Israeli sports was in complete shock and disbelief on Monday following the suicide of legendary Maccabi Tel Aviv team manager Moni Fanan.
Fanan, who parted ways with Maccabi last July, was found dead in his Ramat Aviv home after hanging himself. A Magen David Adom team alerted to the scene attempted to resuscitate the 63-year-old, but was forced to pronounce him dead on the scene. Fanan is survived by a wife and two children.
A life-long Maccabi fan, Fanan joined the club's staff in 1992 and in 16 years as team manager became a yellow-and-blue icon. In his final years at Maccabi he was unhappy with his diminishing influence over happenings at the club, and after threatening to leave several times, decided to finally do so last summer.
Fanan's contribution to the club and its players, who he often referred to as his children, is incalculable. He was known for caring for even the smallest of details, with Maccabi players always getting whatever they needed, and usually much more.
Fanan did not leave a suicide note and for the time being his death remains a mystery. Some people had suggested that Fanan could not bare his separation from the club in the past year. However, there have also been claims that he owes former players large amounts of money. It appears that several players had invested millions of shekels with Fanan, but after getting into debt he could not repay them.
Fanan's funeral will take place on Tuesday afternoon at Kiryat Shaul Cemetery and will not be attended by any of the club's current players and coaches, or even long-serving Maccabi chairman Shimon Mizrahi. Maccabi is currently in Los Angeles preparing for Tuesday night's benefit game against the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers. The club considered on cancelling the encounter, but after realizing that it is impossible to return to Israel in time for the funeral, the management decided to continue its US tour as scheduled.
"I think that Moni, god rest his soul, took his secret with him to the grave," Mizrahi told radio station Reshet Bet.
"I got the bitter news after landing in LA at 3 a.m. and we are all in shock. Moni was a special man. He was the father and mother of each and every player. Unfortunately, we could not get back in time for the funeral even if we took a private flight. We will make sure the club respects his memory."