A capacity crowd at the NSC Bowl on 16 April 2022 saw FC Isle of Man get promoted to the Premier Division of the North West Counties Football League

An idea for the future: The Australian Football League recently held a “Gather Round“, whereby all the games in the league were played in the same city (instead of being spread across the nation). The name “Gather Round” plays on the word “round” being used to mean a round of games, and also “gathering round” a campfire or similar.

It would be amazing for the Isle of Man to host an equivalent event for the North West Counties Football League in the future: a dozen or more football games on the Isle of Man, featuring teams from the North-West of England. Perhaps a future Easter weekend, to give time for all the games to take place, and for the Steam Packet to celebrate the annual opening of the fast boat to Liverpool. Many games could be at the Bowl, but also matches at other venues across the island, to ensure that Ramsey, Peel, and the South, were also able to take part in this tourist festival of sport.

This would complement the IOM Government’s strategy of running more major events (beyond motor racing). Turning the Isle of Man into a giant football festival would involve bringing all the games in the league to one place, creating a sense of excitement and anticipation among the fans. The idea is to have most games at the Bowl, which is the premier football venue on the island, but also host other matches at other venues across the island. This would ensure that the whole island can participate, so that visitors could see much of our island.

The benefits of hosting such an event on the Isle of Man are numerous. Firstly, it would help to promote the island as a destination for sports tourism. Secondly, it would bring in revenue for local businesses, as fans from across the north west of England would come to the island to watch the games.

Most importantly, it would be great for fans to enjoy a great experience in the Isle of Man.

However, there are also potential challenges that would need to be addressed. For example, there may be logistical issues with arranging travel and accommodation for all the teams and their supporters. There may also be concerns around security and safety, particularly if there are large crowds gathering at the venues.

Despite these challenges, the idea of hosting a ‘Gather Round’ for the NWCFL on the Isle of Man is an exciting one. It would create a unique and memorable experience for fans of the league, and it would help to put the island on the map as a destination for sports tourism. With careful planning and preparation, this could be an event that is enjoyed by all and remembered for years to come.

Michael Josem is a long-term consumer advocate, most prominently as a global leader in combating fraud in the online gambling industry. He was in part the inspiration for the 20th Century Fox Movie, Runner Runner, starring Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake.

Josem has over a decade of experience as a senior business leader working across various high-tech and online industries, and takes action to build a better community. His primary volunteer roles include service for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, and Graih, the homelessness charity.