Last week I had the opportunity to take my 7 year old son to the Maccabi Tel Aviv vs. Xazar Lankaran in an Europa League qualifying match at Bloomfield Stadium in Tel Aviv. I must say this was one of the greatest moments I have had going to sporting events, of which I have been to over 1,700!
It was his first time going to see Maccabi Tel Aviv play live at the beautiful stadium just a stone’s throw away from Old Yaffo and the atmosphere on this Thursday evening was fantastic.
The fans in attendance had been waiting all summer to see their heroes grace the pitch once again. From Eliran Atar to Guillermo Israilevich, to the return of a healthy Nivaldo to recent returnee goal keeper Guy Haymov it was a beautiful evening to get the cleats back on and strut their stuff in front of a crowd of over 8,000.
On this night Maccabi won the first leg 3-1 against the Azerbaijan side, where they will visit Thursday for the 2nd leg at 18:30, live on Sport 5 in Israel.
To see a poised Moti Ivanir grace the sidelines now for the full season, he has begun to shape a good squad, with a mix as he said at the post game press conference, “of youngsters and veteran players.” What a great feeling the coach must have after taking over the reigns of the club mid season last year, to know that he has management’s backing for a full season ahead. That being good for coach and fans alike, stability being of the utmost importance going into the 2011-12 campaign.
Maccabi Tel Aviv is one of Israel’s finest franchises now owned by Canadian Mitch Goldhar. With his business acumen and with the combination of high quality people surrounding the team, there are great hopes ahead for this year.
And that is what was clear from the many people around me.
Families with children, mothers and fathers with their sons and daughters were seen in every section of the stadium Thursday night. Cheering on the club, having good clean fun in a way that made me look back at the many evenings my father would take me to see the Montreal Expos play at Olympic Stadium.
I must hand it to the Maccabi Tel Aviv Football Club for putting on such a fine performance on and off the field.
If you have never been to Bloomfield, you must. This fine stadium has 14,000 wonderful seats, with not a bad seat in the house, every one with a great sightline. The pitch on this evening looked as fine as it ever has and of course my company enjoyed every minute of it.
My son did not want to leave! All of his Supergol stickers and TV stars came to life right before his very eyes!
And that was the beauty of the evening. To walk hand in hand into Israel’s finest football stadium with my son decked out in his Maccabi Tel Aviv jersey and kipa! How could a father ask for more.
Maccabi fans have a lot to look forward to this season. A good mix of players, a professional organization behind them and as team Captain, Barak Yitzhaki said at the press conference last week, “we will be doing less talking and more playing on the pitch.” I don’t think that any fan could ask for more of a commitment.
So if you are new to Israel, a new oleh, a tourist or just a plain old veteran, do yourself a favor and visit the best game in town, Maccabi Tel Aviv at Bloomfield stadium.
Believe me you will not be disappointed!
For more information check out Maccabi’s great website in English!