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Ex_pat

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About Ex_pat

  • Birthday 08/04/1950

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    Oldham Athletic

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    Melbourne Australia

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Gunnar Halle

Gunnar Halle (7/15)

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  1. In The Age (Melbourne) this morning there was an article on the new Aussie Swindon Town owner. In the piece he states "The problem was the last regime had no interaction with the supporters. Over there, it’s quite important to get them onside" He seems to understand the club and fan relationship, and is willing to personally interact with their fans. It's early days for him, but if he keeps listening to the fans and gives good honest (do you know that word AL?) feed back I think he has a chance. He needs to have good people around him to make it work. Something I don't think AL did/has. With our owner he has missed his chance (I am not sure he saw it), and just wants to go to war with the fans now. Viva the revolution! For anyone interested in the article, a copy of the article is below. Clem Morfuni is used to starting things from scratch. Nearly 30 years ago, he was an apprentice plumber who built an empire from his bedroom in Sydney’s northern suburbs. It now turns over $200 million a year, employs 800 people and works with some of the world’s largest construction companies on major projects like hotels, hospitals, casinos and stadiums. His next challenge neatly ties together his business expertise and his lifelong passion for football: taking the broken, empty shell of a once-proud club, one of the oldest in England, and making it whole again. Little-known within Australia’s football community, Morfuni is now a hero in Swindon, a railway town nearly two hours’ drive west of London. Two months ago, the self-made tycoon became the owner of the city’s only football club, Swindon Town, which competes in England’s fourth tier and has been teetering on the brink of collapse. He has just arrived home after spending the past few weeks there, attending to club affairs and attempting to win over a cynical fan base which had all but lost hope, having watched their team slowly become a laughing stock of the English game. Morfuni immersed himself in the city: he pulled beers in the pub, drove around town in a mobile billboard truck promoting season ticket sales, played six-a-side football with supporters every Wednesday, and even padded up in the cricket nets next to the stadium and invited fans and media to bowl at him. Whatever it took to convince people he was the real deal. “I’ve never known a chairman of any football club do this,” one Robins diehard told the BBC. “He’s just inspiring to everybody. We all love him.” Morfuni acknowledges it’s a nice feeling to be loved, but is acutely aware of how quickly things can change in this sport. “Football’s quite fickle,” he laughed. “So I’ve got to make sure I do the right thing, and I will. “The problem was the last regime had no interaction with the supporters. Over there, it’s quite important to get them onside. You know what the English are like - they’ve got this hierarchy, where we as Aussies, we don’t really care. We’ll talk to anybody.” Morfuni has enjoyed keeping a low profile over the years, at home and abroad, but Swindon Town has finally blown his cover. He’s a warm but direct character with no airs and graces, who seems equally at home chatting to his team’s rank-and-file as he is rubbing shoulders with the so-called “prawn sandwich brigade”. He’s a season-ticket holder at Tottenham Hotspur and a regular face in corporate suites across the Premier League. He has lunched with Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers and takes counsel from Socceroos legends Harry Kewell and Tim Cahill, who are both intimately aware of how things work at the base of England’s professional pyramid. “Once they found out I owned Swindon, they came out of the woodwork to find out what was going on,” he said. “I caught up with Harry a couple of times. He goes, ‘mate, it’s a roller coaster - you must be mad to buy into a football club’. I probably am, but I love the game. I understand the English and how ruthless they are. You’ve just got to be careful. There’s a lot of sharks over there. I keep saying to the English, there’s more sharks in the streets of London than the waters of Australia.” Morfuni comes from humble beginnings, born and raised in Sydney to southern Italian parents. Obsessed with football from an early age, he followed Marconi and APIA Leichhardt in the old National Soccer League and is a big Sydney FC fan. He still plays, too. His love for the sport crystallised when he flew to Germany in 2006 for the Socceroos’ historic World Cup campaign. The next year, he expanded his business to England, went to a few Premier League games, and realised he had a burning ambition to buy a club. A client convinced Morfuni it would be simpler to sponsor a team through his company, Axis Plumbing. And so he did, putting his money behind Harrow Borough, a rustic non-league club. A few years later, he was introduced through a mutual friend to Lee Power, then-chairman of Swindon Town. Axis first became the club’s back-of-shirt sponsor, then bought a 15 per cent stake for Ј1.1 million ($2.08 million). For a while, Morfuni was a non-executive vice-chairman. To cut a long story short, Power and Morfuni’s relationship deteriorated and a lengthy, complicated legal battle ensued over the ownership of the club. It went all the way to the High Court and was only recently resolved. Morfuni won full control, and has also earned the trust of the local council, supporters and the English Football League as the right man to take the Robins forward. But by the time the takeover was complete, the club had no manager, no CEO, a mountain of debt, only six players on the books, a transfer embargo, no kit (because it hadn’t paid apparel suppliers Puma), no bus to transport the team to and from matches, hadn’t paid wages to players and staff for two months, and was still reeling from relegation from League One last season. “It was an absolute mess,” Morfuni said. “But it didn’t worry me. I’ve been in business 27 years now, I get the business side of football.” Founded in 1879, Swindon Town have never been regarded as a powerhouse, on or off the field. The club’s trophy cabinet is fairly spacious, containing four professional league titles and the 1969 League Cup. They reached the Premier League for the first time in 1993-94 under Glenn Hoddle but were swiftly relegated. Morfuni believes their rightful place is in the Championship - from there, who knows? - and sees opportunity for growth in the club’s geographical location, away from major rivals. “I love the club. The supporters are really good, I’ll tell you that now. The club’s big enough but small enough, if that makes sense,” he said. “It’s a good size. It’s not a two-bob club. You’ve got Bristol 30 miles away, you’ve got Oxford and you’ve got Reading. There’s no other team around the place.” Morfuni also wants Swindon Town to become the first port of call for Australian players seeking to break into Europe. It’s a model that has been pursued in the past - most notably by alleged fraudster Bill Papas at Greek club Xanthi FC - but no Australian has ever fully owned an English club before, so this is uncharted territory. Morfuni is planning for the Robins’ director of football Ben Chorley to visit Australia next year to assess the local talent. “We’ve got so many good Aussie kids who want to play football but when they get to 17, it drops off the cliff, there’s nowhere to go,” he said. “Unless you go through the lower leagues you’re never going to get [straight] to the Premier League, I’ll tell you now. You’ve got a better chance getting into these lower leagues, learning the ropes, learning how it actually works in England because it’s a tough market.” Morfuni has sponsored Australian teams in the past, including Sydney FC and NPL NSW sides Marconi and Mt Druitt Town Rangers. “I do pump a lot of money into football here as well,” he said. “People are going to ask, why didn’t I buy an A-League club? I thought the opportunity to try and buy an English club is a lot better because when you go up the leagues, you can make a lot more money. If I get in the Championship I get Ј10 million ($18.9 million). The difference between here and there is you’re buying and selling players. If I buy a kid for 50 grand, I can go and sell him for a million quid, or two, or five. Then you get a sell-on clause on their contract.” For now, Swindon Town’s short-term objective is simple: avoid relegation. Once stable, they can build. Morfuni does not appear to be in this for any reason other than his own love of football, and insists he’s strapped in for the ride just like every other supporter. He is very much living the dream. “Something like that,” Morfuni said. “It’s hard work, it’s full on, it’s relentless. Is it good? Absolutely. But it does take its toll. My son’s probably suffered the most, my wife and my family, from me not being there and driving what I’ve tried to drive. But I’ve said this to the people at Swindon: you can do whatever you want. If we all work together, with drive and a passion, we can do anything. Take it from me.
  2. I got an idea of the lyrics in the file below, when I was reading a discussion on OWTB about playing Mouldy Old Dough, or Boys in Blue before a match. I had to degrade the quality of the file to get it to a size that OWTB would accept. Hopefully it works and you will enjoy it. Maybe the few going to the Salford match tonight could give it a trial run (copyright relinquished). TBIB.mp3
  3. I said to the Mrs before the season started, that I think this season will be the last for Oldham in the Football League. At the time I didn't want to post that on here, as I expected to be called out for being a doom and gloomer. After seeing the team's performance of the first 3 games, I thought I am going to have to eat my words, but the Bristol game has put me back in my original frame of mind. The only direction I see for the club with the current owner, is down. I think currently the fanbase is too small (and fragmented) to make any meaningful change at the club. That does not mean they should not try, just that it is very hard to get something done. With the club and ground etc split into different ownerships, it makes it difficult for any prospective buyer. I hope there is someone out there that can bring it all together to buy the club and ground. Until then I think we are on the slide down. I have been an Oldham Athletic fan since I moved into the area in 1965. I feel the club has gone full circle from that time, as we are now in a similar league position to '65. However, this time I feel the off field problems make the situation worst. Where is that Messiah? ATM I'd even take a very naughty boy.
  4. Maybe the tide will turn if or when the away following numbers approach the home numbers. If OAFC away days were an enjoyable (and noisey) experience, with large numbers for the size of the club. The media would start to take notice, and OAFC's plight would be highlighted. To me, the Lemmies don't take criticism/negative publicity well. Therefore, if we ever we got this type of media coverage, it would get them out quicker. Disclaimer: This is only a theory not a rigid belief, so please take it easy on any replies. I also apologise for any possible spelling or grammar mistakes in this post (pulls out couch to hide behind).
  5. Family first. You have got to go. In the future you will be chatting to your daughter about the time she played a BP (and scored hopefully), and AL & Mo will be a distance bad memory. If she plays well and you miss it you (and possibly her) will regret it. From a personal note I used to watch my son play cricket when he was at school age. He was a good batsman. One game he was playing was 108kms away (4 hours round trip). I did not go. 97no off 32 balls, and I f#&!ing missed it. I have regretted that for the last 22 years. Don't be like me.
  6. I think you should be looking for Austria , or are you getting mixed up with Eurovision?
  7. Congratulations to @Hometownclub @al_bro @alisonh1981 @RobinsDuckEgg for winning their leagues, and to @Nohairdontcare as the 2021 cup winner. Commiserations to the managers who ended up in the relegation positions (rather you than me though). A very big thank you to all the guys that ran the prediction league(s) @Bristolatic @Stevie_J @oafcmetty @lookersstandandy (I hope I have not miss anyone). On a personal note I have had a bad season. I need to analyse where I went wrong. I can't have another like this (maybe that's what AL says every year?) I hope you all have a great seasons break, and see you all in August
  8. I am like many others, after seeing his first few games (with the commentator stating "poor pass by Keillor-Dunn" many times) I thought this guy should be no where near the team sheet. However I will give the lad credit, he has made me eat my words. He is still prone to mistakes, but he is now establishing himself as a fourth tier footballer (I did not think I would ever have said that early doors). He seems to play with more confidence now, and as others have said, other clubs will be taking note. Now I am hoping he will stay and develop further.
  9. Thanks, but my nerves are shot. 18 games to get it right. Maybe I should give Shez a call
  10. Not looking good for me. The first time since I have been predicting that I am in the relegation zone. Indecision cost me. I was all set to predict 2-2 (HT 0-1) and bottled it, as I thought our away performances had dropped off. Silly me. Now I am just like the Latics, looking to finish in 15th place.
  11. Thanks very much @oafcmetty and @Bristolatic for setting this up and all the hard work that has gone into this for the members. I like to think that it will help me to improve my predicting (but that's the kind of fantasy world I live in). Love the banner as well. Once honed and greased, this prediction league will be the envy of the EFL/EPL.
  12. The link below is from today's Melbourne Age with Kewell trying to drum up Aussie footballers to go to Europe. Will any turn up at Boundary Park? (I doubt it). https://www.theage.com.au/sport/soccer/go-north-young-man-kewell-says-aussie-talent-should-be-playing-in-europe-20210115-p56udu.html
  13. @Bristolatic @oafcmetty Well, I am the latest victim of the system not recording my prediction. I used the same laptop I have been predicting most of my predictions on this year I predicted a halftime score of 0-0 and a 2-1 win with McAleny as first scorer. So I miss out on the 3 points Because of the problems other predictors have had I always wait for the system to confirm my prediction has be recorded. It lied! As the game started a 2am for me, I predicted about 4 hours before the match. From tonight I now have to take screenshots.
  14. It is the way the input site is set up. The Latics score is always first box (on the left) whether they are home or away, and I suspect because we were away the Southend score was entered in the first box, ie the Latics box. It does state that Latics score is the first box on the input sheet, but I do think there needs to be a note on there to highlight this fact more. It seems other predictors have had the same problem in the past.
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