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Refusal to ‘lump it’ remains laudable

Inside Track | Published:

THE question should be asked: Is Guernsey football of sufficient standard to warrant a fixed playing identity?

It’s time to start Carlos Canha. (22656300)

The thought came to mind after watching Frank Tobin imagine he was David Luiz, less the curls, and pay for being caught out playing from the back to hand Sittingbourne a late winner at Footes Lane last weekend.

Minutes later Tony Vance commendably backed his man and said he would not criticise a player for trying to play the passing game he wants the Green Lions to perform.

Fine. All very well, but does it do GFC any good in terms of gaining much-needed points?

There will have been many sitting in the Garenne Stand last week and those who ever since the days of Chris Tardif wearing the No. 1 shirt will have reacted by muttering that the team ‘prat around at the back too much’.

They have a point, because GFC can tend to overdo it.

But, I can see why they do it.

At this level, Guernsey FC are often physical shrimps compared with some of the big, muscular and athletic teams they come up against on a weekly basis.

In Will Fazakerley we might finally have the big man to play up top, but in general terms it is a pint-sized squad who would be wasting their time playing the sort of long-ball stuff Sittingbourne produced so convincingly at The Lane six days ago.

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The truth is, we have little option other than what Steve Sharman often referred to as ‘the Guernsey way’.

If we can’t beat them in the air, we have to knock it about on the ground.

The issue then becomes whether you are adept enough at it and perhaps GFC are not the pass-masters they were when Ryan-Zico Black was strutting his stuff in the middle of the park, Angus Mackay and Alex Le Prevost could make slide rule passes from deep, Guille Fernandes linked up play so effectively and we had men such as Ross Allen to keep hold of the thing and allow attacks to build.

Presently, the mandate to play football is laudable but it is often failing due to pressure on the ball and inability to protect it.

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That’s why Carlos Canha must be integrated as soon as possible. Yes, I know, push his cause, but the man has quality, he links and he is the most capable front player to play the football Vance wants.

THE Raiders may be temporarily chasing shadows on the pitch, but their appeal has now out-grown even the Green Lions.

While rugby – Siams and promotion play-offs aside – has yet to draw the 1,000 plus attendances GFC had when they were consistently winning in their climb to the Isthmian League, they are now pushing the 800 mark.

Can they sustain it even if the defeats keep chalking up at level four in the national pyramid system? With their clientele more transient, social and corporate based, then there is every chance the rugby crowds will remain strong as, after all, the standards certainly provide rich entertainment.

Raiders have learned a lot of the GFC lessons and worked the community to their benefit.

Now they need just a bit of luck in terms of injuries.

PLAINLY it is a significant step up to play at National Two South level and the cruel irony is that when Raiders needed to gently nurse emerging domestic talent, they are having to throw the kids in at the deep end.

The one thing that immediately struck this observer was the quality of the backlines having some fun at Raiders’ expense.

They are sometimes electric-paced too.

Rob Batiste

By Rob Batiste
author

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