We are very proud that we have such a vibrant 49-team football league, but for me it makes life very difficult, if not impossible, to get round to all the teams within one season.
So, I was pleased to see my first match in the Premier Division between North West Neasden A and FC Team, a couple of weeks ago and I wasn’t disappointed. FC Team went 2-0 up in the early stages of the game, but Neasden did not drop their heads and fought back to win 5-3 in what turned out to be a wonderfully exiting game which topped the league for sportsmanship and was a great advert for Jewish football.
Likewise, my second Premier game was between London Maccabi Lions and Faithfold which was another excellent contest. The first half belonged to the young and talented Faithfold but the second half belonged to Lions who never ceased to press for the equaliser, which came from new recruit to the league, Ollie Craig, who never gave up.
Over the next two weeks I hope to visit another of our four premier teams and them to see some of the leading contenders in the lower divisions.
The divisions are really beginning to shape up. Division One is very close with Redbridge JC, Chigwell, Oakwood, Norstar and Brixton OB (who have played fewer games) all in with a shout.
Camden Park, who have been completely re-formed, and ably run, by Nick Kagan and Josh Marks, look to be heading towards the Division Two title.
In Division Three, Glenthorne B, whom I have yet to see, but will make every effort to, are running away with that contest. They have won every single game this season. Quite a remarkable achievement.
The fourth division is a really close contest and I can tell you that the standard in that division is excellent. There are four main contenders, Athletic Bilbaum, North London Raiders, Brady Maccabi B and Spec FC. I have seen them all and was extremely impressed.
We are well ahead with the JC Cyril Anekstein Cup. The semi-final draw will be made at the next meeting of the Management Committee on Monday January 30. We shall also be considering whether or not to stage the Barry Goldstein Cup this season and I can tell you this is most likely.
Maccabi GB have entered and been accepted into the National Futsal League. They play their first fixtures yesterday at the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre with the second set of fixtures being played in Swindon the following week. I am sure that you will join me in wishing Jonathan Cohen and his squad every good luck.
As always, a few words about my favourite football team. I must say that the standard in the NPower Championship is, in my opinion, very poor. I do not want to degrade the efforts made by West Ham United in being joint-top, but must say that if we do return to the Premiership we will need to overhaul our entire squad if we are to retain top status. But let’s get there first and nothing is for certain.
Also, every West Ham supporter that I have spoken to DOES NOT want to leave Upton Park for the Olympic Stadium. I really hope Sullivan and Gold take that on board. The Boleyn Ground is our spiritual home and it would be a terrible wrench, having been a regular since boyhood, to move. I am sure that the ground can be re-developed and we do not need to cater for crowds of over 35,000.
Hope to see you during the remainder of the season and can I remind club officials of the Council Meeting at Rowley Lane on February 13.
JCMaccabi (Southern) Football League