Domestic game will cope just fine

THEY gathered – all 25 of them – like long-lost friends.

It's all smiles at Victoria Avenue this week.
 (Picture by Martin Gray, 30018745)
It's all smiles at Victoria Avenue this week. (Picture by Martin Gray, 30018745)

The Guernsey FC crew were back in force and, to the man, it was as if it was Christmas and a free bar beckoned.

As far as the Green Lions are concerned it has been one very exciting week, everyone having been caught on the hop by the CCA news that allows the club to resume normality.

And, for the record, more or less everyone you might expect to be present at first-night training was present and, for a club like Manzur, that is more than a tad worrying.

Thomas Dodds, Liam Mahon, Tom Martin, Jordan Kelly, Seb Sheppard and Matt Loaring were all on duty.

Should three or more get the nod for the Sutton Common Rovers game next week, Manzur will be really up against it.

GFC’s return may even put them out of business, but for the rest of the division it will be business as normal.

While the arrival of GFC a full decade ago sent crashing waves over the Priaulx League scene, this time and Manzur apart, I would expect it to be no more than a ripple.

Clubs, across the board, will and can easily readjust.

Of the 25 present on Thursday, expect a few of those to drop out of contention when it becomes clear that they will be bit-part players.

St Martin’s, who play GFC in a friendly at Blanche Pierre tomorrow afternoon, may lose Louis Hunter, but if so they are well placed to plough on.

Sylvans are not the same side minus Kyle Smith, but they have alternative attacking options which will make them still a threat.

Northerners will probably lose Kez Mahon and Ben Acey, but have ample replacements and, on top of that, their main man, Sam Murray, has not shown any enthusiasm for the GFC trek.

Currently top-of-the-table Belgraves were represented by Charlton Gauvain, Ryan-Zico Black and Steve Renouf on Thursday, but of that trio Gauvain is the only likely loss as one cannot envisage the other two threatening a GFC starting spot.

Vale Rec may lose Keanu Marsh again and, one noted, Seb Skillen was present.

But the latter has barely played for Vale in recent years, so will not be missed. Should Marsh be taken from them, Vale have defensive options and, anyway, their main troubles lie further forward.

Rovers will take the biggest hit, though, and one significant enough to leave them looking at the Rawlinson Cup won back in August with the satisfaction of having made good while the going was just that.

Taking out Tom Strawbridge, Frank Tobin, Ben Le Tocq, Louis Graham and Tyler McKane leaves a massive hole, especially with Fin Whitmore having headed back to uni, Carlos Canha soon departing our shores, Blair Howitt out for the season and Sam Hall taking a sabbatical.

Yet, for all that, Rovers have a very large and eager squad.

Rangers and Alderney were never likely to be affected, although you might take the view that bang goes any chance of Ross Allen returning in red-and-black colours any time soon.

But, for the good of the sport this is a hit on talent that the Priaulx League must take.

It has done it once and needs too again.

Priaulx football had long adapted well to the presence of GFC sitting above and it will do so again as they return to the instrumental role in keeping island football bubbling along successfully.

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