Jersey FC: Culkin still wants club side despite slow progress

By Tim PryorBBC Radio Jersey
Craig Culkin
Craig Culkin quit as Jersey boss after the Muratti loss to Guernsey in May

Former Jersey boss Craig Culkin has admitted it has been "slow progress" as he looks into the feasibility of setting up a Jersey Football Club to follow in the footsteps of Guernsey FC.

after a row with the Jersey Football Association over selection.

He has since been potentially competing in English leagues like Guernsey FC.

"It's something that I'm determined to get done," said Culkin.

"I think the game needs it, the players need it and the public are calling for it.

"It's been slow progress. There have been discussions and there are certainly one or two interested parties and it's just looking at the feasibility.

"It's finding the right people that believe in the brand and are willing to invest in it - £300,000 to approximately £500,000 per year is a lot of money."

In Profile: Craig Culkin
Former Celtic youth-team player
Managed Jersey club side St Paul's
Led Jersey to 2009 Island Games gold medal
Took Jersey to the 2013 Uefa Regions' Cup

Guernsey FC have played in the English leagues since 2011, with the club running alongside the island 'national' team and the smaller club sides within Guernsey competing in the Priaulx League.

Meanwhile, Jersey FA officials have continued to focus on developing the game within the island, the annual Muratti clash, occasional tournaments, and friendly matches. In total 17 teams feature in the island's Premiership and Championship divisions.

"What we've got in Guernsey is a team of people that, for the first time, would be willing to help support us and share business plans, finances and how they've put their little baby together," Culkin told BBC Radio Jersey.

"The biggest challenge is getting a network of partners financially that are willing to back this.

"Whether it will materialise or not remains to be seen, but it's certainly not for a lack of exploring this."

There have been concerns that creating a Jersey club side would have a negative impact on the local league system, and in May the president of the Jersey Football Combination

Guernsey celebrate winning the 2014 Muratti
Craig Culkin's final match in charge of Jersey saw them beaten 4-1 at home by rivals Guernsey

However, Culkin thinks taking the better players to feature in a Jersey FC squad would actually increase the competitiveness in the Jersey Premiership.

"It would certainly make the league more open," he added.

"I think that the pros far outweigh the cons of setting up a Jersey Football Club.

"By taking a core group of players out, it would make the league more interesting and would open the title up to other teams to win."

Jersey's national side has been without a boss for more than four months but an announcement on Culkin's successor is expected in the next few weeks, with the island due to face Army 26 Engineers at Les Quennevais on Monday, 20 October.

The interview with Craig Culkin will be broadcast on BBC Radio Jersey's Sportscene on Saturday, 20 September 2014.

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