The Day I Scored A Goal At The Home Of The World’s Worst International Football Team

“From feudal serf to spender, this wonderful world of purchase power” – Manic Street Preachers.

The Day I Scored A Goal At The Home Of The World's Worst International Football Team

The Day I Scored A Goal At The Home Of The World’s Worst International Football Team

Sark – Europe’s Last Feudal State

Sark is one of the coolest and most mindblowing places I have ever backpacked to. This is a mini country with its own island(s), borders, laws, prison, pub and even an international football team. It is Europe’s last feudal state. It doesn’t have an airport – it has a heliport and it’s not part of the UK, or of England. It’s a raised island off the coast of France and Guernsey. Getting here means a ferry from Guernsey and you’re living the dream. I previously wrote about my ferry trip from Guernsey to Sark and the best backpacking sights in Sark.

Backpacking in Sark: Europe's Last Feudal State

Backpacking in Sark: Europe’s Last Feudal State

Cars Are Illegal Here in Sark

Sark is one of the few remaining places in the world where cars are banned from roads and only tractors, bicycles and horse-drawn vehicles are allowed. When you go backpacking here after getting the ferry in from Guernsey, your first “port” of call is a jetty where you are met by a tractor which tows a trailer to take you up the hill to the capital city. Cars are completely illegal but tractors are permitted. It’s all a complete dream for any backpacker. I loved it. I need to big it up more – Sark is magical!

My ferry ticket for Sark

The ferry from Guernsey to Sark

Arrival in Sark

Arrival in Sark and on the back of the trailer, towed up the hill by a tractor.

Arrival in Sark and on the back of the trailer, towed up the hill by a tractor.

Arrival in Sark and on the back of the trailer, towed up the hill by a tractor.

Arrival in Sark and on the back of the trailer, towed up the hill by a tractor.

Arrival in Sark and on the back of the trailer, towed up the hill by a tractor.

Backpacking In Sark: World’s Smallest Prison

In 2011, Sark was designated as a Dark Sky Community and the first Dark Sky Island in the world. From above at night, you won’t see any lights despite a population of 600. There’s actually more than one bar here as there’s a pub, a hotel and a guest house. I enjoyed backpacking the sights and having a beer in the Bel Air Inn, cycling all around the island and visiting both parts of Sark – Little Sark (where even bicycles are illegal and I had to walk there) and the main part of Sark. The capital city of the country is The Avenue, which is where the shop, bank, pub, prison and tourist information centre all sit.

Backpacking in Sark

Backpacking in Sark

The ferry to Sark

The ferry to Sark

Backpacking in Sark: World’s smallest prison

Backpacking in Sark: Guinness Pint and Postcard

Cycling in Sark

sark little shop

The Little Shop in Sark. Amazing Place.

Backpacking in Sark

Channel Islands Football History

“Football is an entertainment industry” – Matthew Le Tissier.

In history, players from Alderney, Guernsey and Jersey have all played international football and for a number of other countries as well as their native Channel Island nations. Here are a few of the most famous Channel Islands football players…none on this list are Sarkers, Sarkarians.

  • Matthew Le Tissier – Guernsey (played for Guernsey under 16s, England full level)
  • Graeme Le Saux – Jersey (played in the World Cup for England)
  • Trevor Wood – Jersey (capped by Northern Ireland full level and B level)
  • Davy Wells – Jersey (capped by Northern Ireland under 21s)
  • Gordon Barker – Alderney (capped by New Zealand full level)
  • Bill Whare – Guernsey (played in an FA Cup Final for Nottingham Forest, uncapped)
  • Ryan Zico Black – Guernsey (scored at the Maracana Stadium in Brazil, capped by Northern Ireland under 21s and Guernsey full level)
  • Brett Pitman – Jersey (AFC Bournemouth legend who hoped one day Jersey would get UEFA/FIFA membership)

“It’s only Matthew Le Tissier who can score goals like that” – BBC commetator after his goal v. Blackburn Rovers in 1995.

Matthew Le Tissier - Guernsey and England

Matthew Le Tissier – Guernsey and England

Sark’s Football History

Records state that before World War II there were a few matches between a Sark team and teams from Guernsey and Alderney. However, it appears that organised football was first played on Sark in the 1950s, with islanders typically playing friendlies against visiting ships crew members and seasonal staff coming to work in the summer. It still wasn’t very official but they had a yellow and black shirt.

An original Sark FC shirt from Neil Williams on Facebook

The main football pitch is in the grounds of Sark Primary School and I visited the country in 2009. In terms of national football teams, that first happened for Sark in 2003 although, before that, there was Sark FC…

Sark FC – the club side (2001 onwards)

In 2001, an official football club, Sark FC, was created. Having joined the Guernsey FA, Sark FC played in the GFA Cup for three years and regularly played against social club teams from Guernsey. There is a great blog by Pat McGuinness which covers this. It’s also important NOT to confuse Sark FC with the Sark international team which played at the 2003 Island Games – some players might be the same but Sark FC themselves have been more successful than the 2003 Island Games side, as you’ll read later…

SARK FC v HMS CATTISTOCK 01-08-08 – photo credit from Pat McGuinness

SARK FC v MOORINGS FC, GFA CUP – photo credit from Pat McGuinness

Sark International Team for the 2003 Island Games

By 2003, the best players from Sark formed the Sark international football team and wanted to play in the Island Games. Below, this photo is the main pitch in Sark which I took in September 2009, the day I scored a goal here. I called it a stadium, although there were not really any seats or a stand there on my visit, although it’s possible they move in a temporary stand/seating when there’s a big match.

The Day I Scored A Goal At The Home Of The World’s Worst International Football Team

The entrance to Sark School – The Day I Scored A Goal At The Home Of The World’s Worst International Football Team

The pitch at Sark School

The building at Sark school

Flying my Northern Ireland flag at the National football stadium in Sark

Sark International Football Team

Sark are not affiliated with FIFA of course but as I wrote, they have fielded an international football team before. They played in the Island Games, only once, in 2003 when it was held in Guernsey and Alderney. As far as I can tell, as a country they have only played those 4 tournament matches…they play in yellow and black stripes.

Sark – worst international football team in the world

With a population of just 600, at The Island Games, Sark were seen as outsiders against the likes of Greenland, which boasts 55,000 inhabitants, and Guernsey with a population 65,000. Sark’s first match in the tournament resulted in a 19–0 loss to Gibraltar. That was their first ever match and even that 19-0 is NOT their biggest ever defeat! For the three matches that followed, Sark were badly affected by injuries, on top of their inexperience and the lack of fitness in a squad that included some players aged in their 50s! Seriously!

The Official Sark Flag.

Following the defeat against Gibraltar, Sark lost 20–0 to the Isle of Wight, their record defeat. They then lost 16–0 to Greenland, and 15–0 to Frøya, a small Norwegian island of 4,000 people. In all, Sark conceded 70 goals and scored none. Yes, you read that right. In their international history, Sark have played four matches, scored ZERO (0) and conceded SEVENTY (70). It’s the worst international record for any team in history.

Date Round Opponents Score
29 June 2003 Group stage  Gibraltar 0–19
30 June 2003  Isle of Wight 0–20
1 July 2003  Greenland 0–16
3 July 2003 13th-place match  Frøya 0–15

The Sark international team lost all four matches by at least 15 goals, having the unenviable and ridiculous record of scoring ZERO (0) goals and conceding SEVENTY (70) goals from just four matches.

The scored ZERO, conceded SEVENTY record of the worst ever international football team – Sark

The island made games history by becoming the first team ever to fail to score a goal. They haven’t played a match since. I visited the only football pitch on the island. I cycled here, parked my bike up and headed to the pitch. There was nobody else here and the nets were up. By surprise there was a football just sitting there. So I placed the ball on the penalty spot and scored a goal at Sark FC/Sark international football stadium! I hit it straight down the middle into an empty net with no goalkeeper. It didn’t matter to me. I scored a goal at the international stadium of the worst country in international football history.

The Day I Scored A Goal At The Home Of The World’s Worst International Football Team

Here is a video of me scoring a goal at Sark:

As there is not much information about football in Sark online, here are some links I used to form this article –

Sark on Wikipedia
Sark tourist website
Sark football team on Wikipedia
Pat McGuinness’s blog

Guernsey Press photo of Sark FC

Sark FC on Twitter
Sark FC on Facebook

I’ll have some more stories about my trips to Sark, Herm, Guernsey, Jersey and Alderney. I loved them all – and also visited Lihou (uninhabited). Here’s me in a Guernsey shirt when I worked for Condor Ferries. Oh and that day when I inadvertently and by chance met Matt Le Tissier’s brother Kevin – a great lad!

Memories of Guernsey in 2009

In a taxi with Kevin Le Tissier in Guernsey - Matthew's brother

In a taxi with Kevin Le Tissier in Guernsey – Matthew’s brother

And to finish it off, Guernsey’s Matthew Le Tissier was on a different level:

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