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St Paul’s aim for sixth-straight Upton success

Football | Published:

CHANNEL Islands champions St Paul’s bid to win a fifth piece of silverware for the second consecutive season On Sarurday afternoon.

Craig Russell celebrates St Paul's winning goal in the Wheway Cup final earlier this year. Picture: JON GUEGAN.

Having dominated Channel Islands football for the past five seasons, player-manager Stuart André’s team are hoping to collect a sixth consecutive Upton crown at Springfield, which would represent their 23rd trophy out of a possible 30 since 2014/15.

St Paul’s broke the Upton record for successive wins last season – beating Guernsey side St Martin’s feat between 1964-67.

St Martin’s are the visitors to St Helier tomorrow, having beaten Alderney FC to the Priaulx League title.

‘It was great to achieve a record five Upton wins in a row and we go into this game against St Martin’s looking to make it six,’ said former Muratti captain André.

‘We look to win the league every season to get an Upton game and if you can beat Guernsey’s champions then that is the icing on the cake.

‘A lot of our players have been the hardcore of our success [over the years], others have come and gone and we’ve always had great character and that is testament to the players.

It’s the end of an era for this group of players and we’ve used that as an incentive

St Paul’s player-coach Stuart André

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‘St Martin’s were the last Guernsey club to win the Upton [in 2011 before Guernsey FC’s formation], they lost a lot of players to GFC after that and they’ve done well to build up again.’

With the formation of Jersey Bulls FC likley to affect the strength of the Combination’s top sides next season, it looks set to be all-change for the one of the league’s greatest ever squads.

André said: ‘It’s the end of an era for this group of players and we’ve used that as an incentive in our last few games.

‘We will lose players to the Bulls, but we don’t know who. When we know we’ll look to add players for next year as soon as possible.’

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Despite being recalled into Martin Cassidy’s Island squad for upcoming tournaments, André has ruled himself out of playing for Bulls in the Combined Counties League from August.

‘Age is not on my side ... maybe a few years ago,’ said the central defender.

‘It’s a massive commitment and it’s come a bit too late in the day for me.

‘I’ll be at St Paul’s next season where I’ll be looking to play again and be involved in one capacity or another.’

In their five Upton successes, St Paul’s have scored 20 goals and conceded just one.

St Martin’s coach Leon Meakin, who is not without hope, said: ‘They [St Paul’s] are going to be massive favourites.

‘They are kings of CI football, it is going to be difficult and if our players can turn in a nine out of 10 performance, you just don’t know.’

Kick-off at Springfield is at 1pm.

Andy Bradshaw

By Andy Bradshaw
Sports Reporter

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