Not every manager will take positives out of a defeat, but Redbridge Jewish Care’s Jon Jacobs definitely can after Sunday’s match against Faithfold.
Several people thought it would be a case of men against boys, but the young second division outfit gave as good as they got.
Virtually every season a team stands out and catches the eye, and the early signs look good for RJC, despite the 2-0 defeat. It’s more a case of a work in progress … watch this space.
The future of this team should excite everyone at the club who has worked so hard to compete with the likes of London Maccabi Lions et al.
Top, young Jewish football talent is hard to find in one team these days, but RJC have great strength in depth and the future definitely looks bright. It was extremely pleasing to watch a young team pass and keep the ball so confidently. They were a joy to watch.
They have two top prospects vying for the no. 1 spot in Bradley Grant and Matt Kemp. Defender Richard Gold can learn a lot playing in a back four alongside the ageless Darren Brown. “It was a full-back performance par-excellence,” Jacobs told me after the game. “Richard kept Faithfold’s all-star attack quiet and won every 50:50 challenge”.
Former Wingate & Finchley star Brown has lost none of his passion either and he is the perfect role model for the younger boys around him.
But it was midfield maestro Nathan Sollosi who impressed me most. Playing against the league champions, there were times when he ran the show, with Jacobs describing it as “a virtuoso display in midfield that was as inspirational as it was technically magnificent”.
There were, however, several unsavoury flashpoints during the game that I’d rather my eight-year-old son would not have witnessed as he watched me play for the first time, but nothing should take away from the performance of Redbridge.
Jacobs spoke with pride after the game, saying: “We matched the champions every step of the way, only to be undone by two set-pieces.
"The boys will learn from this and realise that there is nothing to be afraid of in Jewish football.”
* David Dein remains one of the most respected figures in the game. I don’t know many Arsenal fans who wouldn’t love him back at the club. When he talks the audience listens and some will clutch on to his every word next month when he makes special appearances at Dame Alice Owen’s School followed by the Four Four Jew football exhibition at the Jewish Museum in Camden.