Winston named Team GB manager for EMG

By Danny Caro, March 16, 2010
Ben Winston

Ben Winston

Ben Winston will manage the Team GB Open football team at next year’s European Maccabi Games in Vienna.

Winston was assistant-manager to Jonathan Kestenbaum at last year’s Maccabiah Games, where the team took silver after losing to Argentina on penalties in the final.

Ben is the current assistant-manager at Wingate & Finchley. He was also part of the bronze-winning Open Football management team at the 2007 EMG in Rome.

Winston said: “I’m extremely proud to be given this honour having had such a fantastic experience in Israel. With different selection criteria in place David and I will be watching as much Maccabi League football as possible over the coming weeks and months.

“For me, it is not about bettering the great success we had there in Rome or Israel. It is about continuing to build on the successful teams Darryl [Lee] and Jonathan oversaw. We need to make sure Team GB produces a side that can compete, showing we can have continual success in these competitions."

The son of Lord Winston believes that the recent appointment of chairman David Kyte, Adam Solomons and Lee on the GB Football Management Committee can only benefit British football.

"I have worked with David and Adam at Lions. They were fantastic to me then, and gave all the support and encouragement needed, so I am really looking forward to working with them. Darryl has been a massive factor in the recent success of all the football teams in these competitions. He saw that Maccabi could raise the level of professionalism in the football set up. I feel there is a lot to learn from him.”
Winston expects to name a top class coach in the next few weeks.

David Pollock has been appointed chairman of the Open Football team. He led the Over 45’s Masters Football team to GB’s first footballing gold medal in almost 50 years in Israel least year.

Winston said: "David is a fantastic communicator and leader, having won gold himself last summer, so he will be crucial to the team set up."

In terms of recruitment, Winston has pledged to run his eye over the Maccabi Leagues and leave no stone unturned. "It's a great tournament for MSFL or MJSL players to have a truly memorable football experience. But the younger players we can bring in will also be important.

"There may be Jewish players playing in Bristol or Dundee University that David and I will never have heard of. We hope they will get in touch. We had never heard of Scott Shulton last year, until Josh Kennet got injured. He came on to the scene, joined the squad and had the best football experience of his career.

"Having never been before, he also fell in love with Israel, and made a whole new group of Jewish friends across the world. He also had a fantastic tournament on the pitch. Hopefully we can find more players like Scott, who as well as adding to the quality of the squad will get a fantastic Maccabi experience out of it.”

Having come so close to gold in Israel, Winston believes that it will be tough to better the class of 2009. "The standard of the Maccabiot is always rising, and to beat America, Brazil and Israel was really tough. To be at least considered on par with those sides, plus France and Argentina, is a real achievement for Team GB, and shows the strides forward we have made over the past few tournaments."

In terms of the long-term success of the British Maccabi team, Winston believes that the difference between winning and losing comes down to small details. "It's hard to put one’s finger on why we haven’t won a gold since the 1960s. Perhaps there is bigger emphasis put on Jews playing football in those gold winning countries.

"In America’s side they had some MLS pros, in Israel's side they are all professionals, and Argentina’s set up is phenomenal. They trained for months before the Maccabiah - five days a week. Perhaps that allowed them to practice penalties more than we did."

Last updated: 3:09pm, October 19 2010