Real boys will be fittest in the league, says Dan
AFEW years ago, I was part of the antimerger brigade. But times have changed, haven’t they? Having played for several Jewish clubs, including my current one, London Maccabi Vale, I feel suitably qualified to comment.
I joined the Jewish cricket fold in the early noughties, when the Maccabi Sunday League was thriving.
MyinningsstartedatEdgwareWanderers, later to merge with Belmont, with a successful spell at Casual Nomads in between. Offers from Southgate SynagogueandMALhavealsobeenon the table.
The demise of the league, a few years ago, resulted in a very worrying picture. Nomads fell by the wayside, leaving only a handful of clubs – playing a variety of standards. And when the Stuart Neils National Cup stopped, the future looked even bleaker.
Vale have been top of the tree for the large part, with Belmont, MAL and Nomadsenjoyingyearsof greatsuccess too. But clearly, playing the best quality competitive cricket clearly isn’t the be all and end all for the masses today.
There was a time when, myself included, it was great being a big fish in a small pond. Having completed a 20-year stint on the non-Jewish circuit at Hampstead CCandMiddlesexColts,Iwantedanew challenge. At the time, Vale wasn’t for me, but now it’s the only viable option.
Vale and Belmont have discussed a possible merger more than once and more recently, we’ve seen informal discussions between MAL and Belmont, who are celebrating their 40th anniversary. Rivalry used to be fierce and healthy, but, sadly, it’s no longer there.
We’re not dealing with the same kind of numbers as we still have in Jewish football in London and I believe it’s time for some people and clubs to start looking at the bigger picture, forward, notback,andnotworrysomuchabout names.
The old guard at Vale have been given a new lease of life by Maccabiah stars of todayandtomorrow–namelyJoseph Greenwall Cohen, Benjamin Lederman, Joseph Greenwall Cohen, Jonathan Gould, Adam Spooner, plus fleeting appearances from Grant Reingold.
Given that Sunday cricket has become a struggle for many clubs around the country, a one-club ethic would be a win-win, especially for the youngsters. It would make sense to house everyone underthesameumbrella,withRowley Lane the obvious venue.
Discussions have stalled for now, but oncewecanputegosandbravadotoone side, I really hope the ball starts rolling againsometimesoon. Theymaynot happentodayortomorrow,butsomewheredownthelinetheyhavetoorthe inevitable will happen. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and/or follow Danny on Twitter:@djcaro
FOOTBALL MACCABI League new boys Real Sosobad will get a helping hand from Bolton manager Dougie Freedman after sealing a sponsorship deal with leisure firm Focus Fitness.
The MGBSFL Division Three side will receive a new sponsored kit and the players will benefit from nutritional advice, plus occasional visits from Freedman, along with business partner Gavin Heeroo.
“The boys are very excited about the seasonandnewsponsors,”saidSosobad boss Dan Shafron. “We all got together a couple of weeks ago as it was important for the squad to see what they do.
“We’re all hungry to succeed and win the league. I believe the squad are at good age — the right side of 30 — and are looking after themselves now more than they ever have been.”
Sosobad formed two years ago, playing in the Spurs six-a-side league in Chigwell and they will feature a number of former Wingate & Finchley youth academy players, who were managed by the late Maurice Hanover.
Shafron said: “Ten years ago there was less focus on fitness for Sunday morning football. Now everyone is more conscious about what they are doing and are keen to look after themselves.
“We have no smokers in our squad — everyone goes to gym and tries to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Now we’ll receive guidance from former professionals and I think we’ll be one of the fittest teams. Our chairman, Josh Hambling, is demanding instant results on the pitch.”
The deal arose following discussions between’s Real’s Ashley Stanton and Heeroo, a former Crystal Palace player. As a result, the firm, which runs the Healthy Lifestyle Club in Southgate, have also offered every MGBSFL player to have a free wellness evaluation.
Heeroo said: “Our company is rapidly expanding and it’s good to be giving something back to the community. I’ve got lots of Jewish friends and it’s good to be part of the league. It’s a good partnership for everyone concerned.
“We’re a young and vibrant company and I’ve already met the lads. They are a good bunch and I’ve told them we want to be associated with winners.
“We won’t be training them, but we will help where we can. We’ve got a nutrition club and will offer them shakes before and after matches.
“I hope to come down to a couple of matches and although Dougie lives in Manchester, he’s the type of person who will pop down to see them play or train if he can.”
Playing in their new kits, Sosobad went down to goals from Sam Castle and Alex Bowman against Premier Division new boys Harmen.
Alex Bowman scored in Harmen’s 2-0 friendly win over Real