Now that’s what you call fantasy football
Alex Bourne's fiance Rachel Stevens
It is a common perception that most Maccabi League footballers are fat, balding and past their sell-by dates. But one JC MSFL team have proved the theory wrong with a celebrity status that has made them the envy of the league.
Southgate Harmen A feature several fine-tuned hunks attracting A-list attention.
Take striker Alex Bourne for example. He is engaged to pop star and Strictly Come Dancing favourite Rachel Stevens. They are the MSFL's answer to Posh & Becks. The pair share a home in Belsize Park. Model and actor Bourne, 31, is famed for his appearances on WKD commercials as well as putting away the goals on a regular basis for the second division title hopefuls.
Then there is keeper Ziggy Lichman of Big Brother fame. The chick magnet with flowing blonde locks had a whirlwind affair with fellow contestant Chanelle Hayes followed by former Hearsay singer Suzanne Shaw. Most recently, he was rumoured to be involved with Hollyoaks babe Jennifer Metcalfe.
Lichman, 26, has worked as a music producer/promoter and now deals in property. Based in Totteridge, he is touted to be one of the finest stoppers in the league. Former clubs include Oakwood, EBOR Eagles and The Veras.
Jon Morris, 25, is also not your average Sunday morning park footballer. He takes a pair of hair straighteners to every match. The centre half has to look his best these days as he is dating Miss London runner-up Samantha Freedman. Before the big romance, wannabee Morris used to hassle Lichman for VIP passes to nightclubs soon after Ziggy came out of the Big Brother house.
Morris quipped: "We're definitely the best-looking team in the MSFL. It's just a shame we're rubbish!"
Harmen club captain and founder Jonathan Hirshler said: "I probably let the side down on the looks front as I like to concentrate on the football. But it's fair comment that we are an immaculately presented team."
The father-of-two claims that stardom has not changed any of his players. "Ziggy and Alex are always the butt of our pre-match banter. They are both quite well-grounded lads. We all thought Ziggy would be hounded by the paparazzi but he's lucky if his mum and dog come to watch him occasionally. It's all about Alex at the moment.
"Ziggy is still himself. He has the best kick of any keeper I've ever played with. His kick is a weapon and often creates chances. He has a very safe pair of hands, is very fit and agile with good distribution.
"I'm sure that Alex is the envy of every player in the league as he is going out with a beautiful girl. I'm not aware of any opponent trying to intimidate him during a match but know that he can take care of himself."
Hirshler recalls how Morris "receives stick for having hair straighteners in his kit bag as an essential along with his boots and shinpads". He added: "He doesn't go anywhere without them and gets annoyed when we play at a ground that doesn't have a plug socket in the changing room."
Bourne inadvertently helped the team overcome an awkward situation on a pre-season tour in Brighton a few years ago. Hirshler said: "We were having problems getting into a night club as an all male group. But the bouncer double looked at Alex and said ‘aren't you the bloke from the WKD ads?'. We got in. It was probably the only occasion that his fame has come into the equation to help the team."
Not to be outdone, North West Neasden's Jake Gottlieb is dating Eastenders heart-throb Lacey Turner, aka Stacey Slater. She came to watch him at last season's Jewish FA Cup final.