On Saturday 29th June, the Guernsey Football Association (GFA) will host the United Kingdom Armed Forces Football Association (UKAF), as part of the final celebrations marking its 125th Anniversary.
The match is being played at the Track Cycling Ground, which has played home to many memorable moments in the history of football in Guernsey and Guernsey FA CEO, Gary Roberts, commented that:
‘The Track was regarded as the home of Guernsey football for much of the GFA’s 125 years, and rightly so when considering all of the showcase matches that have been held at the ground. It is entirely appropriate that as we conclude the celebrations marking the GFA’s 125th anniversary that this match against the UKAF is played at this venue and we pleased to be able to do so.’
‘We are also delighted that the UKAF accepted the invitation to provide the opposition for this match. Throughout the year we have been intent on remembering the history of the GFA, and what brought football to where it is now in Guernsey. When the Association was first formed in February 1894, it was officers of the garrisoned Royal Fusilliers that were instrumental in those decisions and military teams provided strong competition for local clubs in the early years. Military teams would proceed to dominate the early years of local football until the start of World War 1, winning fourteen of the first twenty one Priaulx competitions. Since that time, football in Guernsey has held a long-standing and close relationship with the military through numerous fixtures, and this continues today. During the current season the GFA has hosted the Royal Navy Under 23 team, along with playing the annual match against the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm for the Malaya Cup, whilst last season the senior RAF team visited the island for two matches. For that reason it seemed fitting that we should mark the anniversary by playing a match against a military based team, and we are delighted that the UKAF accepted the invitation.’
‘As a combination of the best players from the Army, Royal Air Force and Royal Navy, the UKAF will provide a very high level of opposition for the squad selected to represent Guernsey and the GFA, many of whom will have played in the recent Muratti Vase Final, along with the Ynys Mon football tournament, when the squad performed well in claiming a silver medal, which maintained the record of having claimed a medal at every inter-island tournament Guernsey has entered since 2001.’
Looking ahead to the match, UKAF Head Coach, Dyfan Pierce, commented:
I am really pleased to lead the UK Armed Forces representative squad on what I am sure will be a superb sporting occasion to mark the day of the Guernsey FA’s 125 year anniversary. We as an organisation are extremely grateful that you have chosen us to celebrate with you, the footballing community of Guernsey. As far as the game goes, this is a first opportunity for some our squad to wear the the UK Armed Forces shirt and I can assure you we come here to really compete and hopefully take a little gloss off the party as you would expect our service men to do, but much more importantly to build new friendships through sport. I look forward to meeting as many as I can throughout the day and on behalf of UK Armed Forces Football offer you all a huge congratulations on reaching 125 years as an association.’
Guernsey FA Senior Men’s Manager will confirm his squad for the match on Wednesday.
The match at the Track will kick-off at 2.00pm, with FREE entry for everybody and the Guernsey FA hopes the local football community will come and support the team and celebrate the 125 years of football in the island.