HENDON manager David Garbacz likes to rub salt in a wound, but you can’t deny what a fine side he has at his disposal as they go in search of becoming the first club in Jewish football to win a second treble. Anyone who turned up at Wingate on Sunday would have been expecting a far closer Cyril Anekstein final between the Premier Division’s top two, than the one which panned out. Norstar boss Phil Peters said his side were rusty, which would have been expected given their recent lack of football. Garbacz though, never one to miss a cheeky dig, said: “They did look magnificent in their cup final suits and ties and training tops though, and would certainly be worthy winners of the best turned out award.” On to more serious issues, and the small matter of winning their remaining three league matches to see them clinch the treble – and their names in the record books. “We’re now extremely close to becoming the first team to win two trebles in more than 55 years of Jewish football and to do it by going through the season unbeaten would mean so much to these fantastic players,” he says. “We’re all very excited at the prospect and I’m unbelievably proud to be associated with such a squad.” Now that really would be something to boast about.
TWENTY four hours after Chelsea were gloriously dumped out of the Champions League, Portuguese giants Benfica went a step closer than their compatriot’s ‘small horse’ by clinching a place in the Europa Cup final. A club steeped in history and tradition, they’re looking to win a European Cup final and break a so-called curse put on them by their former Jewish manager Bella Guttman. Back in 1962, the Hungarian led the side to a successive European Cup win, but denied a pay rise said the club would not lift another European title for 100 years. True to his word, they’ve since reached seven European finals and failed on each occasion. Succeed on 14 May and their current boss Jorge Jesus – who you may remember upset Tim Sherwood earlier this season – can rightly call himself ‘the Special One’.