The football world recently held its breath when Pep Guardiola announced that he is stepping down as coach of Barcelona. I didn’t want to take the spotlight off him so I thought that I’d leave it a week until revealing some news of my own.
It’s with a heavy heart that I step down as joint-manager of North London Raiders A. I’ve enjoyed two-and-a-half amazing years with L’Orange, but following the recent arrival of my third child, the time is right to hand over the reins to someone else.
While family commitments have played a major part in my decision, I’d like to thank club chairman and co-manager Jonathan Adelman for being given the opportunity to work with some of the MSFL’s finest footballers.
My Raiders career started in season 2008/9 when I played in goal. Following my premature retirement through injury, I accepted an invitation from then manager Adam Fegan to work with him in the dugout. We enjoyed two highly successful seasons which included returning the team to its rightful home in the Premier Division after clinching the Division One title — a feat that was rewarded with the Maccabi League Managers of the Year accolade.
Last season we finished fourth and reached the last four of the Peter Morrison Trophy, but it’s fair to say that this season has not gone as planned. Adam departed to join Wingate & Finchley’s youth set-up and he’s made a real success of their under-17 team, steering them to the treble.
Jonathan returned to the dugout and between us, we were confident of mounting a sustained title bid, as predicted by league chairman David Wolff. However, it appears that this put the mockers on the boys, who failed to live with the weight of expectation and a series of injuries to key players left us with an uphill battle.
Ultimately, relegation is hard to take and it pains me to leave the boys on a losing note, but I have no doubt they will continue to be a credit to the league.
It remains to be seen whether or not I stay involved with the club in some capacity, but I’m flattered by some of the offers I’ve already received from other clubs for next season. But with my son soon to start playing in the Excel League, now is the right time to step aside. My last game with Raiders will be against champions-elect Hendon United Sports Club A next Wednesday.
* My rumour of the week will certainly interest Spurs fans. I’ve heard that Israel keeper Dudu Awat is destined for a big move to the Premier League this summer, with White Hart Lane a possible destination for the stopper who has impressed in La Liga. Watch this space ...