Seven months after storming out of Maccabi Netanya, Reuven Atar surprisingly rejoined the club as head coach on Wednesday morning.
"I'm very happy to be back," said Atar, who is starting his third tenure as Netanya coach. "I had four enjoyable and successful years at the team and I love the club. I believe in the squad of players and I think we can improve."
The news broke before Eli Guttman had been informed and the fired coach was told over the phone by CEO Kobi Beladev. Netanya owner Daniel Jammer asked Beladev to call Guttman and let him know that he was no longer in charge and that Atar would take his place.
Guttman guided Maccabi in 14 Premier League matches and, despite achieving some impressive results such as the wins against Maccabi Haifa and Betar Jerusalem, had also suffered a fair share of painful setbacks including the recent defeat to Maccabi Herzliya.
Atar left the team at the end of last season after Jammer took control of the club and began reshaping the squad and the coaching staff. The coach wasn't pleased with his lack of control and chose to leave the club immediately.
"I felt the team's level of play dropped and that we lost our spirit,"
Jammer explained his decision to make the personnel move. "I know the previous coaching staff did all it could to improve the team, but we must move forward and rebuild our spirit.
"We had to make a change and I hope we will start moving in the right direction."
Atar, who played for Netanya until midway through the 2002/03 season, when he was forced to retire because of injury, coached the team to promotion in the 04/05 season and led the side to seventh place in the Premier League last year.
"I'm arriving with a healthy hunger for success and I'm aware of the potential of this team," said Atar, who celebrated his 38th birthday on Wednesday. "The team has been playing poorly recently, but the expectations have risen now that I've signed. I believe that this squad of players deserves second-through-sixth place in the standings."