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Rising standard is a ‘gamechanger’

Inside Track | Published:

THERE are many things in football that bewilder.

Tower of strength: Jamie Dodd always rises to the occasion. (24472203)

It is supposed to be a simple game, but time and again it proves otherwise.

If it was, for example, all the six step four play-off winners would be getting promoted and not just four and Greenwich Borough would have been docked three points for fielding an ineligible player within a week or so of the offence – not more than two months later.

Of course, by five o’clock this afternoon we will know whether Guernsey FC can look forward to another season in the Bostik League or not, and after Greenwich Borough’s now proven indiscretion it seems there is a better than even chance that they will.

Whichever way it goes, the Green Lions have learned big lessons, not least that standards at this level are going through the roof and, somehow, need to respond to it to avoid a repeat.

The Horsham back line highlighted the individual quality the Bostik SE division throws up only last Monday, with a superbly cohesive display at Footes Lane.

In no way am I indicating dissatisfaction with the efforts of Jamie Dodd and Frank Tobin – they are a fine pairing – but just what GFC could do with a William Miles at the heart of their defence, or a Jeff Duah-Kessie, the big frontman at Phoenix Sports who helped sink Vance’s men two days earlier having hit a hat-trick in Guernsey earlier in the season.

Just about every team in the division has players of high quality and, of course, can change all or most of them over the course of a campaign.

It is bonkers to think that Greenwich Borough used 83 players in this division alone this winter and they could keep changing them to about a month from the end of the season.

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But, it is what is, and GFC have to react. How they do that remains to be seen, but Vance knows only too well that Guernsey’s small pool of talent can only go so far and it needs replenishing.

A critical eye of island football would suggest that there are no saviours or ‘bolsterers’ around the immediate corner, and you wonder just how much difference a return of Ross Allen would make given his age. Significant is my guess.

Vance knows he needs additional quality, but simple club finances does not allow him to bring in additional firepower in the manner Raiders can, who have their own open market house to utilise to their benefit.

Long term, though, when GFC are not paying rent and making their own money at Victoria Avenue, that will change and, potentially, be the ‘gamechanger’, a word Vance often uses.

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Come on the Lions.

. TALKING of ‘gamechangers’, confirmation that Footes Lane will get its eight-lane running track in plenty of time for the 2021 NatWest Island Games provides no end of opportunities for the sport to be showcased and, if the support was there, to showcase Guernsey too.

The new Footes Lane could stage all but the very biggest track and field international meets and it only needs foresight and funding to make it happen. We could be the new Bislett.

It would be good to see, just for once, Guernsey tourism seriously speculate with sport and my view is that track and field would be the perfect vehicle. We have the contacts.

Incidentally, for those who believe that athletics is getting a free ride at Footes Lane, well they are not.

The Guernsey Athletics club will foot £50,000 of the total bill.

Rob Batiste

By Rob Batiste
author

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