Wonderful cup final shows what can be achieved with effort

THE excellence of the Guernsey FA Cup final told us one thing – other than Sylvans can play a bit too.

It told us that making an effort to dress up an occasion can work.

Guernsey FC have long known that and that is why fans kept heading back to Footes Lane.

It was not all about Ross Allen magic, it was part Roary The Lion, part the trumpeter, part the off-pitch entertainment and many other small aspects of a great idea.

Of course, it helped last week that it was a warm summer afternoon, but Vale Rec’s Jody Bisson put himself out to make sure the pitch looked a picture, there was welcoming PA music and announcements and the teams produced the goods.

But island football should not have to wait for a big cup final to be able to put on a show.

Danny Hale taps in the rebound from a penalty. (Picture by Martin Gray, 29650777)

If the GFLM and the clubs get their heads together and actively work towards making more of their product, it will attract crowds, increase the sense of occasion and drag more fans back through the gates.

There remains a healthy appetite for the senior club game, despite and not because of the schedules.

Saturdays with three or four FNB Priaulx League games scheduled at the same time are a nonsense, but most clubs demand it because they want people in their club bars.

Sadly, clubs are not likely to give way on this, but longer term they might be surprised by the benefits of putting the neutral fans first and working towards something that is not the norm.

It does not have to happen every week or month, but properly advertised festival occasions with big league and cup fixtures at the heart of a mixed schedule, four or five times a season and when the Green Lions are not at home, is a move that is worth exploring.

AS ANNUAL meetings go, this week’s Guernsey Football League Management AGM was a positive snooze.

But one decision made – the move to prevent any club having more than one team in a specific age group – has rippled the waters of a long-standing youth coach and even surprised a prime analyst of youth football problems who raised eyebrows as to the lack of a debate.

Darren Le Tissier, the current St Martin’s U18s coach, is angered by the decision and argues it will not assist in any way in keeping youths in the game.

‘The only thing this helps is the GFLM reducing the fixture list at the very level you should be increasing it,’ he said.

‘How clubs can justify they are complying with ‘’football for all’’ is the biggest myth currently going,’ adding: ‘This would never have been put forwards by the GFA as it goes against everything that the FA are promoting.’

And in one more swipe he said: ‘Some clubs should really question their charted standard status when operating in direct opposition to what the governing body are promoting.’

ALDERNEY have to confirm their entry into the FNB Priaulx League and any cups this weekend.

But, it seems very likely the Ridunians will register and keep the top division at nine.

‘I gather there is a corporate will to continue,’ said key official Richard Hunt yesterday morning.

‘It is almost certain that we will continue,’ he added while waiting to hear back from player-coach Josh Concanen, who had been conducting meetings and phone calls over the course of the week.

ARE we witnessing a changing of the guard in Evening League cricket?

Anyone who witnessed Independents’ win over Cobo, the long-standing kings of T20, will be convinced that there will be a new name on the Rozel Shield come the end of August.

Cobo are, of course, not out of the running by any means, but they are creaking and the enthusiasm of both Indies and Tom Kirk’s Griffins is currently giving them the edge as the second half of the season moves to grass from Tuesday.

The switch of surfaces may make it a tad harder for batsmen to plunder the big shots they have been on the bouncier mat, but it will not reduce the youthful energy of these two sides.

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