Free for all leaves have-nots wanting

NOT so long ago one of the annual late summer must-reads for the football fan was to gaze over the official Priaulx and Jackson League player registrations.

Saints bound, or not? Jamie Dodd seemed a nailed on certainty to slip the black-and-white striped shirt on again, but the rumour mill is suggesting he might swap it for a blue-and-white or orange number. Time will tell.
Saints bound, or not? Jamie Dodd seemed a nailed on certainty to slip the black-and-white striped shirt on again, but the rumour mill is suggesting he might swap it for a blue-and-white or orange number. Time will tell. (28337049)

It was only then that everyone connected with football could get fully attuned to where the strengths and weaknesses of each club would lie over the course of the next nine months.

And with Covid-19’s grip threatening Guernsey FC’s participation in any meaningful football for a while, this week I found myself imagining what Priaulx League squads might look like with the island’s elite back in the domestic pack.

In a couple of words – enticing, exciting.

The June transfer window opened on Monday and with some quiet ground work having gone on behind the scenes, some clubs were quick to reveal which Green Lions they have got to work on.

To varying extents, Bels, Manzur, Rovers and Vale Rec struck early.

The grapevine suggests that St Martin’s and North will also benefit and if the stories prove right, the restored Blanche Pierre Lane turf could see some Ross Allen-inspired sparks come September.

Only a fortnight ago there was a whisper that GFC players had been encouraged to sign for local clubs.

The prospect of no Isthmian League football on the horizon while Coronavirus-free Guernsey was opening to normal internal sporting business got Priaulx League coaching teams thinking where they might benefit, who to target.

As the shake-out started there were a few surprises, notably Charlton Gauvain signalling an intent to play for Bels where his father and the coach Alfie Le Page are, I understand, good pals.

Meanwhile, Rangers and Vale Rec are left lamenting why they are not benefiting.

If we were America, a player draft might have resulted, creating fairness and an even spread of top talent. But, of course, that was never going to happen here and as a result the early indications are that poor Rangers and Vale face another nine months of relative struggle and Alderney perhaps a tougher time than any of their previous three Priaulx campaigns.

Of course, it might all pan out differently.

Isthmian football might resume much earlier than most observers estimate and the Guernsey FC guys will be back training at Victoria Avenue and considering it not worth the effort to train with a domestic club that sets lower standards.

There is also plenty of time for players to shift whereabouts if they feel they are about to be squeezed out by the elite.

But, of course, the biggest challenge facing clubs with a smattering of Green Lions is to involve them without offending the players they will be left with when Guernsey FC come calling.

For some teams it will be a balancing act, for others straightforward cash-in time.

But make no mistake, with no end-game date in sight the footballing juices are flowing for all us neutrals who just want to see good, competitive football.


(rated on a scale of 1 to 5 stars)

*****Rovers: Bullock; Oluborode, Strawbridge, Falla; McKane, Batiste, Howitt, Graham; Hall, Fazakerley, Canha, Whitmore, Savident, Le Tocq, Hainsworth, Payne, Webb, M. Robin.

*****St Martin’s: Martin, Geall, Dodd, Gallie, Le Noury, O’Regan, Lowe, Coulter, Heaume, Allen, Le Lacheur, Hunter, Meza, Renouf, Lihou, Mason, E. Le Prevost, Chatterton, Driscoll.

****Belgraves: Riley, Kelly, Breaton, Cochrane, Le Tocq, Marquand, Saunders, Black, J. Bourgaize, King, Gauvain, Bishop, McGrath, Wallace, Wall, S. Roussel, Pereira.

****North: Addison, K. Marsh, R. Marsh, Vaudin, Le Cheminant, Keltie, Cooley, C. Le Prevost, Lamb, de Carteret, Bougourd, Marley, Elmy, Cherry, Hale, Murray, Alvarez, Cacace, Bullock.

****Manzur: Davey, F. Tobin, McKenzie, Matthews, K. Mahon, L. Mahon, D. Rihoy, Young, Hunt, Jardim, Youlton, M. Rihoy, Loaring, Travis, Wiltshire, Holden, Dyer, L. Gaudion, Winch.

****Sylvans: N. Batiste, Sheppard, Pengelley, Fallaize, Leadbeater, Langlois, Le Poidevin, Hardill, Southwell, Gallienne, Green, Staples, Le Tissier, S. Mahy, K. Smith, Skillen, Legg, Collenette, Tiago Rodrigues, Arnold, Melrose, Brouard, Hanley, Medhurst.

***Alderney: Taylor, S. Concanen, J. Concanen, Moore, Benfield, Larkin, Parry, State, Stretton, Blackham, McCulloch, Walker, O. Carre, J. Adamson, A. Adamson, Atkins, Lawrence.

**Vale Rec: J. Bisson, G. Le Tissier, Dodds, D. Ozanne, Simmonds, Le Huray, Trott, Zimmerman, Moriarty, Rumens, Faria, Shaw, Hooper, de Garis, Archenoul, de Carteret, Felbabel, Wakeford, Gray, Goddard, Hudson, Masterton-Pipet.

* Rangers: Billien, B. Solway, M. Solway, Belnavis, Foss, Timms, Carrington, Le Pelley, R. Hockey, Quinton, Byrne, Blinston, Tardival, Evans, Foulds, Heathcote, Walker, Taylor.

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