Following the unlikely victory of Portsmouth against Tottenham in the semi final of the FA Cup after a dismal season – “a season of hell ending in heaven” – David Horowitz editor of the Jerusalem Post, wrote an excellent piece about the Portsmouth manager and Israeli, Avram Grant.
We will remember how Grant was a surprise choice as manager of Chelsea, some years back. Despite being put under massive pressure from the press and Chelsea fans, Chelsea did well, only to stumble at the last moment.
David Horowitz nicely weaves Grant’s experiences with that of Israel. As Horowitz writes “In our 63rd year, we deserve to have our qualities more widely appreciated. And we don’t just deserve, but rather require, more practical support. The unfairly maligned, belatedly appreciated and dignified Avram Grant has been leading an embattled soccer club, seeking success on the field of play. We are an embattled nation, seeking survival.
But as the Grant saga exemplifies, the capacity to act honorably is not enough to reverse misperceptions. The ability to show resilience is not sufficient to woo new friends and regain old ones. In a world that is superficial, unfair, quick to oversimplify, misjudge, distort and misassign blame, what you have to do, ultimately, is to act honorably, to show resilience… and to win.”
Portsmouth 2 Tottenham 0 here for the last few minutes of the game, and here for the goals. In the final, Avram Grant and the jubilant Portsmouth fans (hear them shout for Avram!) will be up against Grant’s old club, Chelsea.
Onward and upward also for Israel as we celebrate Yom Haatzmaut.