Damned if I did, damned if I didn’t, but candles went out
I was forced to miss my first match since being appointed joint-manager of North London Raiders A on Sunday. The lure of a clash against defending champions North West Neasden A certainly whetted the appetite but my daughter's birthday had to take priority, according to my wife!
This family versus club tug-of-war was a hard one made even tougher after the match was moved to Raiders' home in Uxbridge with Neasden's base at The Hive unavailable. Just my luck. The only good news was that Neasden boss Jamie Cole was also absent but while I spent my Sunday in north west London, Cole had jetted off for a lads' weekend in Vegas.
Texting messages of good luck to the squad like a madman, I was praying that our top-scorer Jacob Gold had not partied too hard the previous night, as like Cole and myself, he was also celebrating a birthday. Our team was already missing Danny Bloom who faces six weeks on the sidelines after breaking his wrist, keeper Danny Berliner, club captain Adam Joselyn and Matt Stock. But with Lee Cash, James Gershfield, Kyle Bentwood and Jonny Ellis absent for Neasden, I was expecting a close contest.
In between loading up with the car with balloons and fairy cakes, I was trying to get updates on my phone, which was rapidly becoming covered in icing cake and tuna fish, from Director of Football Jerry Blain. Who says that the life of an MSFL manager is glamorous?
The half time analysis was simple and earth-shattering. '0-3 down and, unfortunately, being outclassed', read Blain's message. It finished 5-0 with Neasden coach Darren Yarlett gloating: "We were missing some key men but the boys who came in were outstanding. I can't understand how we can produce a display like that but have struggled this season. Maybe Jamie needs to go away more and leave it to me!"
I can't wait to get back in the dugout for Sunday's Peter Morrison Trophy clash against Temple Fortune, the team who I started my Maccabi League career for 21 years ago. I enjoyed several happy years with the club for whom chairman Nigel Kyte continues to do an excellent job. It will also be a highly-charged game for the Fegan family with Adam, my co-manager at Raiders, up against his brother, Lee, who plays for Fortune.
Led by Andrew Souber, Fortune have stepped up a gear this season with new signing Scott Shindler bedding in and helping instil a winning mentality. It should be a cracker.
● Rowley Lane has had its fair share of A-list sports celebrities, with Arsene Wenger, Ian Hollway and Alan Hutton spotted there over the last couple of years but the most recent sighting certainly went down well with the female members with non-other than Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp a surprise visitor at the Arkley home of London Maccabi Lions.
● Josh Kennet's proposed move to Rushden & Diamonds collapsed after
he suffered an injury to his abductor muscle that looks set to rule him out for the rest of the season.
● The Maccabi Junior Football League are collecting unwanted and old shirts for KITAID as part of their Mitzvah Day celebrations.
● My star of the week award goes to HIS Whites hotshot Jake Shooter. He scored 10 goals in the 20-3 win against Redbridge, making it 26 for the season. Not bad considering he was the youngest player on the pitch having only just turned six. Young Jake wants to play for Spurs one day and his favourite player is Gareth Bale. Harry, are you listening?