On Saturday 29th June, the Guernsey Football Association (GFA) concluded its 125th Anniversary season when hosting the United Kingdom Armed Forces Football Association (UKAF) in a Representative match, along with an Anniversary Dinner, which was attended by over 170 people.
The match against the UKAF was played at the Track Cycling Ground, which has played home to many memorable moments in the history of football in Guernsey, and witnessed another high quality game with Guernsey FA CEO, Gary Roberts, commenting that:
‘It was great to be able to host the match against the UKAF at the Track when considering all of the showcase matches that have been held at the ground throughout the history of the Association. It was fitting that the UKAF provided the opposition to mark this occasion in recognition that it was officers of the garrisoned Royal Fusilliers that were instrumental in the decision to form the Association back in 1894, and that military teams provided strong competition for local clubs in those early years. As a combination of the best players from the Army, Royal Air Force and Royal Navy, the UKAF provided a high level of opposition and in a highly competitive match, it was Guernsey that claimed a hard fought 2-1 victory.’
The match was followed with the GFA’s 125th Anniversary Dinner, which was held at St Pierre Park Hotel. The event, which proved to be a great success, was an opportunity to reflect on the history of the GFA, bring the local football community together, recognise the commitment of the valued volunteers in the local game and look forward to the future of the GFA with the plans to develop a new HQ and community football hub at Victoria Avenue, whilst the entertainment was provided in the form of a Q&A with Guernsey’s former England international, Matt Le Tissier and Jeff Stelling from Sky Sports Soccer Saturday.
Roberts reflected on the Anniversary Dinner:
‘The evening was a great success and a fantastic way to conclude the 125th Anniversary of the Association. To see so many of the local clubs and football community represented was really pleasing, whilst it was appropriate to be able to recognise the important role of the game’s volunteers, without whom local football would not be in the great position that we see today. There was recognition for the Grassroots Coach of the Year, Club of the Year and Volunteer of the Year, whilst for only the second time, the GFA presented the Mike Thomas Award for Services to Guernsey football. This prestigious award was presented to Geoff Ogier in recognition for 56 years of service to local football, with that service beginning at the age of only 17 in 1963, when he became one of the island’s youngest ever referees at the time. The fact that Geoff is still officiating in matches such as that of today, and has officiated in well over 1000 matches during his referee career, is testament to his longevity, commitment and passion for the game. He has served local football as a referee, Secretary, Chairman and President of the Referees Association, representative on the former GFA Council, appointments officer and as the Referee Development Officer, throughout which time he has gained the respect of the local football community and it was fitting that he was recognised in this way.’
In addition to the Mike Thomas Award for Services to Football, the following awards were also presented:
Volunteer Coach of the Year – Josh Concanen (Alderney)
Volunteer of the Year – Martin Le Cras (Belgrave Wanderers)
Grassroots Club of the Year – Guernsey Rovers
To commemorate the 125th Anniversary Year, the Guernsey FA appointed local photographer, Chris George, to provide a photographic review of the year and an insight into the local football community. To view the photos taken throughout the year, including at the Anniversary Dinner, please access the two links below: