It was refreshing to hear Ian Wright speak so positively about grass-roots football the other day.
The former Arsenal and England star recalled scoring his first England goal just four years after being hauled off a building site where he was working.
"I was a terrible builder,” Wright recalled, “but thankfully someone spotted me,” and the rest is history.
He bawled in front of his England team-mates when he was told he was selected for his debut against Cameroon. “Gary
Lineker nicked a goal off me that day,” he quipped. “But the adenalin rush I felt that day was quite incredible.
Wright believes there are “hidden gems” playing Sunday morning football and urged scouts to “go out and find them”.
Jamie Vardy was the most expensive player to come out of non-league football,” said Wright. “The quality and calibre when I played was outstanding.” Maccabi footballers take note.”
• Rowley Lane is home to so many Jewish sportsmen and women from the community, as well as a magnet to families. The statisticians reading this will be impressed to read that in the region of 100,000 visitors go through the gates each years, they host 3,000 hours of sport a week, it is home to 52 different teams from six different sports, featuring participants aged 1-90. The £250,000 raised at the Maccabi London Brady lunch will certainly be going to a worthy cause.
• The majority of managers across the MGBSFL regularly attempt to play down their hopes of winning silverware. But not Joel Holder, boss of the recently formed Finchley City FC.
Speaking after the victory over Athletic Bilbaum, he commented: "The boys know that this is the standard we must replicate to win the title this season."
In case you missed my tips for the season, they were Raiders to retain the Premier, Scrabble for Division One and L’Equipe for Division Two. Watch this space.
• Attention turns to the second round of the Cyril Anekstein Cup this weekend with the tie of the round seeing SPEC FC looking to exact revenge for their recent league defeat by Brady Maccabi. There’s also the small matter of the first Essex derby of the season as Woodford Wanderers host Division One high-flyers Redbridge Jewish Care B. And if you’re looking for a shock, keep yours eyes on the result between RCUK FC and Brixton Old Boys.