In recent years, Hapoel Tel Aviv has gotten used to winning third, fourth and even fifth in derbies.
The gaps between Hapoel and Maccabi Tel Aviv, who will meet on Sunday night in Bloomfield, have grown stronger this season, so it is not at all surprising that there was someone who claimed this week in the ranks of the Reds: "If we win, it will be a sensation."
The hope of the Reds fans is that at the end of the season, the team will pass into the hands of American investors and enter a new era.
But will the transfer of ownership change the situation against the hated rival?
Are the Meinzberg brothers and their members of the purchasing group capable of marching Hapoel to the top of Israeli football?
The answers are below.
But even before trying to understand what the future holds for the Reds, one must first deal with the present: yesterday (Friday) the Americans officially announced that the due diligence was successfully completed for them, and they intend to move forward towards completing the deal.
So what's the next step?
Hapoel Tel Aviv fans aspire to return to the great days, photo: Ami Shoman
In order for the deal to be completed, the Americans should indeed announce it as early as next week, and then they will have another two weeks to deposit $2 million into an escrow account, which should be transferred in the summer to strengthen the team for next season.
Assuming the deal is completed - and these are most of the estimates - will the Reds be able to tickle Maccabi Tel Aviv in the near future? Well, the Americans do not intend to put up budgets of 80 or 100 million like Maccabi Tel Aviv or Maccabi Haifa, but according to Hapoel sources, their plan is to invest Every season between 2 and 4 million dollars to buy players and pay high salaries, something that can make quality players come to the Khodorov complex, unlike in recent years.
"If every year they really bring 12-15 million shekels out of their pockets, it will put Hapoel Tel Aviv in a completely different place," claims an official familiar with the details of the deal. If these are indeed their investments, Hapoel's budget will be the fourth largest in the league. The focus will be on bringing Quality foreign players, an issue that the Reds have repeatedly failed in in recent years, both due to the economic situation and due to the attempt to bring foreign and immature players at low prices.
In Hapoel they say that if the Americans become owners, it is possible that next season there will be a foreign team coaching the Reds, something that has not happened in Hapoel since the failed appointment of Cesar Mendiondo in 2015.
And perhaps the biggest change will come from the way the club will conduct itself: "In style they are like Mitch Goldhar - in everything they will go down to the smallest details, very far from what has been here until now", said those around the club.
Minicon and Mainzberg, photo: Gideon Markovich
These changes may not turn Hapoel Tel Aviv into an empire overnight, but a long-term strategy, choosing the right professional team, investing in good foreign players and continuing to nurture and grow young players - these are things that can reduce the gaps from Maccabi Tel Aviv.
And in a league like ours - it can certainly be enough for the team to return to Europe.
But until that happens there is still time, and in the upcoming derby the Reds fans will hope first and foremost that the Hapoel players will represent them with respect.
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