If ever there was one chance to rally the troops it was on Sunday

By Danny Caro, January 14, 2009
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Bill Shankly once said that football was more important s than life and death. Although the Liverpool legend’s quote is regularly taken out of context, it reared it’s head last weekend when the pro-Israel rally clashed with Maccabi League football programme.

There were two sides to the argument. Supporters of Israel believe the organisation was wrong not to call a blanket postponement as it’s in the MSFL’s mission statement to “support strengthening the Jewish Continuity by promoting football and emphasising the importance of the centrality of Israel”.

The league was put in an awkward position, especially with chairman David Wolff away and the programme well behind due to the bad weather.

The management committee gave teams the option to postpone their matches without rearranging later in the season. But not every Jewish footballer wanted to attend the rally as after all, they signed up to play football, not to support Israel. But I have to agree that as this event was a one-off. The league should have been more facilitating and should not have punished teams challenging for titles, promotion or trying to avoid relegation.

The wait is finally over and we now have our first home-grown Jewish Premiership player after Nicky Blackman joined Blackburn.

It’s hard to believe that just four years ago, Blackman was representing Team GB at the Maccabiah in Israel. USA player Benny Feilhaber joined Hamburg after excelling at the same event before moving to Derby. If that isn’t inspiration to anyone competing in July then I don’t know what is.

Jonathan Kestenbaum’s Maccabi League rep team looks very strong. The squad were desperately unlucky not to reach the final last season, missing out on qualification by just a single goal. Hopefully they can go one better as there is certainly enough quality.

Barnet keeper Ran Kadoch is continuing to impress at the League Two strugglers. He was marked down as eight out of 10 in The Sun following his display at Bury and almost scored a dramatic equaliser after going up for a couple of corners.

Chigwell Athletic B have signed keeper Rob Shepherdson and veteran defender Darren Hymos for the rest of the season.

Zig Zag have added Brady Maccabi’s Richard Benson to their squad. Rob Learner has left the Zeds to join South Manx.

North London Raiders Masters’ player-manager Richard Sacks could be out for the season after suffering medial ligament damage in the defeat against London Maccabi Lions. Sacks said: “I’m going to get a scan but signs are not great. I’m absolutely gutted. If I can’t play then I’ll be doing everything I can from the sidelines to shout and scream our way to victory.”

Weather permitting, there is a bumper programme in store on Sunday with the JC Cyril Anekstein Cup clash between arch rivals Faithfold A and North West Neasden taking centre stage.

AC Cricklewood striker Richard Davis makes his long-awaited comeback for the Division Three clash against L’Equipe. The former Brixton Old Boys and Waldaf Town striker famously tore his cruciate putting his sock on for work one morning several months ago. It’s only a matter of time until one of his teammates starts calling him Sock-rates!

    Last updated: 3:09pm, January 14 2009