During the coming weeks, the Guernsey FA (GFA) will take a look back at the history of the Association and the key moments that have helped to shape football in the island.
Over the years, the Guernsey Football Association has seen growth in participation and competitions, with 1450 players competing for thirty trophies across both open age and youth football, whilst hundreds of children participate regularly in club mini’s and school football in 2020. The 2019/20 season was the 125th anniversary of the GFA and throughout the course of that long history, the Association has witnessed success, tragedy, controversy, social responsibility and many memorable moments. Football has however, remained at all times a staple element of community life in Guernsey, with both the field of play and meeting room witnessing great emotion and passion – which is the essence of the game.
The Guernsey Football Association, which is the governing body for affiliated football in the Bailiwick, was formed in 1894 following an initial meeting in a private room at Stedman’s Café, Fountain Street, on February 5th of that year.
The meeting, which was reported in the Star, was attended by representatives of the garrisoned Royal Fusilliers and local civilians. Lt. Simpson of the Royal Fusilliers chaired that initial meeting, with Mr T. J. Mitchell, President of the only recognised civilian team at that time, Guernsey Rangers, also in attendance. The purpose of the meeting was to form a football league with Mr Mitchell explaining the ‘desirability of securing a handsome cup for competition’.
Those in attendance proposed Jurat J. T. R. Havilland to be the first President of the Association, Mr O. Beesley as the Secretary and that a Committee of Management should be formed. That Committee, which was to be chaired by Lt. Simpson was comprised of two representatives from Guernsey Rangers and a further four from the Royal Fusilliers. It was also agreed that a further meeting be held the following week, again at Stedman’s Café, for the dual purpose of a General Meeting and also to confirm the rules and the code of regulation for the new league competition.
The final act of that initial meeting was to assign a name to the new competition. In consideration of the offer of a £5 donation, which had been telegrammed by Mr O. Priaulx, who at that time resided in Bury St. Edmunds, it was unanimously agreed that the competition be named the ‘Priaulx Cup.
The first competition rules and fixtures were subsequently approved at the General Meeting, along with Jurat J. T. R. Havilland being confirmed at the Association’s first President, a position he would occupy for the first two years of the Association’s history.