NON-LEAGUE NEWS: Croydon FC expect their biggest gate of the season on Wednesday night as Guernsey, the team most likely to gain promotion to the Ryman League, visit Croydon Arena.
Guernsey were allowed into mainland football after being permitted to join the Combined Counties League (levels nine and 10 in mainland football) in 2011; they now have real hope of climbing to the top of non-league football (level five).
The island’s biggest claim to footballing fame was as the birthplace of Southampton and England international Matthew Le Tissier. Now, Guernsey are allowed to draw players from all of the islands’ teams, and the islanders thus benefit from a potentially wide squad.
Guernsey may well need this big choice of players to deal with a major fixture backlog as inclement conditions, winter weather on the mainland and success in other cup competitions like the FA Vase, mean that they have so far played only 16 league games this season. By comparison Croydon FC have already completed 25 league matches.
Wednesday night’s game will probably be subject to an early pitch inspection, pending the weather conditions over the next 24 hours.
The fixture amounts to a non-league David and Goliath contest for Croydon, against a team that benefits from a plethora of sponsors including Sportingbet and Odey Wealth Management – suitable for an island tax haven.
The chairman of the club is Steve Dewsnip, a former Rothschild banker, while Mark Le Tissier, brother of Matt, is a founding club director.
There may be some ill-will between the two clubs after Croydon FC were reported to the Combined Counties League disciplinary committee by Guernsey when it was alleged that a pair of women’s high-heeled shoes were found in a player’s room at the team hotel. No action was taken against the club.
Further resentment was created when Croydon FC refused to let its players eat a curry meal before the match. Maybe the mainland players would have been better to have taken the stomach churning fare and to have been fired up for the match on the opening day of the season, which they lost 8-0.
Croydon FC have been enjoying a strong run of form recently, with seven wins in eight league games, though they were upended 3-0 in their away match at Horley last Saturday.
Nevertheless, there is a feeling in the club that Croydon FC are much improved since the beginning of the season and may put up a stronger resistance against the Guerns this time around at a cold and windy Arena.
AFC Croydon Athletic also lost at the weekend ruing a missed Lee Jansen penalty after going down 1-0 at home to Feltham. AFC will hope to bounce back away to poorly performing Sheerwater on Saturday.
Whyteleafe will want to continue their good run when away at Cray Valley on Saturday, having thrashed Lordswood 4-0 at Church Road on Saturday.
Croydon FC host Windsor on Saturday.
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- Matt Le Tissier goes One on One with SunSport (thesun.co.uk)