The barmy army is on the way
I’m looking forward to Sunday’s cup final for a couple of reasons.
Those who attended the 2011 JC Cyril Anekstein Cup final will recall Redbridge Jewish Care’s barmy army. In essence the residents around Wingate & Finchley’s Harry Abrahams Stadium are advised to have earplugs at the ready as I I’m led to believe the east Londoners will bring their famous ’20 nuggets’ song and a couple of new ones for the clash against the Lions.
A great atmosphere makes such a big difference at a Jewish cup final, where attendances generally disappoint. However, much like the FA Cup final, an evening kick-off could prove problematic for young families.
It’s hard to call a favourite going into the game, but there’s absolutely no doubt Lions will have two legends of Jewish football in their ranks.
Mention must be made of Tony Gold and Aviel Schwarz, men that have been there, seen it and done it, both in Jewish football and beyond. Both are great role models for the next generation, while the former has become one of the hottest properties in the world of non-league management.
Under Gold, Lions’s Saturday first team is closing in on the South Midlands League title and he has also won virtually every honour in the Jewish game, both as a player and a manager.
Schwarz remains a cult figure at Rowley Lane. He’s closing in on his 50th birthday but continues to turn out for his team week in, week out, come rain, snow or shine. Like Gold, his fitness levels are second to none and he continues to help the talented youngsters at the club make the step up into men’s football.
* Hendon C manager Craig Miller paid tribute to club stalwart Haki Elias who marked his final match in the JC MSFL with a stunning strike in the 3-0 success over Tottenham Chutspah.
"It is with great sadness we announce the retirement of Haki Elias," said Miller. "He is retiring from football having had a 15-year career with Hendon. He’s an absolute legend and it’s phenomenal he was still playing this season."
* As I said around the family dinner table last Friday night, the engagement of Andrew Lerner, my brother-in-law, and Charlotte Brandon is certainly a match made in heaven. I’ve also noted that Lerner’s weekend predictions have picked up since he met his sweetheart, who supports Leyton Orient, and believe there can be no coincidence about that.