So, as predicted, Roman Abramovich has got his man. Never one to settle for second best, the jury will be out on new Chelsea manager Luiz Felipe Scolari for some time.
Strange as it may sound, taking over from Avram Grant might be harder than it sounds. Unlike Grant, Scolari has a CV to rival the best managers. But winning the World Cup with Brazil, and possibly Euro 2008 with Portugal brings no guarantee that he will improve on the foundations built by the Israeli.
Should Scolari fail to finish second or better in the Champions League and Premier League, or fails to maintain the club’s four-year unbeaten home record, then, even if he succeeds in delivering the attacking flair that his Russian owner so desires, will he be considered a success? With an estimated £108 million in his back pocket, he will certainly feel like a kid in a sweetshop as he looks to bolster the squad.
One thing is for sure though. Evening Standard columnist David Mellor will be his number one fan as after all, anyone, in his eyes, must be better than Grant.
With Grant out of the equation, I expect any antisemitic undertones on the terraces of Stamford Bridge and across the football fraternity to be brushed under the carpet for now.
FC Team have completed their managerial set-up for their first season in non-Jewish football. Manager Mitch Young has brought in FA qualified coach Saul Stern who has been working with the Fulham academy. Stern joins Young, assistant-manager Gideon Moss and fitness and conditioning coach Peter Moss.
Speaking about the appointment of Stern, Young said: “Saul has been involved with football all his life and is highly knowledgeable. He is a good guy and is relishing the opportunity of working with the side. He is ambitious, dedicated and will work very closely with myself in planning training sessions, team selection and will act as my eyes and ears off the pitch. I have no doubts that the addition of Saul will really help our progression.”
Glenthorne United are heading for a bigger and brighter future after launching a B team that will play in Division Five of the JC MSFL next season. The man in the hot seat will be former Thornes and Redbridge Jewish Care boss Paul Silver. He led Glenthorne to the Division One championship in 1999 and also finished runners-up with RJC. The team are hosting trials every Sunday in Clayhall Park, Essex.
Fourth division Pure Orange Function Band are on the look out for new players. Trials are likely to be held on July 6.
Division Five will also welcome new Essex side Woodford Wanderers. Fronted by Alex Aviram, the former Chigwell Athletic man has wasted no time in dipping into the transfer market by capturing Mitch Hahn from Redbridge, Andy Levy from Chigwell A and Glenthorne’s Jerome Marks.
The Maccabi Sunday League’s Twenty20 competition gets under way on Sunday. Unfortunately, the Jewish form of the game does not have a backer of the wealth of Sir Allen Stanford, and with the big two, London Maccabi Vale and Belmont & Edgware 1st missing, I believe the competition will lack the quality of recent seasons. Nonetheless, this year’s tournament at the Metropolitan Police Sports ground in Bushey promises excitement and as previous competitions have run over time, I commend the organiser’s decision to hold the event over two weekends. Time-keeping has never been a strong point where Jewish sportsmen are concerned and last year’s extravaganza finished amid farcical scenes as Southgate refused to play LMV due to fading light and injury.
LMV skipper Jon Galloway was all too embarrassed as he lifted the trophy. This year’s entrants are BMSCL table-toppers MAL, Southgate and Newlands & Northwood in group A, while Casual Nomads, BECC 2nd and Chigwell will battle it out in group B.
MAL trio Mark Landau, Tony Wise and Yoav Lebens are among players looking to impress while Southgate’s Robert Apple is one to watch. Newlands & Northwood will look to the big-hitting Benny Wolpe and all-rounder Darren Cohen to help their cause.