Reich take last title before league stops with 5-4 win over Broughton Park Rangers

Game was given added significance as the league announced last month it would be pausing for next season


History was made in the Manchester Jewish Soccer League on Sunday morning after a dramatic final day winners-take-all clash saw Reich crowned champions for the first time.

Reich went into the game knowing a point would be enough to see them finish top, while their opponents Broughton Park Rangers, who have already won the Shonn Trophy, knew nothing less than a win would suffice.

The game was given added significance as the league — which is celebrating its 75th anniversary — announced last month it would be pausing for next season, thereby lending the possibility that this could be its last-ever game.

If it is, Reich ensured they will go down in the record books, edging a nine-goal classic to see off Rovers 5-4 thanks to two goals from Marley Rubens, plus strikes from Menny Rose, Benjamin Cumming and Josh Mechlowitz.

Describing how “incredibly proud” he was of his side, manager Stuart Delmont said: “We knew we had to win our last three games to win the title. Doing that takes a lot of courage, heart, commitment and organisation.

"The game itself was always going to be close, but I knew we had enough in the squad to beat them and on the balance of play, possession, football, and ability, we deserved to win on the day.”

Reflecting what the win means to him personally, he said: “This is my 11th League title managing in Jewish and non-Jewish football, but to win this with Reich FC, with all the romance surrounding the potential last ever league game for the MJSL is quite a humbling, joyous and sad occasion for me and the league itself.

“For the club it’s huge, and a special thank you to Danny Lopian (Reich Insurance) for backing us year in year out, and a special thank you to Michael Gastwirth (MR Director of football) for being the glue that holds it all together.

"I don’t think the players understand the historic feat they’ve just achieved, they just see it as a league winners medal.”

Their season can get even better as they can still win a treble, both sides facing each other off on two more occasions in the finals of the Tony Cohen and Action Against Cancer cups.

Looking ahead, Delmont is hopeful the league will resume in the 2024/25 season, saying: “I think it must do to keep that identity of Jewish players playing in a Jewish league.

"Perhaps if the league can somehow open itself up to U18 Jewish teams coming through, sprinkled with several other Jewish teams in a couple of years, then it may have a chance to resurrect itself.

Maybe look at getting together a 7-a-side indoor league for all ages, that could be a starting point to rekindle an 11-a-side league. To be honest, it’s not just the MJSL that is suffering, all leagues in the northwest and up and down the country are.”

MJSL Chairman and Secretary Paul Rose is also hoping for a resurrection. He said: “We hope that season 2024-25 will bring a renewed vigour for the MJSL but that seems a long time away as it stands.”

Down south, there were only two goals played in the Maccabi GB Southern Football League.

Newly crowned Division One champions London Athletico kept alive their hopes of a league and cup treble as they thrashed Redbridge Jewish Care White 10-0 to book their place into the final of the Super Cup. Zacki Doumou, Louis Martin, Josh Morris, Jason Burns and Gabriel Platt all found the back of the net.

Manager Adam Nahum said afterwards: “It was a great performance all round as we continue our quest to do the treble.” Athletico will play either Real Salt Beef or Redbridge Jewish Care Purple in the final.

The other game saw North London Raiders book their place into the semi-final of the Peter Morrison Trophy as they won an all-Premier Division clash against HMH.

Scrabble booked their place in the final of the Maccabi Masters Football League Cup after they beat St John’s Wood Tigers 2-0 thanks to strikes from Alex Bourne and Jon Isaacs.

They will face Maccabi London Lions in the final. In the league, Lions consolidated second spot as they thrashed Hendon Harriers 6-0. Six different names got on the scoresheet — Michael Abraham, Wayne Davidson, Daniel Sugarman, Paul Allen, Jonny Caplan and Laurence Swerner.

Brady solidified third spot in the table as Ben Shooter, Gavin Sherman and Kevin Lotzof goals earned them a 3-0 win over EHRS.

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