Well done GFA and Craig
Saturday 16th February 2013, 2:30PM GMT.
THEY were nervous about going cap in hand to Jersey, but the GFA summoned the character perhaps previous administrations would not have and posed the question that had to be asked for the integrity of the biggest football match in the Channel Islands.
‘Do you mind if we push back the Muratti final? See, we are in a bit of a sticky situation as if we push ahead we will have to field a second team and nobody will want to come and watch. It will hurt us both in the pocket.’
Well… I’m sure the language was a good deal more formal than the above, but that was the message that hardly needed disguising and the Inter-Insular Committee, the actual people that run the Muratti competition, agreed to the request.
Sanity in football, I am going to have to sit down.
The role that Jersey team bosses Craig Culkin and Dave Kennedy, his assistant, played in this, cannot be under-estimated.
They did not have to come out and say, ‘hold on, we don’t want to play the Guernsey B team, the integrity of the game should be preserved’.
But they did and we should applaud their stance because there will have been plenty of Jersey coaches down the years who will have pushed ahead and been only too happy to take advantage.
Across the islands the old guard will no doubt be irritated and I can understand why, but they simply have to realise that the entire footballing landscape has changed. This is not 1955 any more. The world is moving on apace and new ideas, new opportunities open and football, like other sports, needs to be brave enough to tinker.
The likes of Culkin and Kennedy can see that what is happening in Sarnian football as being positive for the sport and, I’m sure, would love to see Jersey follow the Green Lions onto the UK pyramid.
I hope for the sister island’s sake that Jersey do hop on the same competitive route because it will rescue their domestic game from sliding mediocrity and they will have begun the fightback against the new heavyweight in Jersey sport, rugby, which has shown everybody the way.
This is a good day for CI football and thanks Jersey.
WEDNESDAY was a miserable night, not least if you were a Rovers player or follower.
The thickest brand of drizzle was blowing across the already sodden Track from first whistle to last. But the game was played, Bels got the three points they wanted to stay on course for a seventh Priaulx League title.
Just seven league games to go for Glyn Smith’s men. And if star player Craig Young is sidelined for a lengthy period, at least Bels’ season is very advanced and the impact of losing a key performer is minimised in comparison to a club like North, who still have 13 to play, plus cup games.
Bels have, it could be said, not always been so keen to put their pitch at risk, but to their credit, and also groundsman Paul Franklin, they have got more games played in this most miserable of winters, than I imagined they would.
The players have, as it happens, made the most of the situation and they remain strong favourites for the championship in many people’s eyes, including my own.
By highlighting Bels’ positive approach it will, probably, infuriate others at a perceived insinuation that they have been mollycoddling their grounds.
But that’s not the intention and not the case.
Clearly St Martin’s have drainage problems that past generations of St Martin’s players and followers would have considered unimaginable.
Blanche Pierre Lane was always the driest pitch in the island, up there with the most hardy of them all, Delancey.
Vale Rec, too, have often belied the natural swampy surroundings they were dealt when the decision was made to make the Corbet Field their home ground leaving North at their higher pitch across the Grand Fort Road. So many North games have been lost this season that immediately the assumption is that they have been unduly careful and, as a consequence, paid for it.
But closer examination of the list of postponements proves that has not been the case. North have probably been a tad unlucky in that many of their scheduled away games – five since the start of November – did not beat the weather.
Consider that alongside the four home postponements in the same period and you have the reason why their season is less advanced than Bels, unable to put any pressure on their big rivals through little fault of their own.
All these little things make a difference in the course of a championship chase when invariably, the top team gets the rub of the green, the bottom one no luck at all, as we have seen again this winter.
This season, Bels have made a lot of their own luck and, it gives me no pleasure to say it, Rovers compounded their ill-fortune by bad preparation and planning last summer.
JOHN WATSON has won a second term of office as president of the Guernsey Kart and Motor Club, holding off a close challenge from Karl Marshall, his vice.
Marshall, I am fairly sure, will get his chance to take charge of this highly successful club responsible for much of the road racing scene, motocross and karting, but Watson has unfinished business and he has some big plans which will only further raise the profile for motorsport and provide added opportunities for an impressive bunch of hardened and so committed sports people.
And if anyone needed proof of the racers’ love of what they do and how it is managed, how about noting that 115 went along to the AGM.
GREAT to see a couple of youngsters making their mark in the GFC squad this past few weeks.
Joe Alvarez, 19, James Hamon, 17, and let’s not forgot the ‘ancient’ Nigel Hutton, 22, make a nonsense of the suggestion that the Green Lions do not develop youngsters.
Well they do and it is not their fault if some of the island’s better under-18s do not challenge themselves and get along to training, which is the only avenue for any of their players to get involved on match day.
I am certain it is not a closed shop and the coaching team of Tony Vance and Colin Fallaize would love to see a crop of hungry under-18s pushing for recognition.