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Mighty St Paul’s fear Bulls backlash going forward

Sport | Published:

ST PAUL’S FC player coach Stuart Andre remains confident his club will avoid falling by the wayside next season, despite the threat of multiple departures to Jersey Bulls FC.

Stuart Andre turns away from Sam Murray during the recent St Paul’s-North Jeremie Cup clash. (Picture by Martin Gray, 22626463)

The defending Jersey Football Combination Premiership champions could in theory lose their entire first team squad to the newly formed Combined Counties League club in 2019, with the island’s top footballers being offered a long-awaited opportunity to play at a higher level.

Players can remain dual-registered with their Combination club while appearing for the Bulls, but given the commitments associated with a 40-game season in the UK league there are unlikely to be many willing to appear regularly for both.

That could leave St Paul’s relying solely on their up-and-coming juniors and current reserves to survive, but Andre is still hoping for stability.

‘It’s hard to answer now and be 100% confident, because they could take 10 or 15 of our players,’ he said. ‘But our intention is to have a team with a steady flow of players coming through.

‘It was disappointing not to have an under-18s last year but we’ve got that back in place now and hopefully they will fill the void.

‘The issue might be understanding how it works with dual-registered players. I imagine they [Bulls coaches] will pick their strongest squad, rather than taking a certain number from each team, but if we have 10 players would they take all 10? Or take five, leave five and then pick from other teams like St Peter, Wanderers etc., too?

‘There are a few questions still to be answered.’

In spite of a predicted drop in standards within the Combination, Andre is in favour of the UK move.

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‘From a personal point of view I’m not against it, but I know people within club and around the island have got different views,’ he said.

‘We’ll probably be one of the teams affected the most, but we have definitely lacked something at the top level for top players.

‘We’ve seen with Guernsey how the standard has fallen over there. Their league has suffered, so it will be interesting to see what happens here, but as long as a plan is in place long term and it’s covered financially I’m not against it.

'It would be no good setting it up for it to break down in a couple of years, after having an effect on Jersey football. It looks like the homework has been done, and until you try, no one is going to know.’

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n PARISHES OF JERSEY will make their international footballing debut under the ConIFA umbrella next month, with a home fixture against the county of Yorkshire.

Just two weeks after being accepted into the football federation for independent nations not recognised by Fifa, PoJ FC have finalised arrangements to meet their fellow members at St Peter on Sunday 21 October.

The game will act as a full ConIFA international, with ranking points being awarded.

‘We don’t know much about the Yorkshire team, but Yorkshire itself has a population of around five million, so they’ll have a few players from a few leagues to choose from,’ said PoJ manager James Scott.

Rob Batiste

By Rob Batiste
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