24th March 1909

Jersey footballers misbehave in Guernsey

When Guernsey beat Jersey in the 1909 Muratti, it wasn’t difficult to work out why. Although Jersey’s manager had vowed to keep his team under control, he had apparently strayed for some time before the match and the players had taken advantage of their freedom.

Although they claimed to have remained fully sober throughout their stay on Guernsey, various correspondents writing to the local paper claimed to have seen them drinking copious quantities of beer just an hour and a half before kick off, and smoking so many cigarettes that it was impossible to see from one side of a room to the other.

The manager gets the blame

One correspondent, signing off simply ‘A Guernseyman’, noted, “I do not say that inattention to the eleven was in any way responsible for its defeat. Far from it. Such a course would be very unsportsmanlike. But this I do say, and without fear of contradiction, that the team might have been better looked after, and thereby gone on the field in better condition. I am cognizant of the movements of the team, individually and collectively, for a great part of their stay in Guernsey, and before the match, too. But to relate these would involve too many personalities. Suffice it to say, the team enjoyed greater Liberty this recent visit than in any of their previous visits to go and see put together.”

An alternative view

However, a Jersey correspondent was reluctant to ascribe Jersey’s defeat to excess consumption of cigarettes and alcohol alone, claiming that it was obvious within the first 15 minutes that Jersey was beaten, as Guernsey was simply the better team: “we should take the beating in a proper manner and frankly admit it”.

The 1909 championship had seen Guernsey first beat Jersey 3-0 in the semi-finals, and go on to beat Alderney 2-0 in the final, which was held in Jersey. The previous year, and the following two years, Jersey had been triumphant. In the first century of its running, Alderney had only won once – in 1920, which was the first year the Muratti had been reconstituted following a five-year suspension for the First World War.


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