K8’s Sheratzky is everything Hap TA’s Tabib is not

Toto Cup finalists Kiryat Shmona and Hapoel Tel Aviv are as different as any two soccer clubs in Israel.

Eli Tabib_311 (photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Eli Tabib_311
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Tuesday night’s Toto Cup finalists Ironi Kiryat Shmona and Hapoel Tel Aviv are as different as any two soccer clubs in Israel.
While Hapoel is your typical big club, with a budget and ambition to match, Kiryat Shmona is your classic peripheral team, both geographically and historically from a soccer standpoint.
However, the most significant distinction between the two clubs is in the identity of their owners.
In a way, you couldn’t find two people more different than Kiryat Shmona’s Izzy Sheratzky and Hapoel’s Eli Tabib.
While Sheratzky is the kind of person Israeli soccer needs, Tabib is the typecast owner the local game would be far better without.
Ideally, a fan would like the man running his beloved club to actually care for it as much as he does.
However, Sheratzky is an example of how not having any previous connection with the club you purchase is not necessarily a disadvantage, while Tabib’s ownership is simply the fulfillment of every fan’s worst nightmare.
In a nutshell, the difference between the two is that Sheratzky has the club’s best interests at heart and cares for the community, while Tabib only seems to be concerned with his own benefit.
At the turn of the century, Sheratzky, the owner of Ituran, decided to take control of Kiryat Shmona’s two teams, Hapoel and Maccabi, and set up a club with the target of reaching the top-flight, simply because he was looking to help a beleaguered region of the country.
Kiryat Shmona was promoted to the Premier League for the first time in its history in 2007, and despite suffering relegation two years later, Sheratzky stood by his investment and is reaping his due rewards this season, with the northerners currently leading the standings by 11 points after 22 matches.
Sheratzky had opportunities to take over Maccabi Tel Aviv, the club he has supported since childhood, but he understood that his work at Kiryat Shmona is far more important and vowed to stay.
After leaving Hapoel Kfar Saba in complete ruin following his 16 years (1994-2009) as owner, Tabib officially bought a 50 percent stake at Hapoel to join Moni Harel as a co-owner in the summer of 2010.
It all began to go downhill, both on and off the pitch, when Tabib seized full control of the club last summer, with Hapoel currently 12 points behind Kiryat Shmona after sacking coach Dror Kashtan and operating without a chairman, CEO and press officer for the last 10 days following their simultaneous resignation.
Hapoel fans have united in a campaign to oust Tabib and volunteers operating the club’s official website posted a letter on the homepage on Tuesday calling for the owner to leave.
But Tabib has promised time and again in recent days that he has no intention of going anywhere, failing to understand that a soccer club is unlike any other business.
The problem is, there are hardly millionaires standing in line looking to flush their money down the drain that is an Israeli soccer club, meaning we are stuck with the likes of Tabib, who due to his criminal record was ruled to be unfit to own a soccer club by District Court Judge Amnon Straschnov way back in August 2000.
As for Sheratzky, he doesn’t simply deserve a championship for his contribution, he deserves the Israel Prize.
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