The Shmooze

Not-so-lucky Avram Grant?

By Dan Friedman

  • Print
  • Share Share

Saturday May 15 is the FA Cup final in England, a traditional highlight of the season. This year, “Uncle” Avram Grant, the former manager of the Israeli national team will be leading out the underdog Portsmouth team he’s been coaching for most of a dramatically turbulent year.

When he took over about a third of the way through the season he inherited a team that had performed well but failed to win the points necessary to avoid relegation. In fact, despite outplaying many of the teams they had faced, they had only registered two wins in their opening thirteen games. But the on-field problems were to be dwarfed by the off-field problems at Portsmouth.

The club was bought and sold by owners who may or may not have had the funds to effect the purchase or sale and, eventually, with debts totaling well in excess of $200m the club went into administration. With the club docked an automatic 10 points they were effectively relegated: players were not being paid, fans were disgruntled and defections of playing and coaching staff were expected.

But that didn’t happen.

In fact, despite injuries and a tiny squad, Grant and his players manufactured an excellent end to the season. Nailing their colors to the mast they won the hearts of the Portsmouth people and the legend of “Uncle Avram” — an honorable man, bewildered by boardroom chicanery but fiercely loyal to players, fans and the spirit of a club betrayed by its owners — was born.

In his time in Israel Avram Grant was known as lucky. Results and players seemed to go his way. When he became Director of Football at Chelsea, the wealthiest team in English football, his luck seemed to be holding. When he took over as manager there when the charismatic Jose Mourinho left, “lucky Avram” seemed to be in the right place at the right time again.

He led Chelsea to second place in the English Premier League and to the final of the Champions League but in both was pipped to the post by Manchester United — the latter in a penalty shootout. Second place was deemed not good enough and he was fired.

After beating Tottenham Hotspur in the semi-final, now managed by former Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp, Uncle Avram has the chance to exact a final revenge on Chelsea with his unfancied Portsmouth charges. The odds are against him, but lucky Avram’s beaten the odds before.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Portsmouth, FA Cup, Chelsea, Avram Grant

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.