Non-League: The Forgotten Football Family

With debate increasing by the day on whether the English Premier League and English Football League should return or not, people are forgetting what has happened to Non-League campaigns up and down the country, lower down the footballing pyramid.

 

 
For those who don’t know, they have been disregarded, thrown away, cancelled and VOIDED.

 

 
Whether this is the right or wrong decision has been debated in almost every town in England, albeit over social media. Why was it an easy decision for the FA to void every league under the National League, yet they are hanging on to the professional seasons?

 

 
Easy answer: Money.

 

 
Is this right? Of course not.

 

 

 

non league 3

 

Take Jersey Bulls FC or Vauxhall Motors FC as the obvious examples. They have both secured promotion and were games away from securing title wins. The Channel Islanders had won ALL 27 game of their debut season, a new Combined Counties Record, well it was until the FA decided that all of the games were all in vain.

 

 
So many others have missed out too; Leicester Road were seemingly cruising to promotion, being 25 points inside the Midland 1 promotion places before the call. Stockton Town gained a wealthy position too, being 23 points inside the promotion places in the Northern 1 league. Others who seemed destined to be promoted included Risborough Rangers, Littlehampton Town, Lower Breck and Bugbrooke St Michaels, who were all at least 20 points clear at the top of their respective leagues. Many other sides were above 10 points clear, which, at this stage of the season would more than likely lead to promotion.

 

 

 

non league 2

 

I spoke with well-respected Non-League reporter Ollie Bayliss about the subject and he told me ‘The null & void decision is very hard on clubs like Jersey Bulls and Vauxhall Motors who’d already secured promotion. If those clubs had managed that achievement within the football league I don’t think there’s any way their season would have been made null & void.’

 

 
Ollie went on to say ‘It does no one any favours keeping clubs like that down for another season – their colleagues in their league don’t want to have to play them again next season.’

 

 
All the clubs I have mentioned will feel disappointed, downbeat, and effectively robbed by the FA. Whilst they will understand that there are bigger issues in the world right now, I am sure that they would have wanted all of their hard work and effort, both from the players and club members, to be rewarded rather than dismissed without a second thought.

 

 

 

bull

 

Football wise, as Ollie mentioned, why would Combined Counties League Division One sides want to play Jersey Bulls again next season? It would more than likely be the same outcome, meaning one less promotion place. Who would want that? Same goes for Vauxhall Motors, who would more than likely repeat their success this season, possibly being even more relentless because they are determined to get the promotion they deserve. If you were the FA or any club, you would allow promotion, especially to these two sides.

 

 
Financially it is a mammoth smack in the face for ALL non-league clubs. Since the announcement, 10 clubs have already withdrawn from their respective leagues in steps 3-7. This is just the start of what is set to be a catastrophic aftermath of a damaging decision by the FA.

 

 

 

non league

 

 

Ollie Bayliss said ‘During this period we will sadly see some clubs fold. The financial impact of this crisis will take its toll on many others who will struggle financially. It will take a while before we see full competitive leagues again.’

 

 
In the main, clubs in Non-League receive most their income through gate money. With the season ending, that is gone, and clubs will have to look for other ways to raise money to keep the club running and this will undoubtedly be a struggle.

 

 

 

non league 4

 

That tells you just how bad this could get financially for clubs up and down the country. Some simply will fold. People will lose their local football clubs. We won’t see Non-League like we know and love for a long time to come.

 

 
Ollie told me ‘Clubs will lose out on thousands of pounds from this crisis. Some clubs have asked for relegation in order to balance their budgets for next season – it remains to be seen whether the FA will grant this request.’

 

 
It is a sad situation. Beyond football, Non-League is a family. From the players who form brotherly bonds, to the terraces for your weekly catch up with someone you wouldn’t usually chat to. It brings so many people together. It is all about community, rather than money. Going to Non-League games, for many, feels so much more special and personal compared to being one in 20,000 + people in a Football League and Premier League stadium.

non league 5

 

Ollie added ‘I think we’ll see a shorten adaptation for next season, perhaps a more regionalised ‘mini league’ with playoffs. Hopefully in time, football will return to the game we know and love, but that might take several years.’

 

 
All in all, whilst it was the right decision to end the season, the way it was ended was wrong. In my opinion, it should have been through a Points Per Game system, which is the fairest way to end any league given the certain circumstances. Nonetheless, no matter what decision was to be made, Non-League won’t be the same for a very, very long time, and we will lose some clubs along the way. It is a sad situation, one which the FA didn’t think about when they made the rash decision that they did.

THINK POSITIVE

As we continue to battle against the worst pandemic most of us have ever seen, we need to continue to stay POSITIVE.

 

For me personally it has undoubtedly been the hardest part of my life to date. I have lost a family member who I was very close to and loved very much. Another family member is on the front line, helping those who need her the most along with the many other NHS heroes. Another elderly family member is home alone and been unable to go outside since the first week of March. As a freelancer, near to all my working opportunities have vanished. And finally myself and my dad have been left alone to do the cooking, cleaning and everything else, whilst attempting not to burn the house down.

 

 

Whilst all the above, apart from (surprisingly) the latter, has been very emotional, I believe that we need to stay positive during these times – which isn’t helped by the daily reminders on the various news outlets of the dire situation we are in. They are doing their jobs, and the news is there for all to see so I don’t hold anything against them. However, I believe if it is over watched/read it is doing our mental health no good whatsoever.

 

 

I personally watch the headlines of local news at 6pm, and then the full 10pm news every night, whilst looking out for the latest local update. This balance works for me as I feel informed but not overwhelmed by worry/panic. Don’t watch too much, have a balance.

 

 

I believe that we need to focus on staying strong for those around us. Take advantage of the positives that the modern age of social media has given us. Phone/Skype/FaceTime those family members who are alone – it changes their days, it sometimes even makes it. Message your friends – they do care and are missing you just the same as you’re missing them. Talk to those who live with you rather than hiding away in your rooms, this is where your bonds can grow and grow. Do those jobs that you/others (your mum/partners) have been desperate for you to do. Make plans for when we are out and free to live our life’s again. Do things that have a POSITIVE impact on your life.

 

 

I personally have been staying on top of my weekly fitness regime. I am probably doing more exercise than I usually do, and have seen results. Get running. Do an online class. It really is a mood booster and will help your day be better, whilst possibly having even better, very positive long term effects on your body.

 

 

Has it been the toughest month of my life? Without a doubt.

 

 

Will I come out of this stronger? Try and stop me.

 

 

Think POSITIVE. We are ONE.

 

 

 

 

Benest Doing His Best at St Peters

I caught up with St Peters U18s manager Karl Benest about his sides’ season, and how good an opportunity it is for his young players to compete on the mainland against different opposition in the Kent Youth Cup.

 

Here is what he said:

 

 

How long have you been at St Peters?

 

I have been a coach at St Peter’s since the summer of 2015 where I started out as an assistant.

 

st peters u18s

 

What has been your highlight so far?

 

The highlight for me would be as an assistant going unbeaten last season. Winning every game in the Channel Islands, only losing one game which was the semi final in the Kent cup.

 

 

 

How hard is it to coach in Jersey?

 

It can all depend on the players you have. When you have a dedicated team it makes it all that much easier to coach. We are lucky this season that we have a high number of players breaking into senior football, from both U16’s & U18’s. The only downside to coaching in Jersey is the lack of 4g pitches, so we are limited when it comes to training when the weather is bad and the pitches are waterlogged.

 

stpeter

 

How has the season been so far – prior to Covid-19?

 

Well obviously this season hasn’t gone as anyone was expecting. Before Covid-19 came along we were on course to win the the league, only needing to win our last 2 games to come out on top. We were still in the Kent cup semi-final, where we were due to play Faversham Town on the 29th March.

 

 

Talk to us about the Kent cup – how good is it for you to manage against coaches on the mainland?

 

This is the 2nd year of our U18’s playing away in the Kent Cup. Last season we came close, losing out in the semi final. At the start of this season we set a target to go one step further and reach the final. We have beaten 3 favourites to make it to the semi final (VCD athletic, K Sports & Seven Oaks Town) In the Uk, they were training 3/4 times a week where as we only have 1 training session, with some of the lads also training with seniors and the CoE. With the excellent behind the scenes work being done by other members of St Peter’s Fc, all arrangements are already made, so I have no contact with the other manager until we arrive at the grounds.

 

st peters 18s2

 

And for the players – how good is it for them?

 

It is an amazing experience for our lads to have. Playing in the UK definitely brings out the best in the boys as we have to go out playing our best whilst not knowing what to expect. We as a club are extremely lucky that we can offer such experiences for our teams, we are the only island team that go away to play.

 

 

Would you like to manage a first team one day?

 

It is definitely something I would consider moving into if the correct opportunity became available, however at the moment I’m in the right place. It is an honour watching the lads progress throughout the season, going onwards and upwards and I can happily know I was a part of helping them to get there. Ever since being young I have wanted to be a part of a team coaching Jersey in the Muratti.

 

 

What were the goals for the rest of the season?

 

Well as it stands the season is over. If things were to drastically change and everything got back to normal the goals would be to go on and win the U18 league, along with the Upton and the Kent cup. For the U16’s it would be trying to get them the highest place finish we can. Both teams consist of a great bunch of lads, they really are a credit to St Peter’s.

 

toby st peters

Rainbow’s Remarkable Running Story

As Covid-19 hits the nation, we are limited in what we can do physically, one activity we can do is go out and run.

 

However, you may not do it to the intensity of Beth Rainbow, who is an extremely determined ultra-runner.

 

I caught up with her to talk about the amazing races that she has taken part in, and what goals she has in store.

 

 

beth 8

 

Have you always been sporty?

 

 

 

Not at all, I used to dance from the age of 2-18 years in ballet, tap and modern but never went for a sports team at school. Always loved the standard PE rounders and netball but never did cross country or anything like that. I don’t regret it though as I don’t think I would still enjoy it as much as I do now!

 

 

When did you start running?

 
After I left school and dance classes stopped, I started to run in the summer for enjoyment and to get out in the sunshine. I immediately fell in love with running and completed my first half marathon in May 2018 and moved straight onto the full marathon in October.

 

beth 2

 

Did you like to run when you were younger or did you catch the so-called ‘bug’?

 
I definitely caught the bug. Caught it after my first half and the thrill of the achievement. I will never forget running down the railway walk in the last 5 miles. I felt like I couldn’t control my legs and even managed a sprint at the end to finish in 1 hour 45 minute.

 

How did you start? Was it Parkrun or just a matter of going out on your own?

 
Started going out on my own. My parents like to run so that influenced me to go out and i just ran further and further each time I went out as I got fitter and faster.

 

beth 7

 

Do you remember your first race – the Jersey Half marathon in May 2018 – how did you find that?

 
I will never forget it, I signed up with my friend Charlotte and we decided to just go for it. I had no idea what specific training was needed or how to fuel, I don’t even think I ate breakfast before the race (which I would never do now!) and I carried my iphone in my hand. I loved the feeling during the race with other runners around me and the feeling at the finish line was amazing. I looked for other races straight away and signed up for the Trail Monkey El Classico half marathon (a trail race) the following August.

 

 

First marathon in the October – how proud were you of doing that?

 

 

 

Wow, that is still one of my biggest achievements to date. I had no idea what I was doing, just signed up and ran as much as I could for training and went for it on the day. Again, I still had no idea about pre-race fueling or using gels during the race. I was doing amazingly considering this lack of knowledge but found out how important all of this was as I hit the avenue and immediately hit the wall. I had no energy or feeling in my legs at all for the last 3 miles and limped to the finish line.

 

beth 1

 

 

You decided to go into ultra running – tell us more about that?

 
After the marathon and hitting the wall badly, I took 2 months out to just take it easy and let my body recover. After deciding I needed to build back some muscle, I went back to a Kettlercise class run by Leanne Rive, who is a well known and experienced ultra runner. She was heading to Arundel for a long weekend to run the South Downs as training for her upcoming summer of ultra races and asked if I wanted to come along for some fun. It sounded amazing and I couldn’t turn it down. After a long weekend in the UK running 70 miles in 3 days, I signed up straight away to my first ultra, the Trail Monkey Double Top, a 40 mile trail run on the North Coast. From there I got the ultra bug and loved pushing myself to see how far I could go.

 

 

You did 70 miles in Arundel – what was that experience like?

 
That was an amazing experience, and especially going with Leanne as I learnt so much. She taught me about pacing for an ultra and how to fuel properly to ensure you can go all day. On the Friday we were out for 8 hours and ran 40 miles, the most I had ever run in one day. I could barely walk the next day but we still went out for another 20 miles and a further 10 miles on the Sunday before returning home. The most important thing I took from the weekend with Leanne was that your body can literally do anything you set your mind too. Even though my legs were so stiff and in pain, with the right fuelling and hydration they just kept going and going.

 

 

You then did a 40 miler on the north coast in Jersey where you finished as 3rd women – how competitive do you get?

 
I don’t really get competitive at all, I am very much for running my own race and if that places, that’s great. I just want to go out and have fun and finish the race knowing I couldn’t have given anything more! Finishing 3rd woman that day and finishing strong (nice jump over the finish line) was the best feeling and got me excited for the future races and what I can achieve next time. I am also aware that ultra runners seem to get better with age so I have a lot of time on my side!

 

beth 3

 

You did all around the island next and were the 2nd women to finish! Does adrenaline get you through?

 
The adrenaline is real! After I would say about 20 miles, everything is a mental game, if you tell yourself you can finish – you will and vice versa. The trick with these ultras is you get out what you put in and that means food – I recently read an article where an ultra runner referred to it as “an eating competition rather than running” and they are absolutely right! Lots of high carb/sugar snacks and you can go on forever!

 

 

 

Disney half marathon – did you dress up!

 

 
Of course! For the disney half marathon, my whole family dressed up as the Incredibles and it was one of the best races ever. Thousands of runners all dressed up and running through the park with the amazing support of all of the Disney characters and staff and was amazing! It was my sister’s first half and my parents’ first one in a while and they smashed it, I was super proud of them.

 

beth 10 disney

 

 

Who has been your inspiration from the professional running world?

 

 
All the local runners and community inspire me every day and their determination and love for running makes it so amazing, especially at the moment with all the race cancellations – the running community has never been stronger. For a professional runner, it has to be Courtney Dauwalter, she is incredible and beats a lot of the men in the major ultra races.

 
Another fun one was Christmas Day parkrun – how good are parkruns for the community!

 

 
Got to love the parkruns, they are just so much fun and great for the community with 5km being the perfect distance for beginners and experienced runners looking for a fast PB. I need to get back and do a few more when they are back up and running! They are so well run and have really inspired a lot of people to take up running who might otherwise not have done so.

 

beth 5 parkrun

 

Talk to us about the pilgrims challenge – 66 miles!

 

 

This was my first double day race, 33 miles on the Saturday – sleepover in a school (or my case hotel) – 33 miles the exact way back on the Sunday. This was along the North Downs Way and was an absolute adventure. I basically spent the two days eating jam sandwiches with a bit of running in between haha! The event was again really well organised and the course well marked out. I was equally delighted and surprised to finish 3rd woman in a very strong field.

 

 

 

Is it tough to do it over two days? Is recovery key so muscles are ready for the next day?

 

 

Yes it’s super tough to do a double day. As soon as I finished the first day I put myself into recovery mode: lots of sitting down with my feet up for circulation, lots of stretching, recovery fuel and hydration, a good evening meal and early to bed for a good night’s sleep. A lot of runners opted for the leg massage on offer but as I hadn’t really done this before I decided to give it a miss. My recovery worked well and my legs felt great next day and only started to feel heavy and tired in the last 5 miles.

 

beth 4

 

Sahara desert 6 day challenge –  what kind of experience would that have been – how gutted are you that it is cancelled due to the corona pandemic!

 

 

I was so excited and have dedicated my training for the last 6 months to this one event but of course I understand why it had to be postponed along with every other major race on the running calendar. I will be doing it in the future though 100%! So all of my lightweight equipment and backpack has been put on hold until the event comes around again, probably in 2021 for me.

 

 

 

 

What kind of training do you do for such events and how hard is it when the training is halted like it has been!

 

 

 

I am very lucky to have an amazing coach, Sarah Place, who helps with my weekly training plan and knows exactly what workouts are best for each goal I have. For the Marathon des sables I was doing up to 60 mile weeks with weighted backpack runs as well as hill repeats to improve my stamina. Not as much speed work, more long, easy endurance runs. When the race was initially postponed I was obviously devastated and felt quite low for a few days but the great thing about running is that it provides an immediate lift to your mood so it only took a few long runs for me to get over the disappointment and to look forward to future events and races.

 

 

You’ve done races with your dad too – how special is that?

 

My dad is the most supportive of my running, and is the best crew for races too. Crews are people at water stations specifically for you and get things you might want at checkpoints ready. He also comes along to all my races in the UK for support which I really love and appreciate.

 

beth 9

 

Did he inspire you to start running or visa Versa?

 

 

Both! My mum and dad have always run and inspired me to start running. I did run with them initially on their long weekend runs but very quickly started running by myself at my own pace and distance. My dad has run many marathons before, including the New York marathon which is definitely on my list. We have made a deal that we will do at least one marathon together in the near future!

 

 

 

What future goals do you have? Any races in the pipeline?

 

 

At the moment with Marathon des Sables postponed, I am keen to get more speed in my legs and am working with my coach to get a sub 20 min 5km. I also have a place for the Chicago marathon in October which I am hoping to get a PB at. Next year, I hope to complete MDS in April and finally complete my first multi day ultra. I would love to get to America’s west coast for some of the trails out there in Colorado and Utah. But at the moment with everything going on, I am running for myself with no wider goals but to just enjoy myself.

 

beth 6

 

It was great to catch up with Beth, and as someone who is keen on their running myself it was very interesting to hear about her experiences.

 

Check out Beth’s running blog: bethrainbowrunning.com.

Powell: St John’s and Football in Jersey on The Up

With the Jersey Leagues suspended until further notice I caught up with St John’s manager Elliot Powell to discuss how his team are doing in the Championship season, as well as touching on different topics such as the level of officiating on the island and David Kennedy being named the new CEO of the Jersey FA.

 

Here is what the young coach had to say!

 

 

 

How has your first season as manager of St John’s gone?

 

It’s been great – really enjoyable and I’m really pleased that I took the opportunity in the Summer. I love coaching,obviously, but I’m the kind of person that is motivated by a challenge and a long term project. You could certainly class St John’s as exactly that. I’m lucky to be a young manager (22) in charge of a first team and I can’t think of too many who’ve been as fortunate as i have in that regard. So to summarise – yeah I’ve really enjoyed it and I’m really grateful to have been afforded the opportunity.

 

elliot

 

What would you say the hardest part of being a manager is in Jersey football?

 

It’s a tough question and probably something that doesn’t have a definitive measure. I’d probably have to compare it to coaching and managing in England. Overall coaching over here is far easier. The facilities are better, the access to the players is greater and ultimately the financial support is more readily available. The only thing that I could probably say is that in the UK, and certainly in the leagues I’ve worked in up North, is that football is much higher up on each individual’s list of priorities. That’s not saying we are uncommitted over here, far from it, but there’s a different level of appetite for amateur football in England from my experiences.

 

 

Has the season gone to plan so far?

 

Well we’re at crunch time now obviously. So far, so good I guess. We’ve had a sticky run recently with a few poor performances but hopefully the recent 3-1 home win against St Peter’s is a turning point again. We are 2nd at the moment and promotion is in our hands. We’ve come an awful long way from the side that finished down at the bottom last year and hopefully the lads can pull over the line to complete their terrific turnaround.

 

St johns

 

What are your thoughts on Jersey Bulls FC – do you see it as a positive move?

Absolutely – the top players are getting the opportunities they need in order to push on and that hasn’t always been the case in Jersey. There was a big fear at the club’s creation that it would be detrimental to league football but I think you’d be hard pressed to find a significant number of people who would say that that has been the reality. Yes we’ve probably sacrificed a bit of quality but the league is finally competitive again. For me that is far more important. The quality will rise again over time with the improved infrastructure that we have across the island at a junior level.

 

Do you think officiating has been at a good level on the island?

Look, officials have an incredibly hard job and we as players and coaches don’t always help. That being said, I would probably suggest that Jersey officials have a unique talent for not helping themselves either. Ability aside, the main thing for me with officiating locally, is that it is very much “Us (the officials) vs Them (Players + Coaches).” That is a restrictive attitude and highlighted by the fact that it leads to a lack of respect being shown by both parties in my opinion. We have to address that as a football community, and sooner rather than later. I don’t mean to be all doom and gloom though! We are incredibly lucky to have some top referees in Jersey. That talent, accompanied by the fact that the JFA have recently appointed a Referee Development Officer, leads me to honestly believe that this talent will grow and continue to develop and that the subsequent relationship will improve in the not too distant future!

 

Back to St Johns – have you been impressed with anyone imparticular in your side this season?

As a coaching team we are really lucky to have put together a side who are all incredibly passionate about the game and more importantly are all really eager to learn and improve. So from that perspective, they’ve all been really impressive. The player who probably gets the most attention at the moment is young Jack Hardisty. He’s been sensational since we’ve come in and it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s in the mix for player of the year in the Championship come the eventual conclusion of the season. He’s a match winner and fortunately he’s done it many times for us this year – so much so that he’s caught the eye of the Centre of Excellence again who he actually got dropped by 3 seasons ago. That’s a big comeback effort from him and he deserves the plaudits.

 

st johns 3

 

How far has this team come in one season?

They’ve come on a ridiculous amount. We’ve had to go through some pretty tough times together and identify what works for us but the players have taken everything in their stride and are really now starting to move forward. The whole club is. We’ve probably surprised a few along the way and I think the perception of the club is changing once again. It’s probably not seen so favourably in some higher quarters but I think our peers, proper football people who understand the game at a grassroots level, can see that we are building something up at St Johns and obviously one indication of that is a competitive first team. The lads deserve huge credit for turning last season’s struggles around. There’s a long way to go though and plenty more feathers to ruffle along the way I suspect.

 

What are the people off the pitch at St John’s like – do they just love football?

Everyone at St John is incredibly passionate about making the club as good as it can possibly. It’s a good mix of club stalwarts such as Paul Cottiard (Secretary) along with some fresh blood in the likes of Barry Hardisty, Andy Moon and Dan Garton. Obviously the club is led by Nigel Perree (President) and in him we have the single most committed, hard-working and passionate bloke I’ve come across in club football. He’s steered what at times looked a pretty doomed ship and it’s fitting that he’s leading the club into far more prosperous times towards the back end of his tenure. If anyone deserves a successful St John FC, it’s Nigel.

 

st johns 2

 

You know David Kennedy from Jersey Sport – do you think he will do well in his new role as CEO of Jersey FA?

 

 
I’m really conflicted when it comes to Dave. Firstly I’m absolutely gutted he’s leaving Jersey Sport on both a personal level as a mate and also a professional level as he’s very much been a mentor and source of advice for me at work. Also his new role means that we’ve lost our coach mentor at St John which is something we were, and still are, really keen to implement as ongoing coach development doesn’t really happen over here for whatever reason that is so we sought Dave’s help in terms of mentoring Dan and I especially and it’s been invaluable. It shows the humility of the guy that as 3 time winning Muratti manager he was willing to drop down and help coach in the championship this season.

 

 
On the other hand and probably why I am conflicted, Jersey Football is crying out for someone as respected, knowledgeable but probably more importantly, approachable like Dave. He will be unlike any CEO in the past I suspect and that can only be a good thing that I’m really looking forward to as a football fan. There have been some positive changes at the JFA in recent years but Dave in my opinion is very much the next step up. He will demand better from everyone in local football, he’ll drive our standards up and he will take football in Jersey to a whole new level. Crucially, he’ll do it with the people of football. That’s what Jersey football needs – a sense of direction and unity. Dave understands the game at every level, more so than anyone I know and certainly more than previous incumbents of his new role. He will be able to give expert advice on each area of the JFA’s operations from school programmes, to talent development, to club football and of course representative football which I know he has big plans for with his professional contacts etc. He’s a football man through and through – local football needs someone like him. I’m excited to see him take the reigns.

 

What are the goals for the rest of the season?

The goal for the rest of the season (when we resume) is simple really. Finish the job and get promoted. We want to be pulling up a seat at the big table next year and be playing Premiership football.

 

championship table

Bulls Fly Into Record Books After British Airways Win

Jersey Bulls broke the Combined Counties record after their 27th straight win as they beat British Airways at Springfield Stadium on Saturday.

 
Gary Freeman’s men break Withdean’s record set back in the 2002-2003 season in what is the clubs first season in English football.

 
Bulls started the game well as the British Airway’s stand-in keeper Charlie Rose prevented both Jay Giles and Adam Trotter from opening the scoring within the first 12 minutes.

 
The opener was scored ten minutes later as Barlow netted his 15th of the season on the rebound of Luke Campbell’s header which came back off the crossbar.

 
Trotter set Barlow up, but the attackers shot was brilliantly saved by Rose before the returning Harry Cardwell could only sky his shot over the bar.

 
Midfielder Trotter then went on a mazy run through the British Airways defence, but Rose denied what would have been a goal of the season contender.

 
Karl Hinds and man of the match Kamen Nafkha linked up well on the verge of half time, with the latter setting Barlow away, but his shot rose over the bar.

 
Bulls’ top scorer Hinds looked to add to his tally after the break but Rose, who shone in the visitors’ net, had other ideas, stopping the attackers shot well.

 
In a rare attack for British Airways, Edward Simon seemingly raced away from the Bulls defence, that was up until Campbell came to the rescue with a last ditch tackle to ensure Bulls kept their slender lead.

 
The game was put to bed with just over 10 minutes left when Trotter sent substitute Martinovic away. The winger cut inside and placed a shot into the net with his left foot.

 
The win means that Bulls are all but promoted, with the islanders set to host Westside at Springfield Stadium next Saturday to officially clinch promotion.

Bamboozling Bulls Equal Combined Counties Record

Goals from Jonny Le Quesne, Zeljko Martnovic and Sol Solomon gave Jersey Bulls victory against a battling Bedfont & Feltham.

 
The win means that Bulls equal Withdean’s Combined Counties record of 26 wins in what has been an impressive debut season.

 
Bulls started on the front foot on Saturday as Luke Campbell headed wide from a 2nd minute Jay Giles corner.

 
The deadlock was broken in the 14th minute after Karl Hinds’ shot was deflected and saved onto the bar by David Windmill, but there was Le Quesne to head home.

 
Kelvin Karanja was denied a leveller for the visitors by an excellent Euan Van Der Vliet save, with the Combined Counties Division One top scorer, Michael Capon, firing over on the rebound.

 
Bulls had chances through Solomon and Hinds to go further ahead before the break, but both put shots wide.

 
Gary Freeman’s men scored their second in the 54th minute through Martinovic. Daryl Wilson raced onto a through ball and set up the impressive winger who comfortably slotted home past Windmill.

 
Moments later Karanja nipped in before Campbell and Jack Griffin to race through with only Van Der Vliet to beat, but the Bulls shot stopper stood firm and denied the attacker fantastically again.

 
The game was put to bed just after the hour mark as Campbell squared the ball to Solomon who tucked the ball past Windmill for his eighth goal in five games.

 
Subsitute Harry Cardwell impressed and was denied by Windmill not once but twice in quick succession, before a fantastic save by the visiting keeper denied Wilson after good build up play by man of the match Adam Trotter and Kamen Nafkha.

 
Cardwell had one last run, going past the defender like he wasn’t there, but Windmill, who shone for Bedfont, pulled off a fine one handed save.

 
The Bulls remain cemented at the top of the Combined Counties Division One table, 24 points clear of second placed Farnham Town, with a +90 goal difference.

 
The islanders can break the Combined Counties Division One record next Saturday when they visit Fleet Spurs, who proved to be tricky in a heated cup tie just over a month ago.

Mcghee’s Alopecia Journey: The struggle to Jersey FA Call Up

Last week Logan Mcghee got called up to the Jersey FA squad after a very impressive season to date with Jersey Wanderers.

 

He has scored 18 goals in all competitions for the league leaders, and has caught Martin Cassidy’s attention, and deservedly bagging his first call up.

 

I spoke to the attacker about how proud he is of his call up, and also how he has Alopecia, and wants to help anyone in a similar situation by speaking out, and making such topics less of a taboo.

 

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Have you always played football?

Yes for as long as I can remember I’ve always had a football at my feet whether it be in the house smashing my mums favourite ornaments or the numerous football fun weeks I attended through the years. Even now any opportunity, such as a day down the beach I’ll take a footy with me!

 

Who was your footballing idol growing up?

Ronaldinho, Beckham and Rooney make the top 3. I used to love watching Rooney especially when United were at their best. He gave 100% passion every week guaranteed. Who can forget Beckham’s free kick against Greece too? However, Ronaldinho takes the top spot. When Ronaldinho was at his peak you would get the Spanish games on Sky and watch him play. He always had you stunned, a magician with the ball at his feet dare I say it. This is also when you used to get all the Nike, Pepsi and Joga Bonita adverts so it was always fun watching them and trying to hit the crossbar 3 times in a row (looking back now that video is so fake haha). Ronaldinho played every game with pure enjoyment and that’s what it’s all about.

 

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What was your favourite memory of your footballing youth days?

It’s got to be getting all the lads together and heading to Springfield for the day, which we would do most weekends and all through the summer without fail. It was almost from sunrise to sunset playing heads and volleys, runny inny, goalie goalie, World Cup doubles or if someone beat us to the pin we would play them for the court, first to 10 you couldn’t beat it. Spent about £2 a day buying a 5 litre bottle of water and a space baton (ice-pop) to keep me going!! From a competitive point of view I loved the battles between Trinity who I was at vs Wanderers. It was always a good battle but all good mates after the 90 minutes!! A stand out moment has to be my hat trick in the under 18 muratti (you all knew this was coming). I wasn’t best pleased that I was on the bench to be honest but who would be in footballs oldest rivalry, but when called upon I came on and scored a Hat-trick, chipping the penalty down the middle in Guernsey wearing a pair of Ronaldinho R10 footy boots. It is what dreams are made of (I still mention this in the pub after a few beers a couple times a year haha).

 

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When did you first find out you had Alopecia?

I remember I woke up one morning and I had a little gap of hair in my eyebrow and to be honest at first I just thought it was a bit random and that maybe an underlying spot was growing through but after a week the gap got a little bigger so I went to the doctors and after a few referrals and tests over a couple months period it was diagnosed as Alopecia Areata (patchy Alopecia).

 

For those who don’t know what exactly is Alopecia?

 

Good question and to be honest when I first got diagnosed I didn’t really have much knowledge on it. In simple terms it’s the partial or total absence of hair from the body parts where it usually grows! It’s when the body’s auto immune system mistakes hair follicles as foreign and decides to attack them which in turn causes the hairs to fall out.

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How did/does it affect you and was it hard at first?

 

It was a bit of a strange situation due to the hair falling out in stages and I must admit it affected me a lot more at the start than it does now. I remember at the start I was losing clumps of my hair daily. I was looking at my head and there were no bald spots so you can imagine it was a constant thought of what’s happening… is it falling out? Will it all fall out? But at the same time my hair was growing, I actually grew it out to shoulder length so a very bizarre situation where my hair was really thick but falling out and it eventually came to the point I was growing it out to cover over the bald spots that were starting to show. It wasn’t just a matter of being self conscious about the Alopecia, it was sore, like horrendously painful trying to sleep or wearing hats as it would literally pull the hair from the roots so that was a whole issue within itself. I’ve always been a confident person but having half an eyebrow and random bald spots all over your head is enough to knock anyone’s confidence and it wasn’t just the looks I remember interviewing for a new job role and I was thinking they would think I couldn’t handle stress and a lot of people used to ask me if I was stressed which was actually the only thing stressing me out as I’m quite relaxed about most things (alopecia can be caused by a number of factors which are not stress related) but this was the first time I really didn’t feel my most confident self. I even remember walking out the interview room backwards hoping they wouldn’t notice the back of my head. The best thing I’ve done with the alopecia is just let it run it’s course. I decided on the option to shave it all off and the more I shaved it the less and less it grew back till it stopped completely so it’s definitely got its positives I never have to shave anything and my skin is always really smooth which actually feels really nice.

 

What would be your advice to anyone that found out they had Alopecia?

 

Well each case is different. Some are more aggressive than others so any one individual might not need to take the same route I did. I think the best thing to do first is seek professional medical advice and source your options which is something I did at first but the constant applying of steroid creams and the thought of getting injections which might work or might not work, or might only be prolonging the process wasn’t for me. The amount of support I received once I just owned my alopecia was sensational, not only from my family as my mum and my brother have been there for me through no matter what. The same with my friends and now my girlfriend but I was receiving messages from all sorts of people saying I helped them become comfortable with their insecurities. This ranged from fellow alopecia sufferers, to people that had skin conditions, to men that were balding and I even had a couple of people with life threatening illnesses say they were inspired by me and to be honest that overwhelmed me more than I ever imagined. I always played it down like I’m just a bloke who shaved his head who was probably going to have to anyway but if sharing my story can help at least one person then that’s my job done. In summary my advice would be, and this goes for any condition you may have, seek professional advice in the first instance. Talk to friends and family, and if there is nothing you can do about it the more you normalise what you have, the less foreign it becomes to society. I feel there is greater number of people that understand what Alopecia is due to seeing me and me being so open (not that I have much choice I have no hair and micro bladed eyebrows) and I really hope by me explaining what Alopecia is the next person doesn’t have to. But sometimes away from Doctors you need to speak to someone who has been through what you are going through and really felt your emotions and there are numerous support groups but if anyone ever felt the need to reach out to myself whether it be Alopecia or a similar condition I would love to be able to help them be as comfortable with themselves and what they have as I am with mine. It’s got to the point where people tell me they prefer me with no hair or that ‘the new look’ suits me which is always nice to hear.

 

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You’re still playing football what’s the secret to your brilliant season so far?

 

I have always done quite well with football, from winning junior leagues and cups with a very good trinity side, to go on and won the Jersey league with Scottish when I was about 19/20, before winning a few cups whilst I was living in London in their top amateur league but I think this season I’ve really kicked on from a personal point of view. I was comfortable at Trinity and I loved playing for Trinity but I needed a change of scenery so I joined Wanderers and straight from pre-season it was a breath of fresh air. The fitness was nailed from the start, competition for places has been constant, with a good bunch of lads and to be honest I was fit so when we were playing I felt I could just keep getting forward and the more I did that the more I was getting in the box, the more the ball was falling to me and the more you score, leading to higher confidence levels, it’s a nice circle. Football is a team game and it sounds cliche but Wanderers have boys that score all over the pitch so the better the team plays the better it is for each individual. I think we will all say we haven’t achieved anything yet and I definitely feel that within myself I know I have my targets for the season but that comes second, but also coincides to the team achievements.

 

What’s it like playing at Wanderers?

 

The set up is great, with the pitch and clubhouse up at Wanderers it is up there with the best on the island. We get great numbers to training every week and everyone wants to be there and to improve as a player. We have the right people in the right places from management to the volunteers, to sponsors and I know it’s only amateur football but without all these people giving up their time and hard work to run the club the way they do football wouldn’t be the same. Aside from that it’s a very exciting time to be at Wanderers as we are well aware the league and Jeremie Cup haven’t been won for a number of years and that’s been our aim from the start. We have some very tough games all the way through to the end of the season and should we want to win anything this season we will need to be at our best every week as nothing is given this year! I think that has shown already this season, the uncertainty in local football has brought back the excitement I personally believe which is great!

 

10. You have been called up to the JFA squad – how special a moment is that for you?

 

In straight words I was buzzing!! It’s a very proud moment for me and I’m sure my mum too haha! It’s something everyone playing in the local Jersey league must want to strive towards and achieve! I know all the boys in the squad and I’ve received messages off the majority congratulating me. I’ve also received messages from family, friends, current team mates, old team mates and old managers so it just shows how much people value representing Jersey as a massive achievement. It is a great competition to be involved in and having a connection to the SAL combination, playing against their league winners and beating them in the final whilst playing for Old Parmiterians in the AFA league a few years back, it is an exciting prospect for me to potentially be involved in and making my debut. Hopefully we can get another win over the SAL but this time for Jersey FA and I know the lads will want to repeat the achievement of the Jersey side from a few years ago by going all the way and representing the English amateur side.

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11. Are you hoping to push on and maybe even get in the Bulls and Parishes squads?

 

Honestly my main focus this season has been on Wanderers, playing for them and enjoying my football, like I said earlier, although there is a lot of work to be done. It is a very exciting time to be at Wanderers, being in the final of a cup that hasn’t been won for nearly 50 years and also being in the title race for the league which hasn’t been won for nearly 30 years. It’s down to us to change that as a squad and for me as a part of that. Growing up the biggest achievement in Jersey football was the Muratti and being born a bean to me the Muratti is the top goal. It’s something I would love to play in before I hang up the boots so I’ve just got to keep playing my best and hopefully these opportunities arise. I think if I said I wouldn’t like to be involved with the Bulls at some point whether it be this season or in the future I might be swaying from the truth. I was a massive fan of the formation of the Bulls from the start and they have a great squad, and seeing the support they receive every week along with the incredible run they are on is remarkable and I am sure a lot of players would like to be involved. I’m happy for all my mates currently in the Bulls squad playing so well and really enjoying the experience, and I’m glad for everyone involved that it’s hit off as well as it has as Jersey was really getting left behind in Guernsey’s shadow and no one wants that. It’s a great time to be involved with Jersey football with the Jersey FA, the Bulls and the Parishes of Jersey all having matches coming up and seeing the managers of each squad covering almost every league game they can, it shows that they are giving the lads playing football in Jersey, whether it be locally or for the Bulls, the best possible chance at the possibility of being part of one of these squads.

 

 

 

It was great to chat with Logan, and I hope this interview helps others to talk about anything going on in their life to family and friends!

 

Good luck to Logan and the rest of the lads representing Jersey FA next weekend, lets get a big crowd down to support the boys!

Storm Solomon helps Bulls to victory

Report: Daniel Andrade

Photos: Adrian Topley

 

 

Sol Solomon scored twice, including a goal of the season contender, to help Jersey Bulls beat Kensington & Ealing Borough.
A first Bulls goal for Kieren Stephens along with a Luke Campbell single ensured Bulls scored four without reply to make it 25 league wins from 25 league games.
The visitors started the brighter, but Bulls shot stopper Euan Van Der Vliet denied Gabriel Chledozie twice in quick succession to deny Borough the perfect start in the 8th minute.

 

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Winger Harry Cardwell put a half volley over for the Bulls, before Ruben Mendes found Solomon with a beautifully cushioned header, but Bilal Ourida pulled off an even better save to deny the youngsters shot.

 
In a half of few chances , Karl Hinds almost found the target in the 37th minute, but the menacing wind of Storm Denis saw his volleyed effort loop wide.
Three minutes later the deadlock was broken through Stephens as the forward delightfully flicked home a Jay Giles corner, much to the delight of the home fans.

 

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Mendes could have doubled the lead on the stroke of half time, but he dragged his shot wide of Ourida’s goal.
HT: Bulls 1-0 Kensington & Ealing Borough.
After a quick half time turnaround to ensure the visitors could catch their rearranged return flight, Bulls doubled their lead with the first chance of the half.
Stephens, in what would turn out to be his last contribution, expertly scooped the ball through to Solomon who effortlessly guided the ball past Ourida.

 

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The man in form bagged his second moments later from a set piece. As everybody anticipated a cross, Solomon curled the ball fiercely into the top corner from 30 yards with an expert finish which was closely followed by a standing ovation from the 654 strong Springfield crowd.
Ever present Giles found Hinds in the 67th minute, but he could only head over. Solomon then thought he had his hattrick as he tapped in after Zeljko Martinovic’s shot was saved, but the flag denied him his second successive home hattrick.
In the 79th minute centre half Campbell bagged his 10th goal of the season after heading in Giles’ cross, and in the process putting the game to bed.

 

trotter
There was still time for Adam Trotter, who put in another tireless performance in the middle of the park, to smack the crossbar through a powerful, audacious half volley.
Bulls are 21 points clear of second placed Farnham Town with ten games of the league season still to play.
They are next in action on Saturday as they host Bedfont & Feltham at Springfield Stadium, at an earlier kick off time of 1:30pm.

 

 

 

Walking Football – A Way Back Into The Beautiful Game?

Walking football – a sport that not many people are aware of, or if they have, often dismiss the idea of playing it because it is not ‘proper’ football.

 

I spoke to Jody Byrne, a Jersey FA Collas Crill Community Coach, and asked about their latest initiative, why they have started it and how well supported it was.

 

Here is what he said:

 

walking footy

 

 

 

The idea for the league first came about when we took a select group of players over to Guernsey for a competitive tournament. Seeing how beneficial the competitive environment was and how many extra players it could bring in it was a no brainer.

 
Walking football is an initiative put together and introduced to encourage ‘football for all’. It is a slower technical form of the game created for the older generation to allow them to enjoy the game without getting injured (no running or contact).

 
The programme is growing and it is pleasing to see how many people the sport has positively affected socially, psychologically and physically on the island.

 
The support Santander International have provided us to get the league up and running is so valuable. We wouldn’t be in this advanced position without their generous sponsorship and we can’t thank them enough for what they have done for the programme.

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Everyone at the JFA have been so supportive. A lot of hard work has been put in by Jean-Luc Desbois, Ricky Weir, Brian Oliver, Jersey Sport and the 4 clubs to get us in this position.

 
There is a stigma around the sport across the country. I have always said it takes one session to break those barriers and when you do the benefits are massive. Most importantly you’ll be enjoying exercise again with your mates.

 
The main goal of the sport is to get people active and to give people the opportunity to play football that wouldn’t normally get that opportunity. Bringing in the competitive branch is allowing us to reach more people that would like more than a recreational kick-around.

 
It is pleasing to provide people with opportunities to enjoy sport and life a little bit more. Whether it’s a child kicking a ball for the first time or someone in their 60’s.

 
With all 4 founding clubs full for this season we hope to develop the league to 6/8 clubs for next season and have established the Santander Walking Football Jersey Representative team who are planning to attend some major events in the coming year.

 
My message would be to come and give it a try. All of the Just Play sessions and clubs have a great atmosphere and it’s so good to see many ex-players loving football again.

 

A big thanks to Jody for talking with me about such a brilliant initiative, one which i would encourage people to get involved and fall in love with the sport, whilst socialising with different people!

 

santander