MANCHESTER DIARY
City sisters get a Silva service

CITY SLICKERS: Vera Cohen and Olga Halon with City manager Pep Guardiola, Vera’s daughter and son-in-law Shelley and Frank Goldsmith, granddaughter-in-law Hayley and great-grandchildren Max, Sammy and Jessica

VERA Cohen became a record breaker at the weekend. For she, at 102, alongside her 97-year-old sister Olga Halon, became the Premier League’s oldest mascot.

Vera, a Manchester City season ticket holder who attends all home matches, has been following the Blues for 87 years.

The sisters led out the team before the match against Fulham. Vera accompanied captain David Silva, while Olga was with midfielder Fernandinho.

As they left the pitch, City manager Pep Guardiola gave them both a hug.

He later posed for pictures with them.

After City’s 3-0 win, Vera told BBC’s Match of the Day: “Pep Guardiola said hello to me and I said thank you for all you’ve done for this team, and I asked David Silva to score a goal for me . . . and he did.”

She added: “Things used to be very different from how they are today.

“They didn’t have a scoreboard when I first came — a man used to come around with a blackboard with the score on it!”

In 2017, the pair had a visit from club captain Vincent Kompany.

The Belgium international surprised the pair at their Didsbury home.

Famed for her baking skills and raising money for charity, Vera entertained Kompany with a slice of cake, along with some kosher chocolate snacks.

And, to her surprise, Kompany even brewed the tea.

She added: “Not only that, but he stayed to wash up all the pots!”

Vera told the Jewish Telegraph: “My son Danny got a call from the club wanting to interview me about my memories of being a fan this long and they turned up at my house with Vincent.

“We got such a shock, but this just shows how marvellous the club is to support.

“They are so considerate to me, and always help me to my seat for games, as well as walking me into the ground.”

She added: “I’ve had so many wonderful memories during my time as a fan of the club.

“When I first went, it was sixpence for a ticket and tuppence to park my bike.

“My favourite player is Sergio Agüero, but over the years I’ve loved watching Sam Cowan, Bert Trautmann, Colin Bell and Matt Busby.

“I’ve had many wonderful moments, as well as some disappointing ones, but hopefully I’ll still be going to games for many more years to come.”

Vera has four children — Jennifer, Erica, Shelley and Danny — seven grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.

The latter can be “very expensive,” she joked.

Born to Syrian parents Farida and Eli Betesh, Vera attended Withington Girls’ School and was a keen tennis player in her younger years. And it was on the tennis court in Didsbury that she met husband Joe Cohen.

They married on New Year’s Day, 1940, at Withington Sephardi Synagogue, Queenston Road, Didsbury.

At half-time during the Fulham match, the sisters were interviewed on the big screen by Mike McClean, who presented them with a selection of City-related mementoes.

When he went to give Vera, a City shirt with the number 102 on the back, she told McClean she already had one.

“We’ll stick it on eBay,” McClean quipped.


Site developed & maintained by
MICHAEL PAYSDEN/FIREIMAGE
© 2018 Jewish Telegraph
www.JewishTelegraph.com