Our man Avram de­serves re­spect

The Jewish Chronicle - - SPORT -

ITHINK IT’S about time that some­one stood up for Chelsea boss Avram Grant and as there doesn’t ap­pear to be a lengthy queue, I will do it for him. I am not sug­gest­ing set­ting up an Ap­pre­ci­a­tion So­ci­ety, es­pe­cially be­ing a Liver­pool fan in the midst of a Cham­pi­ons League semi-fi­nal against the Stam­ford Bridge club, but I be­lieve it’s time for the Bri­tish press to show him some re­spect.

When he took over from Jose Mour­inho last Septem­ber, I re­mem­ber the looks of amaze­ment from some of the coun­try’s top sport writ­ers. No-one in the press con­fer­ence could have dreamt that he would do as well as he has, and rarely with a full-strength team. But from the cov­er­age and abuse he re­ceives one would have thought that the blues are in the bot­tom half of the ta­ble or, worst still, in rel­e­ga­tion tur­moil.

But wait, un­less I am mis­taken, de­spite him be­ing un­able to call on the club’s big name stars for a large chunk of the sea­son for in­juries or un­avail­abil­ity, he ap­proaches the fi­nal month of the sea­son chal­leng­ing for the two most sig­nif­i­cant pieces of sil­ver­ware — the Cham­pi­ons League and the Pre­mier League. Don’t for­get he has lost just twice in 29 league games, an im­pres­sive re­turn even by Sir Alex Fer­gu­son’s stan­dards.

Granted (ex­cuse the pun), he is not ev­ery­one’s cup of tea and, like many Is­raelis he keeps his cards close to his chest, but I be­lieve the na­tion­als have taken their abuse too far.

Fol­low­ing last week’s vic­tory at Ever­ton, which took Chelsea to within two points of lead­ers Manch­ester United, The Sun’s chief sports writer Steve Howard started his match anal­y­sis with the fol­low­ing: Av­er­age Grant. Av­er­age Grump. The Tur­tle. Frog­gie. Larry Grayson. Name call­ing is bul­ly­ing and with all the prob­lems Bri­tish so­ci­ety is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing to­day, I do not think it sets the right ex­am­ple. It’s sim­ply ir­re­spon­si­ble, im­ma­ture and petty.

In­stead of re­flect­ing on a hard earned vic­tory, the pa­per de­cided to give a blow-by-blow ac­count, fo­cus­ing on Grant’s ev­ery move­ment. When Grant says some­thing, it is of­ten taken out of con­text and when he doesn’t say any­thing it some­how makes even more of a head­line. I just don’t get it. Like Mour­inho, he has a steely de­ter- mi­na­tion but of­ten keeps his feel­ings to him­self. He has clearly been hurt by the bar­rage of abuse and ap­pears to be in a lose-lose sit­u­a­tion un­less he can win a piece of sil­ver­ware.

Evening Stan­dard colum­nist David Mel­lor has also called for Grant’s head but the Is­raeli con­tin­ues to an­swer his crit­ics in the best pos­si­ble way: with re­sults, not words. Ad­mit­tedly, flair and sexy foot­ball have not come with his early prom­ises but just look where it’s got Arse­nal this sea­son.

The cov­er­age re­bounds on to the ter­races with the fans also un­happy with Chelsea’s choice to re­place the Spe­cial One. Grant is def­i­nitely not their spe­cial one and I have never heard a ground as quiet as I did when watch­ing the re­cent match against Wi­gan.

I find it in­cred­i­ble that the pa­pers con­tinue to fo­cus on Grant. From day one, they have been out to get him and it ap­pears their cam­paign will not cease un­til he is re­moved.

Else­where, Lon­don Mac­cabi Li­ons A striker Lee Bib­ring looks set to be ruled out for the sea­son af­ter tear­ing an­kle lig­a­ments dur­ing the JC Cyril Anek­stein Cup fi­nal win over Chigwell Ath­letic B.

I have been asked to write an ar­ti­cle for the Rosh Hashanah edi­tion of the JFS Alumni mag­a­zine and am keen to hear from any ex-pupils who have sto­ries of sport­ing ex­cel­lence. See Danny Caro’s week­end roundup at www.thejc.com

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.