Jersey urged to keep searching for better standard of football

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That’s the view of freelance writer and journalist Steve Menary, on a three-day break in the Island this week, who recently published ‘Outcasts! The Lands That Fifa Forgot’, a book charting the struggle small associations have in being allowed to compete at international level.

Menary says he sees no reason why Jersey should not be looking to play in tournaments regularly against the likes of Gibraltar, Greenland and Madeira.

Menary, whose publication has been short-listed for football’s Book of the Year Award, said: ‘The Jersey Football Association have opened up political avenues with leading dignitaries already and I’m sure that can only help them as they look to move forward.

‘I’ve spoken with Bob Murray and Michael Wilde this week; they are very serious people to have involved helping you and I believe you have sensible plans by way of your games set up by playing against reserves and academy sides.

‘Why you can’t play internationals is because you are not an independent state, but I believe you are making a reasonable request to get a better standard of games.

‘From what I’ve seen and heard in the short time I have been here you have a better argument than a lot of other countries around the world.

‘When I went to the Island Games in Shetland in 2005 I could not believe a money matter prevented you from playing and I’m glad to hear you were represented in Rhodes last summer.

‘I’m sure there is enough interest for a second tier of football in Europe, but whether places like Luxembourg and Northern Ireland vote for it I’m not so sure.

‘Luxembourg would possibly be the first to drop into a second tier and Northern Ireland and possibly Iceland might oppose it to because they are down the order, too.

‘Jersey has the support of the Football Association and that can only help them.

‘Gibraltar are still fighting hard to get into Uefa and I’m sure that that scenario will not go away easily.

‘The FA are helping them too; I’ve heard they are arranging matches with English, Welsh and Scottish semi-professional teams in order to give them games.’

Asked if the power of televison would help the outsiders’ causes Menary said: ‘I do not know, but I’m sure there are broadcasters out there who would have an appetite to televise football at what ever level.’

Menary travelled the world for two years before writing his book as he traced some incredible journeys of teams that FIFA refused to recognise.

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