𝗙𝗿𝗮𝗻𝗸 𝗧𝗼𝗯𝗶𝗻 𝗶𝘀 𝘀𝘂𝗰𝗵 𝗮𝗻 𝗲𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗯𝗹𝗶𝘀𝗵𝗲𝗱 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘄𝗲𝗹𝗹-𝗿𝗲𝗴𝗮𝗿𝗱𝗲𝗱 𝗺𝗲𝗺𝗯𝗲𝗿 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘀𝗾𝘂𝗮𝗱, 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗰𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱 𝗮𝗹𝗺𝗼𝘀𝘁 𝗯𝗲 𝗳𝗼𝗿𝗴𝗶𝘃𝗲𝗻 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗳𝗼𝗿𝗴𝗲𝘁𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗵𝗲 𝗼𝗿𝗶𝗴𝗶𝗻𝗮𝗹𝗹𝘆 𝗵𝗮𝗶𝗹𝘀 𝗳𝗿𝗼𝗺 𝗕𝗿𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗼𝗹! 𝗔𝗻𝗱 𝗮𝗿𝗴𝘂𝗮𝗯𝗹𝘆 𝗻𝗼-𝗼𝗻𝗲 𝘄𝗮𝘀 𝗵𝗮𝗽𝗽𝗶𝗲𝗿 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝗻 𝗙𝗿𝗮𝗻𝗸 𝘁𝗼 𝗽𝘂𝗹𝗹 𝗼𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗚𝘂𝗲𝗿𝗻𝘀𝗲𝘆 𝗴𝗿𝗲𝗲𝗻 𝘄𝗵𝗲𝗻 𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗹𝗲𝗮𝗴𝘂𝗲 𝗰𝗮𝗺𝗽𝗮𝗶𝗴𝗻 𝘄𝗮𝘀 𝗳𝗶𝗻𝗮𝗹𝗹𝘆 𝗯𝗮𝗰𝗸 𝘂𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗿𝘄𝗮𝘆, 𝗮𝘀 𝗵𝗲 𝗲𝘅𝗽𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗻𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗼 𝘂𝘀 𝘄𝗵𝗲𝗻 𝘄𝗲 𝗰𝗮𝘂𝗴𝗵𝘁 𝘂𝗽 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝗵𝗶𝗺 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗼𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝘄𝗲𝗲𝗸.

I’ve made 84 appearances now for Guernsey FC, and two years ago, before we knew about a thing called COVID, I was actually looking forward to hitting that hundred milestone. I’m certainly focused back on that now – 100%, you could say eh!

I’m a bit disappointed with myself though, if I’m honest, that I’ve only scored three goals for the club so far. I don’t understand it: I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve hit the crossbar or the keeper’s pulled off a save when I’ve shot from distance. It’s one of those things, but I do feel I’ve been a bit unlucky. I’d say 5 or 6 would be a fairer number, and I’ll keep working on it when I can!

It’s important to keep our discipline at the back though, especially with Jamie Dodd not being able to play at the moment. It’s very hard when you play in a back three as a centre-back to push forward, given that technically you’re only playing with three defenders, and especially when you’ve got maybe like Charlton as a right midfielder or right wing-back, because let’s be honest, he’s so talented in attacking that he’s not going to want to be stuck defending too much is he, that would be a waste - so sometimes if I were to push forward it would leave only two in defence, which is a big risk.

Talking about risk, it’s good to see the two young Bens - Ben Acey and Ben Le Tocq – stepping into the squad this year. It’s very early in the season but they’re both doing really well.

Ben Acey is someone I’ve played against a lot in the Priaulx during our hiatus, especially as I was playing in centre-mid for Rovers, and he was very good. It’s always hard to get the ball off him, he’s got very good control. In fact in that respect he reminds me of someone like Alex Scott, who’s just very good technically on the ball. At his age he should have a good future in football. He’s been a sub so far but every time he’s come on, he’s looked lively, so I’m sure he’ll be getting some starts soon, and who knows where he can end up in the football pyramid.

And then I also know Ben Le Tocq from the Priaulx league, though mostly from playing with rather than against him. He’s been very good and that’s why I had been playing centre mid, because of his qualities at centre back. He can play a great diagonal ball as we’ve seen for a couple of our home goals, and he’s an all-round good defender really. Also, with Doddie’s absence it’s key for the balance of the team to have a left-sided centre back or a left-sided defender because, let’s be honest, you don’t get many, especially now Harry’s not playing for us anymore.

I really missed Guernsey FC with the two years out that COVID forced upon us, and it’s great to be back in action for the club. I love Guernsey FC, playing week-in, week-out at a challenging level, and all the high intensity training. I’m sure everyone knows how much I enjoy it and it’s one of the key reasons why I’m still in Guernsey. I look forward to playing a lot more for the club.

It was a bit of a shock to the system after such a long break coping with the difficulties of an away game once more. I think we’d forgotten how problematic it can be, in that it’s really draining, and the travel conditions are not exactly ideal preparation for a match.

I would always consider myself as a fairly fit individual, and I’m sure Vance can vouch for me there, but that first away game was just horrendous in terms of fitness. First you’re sitting in a tight aeroplane seat, then almost immediately when you get off you’re back immobile in cramped quarters on a coach, often for a long period of time. It causes a lack of blood circulation and oxygen to go to those legs, and throughout the whole game my legs felt like lead. Especially after 70 minutes, it was definitely a struggle running up and down the pitch, but I think that’s the type of fitness you can’t really account for and it’s just one of those things that in our unique situation we have to get reaccustomed to. The more away games we have the more our bodies and legs will get used to it again, but it was definitely hard.

I’m hoping this season that we can win as many home games as possible, because for some reason I think this season we’re going to be very good at home, and then I think we can just try and get as many points as possible away from home. I feel away form may be a hard challenge, just given our team, what’s been happening and the way we play, but I believe at home we can definitely attack the opposition wherever they are in the league. I really feel we can go into every home game aiming for those three points. Dare I say it, with the first few games we’ve had – and albeit we did lose away to Chipstead - I think this season could be a surprise in how well we do.

With home form being so crucial this season, it’s so important that the fans really get behind us at Footes Lane. I don’t think they’ll ever understand how important their support is to us! It’s probably one of the best sights and feelings in the world too seeing younger kids, maybe 10-15 years younger than you, watching football and seeing people older than them score goals, and cheering Guernsey on to a win. I remember so well being that age, watching football and aspiring to be like your favourite player, and I’m sure it’s the same feeling for them as it was for me back then.