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Players cannot pick and choose when they want to play ball

The great Sunday morning debate reared its head again last weekend, with no less than three — what I’d describe as strange — results, catching the eye … and leaving respective managers scratching their heads.

    There were collective cries of oy gevalt when BT Sport announced that it had moved Spurs’ match against Crystal Palace to midday on the Sunday.  Any MGBSFL teams with non-Tottenham supporting players in the squad were rubbing their hands in delight.

    Cue the 8-1 defeat of Fairlop FC by Hendon United. The Division Two new boys caused a major surprise in the Jewish FA Cup only a few weeks ago but they were put to the sword by the MGBSFL giants second time around.

    Manager Aaron Dias bemoaned the absence of several regulars and said: “We decided to play our second-string side as, with no disrespect this competition, it is the equivalent of the League Cup and we are already into the next round of the FA Cup.

    But credit to Hendon who were at full-strength and have prioritised the smaller cups.

    Fairlop were also missing Kane Hopps who has  been ruled out for the remainder of the season through injury. He was unveiled as part of the Fairlop management team on the eve of the tie. Asked what qualities he brought to the dug-out, Dias joked: “Experience, a loud voice and dodgy haircut. The loss of David Farkash proved too much as we really missed his pace and hold-up play down the left. In the end it was men against boys but our under-16s B team will return for our league game next weekend.”

    But Faithfold A player-manager Avi Markiewicz failed to see the funny side of his team’s 11-0 mauling at the hands of a full-strength Maccabi London Lions White.

    “The commitment of some was more than just questionable,” he said. “There are things going on in people’s lives that are unavoidable but Sunday morning football should be a priority over anything else other than that and today too many of my players chose things that were avoidable.” Hear, hear I say.

    For me, Sunday morning football should be a nine-month commitment. Managers and the majority of players keep their schedules clear for their love and weekly fix of playing 11-a-side football, which has been on the decline for several years now across the country.

    Division Two leaders Catford & Bromley were on the receiving end of a 5-1 thrashing against North London Raiders C. Reflecting on their first defeat, player-manager Jeff Gotch admitted his team “got murdered, with the better team on the day taking advantage of a depleted squad”.

    But the Premier League and television companies are also part of the problem, in an age where supporters part with thousands of pounds to watch their heroes up and down the country. 

    I’d much rather play than watch a game of football and having been forced into early retirement through injury, my message is support your manager by committing to playing, not picking and choosing your games. It simply isn’t fair to the boys trying to break into the team. Either you are in or you are out.

    Hats off to the players at Maccabi London Lions Vets – a team littered with Spurs fans. Alex Levack, , Max Radford and Lee Cash played their part in a 4-1 triumph and caught up with the Tottenham highlights on Match of the Day later that night. That’s how it should be.

    I sincerely hope managers make a stand this weekend and don’t allow the absent players to walk straight back into the team.

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