Momentous week turned sour by cup final debacle


The phrase a week is a long time in football could certainly be applied to the last seven days.

Thursday: The JC MSFL Rep team clinches the London Inter-League Cup, or so we think.

Friday: I receive enquiries about the eligibility of Sam Sloma and find out that he has not played in the Maccabi League this year. Houston, we have a problem. Angry emails come in from other MSFL managers asking why we played a ringer. With 49 teams in the league, not even I could answer that one. These are quickly followed by calls for the head of the manager and chairman.

Saturday: Avram Grant uses up all his luck in the FA Cup final but it still was not enough to deny Chelsea the double. I'm reliably informed that he received a standing ovation from both sets of supporters at Wembley. How often do you see that?

News filters in that London Lions have won the Herts Senior County League title and will hold end-of-season celebrations at the Kensington Roof Garden Hotel, just a stone's throw from where Portsmouth are staying at the Royal Garden. Perhaps Lions manager Tony Gold can give Avram a few pointers as to where he went wrong.

Sunday: I wake up to breaking news about Lord Triesman. The nationals have been on his back for a long time and have finally got their man. (See page 4.)

On the way to Northolt to play cricket, word reaches me that North London Raiders A, the team I co-manage, have won the JC MSFL Division One title after Oakwood beat North West Neasden B. In a move reminiscent of when Jose Mourinho texted John Terry the word "champagne" to mark Chelsea's title success, Ryan Glynne, the NWN joint-manager, sends me a sporting message, saying: "Fully deserved."

My cricket match was abandoned early into the second innings with myself and captain Adam Brand at the crease. Although it did nothing for our Middlesex Sunday League title challenge, the not out will certainly boost the average.

Nursing a badly bruised ankle caused by a piece of unorthodox fielding, I make my way to the Southgate Harmen FC 10-year anniversary celebrations. However, the A-list celebrities fail to join me in Whetstone as keeper Ziggy Lichman, of Big Brother fame, is stranded in Spain by volcanic ash, while Rachel Stevens, wife of star striker Alex Bourne, is at a wedding.

In conclusion, what should have been a memorable week for Jewish football has ended in controversy. The bottom line is that the composition of the MSFL rep team needs a serious review to ensure that it returns to what it was intended to be - a representation of the Maccabi League rather than an elite Jewish rep team.

There are 49 teams in the league and I find it quite amazing that with six substitutes on the bench, a player who has not played one minute of Maccabi League football started the game. It sticks two fingers up to the boys who play in the league week in, week out. However, manager Jamie Cole told me that more than 40 players from outside the Premier Division were invited to trials for the team. Only a handful turned up. He believes that critics from outside the top flight cannot have their cake and eat it.

A winning mentality is not such a bad thing but a win-at-all-costs one is. There has been little love lost over the incident but Cole believes that there are some people who love to see those in power fail. This is not a Jewish trait, but a human trait. Live by the sword, die by the sword. That's what I say.

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