Liam Gaughan has not had to go too far either to be ‘capped’, just 20 miles up the Channel to make an impressive bow in Alderney.
The new midfielder, 25, who hails from Doncaster, played a key role for the Ridunians in their shock-of-shocks 1-0 win over FNB Priaulx league title chasing St Martin’s last weekend.
‘He looks tidy,’ said Alderney stalwart Steve Concanen, who has long been in search of new Bailiwick-based talent, but did not expect a tiny island without a football pitch to come up with the goods.
‘He contacted [player-coach] Josh [Concanen] on Facebook,’ added the elder Concanen brother, something confirmed by Gaughan, who to get to Mount Hale on Saturday had to get on the ferry to St Peter Port on Friday, a day ahead of the game, and then catch the flight up to Alderney the next morning.
It seems the Yorkshireman was headed down the path of football before making a career change.
‘I played a lot of semi-professional football. I wanted a career as a professional but I got injured and lost a lot of play time,’ he said.
Gaughan played for Doncaster Rovers Youth and then the semi-professional Matlock Town, who play in the Northern Premier League.
‘I got introduced to gardening by my uncle, who had a business in landscape gardening.
‘I thought I’d give it a go, that was five years ago and I absolutely fell in love with it, so that’s what I did,’ he said in a GP interview in 2019.
‘Gardening rebooted me, it’s very therapeutic. If your life goes into a dark place, gardening can get you out of it.’
His professional hopes ended by injury, Gaughan started looking for gardening jobs online.
‘I saw an advert saying “come and work in paradise island”. I’m from Doncaster and I’d never heard of Herm.
‘I had a look and thought it must be a job in the Caribbean, so I googled it and thought “what is that tiny dot, there can’t be life there”.’
However the description sounded good and he applied.
Before he knew it, he had an interview and then the job.
The Yorkshireman has now been head gardener for around 32 months.
The GP’s Alderney football correspondent, Lee Sanders, reported Gaughan ‘appeared to fit in well with his new team-mates and displayed some accurate ball play and neat touches’.
Josh Concanen likes what he sees too, having deployed him in a holding midfield role. ‘Technically, he’s a good player and keeps it simple while covering a lot of ground.’