Monday, 27 April 2015

Rambling, Rumours, Crapauds and more inane rambling....

Beating a team that finished 6th and had already defeated us twice in 2014-15, with us scoring 5 goals in the process, was not a bad way to end the season. Ross Allen's hatrick was offset by a quite stupendous miss, meaning no match ball for him. One thing about the day shocked me however and that was the discovery that I agree with FGS (watch the highlights) on one thing. 

Yes, Chris Tardif is surely player of the season for his contribution over the course of the season (and that, dear listener, is what it's all about). Not just for performances that often meant the difference between going home with something or bugger all either. It's also about the way he deports himself, a credit to the club and a fine example to all those that look to GFC for fine examples.

Nice bloke as well.

Tomorrow sees the IL1S play-off semi-finals and if you're in Kent it's a choice between Folkestone v Whyteleafe and Faversham v Merstham.

Elsewhere East Grinstead finished up in the last relegation spot but will almost certainly be reprieved. Redhill still have a chance but it's a longshot. In the Isthmian Premier Peacehaven finished up in the last relegation spot, which had several Lions fans salivating over a repeat visit to their infill site next season. 

Sadly it looks like we might miss out on that treat as they may also be reprieved. This is due to  FA Trophy winners North Ferriby Utd having been put up for sale with, apparently, financing now in place to ensure the club's survival although an application to drop down from the Conference South has been made. So Peacehaven's fate could lie with the Northern Premier League (as to which division to put North Ferriby in). Then again it could lie with the FA's ground grading inspectors.

A couple of rumours doing the 'rounds' relating to GFC. Firstly that the club might be mover to the Southern League, secondly that the Isthmian League have had a word about fielding weak teams for midweek away fixtures. Now these rumours are doing the 'rounds' because, although they've been mentioned here and there (as in one place each), in both cases it's the kind of thing that could be applied to many clubs, yes even in the Isthmian South.

A move to the Southern League is actually quite plausible. With every season the Isthmian League contracts in a south easterly direction whilst the Southern League's footprint expands. So a bit of a shake-up is probably needed, although with the problems many clubs at the northern end of the non-league pyramid face, moving a team or two between the Isthmian and Southern Leagues is a bit like papering over the Grand Canyon.

If the dear old FA were to decide to move GFC a move to the Southern Central wouldn't have much of an impact to the club, given the location of the clubs in that division. A move to the Southern League South & West division would be bad for GFC and many of the clubs currently in that division (as that's where the geographical challenge lies). What's really required is a thorough review of the pyramid.

If you're planning on a trip to the Island Games then you'll no doubt be looking forward to seeing the new 3G pitch at Springfield. Through the cage of course, as the JFA didn't seem terribly keen to challenge the refusal of planning permission for a perimeter fence around the football ground. The JFA is, of course, against the establishment of a Jersey FC but it is hard to believe that an organisation that harboured hopes of following Gibraltar, long after UEFA shut and bolted the door, would be clever enough to realise that the cage would render Springfield unsuitable for anything above County level football. 

They can still use Springfield for the Muratti as, in the eyes of the FA, it's 'just' between County FA representative sides

So, unless someone is prepared to speculate a large investment in another ground in Jersey (and even then a JFC might not be welcomed into the JFA fold), Jersey Football Club isn't going to happen. So Jersey's elite players have been well and truly shafted by their own association which, if they seriously want to play at a higher level, may just persuade them to commit in the manner that the majority of GFC fans expect. They'd still have to earn their place in our team though, Tony Vance was clear on that when he spoke to Manelanders after the match at Herne Bay.

Tomorrow (or manana, man) a review of the season.

Keep it Green

Allez les Verts!!

Thursday, 23 April 2015

If you're to the ARS on Saturday for the final game of our season and you're planning on standing the club has announced that you can pay what you want.

Officially this is in recognition of some of the weather conditions standing supporters have had to endure this season. Unofficially the club is well aware that, for standing supporters, the ARS ranks among the worst spectating experiences in the league. Fiver it is then.

Being the last game of the season some people's thoughts turn to relegation. Horsham are down for sure. The team that finishes 22nd (spot currently occupied by East Grinstead) is expected to get a reprieve. With up to 4 clubs resigning from the Northern Premier League and the demise of both Hereford and Salisbury now coming into play, there's also a chance of another reprieve for Redhill.

There's a very good chance we'll be playing Molesey next season as they've won the CCL, let's hope Mr Tart doesn't have to be anywhere in a hurry after the away game...

The possibility of a supporters' club keeps cropping up of late. First via Haptalon's posting on the Ormering forum, then we hear that a close associate of the Diggler has raised the issue with GFC and, finally, Tony Vance made a passing reference to the possibility in his Q&A after the match at Herne Bay.

The establishment of a supporters club was looked at prior to the 2013/14 season and a number of supporters expressed an interest but, for one reason or another, not enough were able to commit at a level they felt necessary for such a venture.

In the absence of GFC changing its constitution to become a truly democratic, community owned and focused club any time soon, a supporters club would provide a voice that's representative of the bulk of the fanbase and do things such as organise socials (chicken and chips in a basket and a disco as an end of season do anyone?). Not too difficult or expensive to set up but it does need to be driven by Guernsey based fans.

The club may well establish a supporters club of its own in the close season but something driven by the fans would be preferable and the club really wouldn't be too upset if they didn't have to go to the trouble themselves.

Here at Ormering Towers we'd be happy to help in the establishment of such a venture (and sign up as members) but really do think it needs to be led by fans in Guernsey. Those fans just need to overcome the traditional Guernsey apathy to make it a success..................

Keep it Green

Allez les Verts!!

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

From Herne to (mid table) Obscurity....

The last away match of the season is always worthy of a bit of a celebration, unless of course you're embroiled in a relegation scrap. Mid-table obscurity is the order of the day for GFC this season but, when you think how we were doing before Christmas, is fine by us.

So celebrate we did and we set off safe in the knowledge that GFC's only celebrity fan, yes Diggler himself, had made all the arrangements for the day.

Railway engineering works had meant a bit of a detour and an extended pause at Ramsgate. Fortunately our porno party planner mate was packing a picnic (of M&S zoider) and a hen party was gathering at Ramsgate station. Although our diggling chum was a bit distracted by Miss Chihuahua he managed to control himself and so arrived safely in Herne Bay just over n hour before kick-off.

Word arrived that Dame Mary had led the travelling supporters from the rock and beyond to 'Spoons on the seafront. A bit too far for us arriving on the Llama Express, given the time available, so we ducked into The Heron next to the station where we quickly became embedded into a real time Jeremy Kyle show.

Then to the ground. Lots of green in evidence, warm welcome from the host club and decent burgers to boot. Pitch was hard, dry and a little bit bumpy. Match wasn't great but plenty of opportunities at each end. Other than an excellent effort from Ross Allen GFC's efforts were largely high, wide and frankly couldn't have hit a cow's  backside with a banjo on the day.

Until, that is, the award of a corner deep into the second half saw the famous GFC corner routine come good (it was bound to happen eventually) with Crusher McGrath finding the back of the net (with the pink one).

At the other end Chris Tardif once again produced a few saves from the top drawer. Some might say that, as a goalkeeper, that's what he's there for but his performances this season have earned us a good few points. Surely in the running for player of the season.

After the game much chat, more refreshment and an impromptu-ish Q&A with Tony Vance (more of that tomorrow dear reader), with everyone united in their support of Guernsey football.

Keep it Green

Allez les Verts!!

Friday, 17 April 2015

The last away game of the season is always a good day out, even when railway engineering works mean you're going to spend 8 hours or so travelling.

It's a bit of a nothing game in football terms tomorrow, as both GFC and Herne Bay know they'll be back in the Isthmian South next season. So much of a nothing game in fact that we haven't been able to muster a full squad for the trip.

Still, at least we know that next year will be our last in the IL1S, Jack will see to that, apparently. Unless, of course, he has to disappear at half time so he can get back to Guernsey in time for the last flight home to Jersey.

Anyway, here's the squad:-

Tardif, Geall, Isabelle, le Prevost (A), Dodd, Winch (J), Steel, de la Mare, Black, Loaring, Heaume, Rihoy, McGrath, Allen.

The sun will be shining so pack your factor 30.

Over at the forum 'Haptalon' asks if we want a supporters' club. Sadly it seems as if the rest of us have gone a bit Trappist. Or maybe we're just all at sea on Condor's fantabulous Liberation with a selection of missing squad players, disappeared politicians and so on.

Over the last couple of days the Guardian has published a few pieces on the Bradford City fire, the anniversary of which is fast approaching. All based on a book written by a fan who went to a match, aged 12, with his dad, brother, grandad and uncle. Not exactly a light read but here's the link.

The events at Valley Parade all those years ago faded well into the background among football folk over the years. This is a story that needs to be told however and finally it is. Football League and Conference matches next weekend will all be preceeded by a minute of silence.

This should be happening at all levels so if anyone at GFC is reading this please raise with the powers that be at the Isthmian League.

See you tomorrow at Winch's Field.

Keep it Green

Allez les Verts!!

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

The county of Kent is often called the Garden of England and, when you're on the high speed train out of St Pancras, you find out why shortly after departing Ashford International to sweep back towards Canterbury and the coast beyond. Yep, with rusty barbecues, long forgotten bikes, trampolines and slides as far as the eye can see, the whole county is just like a typical suburban garden.

Then you get to Ramsgate. Being a mid-week game there was no time for a mooch around the local fleshpots but there was time to call in at the Australian Arms for, just one, pint of locally brewed Gadds' No 5. Very nice it was too.

To the ground then and a choice of bottled beers in the clubhouse (Badger Brewery Hopping Hare did nicely). Nice ground for this level really, good amount of covered terracing at each end, seats down one side with uncovered hardstanding opposite.

A lovely evening and, as twilight descended, the sunset behind the goal we were defending in the first half meant that the feeble floodlights struggled to shed much light on proceedings. In the second half, twilight having given way to darkness and void, the lights put in a better display.

The match was a largely turgid affair. Paris Pereira was about the only recognosable player on the pitch in the first half, due to the gloom, but that was mainly due to the bandage he found himself sporting following, presumably, a bit of a knock. Through the gloom a grainy shape appeared to be having a good game in the middle of defence, Mr Geall we believe. Marc McGrath put in a good shift  and developed a bit of a friendship with Ramsgate's no 3 throughout the match. Jason and Luke Winch both looked lively coming on for the second half.

GFC's man of the match though was Jacob Machlowski. As keepers go he isn't big but he coped with everything thrown (and kicked) at him. And Ramsgate threw the kitchen sink in the second half as they really needed the three points.

Nothing near a vintage performance but, bearing in mind this was a midweek game with a 14 man squad, the lads dug deep for the draw. And nobody can point a finger at our, so called, weak midweek squad having influenced the outcome of a relegation dogfight.

It's said that Isthmian League officials might have had a word with GFC about weakened squads travelling for midweek away games. Haven't had the opportunity to ask a club director since I heard about the possible chat but, presumably, league officials have similarly chats with clubs that have a wholesale change in squad members as the season progresses.

Today is one of those days when we need to put the trials and tribulations of supporting a modest non-league football club into perspective, however. We're able to follow and support our team in 2015, which is more than can be said for 96 supporters of Liverpool FC who never returned home from a day at the football 26 years ago.

May they never walk alone.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Whilst we struggled to connect banjos with cows' rear ends and Chris Tardif demonstrated why it's way too early to hang up his gloves, elsewhere in the Isthmian South this weekend things being a little clearer.

At the top end of the table Whyteleafe secured the final play-off spot and will join Merstham in journeying from Surrey to Kent to face either Faversham or Folkestone in the semi-finals at the end of the month.

Down at the other end Horsham were confirmed as relegated, Redhill need divine intervention and buttocks are firmly clenched in Ramsgate, Hastings and, to a slightly lesser extent, East Grinstead.

Tuesday's match at Ramsgate might mean not a lot to us but it's crucial for the fortunes the three clubs seemingly vying for the final 'relegation' spot. So hopefully we can travel with a strong 'Saturday' squad, we could do with ending the season a high with the Muratti coming up against Jack and his mates.

If you're to Ramsgate see the Away Days page for essential info, Reasonable choice of fast trains back to St Pancras after the final whistle to make connections elsewhere as well.

Keep it Green

Allez les Verts!!

Thursday, 9 April 2015

J@ck H*bbs what's the score....

Ah, Redhill away. With the season end fast approaching, thoughts of promotion or relegation long gone, a dreary weather forecast for the afternoon and Tony Vance having already spoken of 'experimentation', it promised little as a spectacle.

In spite of the promise, and notwithstanding the traditional Bank Holiday weekend railway woes, we approached Kiln Brown in good spirit. Firstly it turned out that the gloomy weather forecast for the afternoon had been booked to travel on Condor Liberation, so was nowhere to be seen. Next up our gathering point, The Garland (public house), turned out to be the real ale gem we hoped – definitely worth a return visit if we get the chance next season.

Whilst there the talk was of the potential signing of person(s) from lands outside of the Bailiwick of Guernsey. Without exception those present were of the view that players must be living/working in Guernsey to be eligible to sign and play for Guernsey FC.

When we got to Kiln Brow it seemed that green was the order of the day rather than the home side's red, bolstered by a few motley characters over from the rock for the day. The match went like this:

The first third of the game saw GFC's experimental formation (which, from our vantage point behind the goal was difficult to discern) struggle to cope with elements of the game such as movement, passing, defending. Redhill looked much more hungry and competent. Frankie bloody Sawyer scored (against us, again) a fine goal to put the Lobsters 1 up but we did also see GFC start to get a grip on proceedings.

A correctly awarded penalty was dispatched with aplomb by Ross Allen and we had one or two gilt edged chances to take the lead. Crusher McGrath was running his socks off and giving it 100% on his 100th appearance but it wasn't happening for him in front of goal. It may have been gently pointed out to Crusher that his boots might have been the problem (he had the one blue/one pink 'pair' on).

Other highlights from the first half included Redhill boss Mike Maher being 'sent to the stand', although this being non-league it meant nothing at all. Then there was the Redhill sub taking a comfort break against the perimeter fence behind the dugouts. He could have at least found a gate and gone out of sight like the rest of us.

Half two saw a Crusher get a tidy goal shortly before being pulled off by TV (one way top celebrate a goal I suppose) and a very late equaliser by Redhill which I missed (comfort break!). If you watch the GFCTV highlights on the club website you will see Crusher giving us a fitting riposte to our views on his boots.

Still, at least I knew the result when the ref blew the final whistle, unlike a Mr Jag Hoobs of somehere oop North (we changed Jack Hobbs name to avoid embarrassment).

Keep it Green

Allez les Verts!!

Sunday, 5 April 2015

A 100% Guernsey based squad scraped a comfortable win yesterday and provided a perfect illustration as to why we need to import non-Guernsey based/committed (as in to the island community) players.

Seriously though, if the issue is that some players might be taking their place in the squad for granted and need a bit of a kick up the backside (as has been suggested by TV), they just need to take a look at the shirt.

On the front can be found the word Guernsey, on the back can be found the flag of Guernsey. What more inspiration does anyone need. As German magazine 11Freunde once quoted Fal as saying (Daily Mail readers should look away now) "play for ze fucking cross (ie flag)".

The squad for the trip to Redhill is not too far removed from the one that faced Sittingbourne. Jacob Machlowski and Craig Young are missing but one addition is Simon Geale, scorer of one of GFC's most important goals and an all round good bloke (and any suggestion that we only said that to get a few quid off his hourly rate is (possibly) false).

Keep it Green

Allez les Verts!!

Friday, 3 April 2015

A shock, a squad and a Countdown to Redhill

Two Matches in the Isthmian South today. A bumper crowd of over 1000 at Folkestone (where it was free entry for everyone) saw the home side beat Chipstead 1-0. Result of the day was at Merstham though, where the visitors Ramsgate got a surprise 2-0 win to pull themselves, for 24 hours at least, out of the relegation zone.

Here's the squad for the match against Sittingbourne at the ARS tomorrow:

Tardif, Machlowski, L Mahon, de la Mare, le Prevost, Cochrane, Mackay, Steel, Black, Loaring, Rihoy, Heaume, Young, Allen, McGrath, Pereira.

Three points tomorrow please lads, then you'll only need another 15 to end the season on a high note. No pressure.

In other news this week it was revealed that Matt le Tissier is to be a contestant on Countdown.

On hearing this my mind went back to the day in our first season when a groundhopper asked Mark le Tissier if he was Matt's dad.

It then went back to a darker day, the time our mate Dirk was a contestant. He made it through the first round okay but when Rachel Riley turned to place the letters on the board for round two there was a shout of "I've got a phwoarrr!!!" from our mate Diggler which led to a bit of a kerfuffle in the studio and, for some reason, the episode never made it to air.

If you're going to Redhill on Monday see the Away Days tab for the essential pre-match info. We plan to meet in The Garland, which is on the A23 near Redhill station, shortly after 1pm and will be debating the notion of flying in players for training and matches. Please do try and be there so you can get your views across.

Keep it Green

Allez les Verts!!

A sausage, a wrap and a mild mannered janitor.

With the trials and tribulations of last season fast receding and o the back of three impressive displays, unbeaten against teams expected ...