Freeman: 'No limits’ to Bulls ambition
JERSEY BULLS FC will enter the English football league pyramid under the guidance of former Muratti striker Gary Freeman, the club have confirmed.
The St Peter FC manager is due to leave the Premiership contenders at the end of this season to focus on life in the Combined Counties League, following the Bulls’ acceptance into the tenth tier for the 2019/20 campaign.
Freeman was one of three candidates interviewed for the job, and has now been tasked with preparing a squad for a journey which could provide endless opportunities.
Bulls are poised to begin life two divisions below Guernsey FC, and one step below Tunbridge Wells, who Freeman faced with St Peter (and beat) in the Kent Senior Trophy last week.
‘There is talent in the Island and this will be a great way to play football in the limelight,’ said Freeman.
‘If you’re a sports person and you’re playing sport you’d want to challenge yourself. I don’t see why you wouldn’t want to do that and I’ve seen players here who I know are committed to the sport. This is an opportunity for them to see where they can get to.
‘A couple of people have asked me what I see as the [promotion] limit, but I don’t know why we would put a limit on it. If you look at Cav Miley playing in the Conference as an example [National League with Eastleigh] . . . there are others here who, if they were based in the UK, would be playing at a high level.
‘We have had scouts come to St Peter’s last two games in the Kent Trophy . . . I know they have come down to see our players and we’ll now be playing at a level where if you’re 17 or 18 and doing well, you’ve got a chance to be noticed.
‘This can only benefit Island football.’
Bulls players and coaches will commit to a gruelling 38-game season, plus hundreds of hours of travel, as they attempt to steer the Island’s football fans up the league ladder, but Freeman remains unconcerned about those hurdles.
‘I’m pretty confident I know what I’m getting myself in for,’ he said. ‘I have no doubt about the commitment required and it’s something that I see as a challenge and something I’m looking forward to.
‘Work-wise I’m a little bit lucky to be in a position where I can go away, and I have a very understanding wife who over the last 30 years has become used to me being involved in football. Lorraine understands it’s my passion and this is another chance to keep pushing that.
‘It is a long day for away games but if you want to do sport at a high level you have to make a commitment to it.
‘Our players won’t be used to the intensity week in, week out, but at St Peter we’re close to playing 35 games this season with our cup competitions. The players look after themselves so I don’t see it being a huge problem – the intensity will be the only difference.
‘Seeing the teams over there and where we will go, we will be playing at some nice grounds and it’s an experience I think the players will love.’
He added: ‘I do think this is something Jersey has lacked, so hopefully football fans and the rest of the Island will support us and we can build over the next few years.’
Freeman’s career as a coach in the UK leagues could begin with a friendly against League Two opposition at Springfield this summer, as officials continue advanced discussions with a professional outfit.
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