Jersey Bulls FC, led by former Muratti player Russell Le Feuvre, have applied to enter Combined Counties League One from 2019/2020 – two divisions below where Guernsey currently find themselves after seven years of competition against mainland opposition.
Sending a Caesarean team onto the England FA league pyramid would be a first for Island football, and Bulls’ director of operations Le Feuvre believes it will provide a crucial pathway for players at all levels.
‘Jersey Bulls FC is a name that celebrates Jersey’s dairy heritage and focuses on our desire to make this a community club, one that will make Jersey proud,’ said Le Feuvre, a teacher at Les Quennevais School.
‘The club provides the inspiration for footballers to play at a high level, it will raise the profile of the Island, bring together the community and provide businesses with the opportunity to be involved in a project at the heart of Island sport and Island life.’
He added: ‘I think there is a lot of fantastic stuff going on in Island football and there is amazing work being done by the clubs. We’re not taking away from that, we’re just adding to it.
‘Although we’ll be competing in a different competition it’s important to realise that all clubs are important and we feel we have a model which will protect the other clubs.’
Like Guernsey FC, JFC would have to cover travel costs for all clubs visiting Jersey for league fixtures, but Le Feuvre is confident in the plan developed by his team.
Guernsey’s travel bill for 2017/18, which included opposition travel and accommodation, exceeded £125,000.
Le Feuvre said: ‘Teams will have to be paid to come to the Island and we’d obviously be paying for ourselves to go to the UK.
‘Expecting teams to stump up money to come to Jersey for a fixture at this level is not appropriate, so there is work to be done on the funding side of things. But it’s not a concern – we have a strong commercial team who have already gained lots of sponsorship support.
‘We’re confident that, with the support of the Island as a whole, we will do well.
‘Given the success the rugby club has had – hopefully the community will get behind this project as well and give top players on the Island the same experiences and opportunities which are given in other sports.
‘We have every confidence Jersey Bulls FC will take off and the team will be playing in the English Leagues in the 2019/2020 season.’
The latest move to boost opportunities for Island players follows those made by the Jersey Football Association and more recently former Muratti defender James Scott, who have applied to add teams into Uefa and ConIFA’s ranks respectively.
The Jersey FA have offered public support to the Bulls project, as has Assistant Economic Development Minister Senator Steve Pallett.