Sydney Olympic fan George Mpliokas is so enraptured by his team that he rushed to their game straight after his wedding ceremony. He is now dreaming of another win at tonight’s game.
Tonight’s FFA Cup match between Sydney Olympic FC and Sydney FC feels just like a grand final.
Bring an Olympic fan is a painful existence, for so many reasons. Languishing in the state league after the glory days of yesteryear. The constant ridicule and mockery from mainstream or modern football. Broken promises and incompetence from Club management. It’s a hard slog.
Olympic’s saving grace is its connection to history and community. It is, and forever will be, a national champion and a genuine contributor to football by the Greek-Australian community in Sydney which it represents.
On my wedding day in June, between the wedding and reception, I was privileged enough to take photos with my beautiful wife at Belmore Sports Ground, at one of Olympic’s home games.
I got to see fans and supporters, many of them Greek migrants like my late father. I introduced them to my nieces and nephews, our bridal party – and that older generation greeted the younger like family.
These young and initiated were all amazed to be inside our stadium, wearing our colours and catching a glimpse of the game before resuming our wedding – the looks on their faces that day were priceless.
They are the future of our Greek-Australian community and of Sydney Olympic.
Tonight, all three generations will be in the stands at Belmore, cheering Olympic on, praying for the unlikely ‘cupset’.
Sydney Olympic used to be a members club. It shouldn’t be in the hands of one or two wealthy directors – the last 6 months’ newspaper coverage is the clearest proof of that. It belongs to an entire community and it should return to the hands of the people in the stands.
But running a football club is expensive. There are plenty of operating costs that need to be accounted for. These operations need to be coordinated and in the public eye.
A community-funded institute would be capable of meeting the costs, while delivering outcomes for all Sydneysiders, creating clearer pathways to professional and national team football, all while safeguarding and maintaining the Club’s rich identity.
With more than 5,000 expected on a Wednesday night, the atmosphere at Belmore should be electric. Best of luck to all the players – we will be cheering you on.