Sunday, 25 October 2015

We beat the ref 2-0.....

Another of those when we would have bitten off any hand offering a point before kick off. None did though so we didn't have to. Which was fortunate for us because, if one did and we had done so,we would have missed a team performance that must surely rank as one of GFC's best yet.

We seen some good goals recently and yesterday's continued that trend. Firstly a neat run and through ball by Glyn Dyer presented an opportunity for Marc McGrath, who finished with aplomb. Then Ross Allen gave the 'keeper no chance with a fine free kick from just outside the box.

Faversham were a little fortunate to go in at the break just two down. We learnt that being sent sprawling in the box following a 2 handed shove in the back doesn't merit the award of a penalty but tripping yourself up with nobody claiming a free kick will get you booked for simulation. To be fair to him, by the end of the match both sets of fans had referee Oliver Jackson trailing behind an outbreak of cholera in a snap popularity poll.

The second half mainly took place in our own half. A brief cameo from Blair Howitt was followed by unrelenting pressure from the home side. Chris Tardif played another blinder, in front of the defending was bordering on heroic. It was all hands to the pump, even Ross Allen was getting stuck in mere yards from our own goal line. If you haven't seen them already the GFC TV highlights are well worth a look.

A fantastic effort all round and a hard earned but well deserved three points.

Tomorrow sees a trip to Carshalton Athletic. A look at the league table then a scroll down to the form guide suggests we go there as favourites for the win but from what we were told at Salters Lane expect a scratch squad to be announced for the journey.

If you're thinking of going a bit of useful information can be found on the 'away days' page. Steve, when I said the Sun yesterday I meant the Hope, but the Sun's good too. Unlike the tawdry rag of the same name, of course.

Keep it Green

Allez les Verts!!

Friday, 23 October 2015

Who's to Faversham then eh?

Off to Faversham tomorrow then for Nutty's 2nd 50th birthday celebration and, to be fair, he doesn't look a day over 100. Take a look at the Away Days page for a bit of travel info and a bit more info on refreshment opportunities.

Time's getting on so, as far as the travelling squad goes, I'm going to be lazy and do a straight cut and paste from the club's website:

"Injuries to Alex Le Prevost and Tom De La Mare on Wednesday mean the duo drop out the squad for Saturday's Ryman South trip to Faversham.

Tom Strawbridge, Luke Winch, Ryan-Zico Black and Craig Young also do not travel due to unavailability, while Matt Loaring is still away and Sam Cochrane has not recovered from the knock he sustained against Chipstead. Angus Mackay is still out.

Those back in the squad include Leroi Riley, Blair Howitt, Glyn Dyer and Kyle Smith.

The full 14-man list is as follows: Tardif, Riley, Geall, Isabelle, Dodd, Steel, L Mahon, Dyer, Fernandez, Howitt, Heaume, Allen, McGrath, Smith."

No doubt a few more raised eyebrows at what doesn't look like a great turnout for a Saturday, at a time when things are starting to look up. Injuries can't be helped but we'll just have to draw our own conclusions as to' unavailability' and 'still out' and scratch our heads as to what's happened to all the other lads that turned out in the past, looked promising and, er, seemingly been lost without trace. Hopefully to conclude 'can't be arsed' will be well wide of the mark.

The form guide, as you can see below, suggests we should go to Faversham with reasonable expectations. We know we can expect a fairly tough, physical encounter though and the squad, or should I say lack of options therein, suggests we're going to be up against it once again.

Faversham Town621357-27
Faversham Town8215610-47

Hoping to hobble aboard the 10.52  Llama Express from St Pancras, arriving in Faversham at Noon.

Keep it Green

Allez les Verts!!

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Luke, Luke, Nutty & Dom (not necessarily in that order)

A few eyebrows will have been raised when the starting 11 for tonight's match against Molesey was announced and the name Luke Winch was absent. A few more will have been raised when Molesey, who were top of the form table prior to kick off, took the lead after 13 minutes.

It went mostly well after that though and the virtually ever dependable Dom Heaume seems to have played a big role in bagging the three points. Oh the joys of following a match via Twitter, the 21st century Ceefax (sort of).

It's all looking so much better for GFC than it was a few short weeks' ago and with matches against the likes of Faversham, Three Bridges and Folkestone in the next few weeks, we'll soon have a much clearer view of where we are likely to be at the end of April 2016.

Still far from convinced that we would stay up if promoted even if Luke Watson signs, as some local media reports today suggested may well happen soon. Incidentally, Luke followed our Twitter account last night, surely conclusive evidence that he will be signing.

But say we do go up and stay up, what would that mean? It would certainly be good for GFC and the GFA would enjoy more exposure in certain parts of the UK media for Guernsey football. But what about Guernsey and, indeed, Channel Island football as a whole?

Leave you to ponder that for now, in the meantime scroll down to read about Nutty's visit to the rock last weekend, with colour pictures to boot.

Keep it Green.

Allez les Verts!!

Nutty's 50th Manelanders Invasion Special

What a wonderful weekend it was (and as thoroughly expected, a somewhat boozy one) as Hersden's very own shy & retiring wallflower & a handful of Manelanders celebrated his big 50.

Friday night saw Nutty, Mr Diggler & I meeting up at Gatwick's North Terminal Premier Inn. I duly baggsied the single bed, with Nutty having the dubious honour of sharing a bed with the Diggling Stick. We headed onto the transit to the South Terminal and found the land side 'Spoons, The Beehive, where the first weekend of their real ale festival was underway. Marvellous, as Lord O would say and who was sadly absent and missed on this trip.

Burgers and several pints of the festival ales were consumed, including a rather fine Norwegian stout. We also learned interestingly that Diggler "never says thanks" in certain situations. Read into that what you will.

After just a few hours of sleep, we made our way bleary eyed to our 8.30 departure on everyone's favourite monopoly owning airline.

The flight was, in all fairness, pretty damn quick and before I'd even had chance to read all the sports pages in the paper, we'd touched down on the rock. There we were met by Mother Ormer, who very kindly offered to collect us and take us to our accommodation for the night; The Yacht Inn on the seafront, just a seagull's caw from Castle Cornet. Literally seconds after pulling up, we were met by our other roomee for the night, Tony Leighton, who'd just arrived on the Condor. After dropping our bags off, we joined Tone in the Harbour Lights for some "breakfast", and ran into Lil Craig, whose phone camera had not as promised been retired for the weekend, much to our chagrin. We then strolled up to the White Rock CafĂ© for a proper, more stomach lining full English, with black pudding, which was rather excellent and hit the spot. Incidentally, Diggler & I had consumed our traditional "breakfast" at Wetherspoons at 7am back at Gatwick; another pint of the Norwegian stout, Nordic Noir. My head was beginning to pay for the previous evening's excesses.

After Tony had chatted to half of the locals in the cafe (we found out he knows everyone in Guernsey), we had a swifty in The White Hart before jumping in Sally's Taxi up to the Doghouse, where we had planned to meet up with a few others. The ale there was completely undrinkable, so we didn't hang around long and made a relatively early departure, arriving at the ARS an hour before kick off (unbelievable scenes!)

En route, we were jumped on by Emma David and having been kindly provided with free entry (Thanks again Sticks), we bought a couple of 50-50 tickets from Darryl and Nigel B and grabbed a buckshee programme from Fran Torode, before heading up to the bar in the Garenne for more drinks and chats. Shortly after this, we bumped into Ermin and Sticks who told us to follow them down into the deepest depths of their ARS. There we were led to the changing rooms and were lucky enough to be welcomed in for a look around and a chat with Tony Vance. 

After a quick stroll pitch side, a chat with the Grahams and a beer more, it was time to head behind the goal for the match. Here a motley crew assembled - Manelanders, friends & family (including my cuz, Dom) and somewhat surprisingly a whole pack of directors, including the DC, which chuffed the birthday boy.

As for the first half, well the most entertaining thing was a certain Bosnian director telling Chipstead's Serb keeper to go forth & multiply in their own language. Steve Sharman asserted the following morning that it was "worse than garbage" and it really was - Chipstead had acquired a new coach and 8 new players and looked far from a team who had only earned 2 points all season, as they knocked it around the clueless Green Lions, who were unable to string two passes together. The Chips went in a goal up having converted a penalty early on. At this point, I was beginning to get a little worried - in a moment of silliness the previous evening I had stated "if we lose tomorrow I'll jump stark bollock naked in the Bathing Pools". A dip was looking a distinct possibility until the second half turn around. Thanks to Bungo and Luke Winch, who came on at half time, the game completely turned - the pair of them were, quite frankly, excellent and offered pace & threat from the moment they came on, Winchy earning a penalty within the opening 10 mins or so, resplendent in his brand new lime green boots. Unfortunately, Rossco had left his beige clown shoes on (see attached pic) and skied the pen. Thankfully Winchy saved the day storming down the right wing and smashing a 25 yard first time shot into the postage stamp in the top corner - a truly stunning strike which behind the goal looked like it had hit the side netting. Just a few minutes later, he hit another beautiful curling free kick from outside the area into the bottom corner of the net to wrap up the points and save me from a swim. Relief was definitely the overriding emotion at the final whistle.

At half time, Nutty and Deb (aka Nibbler) had been invited onto the pitch to do the 50/50 draw and here Nutty was presented with a Nutty 50 emblazoned GFC away shirt by Dave "Pedders" Rihoy, paid for by the GFC players.

Post-match, more beers ensued (and a cake for Nutty presented by Man of the Match Winchy), before a stroll back to the Kennel where we were joined by a few of the players, and the great and the good, like Penfold, Scott Fusellier and Sticks.  

A few of us headed back to the hotel and then met up for a feed at the Pickled Pig, where Dawn Thomas had kindly agreed to catch up with us, despite only returning from Spain that evening. It was great to see her and we told her about our own tribute that afternoon, a rousing rendition of "One Mikey Thomas". The evening was splendid and turned into a crawl and later a bit of a jog.

The following morning, after a leisurely breakfast at the Yacht, we were picked up by Sticks who very kindly took us Manelanders and my cousin, Dom for a cup of tea at his lovely gaff and a chat with his brother, Le God, who had flown over for his mum's Sunday roast. What a lovely way to end a superb weekend and what a top, down to earth chap he was - not fussed one iota by our presence or our gormless questions. Dom, being a big Saints fan, was over the moon to meet hero.

Even a two and a half hour delay to our flight home couldn't dampen what had been a truly tremendous weekend, where we had been welcomed and treated like royalty and Nutty had had a birthday that he'll never forget.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

An opiate infused ramble...

A look at the league table or the form guide last Friday would have led you to believe a stroll in the park was going to be the order of the (following) day. But those cads from Chipstead turned up with a much changed side from the one that had amassed just 2 points from 13 matches.

The ability for clubs at this level to make wholesale changes as many times as they can (hopefully) afford during the course of a season arguably skews things more than a few sides having to travel to Guernsey midweek, but I digress so back to topic.

Anyway a lacklustre, to put it mildly, first half performance saw Chipstead take a shock (to anyone following via Twitter and the like and therefore not aware of quite how woeful we were) lead from the penalty spot. 'Worse than garbage' was Steve Sharman's assertion the following morning (at the airport presumably not a bathroom at the Yacht (will explain tomorrow)).

Following what was probably a full and frank one-sided discussion at half time changes were made things certainly changed in the 2nd half. And the hero of the 3/4 of an hour was the mercurially talented, sometimes flawed, occasionally mis-understood talent that is Luke Winch. A marvellous first goal, a splendid second and he would surely have had a tremendous third if the penalty had come after the goals not before. No way would he have allowed Rocco to pull rank if he was fouled in the box when on a hat trick.

A good three points at the end of the day and the regular patrons at the ARS got to know the enigma we call Nutty Neale. Gazois has just sent in his jottings about the trip over to the rock which I will share with you tomorrow  but reports from Kent suggest that Matron had the best weekend for a long time having been freed of her charge or a couple of days.

Quite a test tomorrow with Molesey visiting the ARS. The form guide based on last 6 matches can be found if you scroll down from the league table and they're sitting at the top of that particular tree. We are not far behind however so tomorrow should see a good contest. We need to be up for it from the off though as if we do have aspirations of playing at a higher level then the sluggish starts (that we got away with in the CCL days) have to be consigned to history.

Elsewhere in the Isthmian South on Saturday there was a minor tremor at Folkestone who were beaten by Faversham, our hosts this coming weekend. Some Folkestone fans appear to be a little concerned about their drop in form but the form guide suggests it's not been that bad. Coming weeks will confirm if there should have been a 'yet' there of course but Folkestone remain the team we need to compare ourselves against when pondering the possibilities of promotion.

If you're to the ARS tomorrow enjoy the game and look forward to reading about Nutty's trip down the yellow brick road when you get home. Until then I'll keep taking the class B drugs that my GP has kindly given me for considerably less than I'd have to pay down at the local park.

Keep it Green

Allez les Verts!!

Thursday, 15 October 2015

The quiet weekend ahead.......

A few decent results on the trot have got our tails up but now comes the hard part, to keep it going.

For our next match on Saturday it couldn't be any better, on paper. Chipstead are firmly rooted to the bottom of the league table and their form suggests they might struggle to make amass a points total in double figures this season.

To compare form over the last 6 games here's ours and Chipstead's:


It looks a no brainer, which means it's got 'banana skin' writ large all over it.

What will alarm islanders more than the prospect of a shock defeat however is the arrival of a small but motley group of drunken Manelanders for the weekend. 

Not only will the infamous Dirk be heading to the ARS with diggling stick in hand but notorious tee-totaller Nutty Neale is organising things, this being the first celebration of his upcoming half century anniversary.

Some of you will already be familiar with Nutty but, for the rest, here's a link to the promotional video produced by GFC Manelanders TV (at great expense) ahead of the weekend's celebration:

Needless to say, Matron is looking forward to her day of rest.

Have a good trip everyone.

Keep it Green

Allez les Verts!!

Dreams, commitment and Fancy Dans

Football is, arguably, the world's most popular sport for a variety of reasons. One is its capacity to offer supporters a glimmer of hope in the gloomiest of circumstances. Another is the dream of many a boy and, it's whispered, even some girls to score the match winning goal in a cup final with a wonder strike.

Then there's all the things that spring up around football, like the chance to sample food from outlets so good they make the Ritz look more like the tuck shop at the old Boys Grammar in Brock Road.

OK, as GFC supporters any gloom and despondency we've been feeling is actually more like a bright place for many other clubs' supporters. We haven't seen anyone in green and white score a match winner in a final (cup or vase) of late either.

We have seen 4 points from 2 away matches in the last 5 days though, when we pitched up with a squad of 13 on both occasions. Hands up who was expecting that a week ago? Can't see many hands.

We've seen some good goals, including a Ross Allen hat trick against Walton Casuals. Three good goals overshadowed by a finish that Josh Steel will probably try to replicate at every training session from now without success. What a strike though and in the unlikely event you haven't seen it I suggest you go to the club's site or search 'GFC Manelanders TV' on YouTube as soon as possible.

Just goes to show what can sometimes happen if you have have a go, rather than looking for a pass for another  to take responsibility.

The last couple of games have seen some steel in midfield as well, not just through Josh but Fernandez (and others) getting stuck in as well. An approach to the midfield that's crucial for success at this level and above.

Added to this Ross Allen has ditched the ankle socks and Mr Heaume has remained his indomitable self. At the back things have been tighter, not quite as a duck's arse yet but our back line has looked a much happier unit over those last 2 games.

Tony Vance has talked of player power, as in the power to retain the shirt and what he means, and I agree with him, is that the players that haven't featured in the last 2 match day squads won't automatically return when they are next available. They have to work to earn their place.

Josh Steel is an obvious example when it comes to commitment and based on his current form it will (should) take a very good player indeed to take his place in the starting eleven.

Another player I'd like to call out is Simon Geall. He's not blessed with speed and he's not the most gifted (as in Fancy Dan) but he's a proper fullback (i.e. can boot Fancy Dan up in the air when necessary)  who knows and plays to his strengths. He's also suffered a couple of injuries whilst playing for GFC that would have meant hanging up the boots for many. Added to which he might be Bailiff one day (although my money's on Mrs G). An asset to the club that's not to be sniffed at (especially if he does become Bailiff).

Being hampered by a dis-functional leg I've been relying on Li'l Craig's stream to see these last 2 games. Hard to believe that he's just using a 'phone and a tripod yet manages to stream in better quality than the pro's can do using thousands of pounds worth of kit. Also he's the only one that managed to film Ross Allen's goal at Herne bay.

For that goal, go to his YouTube channel (search for GFC ManelandersTV). For live streams go here:

The only downside about Craig's stream is that he stands next to the BBC commentator which can be a painful experience (i.e. at Merst Ham on Saturday).

If anyone in Guernsey wants to stream home games for us Manelanders run a trial and, if it works, we can have a whip round to cover the costs (about £30 per month looking at Sure's tariff). Best run it past the DC first though.

I hope to be back watching 'live' at Faversham.

Keep it Green

Allez les Verts!!

Friday, 9 October 2015

Blair Who?

Blair Howitt and he's been named in GFC's squad for the trip to Merstham to play Walton Casuals tomorrow.

There's a good chance you've never heard of him. Either because your a Manelander or you've concluded that the best use for the Guernsey Press is to line a rabbit hutch well before you reached the sports pages.

He graduated from Uni before the Summer hence you might be thinking he's come from nowhere (bit harsh on Rovers) but before leaving for his studies he made a bit of a name for himself in the Junior Muratti and so on.

In other squad news, more changes than any coach would like which is petty much par for the course. Here it is:-

Tardif, Isabelle, Geall, Cochrane, Strawbridge, le Prevost, Dodd, Steel, Fernandez, Howitt, Heaume, Winch (L), Allen, McGrath.

Nutty Neale won't be pleased to see just 14 in the squad and that's putting it mildly. Others will raise an eyebrow and might be thinking notes from mum need to be produced and shared in future.

Not me though, as I won't be there either (waiting for replacement body parts which, it seems, Argos can't deliver same day). So I'll be watching Li'l Craig's 'getting more official by the week ' unofficial live stream.

If you are going you can find the pre-match pub recommendation and the address for your satnav on the away games page.

Keep it Green

Allez les Verts!!

Monday, 5 October 2015

Leroi, contempt, factions, gosh.

And so another glorious FA Trophy campaign ends almost as soon as it began.

We played some decent football, although the Thurrock 'keeper was only rarely called on to make a save. Leroi Riley was far the busier in his first competitive game for GFC and he can be justifiably proud of his debut performance. Nothing he could have done with either of the Thurrock goals which were both a case of defensive lapses.

Effective defences work as a unit and, for various reasons, we struggle to put out a stable defensive line from week to week that has a fighting chance of turning into such an effective unit.

On Saturday we started off with not a lot by way pf defensive options. The situation wasn't helped when Jason Winch had to go off in the first half following a knock to the knee (yes that knee). Winchie is one of those players held in high regard by fans for his attitude and approach to games and fingers are crossed that it's 'just' a knock.

In the second half we appeared to witness Matt Loaring drop off to fill in at left back. Not ideal and certainly not playing to his particular strengths.

Who knows, if we'd turned up with a 16 man squad we might have come away with a win from what was, overall, a competitive match. And that's where the focus needs to be, even if it means spending a few quid to make it happen, which would be a few quid better spent than giving season ticket holders a free programme for example. Or giving anyone any freebies for that matter.

More of the fine lines that Tony Vance referred to in his interview with Rob Batiste in the Guernsey Press last week.

As for other fine lines he said 'it might mean us finding another 50 supporters to come along every week...'.

The article went on to say that 'Vance does not try to hide his contempt for those who scoff at the thought of bringing in a Jersey Muratti star, such as Jack Boyle, while at the same time applauding the arrival of Spaniard Guille Fernandez, who did not draw a whisper of complaint'.

That could be because Fernandez had a job and moved to the island first, whereas Boyle (based on not only his own assertions to the Beano) seemed to be set up to meet the rest of the squad at the airport, before the contemptuous types started moaning and the story changed.

Of course the use of the word 'contempt' maybe down to the journalist not Tony Vance and, if that's the case, a brief explanation via the GFC website would be helpful.

Luke Watson is the latest Crapaud to be linked to a possible move to GFC. This is clearly on the basis that he will need to move to Guernsey first and no one (or at least only a few) will have a problem with that.

Tony also spoke of his desire to get all factions of the local game working together. Could be easier said than done but the suggestion of a GFC 2nd XI probably won't go down too well unless there's a radical proposal that maintains/reinstates (depending on your view) an acceptable level of quality in the Priaulx League and ensures competition at a higher level for the island's best players.

There's been much talk about GFC's sustainability, so let's be clear. Without a healthy local football scene it will not be sustainable.

Arguably the win-win situation is for GFC to remain as a step 4 club because players come through and are snapped up by clubs at a higher level. That would seem to be entirely in keeping with the aims of the club when it was launched.

Finally, let's not lose sight of the fact that the club is still in its infancy. Rome wasn't built in a day and it's probably unrealistic to expect Tony, the DC et al to get things right (in our eyes) all of the time. All of us need to temper our enthusiasm for setting deadlines for promotion.

Keep it Green

Allez les Verts!!

Friday, 2 October 2015


So we emerged blinking into the sunlight this morning, after a night when several vats of fermented llama spit were consumed, to find the GFC website proclaim 'Eyes on the Trophy'.

There followed a short article where Tony Vance promised his side will 'give their all to try and progress...'.

' is an iconic competition and we are lucky we can compete in it'.

Then the squad was announced and here it is: Riley, Cochrane, de la Mare, le Prevost, Winch, Steel, Mahon, Fernandez, Young, Heaume, McGrath, Loaring, Allen.

When you consider the GFC match day programme lists something like 35 players 'on the books', it's hardly surprising that the casual observer raises an eyebrow on discovering that giving it all in an iconic competition means travelling with just 13 players.

Usually placid, mild mannered fan Nutty Neale was moved to exclaim 'piss poor turn out for a game'.

That said, if the travelling players are on their game (and we get the rub of the green as far as knocks go) then the squad is capable of a win tomorrow but Thurrock have won 5 and drawn 1 of their last 6, so it will be a bit of a challenge.

Directions and suggestions for refreshment can be found on the away games tab, hope to see a few of you there tomorrow.

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 ...