The Guernsey Football Association is celebrating 125 years of the sport being formally played in the island this season.
A series of events are being arranged to mark the anniversary, including a bespoke 125th football shirt which will be worn by the Guernsey and league representative teams in the run up to the home Muratti in May 2019.
The first formal league football was played in Guernsey in 1893, with Guernsey’s oldest club, Rangers, playing against teams from Army regiments stationed in the island. The first winners of the Priaulx League, which dates all the way back to those early years, was Band Company of the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Fusilliers.
The Guernsey Football Association was founded at the same time, less than 20 years after the establishment of the Football Association in England in 1863. The GFA eventually affiliated with The FA in 1903, shortly before the start of the Muratti series, which played a key part in formalising the development of the sport in Jersey.
125 years on, Guernsey football continues to thrive, with a highly-competitive top flight Priaulx League, three other senior divisions, and junior football leagues at under-12, under-13, under-14, under-15, under-16 and under-18 levels.
As part of a series of commemorative events, the GFA is searching for Guernsey football memorabilia, the older the better, for a proposed display in Guernsey Museum at Candie at the beginning of 2019.
“We’d love to discover old playing kit, boots, Muratti caps, trophies, team photographs, match programmes or team sheets, anything really which is part of the history of Guernsey football. We know there are items out there from the early decades of the 20th century and it would be great to have a real variety to put on display with Guernsey Museums,” said Guernsey FA director James Falla.
The GFA is also looking to stage events during the year, sell items of exclusive 125 memorabilia, and is looking to find 125 corporate and individual “partners” for the year, who will be entitled to special offers and opportunities.
“Football remains hugely popular in Guernsey, whether it is watching England in the World Cup, watching English league football, but also playing and being involved at a very local level. We have some 1,500 players registered, plus supportive parents and people associated with our clubs in the island. We want to tap into that enthusiasm over the next 12 months and celebrate all that is best about football in our community,” said GFA chairman Chris Schofield.