Bossing the Bulls: Who will step forward?
WITH the Island’s new football club, Jersey Bulls FC, planning to advertise for a team manager to lead them into the English league pyramid next season, just who will put their hands up for the job has become a major talking point.
Given the commitment needed to manage a side in a UK league week-in, week-out, it is perhaps understandable that few of those asked would give a firm ‘yes’ without knowing the full details. But it certainly has created interest and the JEP have been asking around some of the more experienced football folk to see if they are interested in the role, starting with the man in charge of Jersey’s Muratti fortunes, Island manager Martin Cassidy.
After emphasising that he is happy with his Jersey Football Association position – and the fact that the association are looking to put on more games next year – he said: ‘There’s no information been released about the Bulls’ role at the moment, so it’s hard to talk about a position when there is nothing on the table – and that goes for a manager, a coach and, of course, players.
‘A new club is great and it’s an excellent opportunity for coaches and players.
‘Many are asking what is going on but we simply don’t know yet.
‘A lot is going on in football at the moment [with ConIFA as well] and whatever happens I hope everyone can work together and keep everybody happy and that it doesn’t have too much of a negative impact.
‘Everyone’s itching to find out what is going on with Bulls. Personally, I think it’s a full-time job and the new club should be go out and get who they want and not be advertising it.’
Former St Paul’s joint-manager Jordan Docherty echoes Cassidy’s thoughts. ‘At this stage I’d need to know more to say whether I’m interested on not.
‘I’d have to understand what the situation is with fixtures in terms of travelling away, so, at this stage, I’m not ruling it out.
‘Player-wise it’s a fantastic opportunity and it would have been good if it had come in a few years ago, because experienced players like Stuart André and others are now likely to miss out because they are nearing the end of their playing days.
‘For the new players now and those coming through, this move by Jersey Bulls is great. But they have to make sure it’s a right move for the league as well.’
Current St Paul’s player-manager Stuart André, a former Muratti captain who worked alongside Docherty in recent seasons, said: ‘It’s a big commitment, there’s a lot to take into consideration with all the travelling away. But it’s good there is a lot going on in football at the moment with ConIFA as well.
‘It’s certainly not for me at the moment because I’m with St Paul’s.’
St Peter manager Gary Freeman, another former Muratti cap, said: ‘I think the Bulls have got people in position already and it’s not me because I’m at St Peter and I’m happy where I am and where we are as a team.
‘It’s certainly going to be an interesting job for someone and a great challenge for everyone involved.
‘St Peter are competing in the Kent Senior Trophy and the players love it. It’s a challenge for them and they seem to raise their games ten-to-20 per cent when they play in the competition.
‘Bulls will be great for Jersey’s better players and, hopefully, as it moves forward, they become better players and the extra challenge takes them to the next step.’
Former Muratti manager Kevin MacCarthy is interested in the new club.
‘No-one has contacted me,’ said MacCarthy, adding: ‘It would be nice to be part of it, but first I’d need to know what would be involved.
‘It’s having the time as well and at the moment I’ll have to wait and see what happens.
‘Something has to be done though because club football is not great at the moment.’
Dave Kennedy, meanwhile, has ruled himself out of contention.
The former Jersey boss said: ‘With my work commitments it’s not an option for me, but I think it is a great thing for Jersey football.
‘The senior game has suffered over the past five or six years, there is not the same enthusiasm around for the game now as there was then.
‘Jersey needs a new focus to get players involved again and Jersey Bulls being on the same ladder as the big clubs that we all see on television will give that focus again.
‘I’ve no idea who would be able to take the position because they will be required to take time off in mid-week, so it may well have to be a management team to help spread the workload.’
Former St Paul’s, Jersey U16s and Jersey women’s team manager Paul Brannan has also ruled himself out of contention.
‘I’ve no huge plans to get back into Jersey football, certainly not at the moment,’ said Brannan.
‘It’s a fantastic project, a great opportunity for the players and I wish Russell Le Feuvre and his team every success when they start their campaign next season.’
St Ouen joint-manager Peter Flambard supports the Jersey Bulls project and he would be happy to help out.
Flambard said: ‘This is an opportunity for players to compete at a higher level, something everyone wants and we should all look to get behind it.
‘I struggle for time as it is with my position at St Ouen and my family, but if someone thinks I can contribute to it some way I’d consider it, but again it would be only if time permits.’