Six new teams have joined the Maccabi League for season 2011/12. Here we get the low-down on the 10 participating teams in Division Four.
Competitions entered: MSFL Division 4 and Cyril Anekstein Cup (I think, whichever one doesn’t run the risk of having to leave London!)
Hopes for the season: To revolutionise the way the Jewish game is played. This season Bilbaum will be reviving an ancient and mystical style of play developed deep in Lesotho’s Maluti Mountains, where the team spent a large part of this year’s inaugural Bilbaum pre-season tour of Swaziland and Lesotho, training in the high altitude and rugged environment in preparation for the gruelling campaign ahead.
What will your team will bring to the league this season? Despite the recession and widespread balance sheet deleveraging, the club has nonetheless gone ahead with the proposed stadium expansion, taking the capacity of the Bernebaum to a whopping seven seats. Visiting teams should expect electric Sunday morning atmospheres and deafening crowds as they make the arduous trip to the far flung corner of Hampstead Heath.
New signings: The squad has improved in a number of areas this summer with particular focus on strengthening the back line to improve what was a miserable goals scored to conceded ratio last season. There are also plenty of rumours stirring about the club brining in a couple of high profile players before the summer transfer window closes. See below for more details.
Players out All our players are required to sign as indentured servants making it impossible for them to leave before a minimum of seven years of service.
Who is the captain? The winner of the Annual Bilbaum Doughnut Eating Contest, to be held on August 29, will be crowned captain for the current season. Former manager Josh Ejdelbaum is the bookies favourite but will have to fend off fierce competition from hitman Ed Green and Andrew “Dog” Fenichel if he is to win the coveted prize.
Main challengers Not a clue.
‘Ones to watch’: Baum Baum the Elephant is once again expected to be the main threat this season, leading the line with his cuddly exterior and countless assortment of risqué chants.
Do you have any outstanding youngsters in the squad? Yes
Are you still looking to strengthen? If so, in which positions? Rumours are stirring of two additional signings from abroad to compliment the skills of current club golden boy Baum Baum. Quack Baum and Snap Baum are widely expected to sign on the dotted line before the end of the summer, although both deals are currently being held up over negotiations regarding the installation of a new high-tech heated and algae-free pond at the Bernebaum Stadium.
Home ground: The Bernebaum aka Hampstead Heath Extension
Sponsors: More of a Barcelona-style sponsorship this season, with the front of the iconic Bilbaum kit being proudly donated to charity Magen David Adom UK.
Describe your club in one sentence:
Rather than a sentence, perhaps a short chant would be more appropriate …
“We are the Baums from Golders Green (well kind of),
Not like any Baums you have ever seen,
We like to eat gefilte fish,
That’s a fishy dish!”
What do you love about the MSFL? The AGM. There is no thrill quite like it.
BRADY MACCABI B
Competitions entered: The league and both cup competitions
Hopes for the season: We are hoping to win the league this season. However, our main aim is promotion.
What will your team will bring to the league this season? We have many players who are comfortable with the ball at their feet so we will try to keep the ball on the floor and play some good attacking football.
Who is the captain? James Joseph, but football is a team game and we have many leaders in the side, such as Ollie Kay, Jonny Meltzer, Ben Hildebrand and Sam Frohlich, so everyone will play their part.
Main challengers? I don't know too much about the other teams apart from FC Team C. Like us, they have formed a team based on guys who have just finished uni.
‘Ones to watch’: James Joseph, Mike Beaber
Do you have any outstanding youngsters in the squad? Dan Korn
Are you still looking to strengthen? If so, in which positions? We are happy with the squad that we have.
Home ground: Rowley Lane
Sponsors: Impex Russell Ltd - Lighting Specialists
Describe your club in one sentence, what would it be? Young squad with a few experienced heads looking to work our way up the leagues.
What do you love about the MSFL? It gives you the opportunity to play football with your mates in a competitive and Jewish environment.
FC TEAM C
Competitions entered: Division 4 and the Peter Morrison Cup
Hopes for the season: Hopefully we will play good football and be contenders for promotion. There are a lot of new teams in the division, all looking for promotion, and we have similar ambitions.
What will your team will bring to the league this season? The team will bring flair to the division as we have a highly talented squad and the team wants to play good possession football.
Who is the captain? Michael Myers is captain and player-manager. As previous captain of his university society team, as well captaining one of the Manchester Maccabi teams before uni, he offers great experience in the role.
Main challengers I think all the teams are talking up their chances for promotion and as no one has seen most of the teams play it is unclear who will be our main challengers.
‘Ones to watch’: I don’t want to single anyone out at the moment but we have some great players going forward and I am expecting many goals this season.
Do you have any outstanding youngsters in the squad? The team is full of youngsters as it is mainly uni graduates, but we have a great young striker who shows a lot of promise.
Are you still looking to strengthen? If so, in which positions? The team is not looking to strengthen as we have great depth of squad.
Home ground: Hatch End playing fields
Describe your club in one sentence: Talented, ambitious and enigmatic
NORTH LONDON RAIDERS C
Competitions entered: Just the Cyril Anekstein, and hopefully we’ll be asked to play in the Barry Goldstein towards the end of the season.
Hopes for the season: Manager Oli Shorts and assistant-manager Rich Abrahams want one thing - promotion, but a push for the title wouldn’t go a miss.
What will your team will bring to the league this season? Entertainment and fantastic changing rooms. Hatfield Uni have some brilliant facilities. Oh, and the traditional orange colours of NL Raiders will be back.
New signings: As Arsene Wenger would say, ‘having a fit Matt Greene for the start of the season is like a new signing’. Jonny Skolnick, Matt Keston, Michael Israel, Ben Hart and Sam Morell have all joined and we’re hoping Rob Samuelson will come in as well.
Players out Maybe!
Who is the captain? Josh Graham will be leading us once again into the new season. A Raiders legend and the man to take us up.
Main challengers It's always tough when you have a division made up of new teams so ask me after a month of the season has gone. Saying that, I’m sure SPEC will be there or thereabouts come the end of the season.
Ones to watch: We’re hoping James Franks can become the new Chris Iwelumo minus missing the occasional open goal.
Do you have any outstanding youngsters in the squad? Toby Katz came on leaps and bounds last year and is my tip for Young Player of the Year. He reminds me of a young Perry Groves; the Ginger Magician.
Are you still looking to strengthen? If so, in which positions? Unless Joey Barton converted, and offered his services, then we’ve strengthened enough during the off season.
Home ground: The home of football… Hatfield University 3G pitch.
Sponsors: Gee Lawson…….go check them out at www.geelawson.co.uk
Describe your club in one sentence: Unfit prima donnas who give their all for 90 minutes.
What do you love about the MSFL? Competitive football every weekend with your mates. What more could you ask for?
Competitions entered: We’ve entered the Peter Morrison Trophy and the Cyril Anekstein Cup, along with the London Sunday Junior Cup. We would also love to have the opportunity to enter the Barry Goldstein Cup.
Hopes for the season: Our hopes are to end the season as champions. We realise that it’s going to be extremely difficult but if we weren’t at least challenging at the top, we would consider the season a failure.
What will your team will bring to the league this season? We will be bringing a whole new level of team spirit to the league. It’s something that we always knew was going to be our biggest strength and it’s proving that way so far in pre-season.
Who is the captain? Ashley Burns
Main challengers It’s difficult to say as there are six new teams. However I’d imagine it’s going to be the new faces at the top come the end of the season though teams with more a bit more experience of playing together may have something to say about that.
‘Ones to watch’: We’ve got a couple of players who have played a higher level in the M(S)FL however we’ve also unearthed what we hope to be a few gems. We’ve got Dan Cohen, who used to score goals for fun when he was a youngster, and we’ve also got our very own wall at the back in Doug Berlin.
Do you have any outstanding youngsters in the squad? Pretty much the whole team are between the ages of 22 and 27. So if you call 22 young then we’ve got quite a few, if not, our best youngster is Isaac Lawrence, though at just nine months he’s got quite a wait before he can don the famous blue and white.
Are you still looking to strengthen? If so, in which positions? We’re always on the lookout for any exceptional talent though we were very fortunate when it came to recruiting players for this season as much like Manchester United, we did our business early. We are also a very tight unit so 90 per cent of our players have known they were going to be playing for us for a while.
Home ground: Hertfordshire Sports Village, Hatfield
Sponsors: Both Cinderella Hair and Elmar Printers
Describe your club in one sentence: One word, BANANAS.
What do you love about the MSFL? What we all love and what we’ll love even more as the season progresses is the enjoyment of being part of a team and the spirit and the excitement that goes along with it. We’ve been waiting to re-form SPEC for a few years now and we all can’t wait for the season to begin.
TEMPLE FORTUNE B
Competitions entered: Temple Fortune’s Second Team will be taking part in the MSFL Fourth Division, the CA Cup and possibly the Barry Goldstein Trophy (if held).
Hopes for the season: Last season was the first for the reformed Second Team and although the side finished low down in Division 4, they certainly competed, losing nine games by a solitary goal, including five by just 1-0! We have some new players onboard and with a mixture of older experience and younger fitness we are looking to hold our own in the division and do much, much better than the last campaign.
What will your team will bring to the league this season? The ‘B’ team will symbolise any Temple Fortune team of the past – competitive, hard working, never giving up – the usual! Hopefully the Seconds will be stronger than last season and surprise a few teams.
What will your team will bring to the league this season? Yes, we have brought in several new faces but the two we wish to name are the new management duo! Terry Jeffries, last season’s top scorer, is the Second Team manager and assisting him will be former First Team Player of the Year Adam Glekin. We wish them the very best of luck in running our new-look ‘B’s.
Have any players left?
Players come and players go – it’s immaterial who has left the Seconds. We are more focused on who we do have in the squad!
Who is the captain? At the time of writing this I do not know who Terry and Adam have appointed as captain but presumably the influential Garry Simpson and Simon Allen will be high up there as potential skippers. Both have the attributes to lead the team, having done the job for the Firsts on many occasions in the past.
Which teams do you think will be the main challengers in your division? It’s always hard to say in the lowest division when there are a number of new teams coming in. They could be world-beaters who dominate from the start or total misfits who struggle to get off the mark - who can say? So it’s a case of eeny meeny miney mo!
‘Ones to watch’: We prefer not to single out anyone in particular – as the old adage says, it’s a team game and we play as a team with no stars! As long as the whole team remain competitive, there should be several ‘ones to watch’!
Do you have any outstanding youngsters in the squad? The ‘B’ team and the term ‘youngsters’ do not readily mix! Yes, we have a few younger players so since you’ve pinpointed ‘sters’ on the end of ‘young’, we will say NONE! (What I’m also saying is that if I name anyone ‘outstanding’, the ‘A’ team manager might snap him up!)
Are you still looking to strengthen? If so, in which positions? The Club is always looking to progress and bring in talented players. That’s all that we can say in answer to this question!
Home ground: Having spent one season in the mud at Hatch End Playing Fields, the Seconds will be hosting most home league fixtures at Gosling Sports Park in Welwyn Garden City.
Sponsors: Bekhors.com sponsored our first choice playing kit in the traditional TFFC colours of yellow shirts and red shorts. Our clash shirts (green and white stripes) are also sponsored by Bekhors.
Describe your club in one sentence, what would it be? TFFC, a well run and friendly club with a long history – 42 years old and still going strong!
What do you love about the MSFL? This Club has an affinity for Maccabi football and we are proud to be taking part for the 36th consecutive campaign, longer than any current team. We’ve had many ups and downs with the League over the years but at the moment, things couldn’t be better so we are very pro-MSFL.
Awaiting details: Athletic Finchley, Boca Jewniors, Brixton Old Boys B, Jewventus
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