MEETING for the first time on a sunny afternoon at Springfield, there was mutual admiration between two footballers who now share the Island record for most caps in the Muratti Vase.
Jack Cannon (36) drew level with Alan ‘Nash’ Venton (85) on 23 Muratti appearances when he played in the semi-final against Alderney in March, with Mr Cannon admitting that reaching the Jersey record had been something of a target in recent years.
He said: ‘I read the Muratti 100 book [produced by the JEP and Guernsey Press to coincide with the competition’s centenary in 2016] and it was something I’ve been aiming towards.
‘I’d heard of Alan, although his career finished before I was born, and also had Steve Carlyon to aim at – he was the number one goalkeeper when I was growing up and played 21 Muratti games.’
Mr Carlyon’s 21 caps put him level with Rory Crick and Graeme Le Maistre – the latter held the record between his final appearance in 1960 and 1973, when Mr Venton topped it in what would be his final season.
He appeared alongside Mr Le Maistre during his early seasons in the Island’s representative side, including his Muratti debut in 1957.
Mr Venton said: ‘We lost that year in Guernsey, but it was one of the best matches I played in.
‘We were 6-1 down, but then we couldn’t stop scoring – we got to 6-4 and I think we’d have been level if there’d been a couple of minutes more played.’
As well as Mr Le Maistre, Mr Venton played alongside some legends of Jersey football and cited Dave Parker, Mo Vowden and Topsy Cronin as some of his favourite players.
Alongside having 23 Muratti caps apiece and being the fathers of daughters – five between them, with Cannon’s younger girl arriving just a month ago – the two men may follow the same route after hanging up their boots.
Mr Venton has not watched football for years and is more likely to be found on the golf course than pitchside, something that Mr Cannon can identify with.
‘I’ve had a great career, but when the time comes I’m not sure how engaged I’ll be in football – it could be a case of thinking that I’d enjoyed my time and moving on,’ he said.
Mr Cannon’s favourite Muratti memory was when he scored the only goal from the penalty spot to secure a 1-0 win in the final at Springfield in 2018 – favourite so far, that is.
This year’s final will see Jersey travel to Guernsey on 13 May, and while Mr Cannon is not taking anything for granted, he modestly admits he is available for selection.
When the renowned fast-bowler ‘Fiery’ Fred Trueman retired from cricket after amassing a world-record total of 307 test wickets, he was asked if he thought anyone would beat his record.
‘Aye,’ the plain-speaking Yorkshireman nodded, ‘but they’ll be bloody tired.’
Mr Venton and Mr Cannon grinned at the story on a sunny afternoon at Springfield, but neither seemed to show any signs of tiredness – just mutual admiration.