'Jersey Bulls will help to showcase non-league football'
THE man in charge of Jersey Bulls’ first league opponents believes the Island club could have a dramatic effect on the success of non-league football.
Ash United boss Sam Wilson brings his side to Springfield on Saturday as the Bulls host their inaugural Combined Counties League Division One fixture, with the tenth-tier tie set to become the most southerly English league game in history.
A crowd nearing 1,000 people is expected – bringing unrivalled attention to a county league system which usually attracts fewer than 100 fans per game.
‘The whole thing is very exciting for us as a club ... it’s a new experience and flying over for a game is unique in itself,’ said Wilson. ‘We’re all very excited by the challenges coming up because we know Jersey has got a very good football team.
‘Normally we’d get around 30 to 50 supporters per weekend, which is quite small compared to what we’re expecting on Saturday. It’s due to the close proximity of the teams in our league. We’re a small town with not too many people around and there are various other clubs very nearby across the division, so the fans are spread out.
‘Players can only thrive under that [larger attendances]. It will be a great advert for non-league football as well and that’s the amazing part of having Jersey in the league. It creates a platform to showcase the standards we’re working with and having Jersey in will help give the league the publicity it deserves.’
Discussing what Jersey’s players can expect from their first 40-game season, Wilson said: ‘Games in this league are competitive and there are some teams who play very good football, there’s no doubt about that.
‘Jersey will get different challenges each week. Some teams play expansive attacking football so they need to expect that. Deportivo Galicia, for example, they have Spanish players so they play a very European style – playing out from the back – but other teams will be more robust and will play long balls. They’ll be direct and will have a target man.
‘There is a lot of ability in the league and there are players at this level who can perform in all four corners of the game as coaches look at it – technical, physical, psychological and social.’
He added: ‘There are four places up for grabs this season in terms of promotion and I’m sure Jersey are looking for that as much as we are. If that happens it could be a one-off for us [at Springfield] but from my point of view it would be nice if we follow each other through the divisions.
‘Having more competition is always important. We’ve been playing in the league for a while and you get to play the same teams very often. This gives us the chance to play against new people and we don’t quite know what Jersey will bring.’
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