"It's hard for me to talk and go back to the great football days of Hapoel Haifa from the sixties to the mid-seventies. I'm already 76 years old and time continues fast, it's like getting a hammer on the head, age is against us. My son is married to Nochi Dankner's daughter. A few weeks ago, At the end of February, Isaac, Nochi's father, passed away at the age of 98. He was lucid and talked about everything in life, from football to politics. He told me that he wanted to live to be 100 years old. When I asked why 100 and not more, he replied that he wanted to see how things were going. In Israel and in the world, we have changed for 100 years, to connect the past, the present and the future. It is difficult for me personally today to connect football and the players from my past to today. This, despite the fact that from time to time the current team holds events of awarding a shield of honor and the club shirt to some of the past players."
Are you coming to the current Hapoel Haifa games?
"The current club does not have a good atmosphere for the former players of Hapoel Haifa. Is there anyone who does not miss his past? I do not go to places where I am not welcome, like Hapoel Haifa. Even if they bring me to the Sami Ofer Stadium with a plane, I will not come."
then and today.
Yitzhak Englander (Photo: Courtesy of the photographer)
Yitzhak Englander was born in Hungary on 08/30/1946.
Lives in Moshav in Sharon, married to Zelma, three children and two grandchildren from the eldest son.
"My mother Bella was born in Slovakia, her entire family was murdered in the Holocaust. Mother was saved with the help of the family's gentile helper together with her sister who hid them, in a village near Brasov. My father is from Budapest, after World War II we moved to a displaced persons camp for Holocaust refugees in Austria. In 1950 we to the State of Israel, to its crossing and from there to housing near the famous swimming pool in Bat Galim, where many athletes, volleyball players, swimmers and also Robbie Young from Hapoel Haifa, and Shmuel Hadans from Maccabi Haifa lived.
From football in the streets of Bat Galim he came to a neat field.
"In the 1950s, in preparation for the elections for the mayor of Haifa, Abba Khushi came to Bat Galim with his entourage. He was interested in the children and asked what we were asking for. We asked the legendary mayor for a small soccer field with goals that we could play on. A few days later, the municipal employees arrived, arranged a field with goals And also a basketball court, near the railroad tracks. Emanuel Fried, a former player in Hungary, and Hapoel Haifa, an educator who worked with the children, were brought to the scene. Fried met my father, and convinced him that I would join an organized team instead of being on the streets. My father was in Hungary a fan of the Jewish team from TK who played in green, in Israel he was a fan of Maccabi Haifa. I crossed the main road to the Hapoel Haifa field, which was near the Haifa power field and the Kiryat Eliezer stadium."
Later the family moved to live in the estate.
"I studied at a national religious school of knitted caps, later at the 'Leo Bek' school. It was difficult for me to get from the mansion to training, I stopped playing football in Hapoel Haifa for 3 years."
How do you get back to your great love?
"The school football championship was held then, I was an outstanding player in the style of 'pick up the ball and run to hit'. Emmanuel Fried approached me and said he remembered me from Bat Galim, he brought me back at the age of 14 to the boys of Hapoel Haifa."
Are you quickly moving up to the senior team?
"Yugoslavian coach Minda Jovanovich used to hold training games between the youth and adults on the field in Kibbutz Yegor. We played against my idols, they almost couldn't beat us. Jovanovich asked those around him who I was and asked me to come to the training sessions with the adults
In the youth of Hapoel Haifa.
Yitzhak Englander (left) (photo: courtesy of the photographer)
This was the 1963/4 season, in which Hapoel Ramat Gan interrupted Hapoel Petah Tikva's championship streak.
"I had an excellent game in Kiryat Eliezer with a 0:1 victory over Hapoel Petach Tikva of Stelmach, Ratsavi, Nahari and the big stars. Later I left for three weeks of national service at Masada. I returned to the team against Bnei Yehuda coached by Mundak Shafer. Hapoel Haifa won 0:2 Shaffer entered our dressing room and asked who the player with the number 9 shirt was.
"He invited me to the youth team for the Asian Championship in Saigon. In the final we ended in a 0:0 draw against Burma and brought the trophy to Israel for six months. I remember that the players were allowed to walk around Saigon. At that time, a trial was going on against the military junta, thousands of citizens in every square and street and along the river that flowed through the city listened through loudspeakers for the trial. A year later, with Shafer, I won the Asian Youth Championship in Tokyo, defeating Burma 0:5 in the final from a huge hat-trick by Spiegel and a double by Moshe Romano. I also participated in the Asian Championship in Manila under coach Milovan Cirich, in a 1:1 draw against Burma. That's where I met Ami Paztal, an acquaintance that turned into a long friendship. That's when the youth championship games received a media review that surpassed the senior team."
You participate in the longest State Cup finals against Maccabi Tel Aviv.
"In 1964, there was still no rule for deciding kicks from 11 meters. In the first match in September 1964 in Bloomfield, the match ended in a dramatic 1:1 draw with an equalizing goal by Robbie Young in the 86th minute. Two months later, in November, another final was held in Bloomfield, a match that went into extra time , Victor Young scored for Haifa, who hoped to tie the game 1:1 and a third final match was set for December, this time in the rainy Kiryat Eliezer. It was the only match that Amy Bella came to watch for me. It was a manly, tough and two-sided game. A change in the lineup from which Leon Kubik was taken out in favor of Uri Weinberg Hurt the game. I scored an advantage goal for Hapoel Haifa in the 55th minute, but Moshe Assis equalized and dragged the game into extra time. When everyone was already thinking about a fourth final match, Uri Kadami arrived in the 117th minute and scored the winning goal for Maccabi Tel Aviv, what a sporting disappointment we had ".
Saved with the help of Goya.
Englander with his late mother Bella (photo: courtesy of the photographer)
At the age of 19, Englander joined the senior national team and played against Belgium in the 1966 World Cup qualifiers. "It was my first serious game against an excellent European team. We were defeated in Ramat Gan 5:0 with a huge hat-trick by one of the greatest goal scorers on the continent at the time, Van Heemst. It was my only game in the weak campaign".
1966 was also the year when Hapoel Haifa won the cup, but Englander did not participate in the final.
"In the semi-finals we beat Maccabi Haifa 0:1. In the 89th minute Danny Rom kicked a penalty against Benish, I started clapping for joy, and the referee Otto Fried sent me out. From the stands I saw in Bloomfield my team beat Shimshon Tel Aviv 1:2. For me, the fact that I didn't play wasn't taken as a bad miss."
What did Kish Romano mean when he advised you not to play at Bloomfield against Ajax?
"In December 1967, Ajax arrived. We didn't know the team and its stars at the time. Kish Romano, who had been in Denmark for a while, approached me the day before the game and said to me, 'Tell Shaffer that you are injured and cannot play. They are a world team with players who have not been seen in Israel. They have a player, Cruyff, whose speed makes him run away with the dribble, listen to me. I didn't listen to Romano, I was in the lineup, we were defeated 6:1."
His disappointment came at the Mexico Olympics.
"I was invited to Emmanuel Schafer's squad, I believed that I would play, but it was very difficult to get into the lineup between Spiegel, Feigenbaum and Spiegler. I did little stupid things, I participated in the loss and elimination game against Bulgaria as a replacement for Robbie Young. Two years later, Schaeffer did not invite me to the 1970 World Cup games, I was injured and so was Spiegel , Shum and Spiegler were in the lineup before me in any case."
Received advice from Roma not to play against Ajax.
Englander (on the left) with Romano and the late Ami Paztal (photo: courtesy of the photographer)
Did Hapoel Haifa worry you financially?
"The players did not earn much in the team that was under the management of the Histadrut officials. In 1971 I managed to get a signage and advertising concession at the Kiryat Haim stadium in exchange for signing a new contract. This was new in Israel at the time, but it helped me buy an apartment in Carmel and more, a wonderful business move, plus my fees The training and the victories".
And yet, there was an embarrassing incident in front of Histadrut members.
"Hapoel Haifa in the 1972 season was at the top in the fight for the championship. We trained hard and asked captain Robbie Young to ask the Histadrut officials, our managers, for a small financial addition to the monthly salary. They did not like and did not understand football. They were surprised at our demand and made it clear that it was impossible to pay us a locksmith's salary Class A. We, the players, decided to play on Saturdays like Class A fencers, the championship and the fight were lost then."
Then the German coach Oba Klimechevsky came to the club.
"He was an impressive personality, he spoke to us only in German, but everyone understood his simplicity and professionalism. He had a regular habit of holding training games between Ashkenazi players and Spaniards, games like in the league. He would let us run seven laps around the field before training and go into his room. Every The players shortened and faked running, we all waited for Yohanan Wallach who did the running training in full without shortcuts."
Klimachevsky left Israel due to administrative problems and the resignation of the management.
"Wallach and I took the training of the team. The coach spoke from Germany with Yohanan and promised to return to Israel if the management leaves. I played tennis in Kiryat Bialik, we brought an excellent tennis player from there who was a central striker in lower leagues. We played in the 1972/73 season against Beitar Jerusalem of coach Shafer.
It started with a 0:2 lead for us, Beitar equalized and then everyone knew that tennis player, Benny Alon, who scored four goals. We won 2:7.
Then Wallach calls the coach in Germany.
"Yohanan spoke with Klimchevsky and told him about the departure of the management and a new top scorer who came from tennis. The German replied quietly that he would not return to a team where the top scorer is a tennis player. A year later, in 1973/74, Alon was the league's top scorer with 15 Exiles".
From tennis player to footballer - Benny Alon
You don't forget a conversation with Nahum Stelmach, who was your coach.
"The great Nahum Stelmach, one of the players I loved in my teenage years. Stelmach, who coached me in the mid-seventies, invited me for a conversation. He asked me to create great motivation among the players due to our struggles at the bottom of the league. For 45 years I remember every day the conversation in which Nahum told me ' Remember well Itzik, when you can, do it, because when you want to in the future, you won't be able to. A day that passes is not coming back. Do it in the present, so that you won't regret it in the future.''
As for the offer from Maccabi Tel Aviv?
"The legendary Maccabi Tel Aviv director Haim Leibovich met with me in 1966, asked me to come.
For me, Maccabi Tel Aviv was like today's Real Madrid.
The distance between Haifa and Tel Aviv is 100 km, but the mentality back then was much further away. I knew that Maccabi Tel Aviv then was the team that revolved around Giura Spiegel, a player and a huge person who grew out of the club's children. My answer was that I wanted to be the head of the foxes in Haifa, no A tail to the lions of Maccabi Tel Aviv. Today I say that I don't have to cry over milk that was spilled then."
When talking about legendary people, you often mention your mother, the late Bela
Not a day goes by that I don't remember her and talk about her with love."
Yaakov Grundman (Photo: Flash 90, Moshe Shai)
He has a master's degree in Orientalism and Arabic.
"I served in Modi'in, I had a lot of friends in Tel Aviv where I spent a lot of time, and of course I met Zalma there. Today, alongside the top footballers, there is popularity around beautiful girls who surround them. When I brought the blonde Zalma to the beach in Haifa, everyone gathered around us, they thought I knew a girl from Scandinavia."
The way to the wedding was marked for him by Yasmin Grundman.
"Yaakov Grundman came to coach, I had a special relationship with him, my greatest coach and a special person, a man who ruled order and discipline without punishment, without raising his voice. His wife Yasmin called me after she met my friend Zalma, she determined that Zalma was the woman I would marry."
In 1975, he married Zalma in the hall of the Zion Hotel, which was prestigious at the time.
"Journalist Danny Devorin, Ami Paztal, Yitzhak Drucker and many others were invited to the wedding. The next day, Danny Devorin wrote in the Sport News newspaper 'Zion 10 for England's bride'."
Let's move to the field.
"In the 73/74 season we finished in sixth place, five points behind the champion Maccabi Netanya. The task was to win the state cup. Our first game was against Hapoel Bat Yam at their old ground. Our striker Gabi Blitty asked to play in the team. Grundman told him that he would start in the final game The road was difficult in double games against Hapoel Kfar Saba, Hapoel Tel Aviv and Maccabi Tel Aviv in the semi-finals. We went to the cup final against Hapoel Petah Tikva."
And Grundman didn't forget Blitty?
"No one remembered Grundman's statement in Bat Yam. We thought Inchi would start in the lineup, but Grundman gave his opinion about starting in the lineup in the final. We won 0:1 with a goal by Yossi Lipshitch in the 117th minute."
Grundman shares with you his move to Maccabi Tel Aviv and Avi Cohen?
"He asked me about the young midfielder/stop Abil'a Cohen. He said that he is building on him as a top team player.
At the wedding with Zalma next to (right) Ami Paztal, Danny Devorin Yitzhak Drucker and Avrahan Chibin (photo: courtesy of the photographer)
In 1977 you left Hapoel Haifa, specifically for Maccabi Haifa.
"At Hapoel Haifa, the problems with the management continued, it was difficult to operate there as a football team. I moved together with Wallach to Maccabi Haifa, which was relegated to the National League, where I retired from football after one season."
There was an unsportsmanlike act of yours in a derby friendly.
"There was a friendly match on the eve of the opening of the season. Maccabi Itai won 0:1, I was charged against Hapoel Haifa, and in a way that did not suit me, I jumped in front of the red stand with movements that did not suit me. Several years later, Hapoel Haifa was relegated, I returned to the club in the early eighties to the position of "R and the owner, but I left after we didn't go back up to the top league."