Maurice Needleman – A Tribute by Peter Rebak

It is with great sadness that we report that our great friend Maurice passed away 3 weeks ago and was buried on Friday 23rd January at Hoop Lane aged 87. A supporter of Finchley Football Club since 1940's when he moved to the Finchley area with his parents then a young man aged 17. He hardly missed a game whether home or away in the 70 years that he had been supporting the Club. I first met Maurice in 1991 when Wingate FC and Finchley FC merged. In the 24 years that I have known him I have never heard a cross word from him. He never ever spoke out in anger and only saw good in people. If the team were beaten and had not played well you would never hear Maurice criticise either players or management. He would only say ‘’ we were unlucky and everyone tried their best ‘’. What an amazing quality he had only to see good in others. Maurice only wanted to be loved and respected by others – he never demanded anything – and the affection supporters, players and management held him in was a delight and certainly made his life more comfortable and enjoyable. Maurice lost both his parents about 15 years ago. His parents tragically died within a few days of each other and he came to me to ask me if I could help him write memorial insertions in The Jewish Chronicle for both his parents which of course I did . Since his parents died he only had his friends at his local synagogue and the friends at The football club for support and he placed immense value in all those friendships. His love and knowledge of football was incredible. He studied each match programme in intricate depth and could give you the rundown of players who had played for the club many many years ago. He particularly loved players who loved the Club and showed loyalty. These were players to him that represented his values of loyalty and friendship. In the current team Bobby Smith, Ahmet Rifat , Tommy Tejan-Sie , Marc Weatherstone and Paul Wright were his stars – they had been at the Club for a long time and you and all the players who play for the Club week in and week out meant more to Maurice than you will ever realise. He looked forward to every match – away or home, summer or winter, wet or dry, hot or cold – to see the team play gave Maurice a target and a motivation. He loved the football season because it gave his life a purpose and a direction each week and it was the players and management who drove that purpose. Maurice – in his trademark raincoat and hat – will be deeply missed by us all. Ever since I have gone to The Abrahams Stadium Maurice has been a fixture – he was always there . Saturday will not be the same without Maurice asking me 10 minutes after kick off ‘’ .. is David Knight playing today ‘’. I speak for all the Club when I say that we have lost a special kind man who only saw good in others. At the next home game v Billericay on 14th March there will be a mark of respect for Maurice and the Club is putting its thoughts to how his memory can be marked permanently at the ground he so loved. Maurice – you will always remain in all our hearts.

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