Hendon the greatest? Not by a long shot, says Cole
Jamie Cole has rejected the claims of Hendon United manager David Garbacz that this season’s treble winners are the greatest MSFL team of all time.
Cole, the former manager of North West Neasden, this week responded to comments made by Garbacz and he believes the statement was disrespectful to successful Maccabi teams of the past.
Under Cole, who is widely regarded as the most successful manager in Maccabi League history, Neasden won the double for three consecutive years. But a domestic clean sweep eluded them as the Reds became only the second team in MSFL history to lift the Premier Division title, Peter Morrison Trophy and JC Cyril Anekstein Cup in one season.
Cole said: “There is no question that Hendon’s accomplishment is incredible. But to say that they are the greatest Jewish team of the modern era is rather wide of the mark. I feel talented footballers and teams have been disrespected by his comments.
“Such a comment is disrespectful to the Faithfold side that dominated the late ‘90’s, the Manchester Maccabi sides that have won numerous Peter Morrison trophies, the Lions team of a few years ago and my very own Neasden side. Indeed, I managed Oakhill in the late ‘90’s and early noughties which won the treble two years in a row - a feat which will never be repeated.”
Reflecting on past glories, Cole said: “In my opinion, this Hendon side cannot hold a torch to my all-conquering Neasden team. We have always produced players who have gone on to play at a higher level. There has always been seven or eight players in the starting line-up of previously successful Rep teams.
“Neasden have always had players who have represented Great Britain at the Maccabiah and European Maccabi Games. Indeed at one point at the 2005 Futsal Maccabiah team, the entire starting line-up was made up of Neasden players. The Great Britain team that won the 2011 European Maccabi Games scored a record number of goals and about 95 per cent of the goals were scored by Neasden players and players affiliated to the club.
“My Neasden team reached the quarter-finals of the FA Sunday Cup and the semi-finals of the of the London Sunday Challenge Cup. This is the further that any Jewish team has reached.
"We also reached the semi-finals of the of the London Sunday Challenge Cup, which is the premier cup competition for Sunday league teams in London, and again is the further that any Jewish team has reached (as above - Hendon lost 7-1 in the third round of the London Sunday Intermediate Cup, which is actually the second tier of the London County cups for the Sunday league sides.
He went on to say that he feels that the overall quality of the world’s biggest Jewish league has declined. “Without question the standard of the MSFL has completely deteriorated this season and it is the poorest I have ever known.
“Quite simply, the best Jewish footballers no longer play in the MSFL as a result of the recent rule change which allowed players to participate in the European Maccabi Games despite not playing in 75 per cent of games for an MSFL team during the preceding two years.”
Cole also pointed at the incident that saw Redbridge Jewish Care, the conquerors of Hendon in the Morrison, thrown out for fielding an ineligible player.
"I believe that Hendon’s achievements are based on consistency of availability, which is a problem that many teams suffer from. Whilst it is a fantastic achievement to win the treble, I don’t think that I would feel comfortable with knowing that I won the Peter Morrison trophy on a technicality and by default.
"Of course it is immaterial because the record books will say that they won the trophy but not that they were actually knocked out by Redbridge and were only reinstated as Redbridge played a B team player. It’s a strange decision as they were excluded for playing a 'weaker' player rather than a 'ringer'. It’s actually a good piece of football trivia … which team won the Peter Morrison Trophy despite being defeated in the quarter final of the competition?"
Now Cole has laid down a challenge for the treble winners to ensure they will not be remembered as one season wonders.
“For Hendon to be considered a good side, let alone the greatest ever, they will have to come back and win it next year and the year after.
“How many times have we heard people in the game saying that winning it for the first time is the easy part? Retaining it is the hard part. Just ask Redbridge.”