Haroldeans fold due to a shortage of players

Exclusive: Haroldeans chairman Fraser Saville has confirmed the decision to fold was taken "with a heavy heart".


Haroldeans, the only Jewish men’s team in Liverpool, have been forced to take the decision to withdraw from the Liverpool Business Houses League due to a shortage of committed players and a lack of finances.

Club officials recently met representatives from the Liverpool county FA where it was confirmed Haroldeans would not carry on this season – their 72nd year.

Following the discussions it was agreed Haroldeans would maintain its status as a Charter Standard FA club and it is their intention to feature in the MJSL’s six-a-side competition early next year, as well as the World in One nine-a-side Community League.

Haroldeans chairman Fraser Saville told JC Sport: “It’s been a very tough decision to make but we’ve been light on numbers for most of the season – some weeks we only had eight players available and at other times we often played games with no substitutes. The writing has been on the wall since the start of the season when we were forced to cancel games.

“For manager Mike Bloomberg and myself, we came to the decision that it was not worth our efforts any more as the numbers were just not there. We’ve lost ten players from last season and there was a lot of apathy after the Peter Morrison Trophy final.”

Haroldeans were losing finalists in the National cup competition in 2018 and 2019. But their run to the final last season was disrupted by the controversial award of a replay after they beat Manchester Maccabi on penalties.

Maccabi appealed on the basis that the referee had broken competition rules by playing a shortened period of extra-time – 10 minutes each way rather than 15 minutes, as he needed to get away promptly to cover another match.

Competition organisers ordered a replay, although Haroldeans had done nothing wrong. They went on to win the replay before meeting HMH in the final in Harrogate in May.

The Merseysiders were unhappy with the venue for the showpiece Maccabi final, the fact it was played on 3G and that referee Andy Myerson was from the MGBSFL – the league in which HMH play. Haroldeans had one player sent off during the match and a second player after the final whistle.

“The boys didn’t want to play in the Morrison again,” said Fraser. “We felt everything went against us after the first game against Maccabi. To play a big cup final on 3G – a surface many of our boys are unfamiliar with – did not feel right.

The Liverpool county FA have agreed to keep Haroldeans’ status active, and Saville, who has been involved with the club for 36 years, said: “Hopefully we can get things going again next year. We’ve got an ageing committee but we will make efforts to find fresh blood from the area.”

He also wants the club to rediscover its Jewish roots. “After winning the treble, we left the MJSL to join the Liverpool Business Houses League to play more competitive football. We signed several non-Jewish players, many of whom attended King David School, but I feel like we’ve lost our Jewish identity.

“During the 1980’s we ran eight teams – three senior, one Vets and four junior teams. But now we live in the smallest Jewish community in the north-west, so the decent to withdraw from competitive 11-a-side football has been taken with great sadness.

"We’ve had three great seasons, finishing third in the Liverpool Business Houses League in our first year, and amassed more than 35 trophies, but all good things come to an end."

Upon hearing the news, South Manchester Sports Club chairman Jonny Davis told JC Sport: "I'm very upset to about our lifelong friends Liverpool Haroldeans, who we've been associated with for more than 60 years. They are a fantastic club and I hope they get back to playing football again next season."



Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive