Last season (2019-20) at Hapoel Ashkelon FC left me with a feeling of such equanimity that we took a longer holiday than usual, not because we needed a holiday but because I felt I could spend time away without worrying. We continued our tour of biblical antiquities, which not for the first time ended with a visit to some vineyards in the Golan Heights. That stuff about new wine in new bottles.
But, though I was supposed to be on holiday, I found myself reflecting on HAFC’s development. The stability that marked our season on and off the field last season did the job. It consolidated our position.
But there’s a problem: stability is not inspiring. The cry of ‘Consolidate!’ never sent soldiers over the top. It’s a cry of resistance, not of advance.
In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger
(Henry V, before an away match in France)
So I don my Che beret and set about a little revolution. I start offloading players who bore me (even some whose contracts I’ve just extended or renewed) and I splash the cash, at least a little. After all, we’ve just booked a £1.2m annual profit. I bring in players I just like the look of.
Such as Alfa Esteves: