St Martins 1960

Guernsey FA - The History - Part 7

1960’s - The St Martins Era

The early 1960’s saw Centrals withdraw from the Priaulx League after finishing bottom of the minor league at the end of the 1962 season, whilst the following 1962/63 season was saw Northerners win the Priaulx League, the last team to do so before St Martins won it for a joint record nine consecutive times. The 1960’s also saw Rovers win trophies for the first time, when in the 1962/63 season they claimed the Railway League and Rouget Memorial Cup.

This period of dominance from St Martins extended to inter insular competitions, as the club also won seven Upton Cup matches during that same period, along with lifting both the Jeremie and Stranger Cups, on five occasions in what was a remarkable period for the club.

The 1963/64 season witnessed some controversy after a trial match for Muratti selection, which was held by new coach Mike Laing, was reported to have had two players sent-off and the Rangers Delegate making accusations that the incident had been ‘hushed up’. It was in the 1963/64 season that St Martins claimed the club’s first Priaulx and Upton triumphs, but unfortunately the appointment of Mike Laing as coach of the Senior team did not change Muratti fortunes after again losing to Jersey in the Final.

The 1964/65 season saw Mike Laing returned as the coach of the Senior team but again lost to Jersey in the Final, whilst St Martins claimed back-to-back Priaulx and Upton doubles, and added the Stranger Cup to the trophy cabinet.

The 1965/66 season is memorable for it being the first time when a competitive game was played under floodlights, with the Corbet Field claiming this distinction. This season however, also regrettably saw Sylvans withdraw from all Junior competitions owing to a shortage of player availability. It was in this season that the idea was first proposed for the Muratti to be played on a two-legged basis. When put to the GFA Council, the proposal was rejected and similar sentiment was received from the Jersey and Alderney Association’s.

In local football, the Priaulx league was a close fought affair between St Martins and Vale Rec and warranted great attention to the extent that the following was put to the GFA Council:

“That players, committee members and supporters all would like to be afforded the chance of seeing the Priaulx match, Vale Rec v St Martins, as this match would perhaps be the deciding factor as to who would be the Priaulx champions for the season 65/66.”

After being put to the vote, the GFA Council agreed to postpone all other football matches scheduled for that day. St Martins subsequently made it a hat-trick of Priaulx and Upton doubles, and also added the Jeremie Cup to the collection.

Whilst the Muratti was won, after a replay, for the first time in 9 years, the season finished on a sombre note. After resigning as President due to ill health on 27th June, Jurat W. J. Corbet OBE, suddenly passed away on 5th July 1966 with the Minutes recording as follows:

“Mr S. A. Paul (Senior Vice President) said, the Guernsey Football Association has suffered a grievous loss in the sudden death of Jurat Corbet our President. His worth was well known to all present and that he would be long remembered for his services, not only to football, but in other spheres.”

The 1966/67 season was memorable for the wrong reasons following the abandonment of a representative match between Guernsey and the Army FA, which is reported to have been due to the ‘repeated misconduct and violent misconduct of the Army team’ with seven players given final warnings by the referee before the match was abandoned after the ‘Army players erupted into uncontrollable abuse’. The matter was referred to both the Army FA and the Football Association at Lancaster Gate for disciplinary action. The Army FA responded and advised that the entire team would be cautioned as to their future conduct.

The 1967/68 season saw the GFA Council agree to approach the Amalgamated Committee about buying a share of the Track although that approach was rejected. Instead a long-term lease was offered by the Amalgamated Committee, which was subsequently rejected by the clubs.

The 1968/69 season concluded with Sir Stanley Rous attending the Muratti Final, which could have been a lucky omen as Guernsey beat Jersey in the Final at the Track.