Every year we dream and imagine about this ceremony, lifting the championship plate and flying the Yellow & Blue flag high above the nation.
This time around it didn’t happen so quickly. One year and another and yet another went by. 108 opening and final whistles by the referee each lasting 90 minutes plus injury time until we won again. Until we returned the long awaited title from Beer Sheva back to Tel Aviv.
Thanks to all, Coach Vladimir Ivic and the pool of players who started and came off of the bench and some that even went back to the bench as well. To owner Mitch Goldhar who did not despair even when the color yellow faded. To the organization and management who allowed the footballers to reach such a wonderful achievement. In IDF terms they are called combat supporters.
This season was extraordinary. We followed the Yellow & Blue bus to all parts of the country and sang “You’ll never walk alone” to the club – and it was amazing. In the second playoff match when Aron Schoenfeld scored against Maccabi Haifa we weren’t contenders for the title but we were the champions.
There is no mathematical way to deny us of the title. And so with eight matches remaining before reaching the finish line, we have already crossed it in practice, formally and computationally. The final eight matches may just be a ton of fun for the championship which is already in our pocket. Now the fun begins.
There was nothing like it before. Many of the hawk eyes said, “It was no big deal” because the “the league is weak.” This was the same league in which we couldn’t make our way to the top and we couldn’t prevent Beer Sheva from winning the championship. Why didn’t people say, “the league was weak” when Beer Sheva won? Because when it’s not in our favor they like to snoot and when it is, they want to spoil our joy. It won’t help them.
I will add a vague memory that relates mainly to members of my generation, who are already 80 years old and beyond. Only in the 1950s did this happen: there were 12 teams in the league, we played only two rounds and each win was worth two points. It was the Maccabi of Sheya Glazer, Eli Fuchs and Yitzhak Shneor who passed away, and Noah Reznik who has been blessed with long life. Maccabi had already won 21 games, but the football court disqualified the 22nd match against Hapoel Ramat Gan and ordered it to be repeated without the players who had participated in the contest in question. And that’s how the match ended up being a draw and Maccabi lost their only point on the way to the championship. This season we can sing that history has repeated itself.
Tzahov Oleh. Every season and if possible just like this season.