The story of how Guernsey FC play in the Isthmian South Division
When looking at the fixture list in the Bostik South this weekend among a fabulous set of games featuring the teams near the top of the League one particular game stood out to me and that was VCD Athletic visiting Guernsey. It stood out as firstly I wondered if these two had ever met and secondly I wanted to remind myself of the how it all came about that Guernsey got into the League.
Well, as it happens this is the first clash between these two teams! VCD will be opponents number 87 in the short history of the Green Lions. Guernsey formed in 2011 and joined the Combined Counties Football League and after Two successive promotions they found themselves in the Isthmian South where they have remained ever since. As part of the deal to play in the League Guernsey have to fund the travel and if required, accommodation, of the visiting team to the Island. A quite considerable cost when clubs could bring around 25 official members with them. It is worth noting that the home team also has to pay for the full expenses of the Match officials as is standard practice in the League. The team will fly over with Aurigny Air Services on a Saturday Morning from Gatwick to Guernsey Airport, a 70 minute journey, before taking the three mile trip to the ground. The Footes Lane Stadium is Guernsey’s premier sporting facility and effectively the island’s national stadium comprising of a high quality, floodlit playing surface surrounded by a 6 lane polyflex synthetic athletics track with The Garenne Stand, a 720 seater covered stand with hospitality rooms, changing rooms for four teams and match officials, separate medical room, media room and toilets. Total capacity is 5,000 and they have a record attendance of 4,290. Average attendances this season are close to 700, so higher than average for this level. It is worth noting that the home team also has to pay for the full expenses of the Match officials as is standard practice in the League.
When football and Guernsey gets mentioned in the same sentence it is usually due to Matt Le Tissier. The former Southampton player was famously born on the Island and is linked to the current team by firstly his brother being current Chairman and secondly he himself was club President up until 2014.
The current team is managed by Tony Vance and up until last week their star player was forward Ross Allen. Ross has scored over 200 goals for the club but has decided to move to New Zealand in a change of career. This will be a huge bonus for VCD and the rest of the division as his goal tally will be near impossible to replace.
Guernsey decided not to participate in the FA Cup or FA Trophy due to the high expense of the extra midweek games. This left them to concentrate on the League where they currently sit in 19th position hoping for a win to move them above this weekends’ visitors.
It is obviously tough for away fans to make the trip so Guernsey have a TV station that streams the games online, for a fee, which makes the matches more accessible to all. Indeed VCD will be showing the game live back at Oakwood so for the first time away fans can watch the game from the comfort of their home ground. Head on down there and cheer the boys on!