Hap ta 58.
(photo credit: MK Productions)
Less than 24 hours after he was driven off the road by angry fans, Guy Azuri quit his job as Hapoel Beersheba coach.
A small, yet vocal, minority of Beersheba supporters have been calling for Azuri’s sacking at every opportunity in recent months and the coach had needed a police escort to leave the stadium following most matches, including those in which his team triumphed.
After Saturday’s 2-2 draw against Ahi Nazareth several of the club’s fans chased Azuri’s car after booing him out of the Vasermil Stadium, eventually forcing him onto the hard shoulder. According to Azuri, the supporters got out of their car and tried to assault him before he managed to get away.
“I can not continue guiding the team in this situation,” Azuri told club owner Alona Barkat on Sunday.
Guy Levy led Beersheba’s promotion to the Premier League last season, but he too was chased out of town by the fans and Azuri replaced him in the summer.
While Beersheba may have been erratic this season, Azuri leaves the team in a respectable eighth position, well above the five other newly promoted sides and still in the hunt for a place in the top six playoffs.
Azuri’s assistant Jan Talesnikov will guide the team for the time being and may remain in the position until the end of the season.
“A red line has been crossed and I will not tolerate it,” Barkat said. “It is a shame Azuri left in this way and I would like to thank him for the job he’s done and for meeting all the goals we set him.”
In other Israeli soccer news, Maccabi Netanya owner Daniel Jammer announced on Sunday that he will be leaving the club in the summer.
Jammer purchased the club in 2006 and promised at the time that he would finance the team for five seasons.
However, after putting up a hefty budget for three seasons, resulting
in two consecutive finishes in the runners-up position, Jammer slashed
the funding ahead of the current campaign and is now set to leave the
club a season before he had planned.
“I saw the ugly side of soccer this season,” Jammer said in a meeting
with the Netanya management on Sunday. “The fans cursed me, called for
me to leave and tried to physically assault me. I received numerous
threats and had to hire a bodyguard. I gave over NIS 80 million of my
money in four seasons and I believe that should have earned me at the
very least a little respect and appreciation.”