Billy Flower reflects on time with Lewis and Harris Select

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Billy Flower this week insisted it has been an honour to lead the Lewis and Harris Select, and laterly Lewis and Harris FC, as the man at the helm of the island’s representative side.

He recently brought the curtain down on his 13-year tenure as both manager, and assistant in his earlier days, by tendering his resignation.

Speaking to the Gazette this week Flower reflected fondly on a number of highlights with the squads, recalled handing debuts to youngsters who have gone on to greater things but he insisted he believes it is the correct time for a change.

“Time for me to move on because I feel local football is at a crossroads and I feel it is time for somebody else to move it forward with their new ideas,” he said.

“As a player, it was an honour to represent the Lewis & Harris Select , the pride of Lewis footballers. I tried to develop that in my time in management with the introduction of dress codes, shirt and ties on match day, club tracksuits, pre-match meets, post-match functions etc. I wanted to make playing for the Lewis and Harris Select a special occasion that players could look back on with pride. But times are changing.

“The Island Games have come along offering players the chance to play at another level against international teams in foreign countries. Players should be fighting tooth and nail to make these Island Games squads. It is a great competition and I would urge every footballer to try and reach that standard. But we must be mindful of the cost of this to the local game.

“Island Games athletes are the elite athletes in their islands and they train relentlessy for two years to try and shave sometimes just a tenth of a second off personal best times. Swimmers are the same.

“Why should footballers be different? Let the footballers commence their training plan now for the next games two years down the line and let us wish them all every success but in my opinion it should work alongside local, representative football not against it.”

See this week’s Gazette to read the rest of the indepth feature with Billy.

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