With the Maccabiah behind me, management awaits
Having finally come out of my Maccabiah bubble, it is fair to say that I am all sported out, well for a few weeks anyway. I had some amazing experiences in Israel and the event was clearly a career highlight.
Season 2009/10 of the JC MSFL gets under way on September 6. Although the first few weeks of the schedule will be disrupted by high holy days, teams are starting to shape up for the big kick off.
I have decided to take a step back from playing duties to join Adam Fegan in the dugout as joint-manager of first division North London Raiders A. I enjoyed playing for the team last season but my body is telling me that football is a young man’s game.
I feel ready for the next step and am looking forward to management. With so many good teams in the division, I hope that I have learnt a few things from the likes of Les Reed, Jonathan Kestenbaum, Bobby Fisher and Darryl Lee in recent weeks.
Adam has also taken his footballing interests into the non-Jewish arena after becoming a coach at Cheshunt. Having led one of Team England’s futsal squads to gold at the European Maccabi Games in Rome in 2007, it is clear that he wants to continue learning and prove himself on a bigger stage.
Having steered Team GB to silver in the Open football at the Maccabiah Games, Jonathan Kestenbaum is mulling over his next move. Linked with a return to Hendon United A, he said: “I will spend some time with my family and decide in the next few weeks.”
Defender Michael Sacks is set to play for London Lions until the end of September.
Philip Lewis, part of the successful GB Over 45 Masters squad, is laying claim to being the only footballing grandfather to win gold. But he assures me that he “is not the oldest member of the squad”.
Laurence Newman has put the shirt he was wearing when he missed the decisive penalty against Argentina in the semi-final defeat on ebay. It is signed by all the players. All offers welcome.
The son of one of the four Australian victims of the 1997 Maccabiah bridge disaster was awarded a gold medal at the Games despite failing to defeat his opponents in the Ten Pin Bowling competition.
Josh Small, 19, returned to Sydney this week with a gold medal bearing the words: “For the courage to accomplish your father’s dream. You deserve the gold.”
Josh said: “It was for completing what my late father had started. It’s amazing.”
Umpire Basil Mann has spoken of his experiences at the 18th Maccabiah Games. The only one of four officials from the UK, he said: “I was delighted to be involved. The games were played in an excellent spirit. The disappointment were the GB team and something must be done to improve Jewish cricket. My claim to fame was that I gave Adam Bacher LBW.”
Tennis enthusiast Keith Fraser reminded me this week how he famously caught out Sir Alex Ferguson with his Sir Bobby Robson impersonation. Hours before the 1999 Champions League final against Bayern Munich, Fraser called Sir Alex in his hotel room posing as Sir Bobby with a good luck message. With his colleagues listening on loudspeaker in the office, Ferguson fell for it hook, line and sinker in a 10-minute chat.
The Manchester United boss was interviewed last week about the passing Bobby Robson. He Scot spoke highly the experience and mentioned “how nice it was that Robson called him before the match”. If only he knew…