On the Offensive / Icons of Disaster

First Avi Nimni, now Malmilian. The next time a big-name signing takes place, everyone should bare this in mind.

The renewed love affair between Uri Malmilian and Beitar Jerusalem was doomed from the start. Unless the only goal was to bring the icon back to the club. Great - now they've kicked him down the stairs.

Uri Malmilian
Sefi Megrisso

This love story was nothing but idol worship, and whose end reveals the depravity of those who concocted it in the first place: Itzik Kornfein and Uri Malmilian. Each of them needed this match from heaven - Kornfein in order to flatter the fans, and Malmilian to close a historic gap (despite the fact that he was a disaster for Beitar Jerusalem, the team they both claim to love so much ).

Why, for example, did chairman Kornfein think Malmilian was suitable for the job - apart from his name, that is. Did he sit with him and discuss his professional plan? Did he ever ask him to be anything but Uri Malmilian? When they recognized that everything was falling apart, that the present route was leading to destruction, did he help Malmilian extricate himself, to maintain his mythical status?

The answer is clear. Kornfein - either with great intelligence or embarrassing, worrying stupidity - thought everything would be okay. Or, perhaps he knew that a catastrophe awaited.

And Malmilian? What exactly happened to that same tough coach, the principled, innocent and straightforward man, who appeared to never lose his way? Before signing, why didn't he check which players would be at his disposal? Why did he let himself become the inside joke of Kornfein and national team coach Luis Fernandez? Why did he have to jump on the train at such a terrible station? Why didn't he make a greater effort to retrieve the club from the downward spiral it finds itself in?

Don't be naive

Don't be naive - neither of these two men love Beitar Jerusalem that much. Both of them earn their bread there. Malmilian wouldn't have come for a shekel less, while Kornfein cannot detach himself from the wealth the club used to bring him. Everything they do, they do first and foremost for themselves. Just like almost all of us.

Within the span of two weeks, Israeli soccer has given us reminders not to be blinded by icons. First Avi Nimni, now Malmilian. The next time a big-name signing takes place, everyone should bare this in mind. None of these signings are a substitute for hard work, professionalism, principles and perseverance. The icon has to somehow not tarnish the collective memory we have of him.

This should make Ronny Levy, a coach with an impressive track record from the not-too-distant past, wake up early for a day of thankless work, go to bed late, scour the length and breadth of the country, visit every stadium where his team's rivals play, soak up every club's youth team games, and constantly stay updated and hungry throughout. If he manages to pull Beitar out of the abyss, he himself will become an icon.