Jèrri / Jersey
- Capital: Saint Helier
- Official Languages: English, French, Jèrriais
- Nicknames: Crapauds, Beans
- Association: Jersey Football Association (JFA)
- Island Games Result (Men): GOLD MEDAL (1993, 1997, 2009)
- Island Games Result (Women): GOLD MEDAL (2015)
- Muratti Vase Wins: 55 Times
- Most Capped Player [Parishes of Jersey]: Seven Players – 3 caps
- Top Scorers [Parishes of Jersey]: Tom Harris & Kieran Lester – 3 goals
Jersey or officially the Bailiwick of Jersey / Bailliage dé Jèrri / Bailliage de Jersey is an island and self-governing British Crown Dependency near to the northwestern coast of France. Jersey is the largest of all the islands situated in the Channel Islands archipelago with the bailiwick consisting of the main island of Jersey and several uninhabited islands and rocks which include – Les Dirouilles, Les Écréhous, Les Minquiers, and Les Pierres de Lecq. Initially Jersey was a part of the Duchy of Normandy who’s Dukes became Kings of England from 1066. Although Normandy was lost by the Kings of England in 13th Century, with the ducal title being surrendered and given to France, Jersey and the other Channel Islands remained loyal to England although never became officially a part of the Kingdom of England.
With regards to football, the Jersey Football Association (JFA) was founded in 1905. The Jersey Football Association acts as a County Football Association of the English FA. Despite this, the JFA oversees their own league system independently from the English football pyramid. The top league in Jersey is the Jersey Football Combination, with the second tier on the island called the Jersey Championship. Both divisions feature clubs from across the island which include Jersey Wanderers, First Tower United, Trinity, and several more.
[NOTE: A blog was written on football on the Channel Islands, that further discusses football on Jersey, can be found HERE]
Perhaps the best and most successful club on Jersey is St. Pauls FC. The club were founded in 1919 and are based in St. Saviour. Since there formation they have won many titles and also have a rich history of helping to produce some of Jersey’s finest players. Two of these include the former Chelsea and England defender Graeme Le Saux, and the current Swindon Town forward Brett Pitman.
The island has two ‘national teams’ which are the Jersey FA representative team, and the Parishes of Jersey side. The Jersey FA team, which is also known as the official Jersey team, have a long history of competing in football. It is recorded that their first match took place on 27th April 1905 which resulted in a 1-0 home defeat against their near neighbours in the Channel Islands – Guernsey. Other records include a biggest ever win of 18-0 on 19th March 1994 against another Channel Islands neighbour – Alderney, and a record defeat at the hands of Guernsey by 7 goals to 1 on 18th April 1929. Talking about records, Jersey currently hold the record for the most wins in the Muratti Vase tournament with 55 victories to their name. The Muratti Vase is a tournament held in the Channel Islands and competed for by Jersey, Guernsey, and Alderney. Jersey first won the tournament back in 1908, with their most recent triumph coming in 2019. The tournament over the years has been dominated by Jersey and Guernsey but for one victory by Alderney in 1920.
Another noteworthy competition that the Jersey FA representative team compete in is the Island Games – a biennial multi-sports event for island nations, territories, and dependencies. Jersey have won the gold medal match on three occasions in the past – 1993 (5-1 against Isle of Man), 1997 (1-0 against Ynys Môn), and 2009 (2-1 against Åland).
In 2015 the JFA applied for membership in FIFA and UEFA following on from a similar application made by Gibraltar two years earlier. The bid by Jersey was rejected by UEFA in October 2016, and although Jersey appealed this decision, their application was rejected for a second time in February 2018. Following this disappointment, an independent Parishes of Jersey team was formed in August 2018 and subsequently joined CONIFA – The Confederation of Independent Football Associations later in the same year. The Parishes of Jersey team played their first game on 21st October 2018 which resulted in a 2-1 win against the Yorkshire international football team. To date their biggest win stands at 9-2 which came against Chagos Islands on 2nd June 2019, with their record defeat being 1-0 against Yorkshire on 1st June 2019.
Today the Parishes of Jersey team is a member of WUFA – World Unity Football Alliance, which was founded as recently as July 2020.
To find out more about football on the island of Jersey we spoke to the current Parishes of Jersey manager and true gentleman that is James Scott. James has a superb knowledge of football in Jersey as you will read. James also has his own Twitter account which is well worth a follow – the link is below.
- Twitter: @JamesScottJS
Q. Who would you say is your island’s best player and coach/manager of all-time, and the reasonings behind the choices?
Parishes of Jersey have only played a handful of games but probably the most consistent player in those games would be our talented goalkeeper Euan Van de Vliet (pictured above and plays for Jersey Bulls FC). He has all the attributes of a top quality keeper. We have only had one manager so that’s easy (haha) and that’s yours truly, but I wouldn’t have managed to get Parishes of Jersey up and running without the efforts of our President James Blower, so he deserves a special mention.
I’ve played under a few mangers for the Jersey FA set up and I’d have to give the best manager accolade to Craig Culkin. He had that ‘switch’ from having a laugh with the players to cracking the whip when it was time to get serious. That for me, is the key attribute needed to get the best out of your players.
Q. Who could be regarded as a ‘cult hero’ in terms of the Parishes of Jersey and Jersey FA team’s both in the past and present?
Jersey has had some cracking players over the years. It’s difficult to select and single out just one. But I’m not one to shy away from a question so… I’ll have to go for Luke Watson. He’s was an inspirational leader and captain of our representative team for a number of years. I was lucky enough to be in the dressing room as a player to listen to one of his motivational pre-match team talks before one of our annual Muratti games against Guernsey. Let’s just say he ‘got us going’ and the 3-2 win on the day could have been put down to his chosen words before the game.
Q. Of the current team, who would you say is the best player in the Parishes of Jersey and Jersey FA side currently?
Luke Campbell. Experienced, committed, vocal and a player you can always rely on in any situation. Never seen him have a bad game in all the years I’ve seen him play. Rolls Royce of a centre back.
Q. How would you describe the current state/performance of the Jersey team’s?
Martin Cassidy’s Jersey FA squad won the National FA Systems Cup last season, with the final being played at St George’s Park, so in terms of a representative team that’s an impressive feat.
Q. Are there any players from Jersey who you think we should be focusing on for the future – who would you say is the most exciting up & coming talent from the island?
Always got to look at the youth when looking and talking about the future. Luke Harris (aged 16) is carving himself a professional football career at Fulham FC playing for their U18s who won the league last season, which was the top level for that age group. He has also represented Wales U16s too. He has taken the leap and moved over to the mainland to train and play full time. For a lad of his age he seems to be a very level headed young man, but also has that hunger needed to give himself every opportunity to have a professional playing career. He is testament to his family that keep his feet on the ground and put no pressure on him whatsoever. He is one that we are all keeping a close eye on and everyone within the Jersey’s football community wishes him the very best in the future.
Q. Looking at the Parishes of Jersey’s and Jersey FA team’s history, what would you say has been the best game, result or performance for the national team in your opinion?
International history. That’s a hard one. Even though Jersey has won the gold medal at numerous occasions in the biannual Island Games, that’s probably as close to meaningful international football as we have got. Hence why we started up Parishes of Jersey to try and fill this gap. International football for Jersey is definitely the way forward. It’s not going to be easy, because there are limited opportunities at our level with not being part of UEFA/FIFA, but we must do all we can to put Jersey on the International football map. I for one am determined to work hard behind the scenes and it’s a case of watch this space on the International football front. We must move forward as our players deserve opportunities and experiences that they will always remember. In my view the route has to be international football for Jersey.
Q. Likewise, is there a performance or result which is regarded as the team’s lowest point?
Parishes of Jersey 1-0 defeat away to Yorkshire as part of the Heritage Cup was a tough one to take. The biggest overall disappointment has to be the fact that the CONIFA World Cup was cancelled last summer in North Macedonia. Our PoJ squad was selected, seats on the plane booked, but it was called off at the last hour due to Covid. That would of been an unbelievable experience for the players and coaching staff. So much time and effort went into that but that’s life sometimes. We are not alone with regards to the impact of sport due to the global pandemic so we just have to take it on the chin and move forward. We have also recently stepped away from CONIFA as an organisation for various reasons, but it would of been great to take part in one of their international competitions, however, it just wasn’t meant to be. It’s time to see what other footballing opportunities are out there.
Q. What are the best and worst things about being a fan of the Parishes of Jersey and Jersey FA team’s?
Best thing for our fans and supporters currently is ‘Muratti Day’ which is a annual fixture against our biggest rivals Guernsey. The friendly banter between us and the Donkeys is always very entertaining. Worst thing is they can’t get on a plane to watch the Jersey representative team very often. The thought of playing an international fixture somewhere and the supporters having to get on a plane, with other fans, would be something that would be amazing to see. Can’t beat an away trip to watch a football game…but imagine if that team was Jersey! Excites me just thinking about it.
Q. Have the fans adopted some kind of unofficial anthem to sing along to before/during/after matches?
There are a few Jersey legends that have wrote a few unofficial sing along anthems for our supporters. However, Charlie is our leader!
Q. Do you have a favourite or iconic shirt from the whole time of football being played in Jersey?
For me it’s the players in the shirts. Every player that is lucky enough to represent Jersey must play with pride for the badge that is on their chest.
Q. Finally, what are your hopes for the future of the Parishes of Jersey and Jersey FA team’s?
That’s easy. Two words – International Football.
A massive mercie bian to James for answering our questions on football in Jersey. Remember you can find their excellent Twitter account in the links at the top of the blogpage.
If you have any comments, suggestions, reactions, or even your own answers to the above questions, please write them in the comments box below. Likewise, you can either email us at email@example.com or send a message to the author at @Gareth19801 or the editor at @The94thMin on Twitter.