Premiership underway and Jewish players ready to shine

By Danny Caro, August 12, 2010

The Football League got under way last weekend - and tomorrow it's the turn of the Premiership. While Manchester City have continued their spending spree, it's time to look at some of the key Jewish players on and off the pitch.

Where better place to start with than defending champions Chelsea. It's fair to say that they would not be where they are today without the funds of Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, who according to a recent list compiled by The Sunday Times, is the second richest man in the country. The oil and industry magnate is rumoured to be worth £7.4 billion.

Another face on the board is director Eugene Tenenbaum, Abramovich's closest associate. On the playing front, Yossi Benayoun, the Israel captain, signed from Liverpool in early July.

Second best last season, Manchester United are owned by the Glazer family. Florida based Malcolm Glazer holds the controlling stake with sons Avram and Joel the joint-chairmen. Siblings Kevin, Edward, and daughter Darcie are on the board of as non-executive directors.

Arsenal have a huge Jewish fan-base but only one director in Danny Fiszman these days.

Tottenham's main man is chairman Daniel Levy while Simon Felstein does an excellent job as one of the club's press officers.

West Ham United became very Jewish over the summer with David Gold, together with David Sullivan, taking over the club and Avram Grant appointed manager following a tough spell in the dugout at Portsmouth.

Tal Ben Haim has also joined the club after finally completing his loan move from Fratton Park.

Tamir Cohen has made 41 appearances for Bolton over the past two years. He's looked in good nick in pre-season, scoring in the 2-0 win over Charleston Battery after returning to full fitness.

Wigan Athletic's Daniel de Ridder has been trying to convince manager Roberto Martinez to give him a run this season. But I've heard whispers that he could be on the way to Ajax before the transfer window closes.

Dekel Keinan's move to Blackpool took longer than expected while Everton's admin is sure to be ship-shape under the watchful eye of assistant-secretary Anthony Bloch.

Dropping into League 1, Oldham Athletic has been a hive of activity over the summer, with Simon Corney stepping in as chairman following the departure of Simon Blitz and director Danny Gazal. On the pitch, midfielder Dean Furman looks set to be a key player for new manager Paul Dickov, while Joe Jacobson remains keen to prove himself and put a nightmare spell of injury woe behind him.

The future looks bright for League One Brighton where chairman Tony Bloom is achieving great things. The club will move to the £93 million, 22,500-seater American Express Community Stadium in Falmer next summer.

Barnet recently welcomed Michael Stone as new first team coach while Facilities Manager John Blasebalk is doing a grand job at the club's Centre of Excellence at The Hive.

The Scottish Premier League recently welcomed two Israelis with Eyal Berkovic predicting big things from Celtic's latest recruit Biram Kayal. Less is known about Inverness new boy Gil Blumenshtein but with a name like that, shirt sales could go through the roof.

● Pre-season friendlies on the continent are meant to be fun for the fans, but a friend of mine who supports Chelsea said he was sickened by some of the scenes during the club's recent trip to Amsterdam, where they played Ajax. He said: "A group of Chelsea fans were singing some of the worst antisemitic songs I've ever heard at a game. There was about 50 of them, they were proper scum." He reports that no stewards or police arrived to deal with the abuse.

Last updated: 2:15pm, August 12 2010