Date Posted: 09/11/2017
Last evening we were delighted to welcome much loved, long-term loyal 'manelanders' Roger Le Page and his wife Gillian to Footes Lane as they visit the island.
Roger shared their Guernsey FC Story in the programme.
Back in February 2012, I was icking through a national newspaper when I spotted, in the football fixtures, that a team called Guernsey FC were playing in the quarter-final of the Combined Counties Challenge Cup. Until that time I hadn't realised that Guernsey were represented in the Non-League pyramid system; the only clubs I was aware of on the island were those competing in the local Priaulx League.
I personally had been involved with local soccer clubs throughout Essex and Suffolk from the age of 17 years old (11 years if you include my time as groundsman in the village), and I was now well into my pensionable years, but had recently decided to retire from team management and was at a loss to know what to do with my time on a Saturday. This midweek fixture - Staines Lammas versus GFC – gave me a chance to try something new and so that is how, on Wednesday 29th February 2012, a new love affair began for both my wife and myself...
We found ourselves at the ground and witnessed a 2-0 win for GFC. We were smitten right at that first game; I loved the attitude of all those taking part, and the way the management had got the team playing. I made up my mind right there and then, that as long as Gillian agreed, we would watch GFC again.
We kept a view on their progress, and when we knew they'd reached the nal we were determined to give them our full support, and so on Friday 4th May we made our way to Farnborough football ground. What a shock - we could not believe the size of the crowd, most of whom we discovered were supporting Guernsey! Out of a crowd of 667, probably only the odd 67 supported Colliers Wood Utd. The only surprise to me was that the game went to extra time before two Dom Heaume goals settled it and completed the League and Cup double for GFC.
We now decided that the 2012/2013 campaign would see us try to catch more of this lovely team, and follow what was going to emerge. And what a season was coming up! We managed to get to eleven games for this season, most of which were in the magni cent FA Vase run. Saturday 1st September saw us making our way to Crowborough Athletics ground, where we watched a close 3-2 win to the Green Lions, before disposing of Farnham 2-0 at Footes Lane, which I couldn't attend. This was followed by trips to Whyteleafe - 3-2 again, and then onto Erith Town. The game seemed to last forever, because of the injury to Zico [a double leg break] and ambulance delays, and with Guernsey 3-0 down and just 10 minutes to go, the Manelanders set up the chant, " We're going to win 4-3!" Amazingly enough, we did exactly that, with the winner scored 5 minutes into extra time. We'd done it for Zico...
Again I was unable to go to the island for the next round (a 4-0 win), but certainly did not miss the rounds that followed. We watched GFC away at Rye Utd for the most amazing game I've watched as a Manelander. It was played on an absolute bog of a pitch, but what a game it was, with us winning 6-5! Next it was on to Spalding, who were fancied to go all the way to Wembley, but we notched up another win against a very good side.
Next came a trip from my Essex home to the Midlands for a 0-0 draw, then after a replay win in Guernsey we were on to the semi- nal, where our dreams sadly ended against Spennymoor Town, who were members of the
strongest step league in the country and in my opinion should have been upgraded years before.
This season had seen Gill and I travel to more grounds for league matches making a grand total of just eleven games. We had really got the bug, but had yet to visit the Rock for our football. “It will happen one day,” we promised ourselves...
After a very enjoyable introduction to the achievements of GFC, Gillian and I decided to devote as much of our retirement leisure time as we could to following the Green Lions throughout the southern counties of England. Our adventures, every one of which entails a round trip of at least 100 miles, and some of as much as 240 miles, are always worth it when the team put as much effort as is desired. There are literally only about four occasions where I can remember coming home from a game disappointed by a GFC performance. Even during the long run between 12-12-2015 until 28-01-2017, the effort was always there, and yes, I was there at Worthing for the 2-0 and 3-1 wins. I have only missed 5 mainland games, and have been to over 100 matches.
"Come on you Green Lions!"
It was fantastic to welcome Roger & Gillian to their ‘home away from home’ and on behalf of all at the club we thank them for their unwavering support.
See you at Molesey... ✌🏻💚