Rep call-up sep­a­rates the men from the boys

The Jewish Chronicle - - Sport -

REP TEAM man­ager Jamie Cole let off some steam af­ter he was forced to post­pone the tri­als ahead of se­lect­ing the squad to com­pete in the Lon­don In­ter-League Cup. The date at Row­ley Lane had been pen­cilled in for sev­eral weeks but Cole, who also joint-man­ages North West Neas­den A, was let down by late with­drawals from play­ers who cried off through ill­ness, sim­chas or hol­i­days.

Jamie and his team were looking for­ward to see­ing some of the lead­ing lights from the lower leagues as, over the years, some felt that the rep team squad has been some­thing of a closed shop in terms of only play­ers from the top teams get­ting in.

But it ap­pears that the very same play­ers who have been mak­ing th­ese ac­cu­sa­tions with­drew at the 11th hour. The play­ers must learn that they can­not have their cake and eat it.

They might be good play­ers in their own right but qual­i­fy­ing for the rep team squad does not just come down to tal­ent. Com­mit­ment, de­sire and the cor­rect at­ti­tude are also key char­ac­ter­is­tics and quite clearly, some of the boys don’t have them.

Cole is well aware who the top play­ers are. The fact that Neas­den, Hen­don, Red­bridge, Lions and Faith­fold have dom­i­nated in terms of sil­ver­ware, Euro­pean Mac­cabi Games and even Mac­cabiah squads in re­cent times tells him ev­ery­thing he needs to know.

As the squad has learnt over the years, the In­ter-League com­pe­ti­tion is not for every­one. It is a very dif­fer­ent game to the Mac­cabi League as the team comes up against Ry­man League play­ers who are big, quick, strong and phys­i­cal.

In short, not the kind of boys who would drop out with a snif­fle. So it’s time for Jamie, his as­sis­tant An­drew My­ers and coach Dar­ren Yar­lett, to sep­a­rate the boys from the men.

Who would be a ref­eree? £30 to get shouted at, sworn at and re­turn to your car af­ter a game to have your tyres slashed. It doesn’t ap­peal to many, and I’m not sur­prised that more and more men in black are drop­ping out of the game.

As joint-man­ager of North Lon­don Raiders A, I re­mind my play­ers be­fore the game that bad be­hav­iour and dis­sent to­wards of­fi­cials won’t be tol­er­ated.

I tell them no-one ever wins an ar­gu­ment with a ref­eree and em­pha­sise that they have a bet­ter chance of winning with 11 men on the pitch. Stat­ing the ob­vi­ous, it’s bet­ter to play against 11 than 12.

This is an ap­proach more man­agers should fol­low to en­sure that teams have enough of­fi­cials to cover their games. Without the men in black, there would be no league.

I’ve been booked twice in 19 years as an MSFL player and would be proud if my team fin­ished high up the Fair­play ta­ble. There is no rea­son why a suc­cess­ful team can­not also be the most sport­ing.

The best refs speak to both teams be­fore kick-off. It’s the most sen­si­ble method and en­sures the play­ers are clear about what will and won’t be tol­er­ated.

As Martin Fox, the MSFL’s ref­eree’s chief, said: “They should speak to play­ers be­fore in a firm but nice man­ner. There needs to be re­spect be­tween the two.” Re­spect is the key word. It works both ways. If the ref re­spects the play­ers, the play­ers will re­spect the ref­eree.

I be­lieve there are some ex­cel­lent ref­er­ees in the Mac­cabi League. Gary Sil­ver, War­wick Blake, Lau­rie Ben­son, Andy Myerson and Paul Gel­ern­ter are among my favourites. They turn up to do the job and are not in­ter­ested in be­ing the main man.

Hav­ing also played non-Jewish foot­ball, I don’t be­lieve that the MSFL is the worst in terms of abu­sive play­ers.

For ex­am­ple, I’ve played in games on Hack­ney Marshes where flash­points have re­sulted in play­ers get­ting knives out, at­tack­ing peo­ple af­ter the game and even full-scale ri­ots in the car park.

Of­ten, the worst thing you will see in Jewish foot­ball is one player chal­leng­ing an op­po­nent by yelling: “If you say one more thing …”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.