Danny Caro

Avram Grant's father dies

By Danny Caro, October 19, 2009

Meir Granat, the father of Avram Grant, passed away on Saturday night.

The 82-year-old Holocaust survivor’s health deteriorated after complications following routine surgery to remove a kidney stone.

He was in intensive care at Tel Hashomer Hospital and lay unconscious for eight weeks.

Recently reappointed Director of Football at Portsmouth, Grant missed the weekend Premier League match against Spurs as he rushed back to Israel to be by his father’s side. He joined family members for a bedside vigil before his father faded away.

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Players who’d rather watch than play are killing teams

By Danny Caro, October 15, 2009

While the future looks rosy for North West Neasden (see above), Mel Beresford, manager of the club’s C team, this week told me about his frustrations leading up to the decision to pull the side out of the league.

Hot on the heels of South Manx B disbanding, Neasden’s third string folded just two games into the campaign. The warning bells were ringing before the first match — a 10-0 humbling by FC Team A — but I was stunned by what Beresford told me.

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Remembering absent friends …

By Danny Caro, October 15, 2009

This time two years ago, we were all bad-mouthing the Wally with the Brolly. The memories of Croatia celebrating at the new Wembley (is it still called that?) How Slaven Bilic outfoxed Steve McClaren. How Scott Carson managed to let Niko Kranjcar’s shot squeeze past him…

How times have changed. Now we’re looking forward to the World Cup finals, believing that England have an outside chance of going all the way.

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My England World Cup 23

By Danny Caro, October 15, 2009

There are little under eight months until the first ball is kicked at the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa.

With a near-perfect record to boast from their qualifying campaign, the England manager has plenty of time to fine-tune their squad.

There are some shoe-ins, such as captain John Terry, Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney, some probables and also some possibles.

Manager Fabio Capello has turned an under-achieving group into a bunch of world-beaters.

At the highest level of sport, only fine margins separate the winners from the rest.

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Avram Grant's work permit delayed

By Danny Caro, October 15, 2009

Avram Grant’s return to Portsmouth has been delayed by work-permit red tape.

Grant, 54, was recently reappointed Director of Football at the struggling Premier League club and although he was expected to start work on Monday, the Home Office will not allow the Israel to resume his old post until his application has been considered and signed off.

“There is nothing we can do to speed it up,” said Portsmouth chief executive Peter Storrie. “He has applied in the normal way and all we can do is wait and see what happens. It is annoying but these things take time.”

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Israel’s World Cup bid fails

By Danny Caro, October 15, 2009

Israel were left dreaming of what might have been in Basle on Wednesday night as their World Cup dream came to a gallant end.

They held group winners Switzerland to a goalless draw in a match they contested with 10 men for the last 30 minutes following the dismissal of Avihai Yadin.

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Big Ben strikes four for Lions reserves

By Danny Caro, October 12, 2009

Four goals from Ben Ellis capped a superb second half display of crisp passing and clinical finishing as London Lions reserves eventually cruise into the second round of the League Cup with a comprehensive 7-0 victory over Buntingford Town.

With the pitch at Rowley Lane back to its resplendent best, Lions kicked off this first Round League Cup tie full of hope that they could continue their recent good form.

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Cricket: Israel clinch Euro promotion

By Danny Caro, October 12, 2009

Israel regained Division Two after beating Croatia by six wickets in a European playoff in Zagreb.

Captained by Herschel Gutman, the Division Three champions won the toss and elected to bowl after the start had been delayed due to wet conditions, and the game reduced to 36 overs.

Opening bowlers Eliezer Samson and David Massil kept things tight, and after 15 overs the Croatians were struggling to keep the scoreboard ticking, going along at just over one-run an over.

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Barda keeps Israel's World Cup hopes alive

By Danny Caro, October 12, 2009

Two goals from Elyaniv Barda kept alive Israel's slim hopes of qualifying for next year's World Cup finals after they beat Moldova 3-1.

The striker made it 10 goals in 18 games in front of just 8,749 fans at the Ramat Gan.

But with group leaders Switzerland and second-placed Greece also winning, Israel must beat Switzerland away on Wednesday and hope Luxembourg to draw or win in Athens if they are to progress.

Barda scored either side of a David Ben Dayan goal as Israel established a three-goal cushion before Denis Calincov's late consolation for the visitors.

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Eyal Berkovic lines up Israel manager job

By Danny Caro, October 9, 2009

Eyal Berkovic is stepping up his campaign to become the new Israel manager.

The former Israeli international, who had stints at Southampton, West Ham, Celtic, Manchester City, Blackburn and Portsmouth, was installed as the fans favourite after IFA chairman Avi Luzon announced that current boss Dror Kashtan would not have his contract renewed after Israel’s World Cup qualifying campaign.

Avram Grant was Luzon’s choice to replace Kashtan but the former Chelsea manager was this week installed as Director of Football at Portsmouth, leaving the door open for Berkovic.

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Abramovich leads Jewish football rich list

By Danny Caro, October 9, 2009

Three of football’s wealthiest people are Jewish, according to new research.

With an estimated fortune of £7.8bn, Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, 42, heads the Jewish delegation, retaining third position in the 2009 FourFourTwo.com Rich List.

Trailing Lakshmi Mittal (£18.4bn) and Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan (£17bn), the father-of-five has reportedly made more than £600m in the past 12 months.

But the economic downturn has seen huge losses to even the biggest fortunes.

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Not quite a minyan, but Oldham are the real Jewish deal

By Danny Caro, October 8, 2009

Someone asked me the other day, ‘which is the best Jewish football club?’ Spurs, Arsenal, West Ham, Chelsea, Watford, Barnet, Wingate & Finchley or even London Maccabi Lions would be likely answers, but my choice would not be one of them.

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What does Grant’s return mean for Ben Haim?

By Danny Caro, October 7, 2009

Avram Grant and Tal Ben Haim have rarely seen eye-to-eye.

It is clear that Grant is a highly-respected figure. He came within one kick of winning the Champions League at Chelsea and clearly still has many friends in Portsmouth.

With more than two months until the transfer window reopens, and the Portsmouth squad-list featuring a who’s-who of footballing rejects, the club needs all the help it can get.

Having tipped him for a return several months ago, Grant’s return as Director of Football does not surprise me.

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Avram Grant rejoins Portsmouth

By Danny Caro, October 7, 2009

Avram Grant has been reinstalled as Director of Football at Premier League strugglers Portsmouth.

The former Chelsea manager, 54, joined the Fratton Park club in the same role in June 2006, just months after stepping down from the Israel national job.

The appointment was made days after billionaire Saudi businessman Ali Al Faraj bought the club.

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Salita booked in for Khan title fight

By Danny Caro, October 6, 2009

Dmitriy Salita will take on WBA light-welterweight Amir Khan in Newcastle on December 5.

Khan’s first title defence will take place at the Metro Radio Arena against Salita, 27, the WBA mandatory challenger and a highly-credible first defence for 2004 Olympic silver-medallist Khan.

Promoter Frank Warren said: “For Amir’s first defence this is a very tough fight for him and he’s taking on a fighter that the American media are really building up at the moment.

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London Lions reserves take second place

By Danny Caro, October 5, 2009

London Lions reserves climbed to second in the Herts Senior County League Division One courtesy of a 6-1 drubbing of Bovingdon, the team’s fourth consecutive league victory.

The were five changes from the previous week, including Andy Myers, returning after a month’s suspension and Richard Baum and Josh Gordon, both answering late call-ups for their first appearances of the season in a Lions shirt.

Lining up in a more defensive than usual 4-4-2 formation, manager Jon Green demanded 90 minutes focus and concentration for what has always been a tough fixture.

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London Lions suffer first defeat

By Danny Caro, October 5, 2009

Former leaders London Lions slipped down to third after suffering their first defeat of the season, going down 3-1 to fellow high-flyers Baldock Town in the Herts Senior County League Premier Division.

In a performance described as “Jekyl & Hyde” by manager Tony Gold, the Lions forged ahead in the first-half before a lacklustre second period saw them go down at Clarence Park, home of St. Albans City.

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Football: Israel name World Cup squad

By Danny Caro, October 5, 2009

Premiership stars Tamir Cohen, Yossi Benayoun and Tal Ben Haim head a 22-man squad named by manager Dror Kashtan for Israel’s last two World Cup qualifiers.

The Blues host Moldova in Ramat Gan on Saturday before finishing in Switzerland, knowing that only two victories will keep them in contention of reaching the 2010 finals in South Africa.

Israel currently lie fourth in Group C, behind Switzerland, Greece and Lativa.

Israel squad

Goalkeepers: Dudu Awat (RCD Mallorca), Nir Davidovich (Maccabi Haifa), Liran Strauber (Maccabi Tel Aviv).

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Europa League: Hamburg too hot for Hapoel Tel Aviv

By Danny Caro, October 2, 2009

Hapoel Tel Aviv suffered their first Europa League defeat on Thursday night, going down 4-2 to Hamburg in Germany.

Having beaten Celtic in their first match, the Israelis found themselves two goals down inside the opening 12 minutes of the Group C contest.

Hamburg, beaten 3-1 by Rapid Vienna in their opening fixture, flew out of the blocks with Swedish striker Marcus Berg bagging a brace.

Minutes after coming off the bench, Hapoel substitue Etai Shechter halved the deficit, turning in Bibras Natcho's pinpoint cross with his head.

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Good but not good enough

By Danny Caro, October 1, 2009

It was a case of so near yet so far for Maccabi Haifa in France last night.

They had done the hard bit, silencing the crowd, but a lack of concentration for a split second led to their downfall. The 83rd minute goal from a corner could and should have been stopped, had the man on the post been more alert and not just standing on parade.

As things transpired, a lack of quality in the final third together with a lack of experience on the big stage were contributory factors but there were plenty of positives for manager Elisha Levy to take away.

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