The Muratti Vase
The Tournament was inaugurated as far back as 1905 as a Competition for Adult sides from the Channel Islands of Jersey, Guernsey and Sark and has been held until this day apart from the years of the two World Wars.
The Competition has always taken the form of one Semi Final with the winner of same playing the third team in the Final and up until the Second World War the two teams for the Semi Final were drawn by lots, but since then Jersey and Guernsey have taken it in turns to play Alderney in the Semi Final. The Final is played alternately in Jersey and Guernsey and apart from a short spell at a ground at Westmount (though that is disputed in some circles) the venue in Jersey has always been Springfield. In Guernsey it was played for many years at The Track, the current home of Belgrave Wanderers, before switching to Footes Lane. Up until 2005 if a Final ended with the scores level the match was replayed but since that date the result has been decided on the day by means of extra time and penalties if required.Over the course of the Years Jersey have won the trophy on fifty-four occasions, Guernsey on forty-seven and Alderney just once, when they defeated Guernsey one nil in Jersey in 1920. In 1937 the Trophy was shared by the two main Islands after the fin
al finished all square at three goals apiece. Jersey hold the record for the most consecutive wins when the Trophy remained with them from 1958 through to 1965.
The geographical size of the three Islands has always put Alderney at a disadvantage, with their population being a fraction of the other two, and they have on seven occasions conceded double figures with the worse being an eighteen-nil defeat by Jersey in 2000. In recent seasons however they have improved considerably – and at present are more than holding their own in the Guernsey League – and the last three semi finals have seen them lose one nil and two nil to Guernsey and two one to Jersey.
The Final each year is refereed by a Football League referee from the Mainland and in 2002, Mike Dean, something of a scourge in the Premiership at present with his predilection for red cards, was in charge and true to form issued a red card in the last minute of the game. Former England and Chelsea full back Graeme Le Saux played for Jersey in 1987 but the most famous of Channel Islands footballing names, Matt Le Tissier, left the Island before he was eligible to play, though his brothers have worn the Guernsey colours.
The Competition now embraces a Women’s tournament and Under 18 and Under 21 Competitions for men but it is the main tournament that is so much savoured, enjoyed and anticipated.
“It’s in the blood – it’s about more than Football”.
John Gorman March 2019