The governing body of the women’s game in Guernsey disappeared quietly last month ahead of a fundamental change for the sport.From 2004, the women will play under the banner of the seven major GFA clubs and in the winter months.
The girls can throw away the sunglasses and T-shirts and don their winter woolies.Sally Bréhaut, president of the GLFA for the last nine years, is excited at the challenges ahead.’I think and I hope it will prove good for the sport,’ said Bréhaut, a Sylvans stalwart who, from February, will be playing her football on full-size pitches around Guernsey for the first time.The days of an entire summer league campaign being staged on one pitch, latterly on Blanche Pierre Lane’s number two surface, have gone.In future, the 100-plus women footballers can look forward to playing on other club grounds as well as possibly public pitches such as Cambridge Park, Delancey Park and Victoria Avenue.’It’s going to be different but the girls are looking forward to it,’ said Bréhaut, who admits that initially it was not easy to convince her membership that playing in the winter was a good thing.’We were worried we might lose players to other sports.’But the committee talked about it and in the end we decided, no, we are going to give it a go and move with the times.’She reveals the switch stemmed from Jersey, who play in the winter, finally winning a women’s Muratti after five straight defeats.’The first five games we won were down to extra experience, but the Muratti defeat helped us to make our minds up.’Simply, it did not make sense to start the season with the biggest game of the programme.So, in 2004, the plan is to run a shortened league programme from February to May, with the Muratti bringing the curtain down on the season.In September, the women will kick off alongside the men and play a full winter programme.
Their fixtures will be included in the GFA Handbook.
St Peter Ladies manager Eddie Le Sueur is delighted Guernsey have made the move and followed in Jersey’s clubs’ footsteps.Le Sueur said: ‘Guernsey will not regret it I’m sure.
Their move can only be good for the game, both for themselves and Channel Islands ladies’ football.’Our girls have certainly got better and stronger since affiliating to Jersey’s Combination Clubs and playing throughout the winter.
The proof is in the Muratti results which Jersey are winning now after Guernsey had a long run of success.’I can see why Guernsey have made the move because their first game of the season before was the Muratti.
But for our girls the Muratti came after the end of a full season and I’m sure Jersey winning has had much to do with them being a lot fitter at the time of the game.’Guernsey’s move will now make it a level playing field and maybe now it’s time that the ladies’ game will have an Upton match between the respective islands’ champions.’Ladies football in here to stay, there is no doubt about that in my mind.
It is continuing to expand in Jersey in the schools and in the league with Grouville re- entering this season.’St Paul’s are coaching a lot of school-age players on a weekly basis too and I’m sure it won’t be long before they put enter a team in the league as well.’