Hapoel Petah Tikva F.C.

Hapoel Petah Tikva F.C. (Hebrew: הפועל פתח תקווה) is an Israeli football club based in the city of Petah Tikva, currently playing in the Israeli Premier League. Its most successful period was throughout the 1950s and 1960s, in which the club won six League Championships and one State Cups. The club holds to this day the record for most consecutive championships – five – and was ranked in the top three of the league for 14 years between 1954 and 1968. Hapoel Petah Tikva did not win the championship since 1963, and its last titles were the State Cup in 1992, and the Toto Cup in 2005.

Hapoel Petah Tikva
Full nameHapoel Petah Tikva Football Club
Short nameHPT
Founded1934; 90 years ago (1934)
GroundHaMoshava Stadium, Petah Tikva, Israel
Capacity11,500
OwnerIsrael Supporters of Hapoel Petah Tikva
ChairmanIsrael Almog Portman
ManagerIsrael Benyamin Lam
LeagueLiga Leumit
2022–23Liga Leumit, 2nd of 16 (promoted)

History edit

Pre-independence edit

Hapoel Petah Tikva was founded in 1926, and its football division was established in 1934. The club made it to the second league in 1938 and its first season in the top tier was 1941/42, two years after a new stadium was built in Abarbanel street. In 1945 the club first came close to winning a title after beating Maccbi Petah Tikva 7-0 in the Cup semi final, but lost 0-1 to Hapoel Tel Aviv in the final. Some of the leading players in the 1940s were Meir Nevenhoiz, Amichai Shoham, Eliyahu Kroshar, Yaakov Visoker and Moshe Varon.

The Golden Age – 1954–1968 edit

Hapoel Petah Tikva won its first championship in 1955, becoming the first team outside Tel Aviv to do so. The team was coached by Moshe Varon and the top scorer was the young rising star, Nahum Stelmach, with 28 goals in 26 games. A chance to win a double was missed out after making it to the Cup final, but losing 1-3 to Maccbi Tel Aviv.

Two year later, in 1957, Hapoel Petah Tikva won its first state cup after beating Maccbi Yaffo 2-1 in the final. In 1959, after three consecutive years in second place, the team finally won its second championship. This was the first out of five back to back championships, a record no team in Israel has achieved again. Some of the leading players during these years were Nahum Stelmach, Yaakov Visoker, Boaz Koffman, Zakharia Ratzabi, Avshalom Ratzabi, Reuven Yeffet and Jerry Haledy. The coaches were all foreign – Jackie Gibbons (England), Ignác Molnár (Hungary) and Miodrag Jovanović (Yugoslavia).

In 1961 they were invited to participate in the International Soccer League.

The streak ended in 1964, but in the following years Hapoel Petah Tikva was still one of the strongest teams in Israel. The last season of this era was 1968, where the team ranked second and lost in the Cup Final to Bnei Yehuda. During the 14 years period, Hapoel Petah Tikva won six championships, never dropped below the third place, and made it to five cup finals (one win and four losses).

The Descent – 1969–1987 edit

In 1969 Hapoel Petah Tikva found itself at the lower part of the table for the first time since making it to the first division. Their leading players had retired, and during the first half of the 1970s Hapoel was no longer a title contender and faced danger of relegation several times. The only chance for a title during these year was in 1974, when the team made it to the cup final but lost to Hapoel Haifa. The semi final against Beitar Jerusalem, which took place in Petah Tikva one week earlier, was marred by a violent incident, during which the supporters of Beitar invaded the pitch and attacked Hapoel players and supporters.

In 1976 Hapoel Petah Tikva dropped to the second division for the first time ever. This was an unfortunate relegation as it was the only season in the Israeli League in which four teams were relegated from the first division, with Hapoel being the fourth team to be relegated, and were relegated on the final day of the season of the season.

The club spent three years in the second division until achieving promotion back to the first division in 1979. Three years later, in 1982, Hapoel Petah Tikva was ranked last in the league and relegated again. Hapoel returned to the top flight after promotion in 1984. Around this time the club first showed signs of recovering, with Giora Spiegel and Dror Bar Nur as managers building a firm base for the upcoming years.

Recovery – 1988–2002 edit

Towards the end of the 80s, Hapoel Petah Tikva became once again one of the leading football clubs in Israel. Avram Grant led the team for five seasons, starting at 1987. Between 1989 and 1991 Hapoel was on the brink of winning a seventh championship, their first in over 25 years, but finished second three times in a row. In 1991 it was an extremely close call, with one point missing to top Maccabi Haifa. Two matches prior the end of that season, the two clubs met for a critical match in which two goals scored by Hapoel were controversially disallowed by Haim Livkovich, the referee. The controversial 0-0 draw cost Hapoel the title.

In the following year the team dropped to the fourth place, but finally won a major trophy again, after beating Maccabi Tel Aviv in the state cup final, 3-1. Following that Hapoel Petah Tikva became the first Israeli team to participate in UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup. It also became the first Israeli team to beat a major European club in any UEFA contest, with a 2-1 victory over Feyenoord (but knocked out due to a 0-1 loss in the away game).

In 1996 the club was purchased by the businessman Meir Shamir. In 1997 Hapoel Petah Tikva was ranked second in the league once again, and competed in UEFA Cup for the first time. 2000 was another positive season, with the team competing for the championship, but ended up ranking third. Overall the club seemed to be in a strong position in this era, being ranked at the top half of the league in 14 out of 15 seasons, with a strong players base and good youth teams. However, that did not last much longer.

Bankruptcy and Relegations – 2003–2015 edit

Starting at 2003 the team became gradually weaker. Homegrown players were being sold to other clubs, and every year a larger portion of the squad was being replaced. In 2007 Hapoel Petach Tikva was relegated to the second division after 23 consecutive years in the first league. The club won promotion the following year, but signs of poor management were clear.

In the summer of 2011 the poor management proved to be even worse than expected, when large debts were discovered and the club filed for bankruptcy. The team started the season with a 9 points deduction, which led to another relegation. In 2014 the team was promoted back, but faced relegation once again in the following season.

Second League and Fans Ownership – 2016–Present Day edit

The following years were even worse, with the team struggling in the second division. In the summer of 2018, seven years after the first time, the club declared bankruptcy once again. Therefore, the team started the 2019 season with a point deduction of 11 points, but still managed to avoid relegation.

In March 2019 Hapoel Petah Tikva became a fan-owned team, after the supporters' trust named 'The Blue' bought the club. This did not prevent an awful season in 2021 which ended with a relegation to the third division for the first time in history. However, the club ended up staying in the second division due to financial trouble in Hapoel Iksal.

In 2022, Israeli businessman Adam Neumann became a sponsor for the team.[1]

At the end of the 2022-23 season the team was ranked in second place and was promoted to the Israeli Premier League after 8 years in the Liga Leumit.

Stadium edit

The home ground of Hapoel Petah Tikva is HaMoshava Stadium which opened at the end of 2011, and replaced Petah Tikva Municipal Stadium as the home ground of the team.

Current squad edit

As of 1 March 2024
No. Pos. Nation Player
1 GK   ISR Omer Katz
2 DF   GUA Matan Peleg
4 DF   ISR Matan Goshe
5 MF   ISR Ram Levy
6 DF   HAI Djimy Alexis
7 FW   ISR Itay Shechter
8 FW   GHA Gilbert Koomson
9 FW   ISR Raz Stain
10 MF   ISR Idan Vered
11 FW   ISR Ofek Osher
14 FW   NGA Fortune Bassey (on loan from Ferencváros)
15 MF   ISR Samuel Broun
16 FW   ISR Shoval Gozlan
17 FW   ISR Bar Nawi
18 MF   ISR Ido Davidov
No. Pos. Nation Player
19 DF   ECU Jean Quiñónez (on loan from Deportes Quindío)
22 MF   ISR Avi Rikan
23 DF   ISR Dror Nir
24 MF   ISR Tini Chacana
25 GK   ISR Raz Karmi
26 DF   ISR Ya'ar Zambarewski
27 DF   AUT Nico Antonitsch
30 MF   ISR Golan Beni
34 MF   ISR Hamza Shibli (on loan from Maccabi Haifa)
44 DF   ISR Roey Elimelech
55 GK   ISR Ran Haspia
70 FW   ISR Roy Nawi
71 MF   ENG Dennis Adeniran
99 FW   ISR Raz Zarbaeilov

Honours edit

League edit

Honour No. Years
Israeli Championships 6 1954–55, 1958–59, 1959–60, 1960–61, 1961–62, 1962–63

Cup competitions edit

Honour No. Years
State Cup 2 1956–57, 1991–92
Toto Cup (top division) 4 1985–86, 1989–90, 1990–91, 2004–05
Toto Cup (second division) 1 2007–08
Lilian Cup 1 1989
20th Anniversary Cup 1 1968

Managers edit

References edit

  1. ^ "אחד המיליארדרים הגדולים בישראל תורם לקבוצה מהליגה הלאומית". Bizportal (in Hebrew). Archived from the original on 2023-05-31. Retrieved 2023-05-31.

External links edit