The Muratti Vase match between Uefa hopefuls Jersey and Ryman South Guernsey embodies a very modern debate between club and country
This mattered. There is always a slight suspicion at annual showpiece sporting occasions that the important thing is less the result than the enacting of the ritual, but as Guernsey’s players cavorted on the pitch with hundreds of fans after their 2-1 victory over Jersey on Saturday, the depth of the emotion was clear. The Muratti Vase is not merely ceremonial: there is a desperate desire to win it, particularly if you are from Guernsey.
“When you come onto the pitch in this sort of parochial island mentality, Guernsey feels very local, very much Guernsey people,” said the Guernsey manager, Steve Sharman, his voice hoarse from a second half spent urging his players to get higher up the pitch. “All of our players would have been born on Guernsey, whereas Jersey players, it’s probably half maybe. So it’s in the blood. There’s people have been coming for 60, 70, 80 years and they might not watch another football match in the whole season but they’ll come to this because it’s more than football: it’s about community, about this island.”