Guernsey Press

PODCAST: New Alderney chairman eyeing Guernsey reinforcements

James Taylor has issued an invitation for aspiring Priaulx League footballers to sign for Alderney Nomads.

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Former Alderney goalkeeper James Taylor, seen here punching clear against Rovers, has taken on the role of chairman. (Picture by Martin Gray)

The team’s former goalkeeper is the new club and Alderney Football Association chairman, taking over the role from Reg Atkins who, Taylor said, ‘built some fantastic foundations for us as a club’.

Now the incoming chairman has set his sights on, among other things, improving the fortunes of the Nomads first team who he admitted ‘are going through a difficult time’ but added it is vital for the community that they keep going.

‘If you look at the results, they speak for themselves. We clearly are struggling, you only have to look around the pitch when we’re playing to see one, maybe two people on the bench and that is down to a number of things really,’ Taylor told the Guernsey Press Football Podcast.

  • Listen to the full interview with James Taylor on this week's Guernsey Press Football Podcast

‘Covid has obviously had an impact, a couple of years ago we would have relied on a few transient workers on the island – builders, hospitality industry – who would help top up the numbers for us. Obviously, due to Covid, travel restrictions and issues away from home, they’re not here.

‘The players we had when we were successful were probably experienced to the point where they probably had only one or two seasons left to give at 100% at that level. They’ve had to step down, myself included, and it’s left a hole unfortunately. We are such a small island with a small population that you are looking at 1,800 people [so] we don’t have that pool of people to pick from.

‘It’s my job really to try and improve that and attract people.’

He believes that the answer may lie in Guernsey.

‘I know for a fact, having played in Guernsey, there’s huge benches of players in the Priaulx sat there in a game. I’d love to say to them “Come to Alderney, we’ll give you a game. You can play regularly for us and we’ll give you Priaulx football on a regular basis”.

‘Bearing in mind we play two thirds of our games in Guernsey, that’s a guarantee really of two thirds of our games to start with and as much as we subsidise our players going to Guernsey, anybody who signs for us and plays for us regularly would be subsidised if they came to Alderney to play for us.

‘It’s about looking around the bailiwick and saying “what can we do to improve numbers”, because if we look on-island, the numbers just aren’t here and we’re relying on older players coming back and filling in those spots. It’s a temporary fix – we need a more permanent fix and we know the numbers are in Guernsey and we know it’s a competitive league and we want to compete again.

‘The couple of years when we were competing at that level, the whole island had a buzz about it and we want to bring that back.

‘The nucleus would still be Alderney … we have our identity and our style of play, it’s important we look after that.’