Reasons to be cheerful – for now anyway
NIGEL GAVEY will always be remembered as a cheery, open chap.
So it was highly appropriate that the trophy game that carries his name – the U16s ‘Muratti’ – was wide open and good for the spirits, even if it ended in a Jersey victory.
Moreover, the game highlighted that there is no shortage of talent coming through the age-groups in both islands, even if some of the defending left something to be desired – on both sides.
Nobody caught the eye more than the home skipper, Oscar Leadbeater, who even from left-back had a major influence.
So much so that you couldn’t help wondering why he wasn’t beefing up the home midfield, as the young Sylvan is quite adapt there too.
Ben Acey, too, again caught the eye as a midfielder with time on the ball and a fine eye for a slide rule pass, and Keene Domaille is a striker of high promise.
Perhaps best of all is Alex Scott, who scored a stunningly nonchalant goal and has beautiful feet, the likes of which will no doubt have Tony Vance wondering when his 16th birthday is.
For the sister isle, the way Jos de Santos passed long distance and curled free-kicks suggested he might be a senior Muratti cap one day soon.
But there was nothing unlucky about Guernsey’s defeat, which many post-match tweets were suggesting. Sure, they gave everything for that snazzy all-white GFA 125 shirt, but the defending was very poor and should not be overlooked by the coaches in preparing the squad for the Gothia Cup.
Yet, overall, the positives outweigh the negatives, and my main fear is not whether they have talent, but what sort of senior football structure and Priaulx League they will come into in a couple of years’ time.
Another good senior coach left the sport last week in Will Woodford. Not so long ago he was being touted as a possible Muratti coach candidate, but like Jody Bisson, who quit Vale Rec earlier in the season, he found trying to instil his values and ambitions into the whole group was not working.
Good coaches are leaving because players don’t care enough – and why do the players lack aspiration? Because the product is increasingly poor and there is a feeling of inferiority, that’s why. Football somehow needs to change that.