‘Sun­day morn­ing foot­ball has lost its ap­peal,’ says Shooman

The Jewish Chronicle - - SPORT - BY DANNY CARO

FOOT­BALL ROB Shooman ad­mits he was forced to with­draw Faith­fold A from Di­vi­sion One due to a lack of com­mit­ment and en­thu­si­asm from the play­ers.

One of the most suc­cess­ful clubs in the his­tory of the MGBSFL, Faith­fold were one of only two teams to take points off cham­pi­ons-elect Red­bridge Jewish Care B. But man­ager Shooman in­sists it was the right call.

He de­scribed the de­ci­sion to for­feit last week­end’s sched­uled match against Oak­wood B as the fi­nal straw and says “the de­ci­sion to pull the team was reached with great re­gret”.

Shooman said: “Faith­fold has been a large part of my life for some con­sid­er­able time. I’ve en­joyed many great years with them — among my 50 with the league — I’ve had a good run, but it’s come to an end.”

Faith­fold’s A-team have won the Pre- mier Di­vi­sion ti­tle on three oc­ca­sions, as well as the Peter Mor­ri­son Tro­phy (Jewish FA Cup) and three Cyril Anek­stein Cups. They re­main the only Jewish club ever to have won the Lon­don FA Sun­day In­ter­me­di­ate Cup, and a host of their play­ers have won in­di­vid­ual awards, most re­cently Daniel Howard — Player of the Year — in 2013.

Faith­fold were forced to with­draw their for­mer C-team in re­cent sea­sons, as well as their veter­ans team from the Mac­cabi Mas­ters League. And Shooman be­lieves it is a sign of the times.

“Play­ing 11-a-side foot­ball doesn’t mean as much to boys as it used to,” he said. “They pri­ori­tise other things now, they have other dis­trac­tions.

“Faith­fold have had some great serv- ants over the years but were no longer the force they used to be. Every­thing changed very quickly. Of­ten, I had 16 play­ers on a Satur­day evening but a bare XI be­fore kick-off on a Sun­day morn­ing.

“But on the other side of the coin, I had a re­ally tal­ented group of play­ers. If I had the com­mit­ment, I be­lieve we’d be up there chal­leng­ing.

“It’s very frus­trat­ing for me how things have ended. In the end I had to ask my­self, ‘What am I knock­ing my­self out for?’ It came to the point where many boys no longer went out of their way to play and I was fed up of pay­ing all the fines.”

League chair­man David Wolff ex­pressed sadness with the lat­est with­drawal. “It’s al­ways a shame when a team leaves,” he re­marked, “but I know they have had prob­lems for quite some time. It’s a sad re­flec­tion of what they were.”

With the MGBSFL now down to 30 teams, Mr Wolff went on to say: “We’ve al­ready got some en­quiries about new teams join­ing next sea­son so let’s wait and see.” Faith­fold A fol­low in the foot­steps of Brix­ton Old Boys and FC Team C who folded ear­lier in the sea­son. Faith­fold’s name will re­main in the Di­vi­sion One ta­ble as they ful­filled 75 per cent of their fix­tures. Their re­main­ing three games have been awarded to their op­po­nents.

Faith­fold folded with three games re­main­ing

PHO­TOS: MARC MOR­RIS

Rob Shooman

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