd, Waverley Wanderers
  • D9-League:
    • Promoted - ACTAS, Monbulk Rangers, NTIS, Lambton Jaffas, Taroona FC
    • Relegated - Diamond Valley Utd, Tarrawanna, Moreland Utd, Sydenham Park
  • D10-League:
    • Promoted - Keilor Park, Cove FC, AC Utd, Eastern Lions
    • 36th - Southport FC with 5.9.21 and -47
  • FFA Cup:
    • Sydney FC d. Melbourne City
    • No worthwhile giant killing
  • League Cup:
    • Uni Queensland (D1) d. Grange Thistle (D4)
  • D-League Cup
    • Manly United (BL) d. Canterbury United (BL)
2017/18
  • A-League: Central Coast Mariners d. Melbourne City on penalties (poor old Kenny Lowe won three titles in a row then got the arse when Perth finished 7th)
    • Relegated - Team Wellington, Pascoe Vale, Bentleigh
      • Bayswater City survived playoff vs Oakleigh
    • Highest placed 'new' team - Rockdale City - 5th
    • Biggest transfer out: $51k - Aleksandar Radovanovic from Adelaide Utd to Backa
    • Biggest transfer in: $1.1m - David Browne from Auckland City to Brisbane and Rostyn Griffiths from Perth Glory to Sydney
  • B-League
    • Promoted - APIA Tigers, Hume City, Marconi
    • Relegated - Preston, FNQ Heat, Palm Beach
  • C-League: 
    • Promoted - WaiBOP United, Dandenong Thunder, Croydon Kings
    • Relegated - SASI, Springvale White Eagles, Hawke's Bay
  • D-League: 
    • Promoted - Redlands United, MetroStars, Ballarat Red Devils
    • Relegated - North Geelong, Floreat Athena, Adelaide Comets, Taringa Rovers, Balcatta
  • D1-League: 
    • Promoted - Olympia Warriors, Northern Tigers, Belconnen United, South Springvale, Hakoah Sydney
    • Relegated - Dandenong City, Kingborough, Clifton Hll, Wanneroo, Gold Coast Knights
  • D2-League:
    • Promoted - Mitchelton FC, Brisbane Wolves, Hills Brumbies, Dulwich Hill, Altona East
    • Relegated - Mounties Warriors, Narangba Utd, Olympic Kings, Mt Gravatt, Mt Druitt Rangers
  • D3-League:
    • Promoted - ANU, Frenchville, Devonport City, Southern Stars, Noble Park Utd
    • Relegated - Rockingham, Forrestfield U, Riverside Olympic, Innisfail Utd, Malvern City
  • D4-League:
    • Promoted - Hurstville, Byron Bay, Thornton Redbacks, Twin City Wanderers, Myrtleford SC
    • Relegated - Tweed United, Westgate FC, Centenary Stormers, Tatura, Caboolture
  • D5-League:
    • Promoted - SWQ Thunder, Darwin Olympic, Newmarket SC, Hoppers Crossing, Adamstown Rosebud
    • Relegated - Keysborough, Bluebirds Utd, Northern Storm, Leichardt FC
  • D6-League:
    • Promoted - Northern Fury, Western Pride, Sporting Whittlesea, Samford Rangers
    • Relegated - Shepparton South, Belmore United, Melbourne Tornado, FC Strathmore, Coolum FC, Park Ridge FC
  • D7-League:
    • Promoted - Nunawading, Uni-Azzurri, Yoogali, Charlestown, Logan Lightning, Melville City
    • Relegated - Surfers Paradise, Garuda FC, Caulfield Utd, Point Cook FC, Corio SC, Bingera FC
  • D8-League:
    • Promoted - Lambton Jaffas, New Farm United, La Trobe Uni, Hellenic Athletic, AC Carina, Monaro Panthers
    • Relegated - Hanwood FC, North Caulfield, Joondalup City, Maroochydore, Quinns FC
  • D9-League:
    • Promoted - Waverley Wanderers, Spearwood Dalmatinac, Brisbane Force, Rydalmere Lions, Maribyrnong
    • Relegated - Port Kembla, Skye Utd, Sunbury Utd, Broadbeach Utd
  • D10-League:
    • Promoted - Sydenham Park, Adelaide Cobras, Bulli, Mazenod Utd
    • 36th - South Yarra with 8.10.17 and -12
  • FFA Cup:
    • Newcastle Jets d. Rockdale City
    • Blacktown Spartans (C-League) made the quarter finals.
  • League Cup:
    • FNQ Heat (B-League) d. APIA Tigers (B-League)
  • D-League Cup
    • FNSW Institute (D1) d. Subiaco (D1)
2018/19
  • A-League: Melbourne City d. Perth Glory on a 25-yard free kick stunner at 121:32.
    • Relegated - Marconi, Rockdale, Hume City, Bayswater
      • Oakleigh won playoff to replace Marconi
    • Highest placed 'new' team - APIA Tigers - 9th
    • Biggest transfer out: $1.2m - Lee Ki-Je - Newcastle Jets to Sydney FC
    • Biggest transfer in: $275k - Brett Pitman - Sydney FC to Brentford
  • B-League
    • Promoted - Pascoe Vale, Green Gully, Sydney Olympic, Oakleigh
    • Relegated - Dandenong Thunder, Canterbury Dragons, Croydon Kings
  • C-League: 
    • Promoted - FNQ Heat, Bonnyirgg, Parramatta FC
    • Relegated - Macarthur, Redlands, Dapto-Dandaloo
  • D-League: 
    • Promoted - Hawke's Bay, Hakoah Sydney, Stirling Lions
    • Relegated - White City, WT Birkalla, Inglewood Utd, Belconnen Utd, ECU Joondalup
  • D1-League: 
    • Promoted - Fraser Park, North Geelong, FNSW Institute, VTC Football, Western Knights
    • Relegated - Mitchelton, South Adelaide, Capalaba, Canberra Olympic
  • D2-League:
    • Promoted - Frenchville, North Pine Utd, Langwarrin SC, Playford City
    • Relegated - Mandurah City, Devonport City, Edgeworth Eagles, Willowburn, Launceston City
  • D3-League:
    • Promoted - Cooma, Twin City Wanderers, Morwell Pegasus, Lara, Woombye
    • Relegated - Byron Bay, Altona City, Hurstville, Adelaide Olympic, Launceston United
  • D4-League:
    • Promoted - Ulverstone, SWQ Thunder, Innisfail, Southside Utd, Forrestfield Utd
    • Relegated - Uni of Tasmania, Newmarket SC, Whittlesea Utd, Western NSW, Malvern City
  • D5-League:
    • Promoted - Northern Fury, Western Pride, Coffs Coast, KSS Jets, Endeavour Hills
    • Relegated - Samford Rangers, Jimboomba Utd, Westgate FC, Shepparton Utd
  • D6-League:
    • Promoted - Nunawading, Unzi-Azzurri, West Griffith, Brighton SC
    • Relegated - Fortuna 60, Beaumaris SC, Yoogali, Port Darwin, Singleton Strikers, Mornington SC
  • D7-League:
    • Promoted - Mackay Magpies, Ashburton Utd, Lambton Jaffas, Clinton FC, Warragul Utd, Park Ridge FC
    • Relegated - Melbourne Tornado, Brothers FC, Belmore United, Northbridge, Southern Bulls
  • D8-League:
    • Promoted - Croydon City Arrows, Waverley Wanderers, Melrose FC, Garuda FC, Geelong SC
    • Relegated - Westvale, South Coast United, Enfield Rovers, Tasmania NTC, Gawler SC
  • D9-League:
    • Promoted - Granville Rage, Yarravilla Glory, Adelaide Cobras, Murwillumbah FC, Bulli
    • Relegated - Bayside United, Fitzroy City, Keilor Park, West Wallsend
  • D10-League:
    • Promoted - Old Camberwell, Cringila Lions, Coomera, Port Kembla
    • 36th - Yoogali FC with 4.13.18 and -21
  • FFA Cup:
    • Adelaide Utd d. Melbourne Victory
    • Biggest surprise were D6 Mornington City (who finished last in the league) riding a sweet draw through to the sixth round
  • League Cup:
    • Pascoe Vale (B-League) d. Northcote City (B-League)
  • D-League Cup
    • ANU (D2) d. Endeavour Hills (D5)
2019/20

I'm starting to realise there's no beating the original A-League teams. Other than the one season where the consistently strong APIA (other than the one year where they got relegated) got within striking distance of the Grand Final nobody can get near the top two. Similarly at the other end one original will always be around the relegation zone in December before powering away.

Now there's a class of teams that are too good for the B-League and not good enough for the A and will go down then come back up immediately, while traditional powerhouses like South Melbourne and Melbourne Knights have gone completely tits up and can't break back into the top flight.

We continue to press on in the hope of seeing something amazing happen over time.
  • A-League: Melbourne Victory d. Central Coast Mariners
    • Relegated - Oakleigh, Sydney Olympic, Pascoe Vale
      • West Adelaide survived playoff vs Hume City
    • Highest placed 'new' team - APIA Tigers - 6th
    • Biggest transfer out: $2.3m - Alessandro Crescenzi - Melbourne Victory to Bournemouth
    • Biggest transfer in: $1.3m - Brendan Smith - APIA Tigers to South Coast Wolves
  • B-League
    • Promoted - Rockdale City, Bentleigh Greens, Sydney United
    • Relegated - WaiBOP United, FNQ Heat
  • C-League: 
    • Promoted - Palm Beach, Werribee City
    • Relegated - Hakoah Sydney, Metrostars, Hawke's Bay
  • D-League: 
    • Promoted - Sunshine George, Bulleen Lions, Springvale White Eagles
    • Relegated - Fraser Park, Goulburn Valley Suns, Northern Tigers, Rochedale Rovers
  • D1-League: 
    • Promoted - Hills Brumbies, White City, Pine Rivers, Adelaide Hills
    • Relegated - North Star, Altona East, FFA COE, Fawkner Blues, Langwarrin
  • D2-League:
    • Promoted - Peninsula Power, Canberra Olympic, Spirit FC, Mitchelton FC, Weston Workers
    • Relegated - Lara, Gold Coast Knights, Noble Park, Bunbury Forum Force
  • D3-League:
    • Promoted - Willowburn, Gosnells City, Mt Druitt Rangers, Southside Utd
    • Relegated - Morley Windmills, Somerset, Olympic Kingsway, Camden Tigers, South Toowoomba
  • D4-League:
    • Promoted - Northern Fury, Endeavour Hills, Western Pride, Metro FC, Hoppers Crossing
    • Relegated - Litchfield, Hurstville, KSS Jets, Adamstown Rosebud
  • D5-League:
    • Promoted - Nunawading, Surf Coast, West Griffith, Wodonga Diamonds
    • Relegated - Caboolture, Mackay, Uni Tasmania, Stratford Dolphins, Whittlesea United
  • D6-League:
    • Promoted - Coniston, Ashburton, St Kilda, Warragul, Leichhardt
    • Relegated - Oxley, Park Ridge, Peninsula Strikes, Darebin United, Hawkesbury City, Bluebirds United
  • D7-League:
    • Promoted - Melrose, Brisbane Knights, Beaumaris, Kawana, Monaro Panthers, AC Carina
    • Relegated - Monash Uni, Mornington, Palmerston, East Gosford, USQ
  • D8-League:
    • Promoted - Granville Rage, Adelaide Cobras, Northern Demons, ACTAS, UWA-Nedlands
    • Relegated - Point Cook, Springvale City, Boorondara Eagles, NTIS, North Sunshine
  • D9-League:
    • Promoted - Cringila Lions, Maroochydore, Mazenod, AC Utd, North Caulfield Maccabi
    • Relegated - Hampton Park, Quinns FC, Bankstown, Heatherton United
  • D10-League:
    • Promoted - Noarlunga Utd, Banyule City, Wollongong Utd, Moggill FC
    • 36th - Eastern United with 6.12.17 and -18
  • FFA Cup:
    • Sydney FC d. Central Coast Mariners
    • Biggest surprise were C-League Preston into the quarter finals.
  • League Cup:
    • Northcote City (B-League) d. Rockdale City (B-League)
  • D-League Cup
    • Dulwich Hill (D1) d. Devonport City (D3)
We continue to press on in the hope of seeing something amazing happen over time.

2020/2021

Another year dominated by the originals. There were a three new sides in the top 10, but the closest any of the old A-League sides came to relegation was perennial disappointments Brisbane Roar finishing 15th, 11 points clear of the drop. There's a pattern every season where a couple of 'big' sides flirt with the drop in the first 10 games before doing just enough to pull away.

At least APIA becoming the first new side to win the cup and getting a spot in the ACL (I don't remember making that a setting, but whatever) could herald something new and exciting for them.
  • A-League: Melbourne City d. Melbourne Victory
    • Relegated - Bentleigh, Sydney Utd, Green Gully, Auckland City
      • Bentleigh lost the playoff to Melbourne Knights
    • Highest placed 'new' team - South Coast Wolves - 5th
    • Biggest transfer out: $1.9m - Dominic Samuel - Sydney FC to Millwall
    • Biggest transfer in: $1.5m - Daniel De Silva - Virus Entella to Sydney FC
  • B-League
    • Promoted - Hume City, Oakleigh, Waitakere United, Melbourne Knights
    • Relegated - Olympic FC, Team Wellington
  • C-League: 
    • Promoted - FNQ Heat, Dandenong Thunder
    • Relegated - Perth, Stirling Lions, Port Melbourne
  • D-League: 
    • Promoted - Moreland, VTC Football, Altona Magic
    • Relegated - Sunshine Coast, Western Strikes, Lions FC, South Hobart, Cockburn City
  • D1-League: 
    • Promoted - Goulburn Valley Suns, Spirit FC, Fraser Park, Box Hill Utd, WT Birkalla
    • Relegated - Belconnen Utd, Western Suburbs, Cobram Victory, ECU Joondalup
  • D2-League:
    • Promoted - Salisbury Utd, Clifton Hill, Modbury Jets, Cooma
    • Relegated - Langwarrin, Morwell, Wanneroo, Kingsborough
  • D3-League:
    • Promoted - Endeavour Hills, Hoppers Crossing, Northern Fury, Western Pride (sixth straight promotion for the last two)
    • Relegated - Mounties Wanderers, United Warriors, Gunghalin Utd, Innisfail Utd
  • D4-League:
    • Promoted - Rockingham, Nunawading City, Woden Valley, Northern Rangers
    • Relegated - Logan Village, Riverside Olympic, Altona City, Launceston Utd, Grange Thistle
  • D5-League:
    • Promoted - Ipswich City, Adamstown Rosebud, Brighton SC, Tweet Utd, Warragul Utd
    • Relegated - Southern Branch, Newmarket, Wulguru Utd, Shell Cove FC
  • D6-League:
    • Promoted - Melville, Lambton Jaffas, Falcons 2000, Maddington White City
    • Relegated - Clinton FC, Holland Park, Western Condors, Moreland City, Logan Lightning
  • D7-League:
    • Promoted - Port Darwin, Adelaide Cobras, Garuda FC, Waverley Wanderers, Shepparton South
    • Relegated - Peninsula Strikers, FC Strathmore, Fremantle Utd, Granville Rage, ACTAS, La Trobe University
  • D8-League:
    • Promoted - Bulli, AC Utd, Corio SC, Brothers FC, Cringila Lions, Bingera
    • Relegated - East Gosford, Belmore Utd, Monash Uni, Southern Bulls, Northbridge FC, Maribyrnong Greens
  • D9-League:
    • Promoted - Doncaster Rovers, Joondalup City, Point Cook, Enfield Rovers, Banyule City, Noarlunga Utd
    • Relegated - Valentine Phoenix, North Sunshine, Cove FC, Gladesville Ryde Magic
  • D10-League:
    • Promoted - Port Adelaide Lion, Sunbury FC, South Yarra FC, Diamond Valley FC
    • 36th - Nerang 6-11-18 and -16
  • FFA Cup:
    • APIA Tigers d. Perth Glory
    • Doveton finished 34th in the D10 League but somehow made the fifth round
  • League Cup:
    • Manly Utd (B-League) d. Pascoe Vale (B-League)
  • D-League Cup
    • Northern Fury d. Western Suburbs
Updates on future seasons to follow, until I lose interest/find something better to do and this post becomes a monument to one lazy long weekend afternoon..