Guernsey Press

Muratti Vase: Guernsey ready for ‘biggest game of the year’

There may be new faces in the dugout, but Muratti motivation remains the same.

Guernsey’s squad training for the final time at the KGV on Thursday evening. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 33242553)

That is the message from Guernsey joint manager Ryan-Zico Black as he heads into his first Muratti Vase final as a coach this afternoon, attempting to win back the biggest prize in Channel Islands football for the first time since 2017.

‘We know a lot of the players, played them before, so we know what they’re capable of and know what experience and everything else that they bring,’ he said.

‘Those players won’t need us to get anything out of them on the day, they’ve been there and done it, and they’ll be, I’m sure, hungry as ever for Saturday, especially given the last few years.

  • Hear the full interview with Ryan-Zico Black on our Muratti preview podcast

‘So they’ll feel like they’ve got a point to prove in terms of we have, as an island, to put on a good performance and hopefully get a result. Those lads won’t need any motivating from us.’

Black, who has taken over the reins this season alongside Dave Merris who is set to take on the role of player-manager today, added that Jersey’s four-final winning streak will not lessen the expectation on his side when they run out at Springfield today.

‘There’s always pressure when you’re playing for Guernsey. You’re representing the island, you’re representing everyone back home, representing Guernsey football and it’s a Muratti,’ he said.

‘It’s a massive game, it’s the biggest game of the year, it’s what everyone wants to play in.

‘It’s what goes down in history, so of course there’s pressure, but it’s good pressure. You want to be involved in those games, so that comes with it.’

Black revealed that while the long squad have been preparing for several weeks, the intensity and emotions have ramped up in the last few days heading into the big day and while he called it a ‘really enjoyable experience’, he admitted there were some tough decisions to make when it came to the final make up of the 18-man match-day group.

‘That’s what we signed up to do and we’ve had open, honest discussion.

‘We’ve got a coaching team as well, so we’ve taken on board their views, but ultimately Dave and I made the decisions and the process in terms of that has been good.

‘It’s difficult as well ... we understand that and all you can do in that process is be open and honest and try and communicate that.’

The result is a squad that has arguably its largest Priaulx League representation of the GFC era with three of Vale Rec’s Upton-winning squad involved as well as regulars from North and St Martin’s.

‘I think we were very clear from the start no matter where you’re playing your club football, if you’re good enough, you’ll have an opportunity,’ Black said.

‘It was a clean slate for a lot of players, so we just tried to pick our best squad for the day, and that’s it.

‘Obviously, some of them play at various different clubs, but they’ll be coming together on Saturday as one, representing the island, and I’m sure they’ll do their best and give everything for Guernsey football.’

As for the hosts, Black emphasised that he is respectful of Jersey and what they have achieved in recent times, adding Island Games gold last summer to their current Muratti run, but added that he is only interested in what he and the rest of the coaching team and the Guernsey players can control.

With that in mind, his Sarnian pride shines through.

‘It’s a massive honour and privilege to represent your Island. It was as a player and is as a coach. I don’t take that lightly, worked as hard as I possibly can, as has Dave, to give everything we can and give it our best shot.’

Today’s Muratti Vase final kicks off at 3pm at Springfield and is available to watch via a Jersey FA live stream. The Women’s Muratti is the first game of the double-header at 10.30am.

Guernsey squad

Josh Addison, Chris Povall, Ben Solway, Dave Merris, Jamie Dodd, Tom Vaudin, Tom Dodds, River Marsh, Dave Rihoy, Kieran Mahon, Charlton Gauvain, Jacob Masterton-Pipet, Matt Loaring, Ross Allen, Owen Wallbridge, Keene Domaille, Sam Murray, Will Fazakerley.