Date Posted: 19/03/2018
The Guernsey Football Association (GFA) and Guernsey Football Club (GFC) are extremely proud to unveil plans for a joint venture that would see a new home of Guernsey football created at Victoria Avenue.
Following submission of a planning application to the States of Guernsey Environment Department for the development of a new community football facility, the information below is being made available about the project:
The Guernsey Football Association has been without its own home for the entirety of its 125 years existence since being formed in 1893, with member club Vale Recreation currently providing its base at the Corbet Field. Over the last five years the GFA have been actively pursuing opportunities to find its own home facility and headquarters and in the long-term strategy, devised 4 years ago, they set out the aim of not only finding their own home but have somewhere that had its own 3G training facility. One thing that became quickly apparent was that in order for this community facility to be financially viable, income would need to be generated. At this stage, the GFA became aware of GFC’s own plans to move to a home of their own and it became obvious that both parties could work together to find a solution for the benefit of Guernsey football.
Football is no stranger to Victoria Avenue, as it is already the proud training home of the GFA Academy, GFC and Belgrave Wanderers, with the latter playing their home games next door at The Track.
It is intended that the newly-created football facility will be used for GFC’s home games, GFA representative matches, and will also provide a 3G training facility available for community use. Having a dedicated football facility would enable the GFA to enhance their coaching, training and grassroots programmes for players from all over the island.
The project will be part funded by the English Football Association in the form of grants and if the planning application is successful, the intention is for the build to begin during 2019 so it is ready for the 2021/22 season. This is seen as opportune timing with the Island Games taking place in Guernsey in 2021 and both parties would be extremely pleased to think Guernsey football would have its own permanent home, with a brand-new flagship sporting facility the island can be proud of.
As part of the process, all parties are acutely aware of the neighbourhood surrounding the facility and a traffic impact assessment has been conducted with several traffic management plans identified. GFA Chairman, Chris Schofield commented that: “This project is a massive venture by the GFA and represents the culmination of hundreds of hours of meetings with the Football Association, States departments, architects, project managers, GFC and numerous other parties required to facilitate such a project. The GFA is a charitable association and senior GFA Board members have worked tirelessly over the last four years to develop a project that is feasible in terms of an appropriate venue, with affordable avenues of finance that will not impact directly on the association membership and sustainable in the long term. This is an exciting time in Guernsey football history and we hope that this project will go a long way to securing the long-term future of the Islands largest participant and spectator sport.”
Having GFC as part of the facility would be an enabler for the entire project, not only to get it off the ground, but for it to remain financially viable, largely thanks to the regular 600+ supporters that go through the turnstiles every home game
GFC chairman Mark Le Tissier said: “GFC have made no secret of the fact that in order for the club to be sustainable in the long term the club would need our own home to generate the income required to participate in the FA National League Pyramid. Over the last 7 years we have used Footes Lane Stadium on match days however, we have been restricted in our capacity or opportunity to drive additional income opportunities at this ground, owing to situations beyond our control. “We are delighted to be working alongside the GFA to present a bright future for football on the island as well as creating a brand-new community hub" “It is our vision that this new facility will be much more than a stand where our fans watch football. We hope to create a community hub and our ethos for the facility is very much in line with the goals of the GFA".