Non League Paper award for Bulls defender Giles

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THE English FA may have expunged his season but his efforts have not gone totally unrewarded ... Jersey Bulls’ Jay Giles has been named Step 5/6 Non-League player of the year by The Non League Paper.

Jay Giles has been named National League Step 5/6 player of the year by the Non League Paper. The award covers the ninth and tenth tiers of English football Picture: ROB CURRIE

The left-back was one of a number of players who excelled for the club that won every league and cup game in its inaugural season before Covid-19 lockdown ended the season prematurely and the FA, in their wisdom, deemed their efforts null-and-void. The only ever-present in the Combined Counties Division I side, Giles was remarkable for his marauding, overlapping runs from deep and a sweet left foot that bagged three goals, including two from the spot, and a multitude of assists and other chances created but spurned by his team-mates.

‘It’s good to get that recognition, obviously’ said Giles. ‘It was definitely one of the strongest seasons I have had. It was the fittest I had felt for a while, which was definitely a bonus for myself after struggling for a few seasons, trying to keep fit, so on a personal level it was definitely a positive for me to get to play so many games, while maintaining that level of fitness.’

His boss, Gary Freeman, was also full of praise for the 24-year-old. ‘It’s nice that he got that recognition. He’s earned it,’ said Freeman. ’Jay’s biggest strength this season has been his consistency. He’s an eight or nine out of ten every week. He never has a bad game. He’s a very talented player and having that record of being an ever-present is a great achievement as well.’

Giles and his team-mates now have to do it all over again after it was confirmed at the weekend that Bulls’ promotion winning campaign would not be recognised, and he is expecting it to be a lot harder next time round.

‘Everyone involved at the club is disappointed by the news,’ added Giles. ‘We felt that we had done enough in the games that we played to warrant being put in a higher league, but it is what it is. It’s obviously disappointing for everyone involved in the club [but] we don’t have any control over that. It’s a case of dusting ourselves off and trying to the same again next season.

‘I think it will be more difficult but I don’t think it will be a case of any issues with motivation. I think we’ve now got that establishment in the league. Obviously winning all our games last season, teams are going to want to turn up and beat us or take points off us. Teams are going to base their season on turning up and try to cause an upset for us, which hopefully will push us to perform better as a team.’

Paul Lees

By Paul Lees
Sports reporter

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