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!
  • Clueless parenting advice from the star of "Clueless."
  • Why won't the city give an answer?
  • BREAKING NEWS: Israel has officially suspended peace talks with the Palestinians.
  • Can you guess what the most boring job in the army is?
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • Russia's playing the "Jew card"...again.
  • 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.