By Dan Andrade
Since their formation Jersey Bulls Football Club have gone strength to strength, not just on the pitch with a really talented crop of players, but off it on game days through fantastic volunteers and fans, and also online with big followings on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more recently TikTok!
So when I saw the side who play home games at Springfield Stadium were nominated for the 2021 CISPOTY Team of The Year award I wasn’t surprised. What they are doing is a big team effort!
I caught up with Bulls’ captain James Queree about what the journey has been like so far, from gaining promotion, to being nominated and finally their hopes of another promotion winning season this campaign.
Read the full interview below!
Firstly, how are you enjoying your football at the moment?
I think collectively we are enjoying it more than ever. The two week Christmas break was welcomed and you can tell there is a freshness and energy amongst us as we go into the second half of the season.
How pleasing was it to hear Bulls had been promoted last summer?
It seems like a distant memory now, but it was great. The journey the club has been on since its formation has been incredible, and it was great for everyone associated with the club to get what we felt was a deserved reward for all our hard work.
How good was it to be back playing with the lads in those first few weeks back at training?
We had a really good pre-season (minus the games), Joe Parkinson our Strength & Conditioning coach laid the foundations and we picked up from where we left off. We are a competitive group of players, so the intensity of training is always of a high standard. It was also good to welcome some new players; Lorne Bickley, Joe Kilshaw, Jake Prince, Luca Margaroli, Sammy Sutcliffe and now Frank Tobin who have certainly improved our team this season.
What has this new league been like? Can you notice the difference?
You can tell from the league table, the league is competitive and there are a lot of good teams competing throughout the league. The tempo and identity of the competition has improved a lot, but I believe we have also improved and we continue to learn how to win games in different ways.
The team have been nominated for CISPOTY Team of The Year – how happy are you with that?
It is great for the club and for the lads to be recognised. If you turn up on a Saturday afternoon at Springfield, it embodies everything we as a club are about. There is a real community feel around the place and I genuinely believe our team has helped bring the Jersey footballing community closer together. The 90 minutes is just one part of what this team brings to local sport and Jersey.
The support from the fans, sponsors & most importantly the volunteers has been fantastic and a lot of credit has to go to those associated with the Jersey Bulls. All of these individuals that help provide the players a special opportunity to represent them on a weekly basis.
It is worth noting there are some fantastic teams up for nomination with equally impressive credentials, fingers crossed it is a Jersey team that takes home the award.
Gary has also been nominated for Coach of the year – a quick word on him and how important he is?
Gary has been fantastic since day 1. He is the perfect fit for this group of players and has been core to our success on and off the pitch. Being a player himself, it has allowed him to relate and understand us players on and off the pitch. As a coach I believe he’s grown from strength to strength as well, ensuring that as a team we are constantly pushed to improve, we understand how we want to play and we have an identity of who we are as a team.
I am sure he will validate that he has had great support from the other coaches on the management team who give 100% and collectively they work really well together. There is a lot of mutual respect between the players, Gary and the management team.
How important are the next few months for the Bulls, how confident are you that you can gain promotion?
We have to be confident but we won’t be complacent. There is a lot of football to be played against a lot of good teams and there will be points dropped. I am confident in this group of players. We have the potential to get stronger and stronger, however we can and will only focus on the next game and aim to accumulate as many 3 points as possible. I believe we have a strong run-in with a lot of home games and with the support from our fans I think that will also play a pivotal part.
And what’s next for you? Do you plan to continue to captain this set of players for years to come?
It is an honour to wear the armband on a Saturday, but this team have a lot of other great leaders in Luke Campbell, Jay Giles and others throughout the team. I am not getting any younger and you have a special talent in Sammy Sutcliffe coming through in the U23’s, so I will just keep enjoying my football and representing Jersey Bulls, then evaluate where my body is at the end of each season.