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‘Inspiring’ Green Lions get Manx date

Sport | Published:

GUERNSEY FC are going from inspiration to inauguration.

Guernsey and the Isle of Man have met several times in the Island Games, including Gotland 2017. (Picture by Adrian Miller, 28524839)

The Green Lions will be FC Isle of Man’s first-ever opponents next month when they utilise the air bridge between the two islands to take part in a historic fixture at the Bowl on Saturday 15 August.

Just last week the Football Association granted FC Isle of Man a place in Step 6 of the National League System after two years of hard work. They have been placed in the North West Counties Football League Division One South.

The Manx club call GFC, who were the first offshore club side to apply and compete in the FA National League System, an inspiration.

‘The club have hit a quite a few milestones over the last few weeks and none are bigger than our very first game,’ said Paul Jones, the FC Isle of Man director of football.

‘It is fitting that we are playing against the club that inspired our journey and we thank them in their efforts to get the game on.’

GFC manager Tony Vance said that the game will be an important part of his team’s preparations for their next league season, despite not knowing when that will start due to the coronavirus pandemic.

‘Pre-season is always a difficult situation for us because all the clubs in England will have a programme of eight or nine games and then hit the ground running when the league starts, but logistically we are just not able to do that, so to have a competitive fixture off-island is fantastic,’ he said.

‘The air bridge is allowing us to do that and being timed with FC Isle of Man’s inaugural match will make it a really good occasion.

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‘While we are honoured to have been invited to take part in such an occasion, we have to look at this as an important prep game and we have played the Isle of Man regularly in the Island Games so we know this will be a competitive game, which is exactly what both sides will want.’

Chris Bass, the FC Isle of Man team manager, added: ‘I am absolutely delighted and excited about this game on two counts.

‘Firstly, to be able to arrange a match during these strange times is a great opportunity for our players to represent the club and our community at such an early stage in our process.

‘Secondly, I am really happy that the game is against Guernsey FC. They’ve competed at the level we’re entering and have been successful so it will be an eye opener to see how our players match up against them.’

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