Play­ers who’d rather watch than play are killing teams

The Jewish Chronicle - - Sport -

WHILETHE­fu­turelooks rosy for North West Neas­den (see above), Mel Beres­ford, man­ager of the club’s C team, this week told me about his frus­tra­tions lead­ing up to the de­ci­sion to pull the side out of the league.

Hot on the heels of South Manx B dis­band­ing, Neas­den’s third string folded just two games into the cam­paign. The warn­ing bells were ring­ing be­fore the first match — a 10-0 hum­bling by FC Team A — but I was stunned by what Beres­ford told me.

“Neas­den have got around 64 reg­is­tered mem­bers, which should’ve been more than enough to run three teams this sea­son,” he said. “The C team lost half its squad over the sum­mer, while some other regulars were in­jured. There was a lack of in­ter­est from play­ers in­volved with the B team, who were three sea­sons, and last year they missed out on the run­ners-up spot in Divi­sion Two by three points.

“There was no point in car­ry­ing on,” he said. “It frus­trates me that I did not get the help and back­ing from the club. It comes down to other peo­ple at the club telling play­ers which team’s game they’re play­ing in. It’s been brew­ing for years. Peo­ple seem to for­get that this is Jewish foot­ball. If the play­ers were that good they wouldn’t be play­ing Jewish foot­ball. I can’t be­lieve that af­ter reg­is­ter­ing to play, young boys would rather watch.”

Un­cer­tain as to his next move, a core of Beres­ford’s squad look set to join North Lon­don Raiders. He said: “I’ve en­joyed my time at Neas­den but am frus­trated and ag­gra­vated by the way it ended.”

Re­search shows that the lo­cal leagues in Sh­effield are among the only ones show­ing a rise in player par­tic­i­pa­tion and without reg­u­lar cov­er­age in the Jewish me­dia, there’s ev­ery chance that the likes of the Mac­cabi League would fade away.

I was aware of it be­ing na­tional chocolate week but for those of you that did not know, it is also the One Game, One Com­mu­nity week – part of Kick It Out’s equal­ity and in­clu­sion in foot­ball cam­paign.

Last week we re­ported that Chelsea have pledged to find and ban sup­port­ers re­cently filmed singing an­ti­semitic songs about ri­vals Tot­ten­ham. This week, a probe has been launched into al­le­ga­tions that Bolton Wan­der­ers fans aimed racist salutes at Spurs fans.

It’s time that the foot­ball au­thor­i­ties unite and give out a clear mes­sage that abuse of any kind at grounds across the land is un­ac­cept­able, and clamp down in the strong­est man­ner. As well as of­fend­ers be­ing pun­ished with life bans, I be­lieve they should also be ed­u­cated as to why their ac­tions are so in­sult­ing. In­stead of get­ting them to pay a fine, they should be made to fund a trip to a for­mer con­cen­tra­tion camp where they would find out just why their chants are so of­fen­sive.

JC MSFL teams re­turn to action fol­low­ing a two-week break for Jewish hol­i­days. While most play­ers will be nice and fresh, spare a thought for Cam­den Park’s Michael Gold­berg, who dis­lo­cated a shoul­der guest­ing for Tem­ple For­tune Old Boys dur­ing an in­ter-club friendly. For the record, For­tune’s first team won 6-2.

The third an­nual Mac­cabi GB Ten­pin Bowl­ing tour­na­ment takes places at Go Bowl­ing in Dun­sta­ble on Sun­day. The com­pe­ti­tion starts with the hand­i­cap event fol­lowed by the scratch fi­nals.

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