Marsaxlokk Football Club
THE BEGINNING OF FOOTBALL
The Various Clubs Formed Before Marsaxlokk F.C.
During the first years of football in Malta we already had two teams in Marsaxlokk. This was in 1894 when on the 28th of November two teams played each other. Delimara Wanderers played against Tas-Silg Rovers and the former won 2-1. After the interest generated by this game, it was decided that another game would be organised the week after. These games were being played in ground known as Delimara Oval. The exact location of this ground is not known but from its name we can say that it could have been situated near the Delimara Fort.
The second game proved to be another interesting encounter. The Wanderers won again, this time 5-2. After this date we could not find anything more about these two teams (or any other team in Marsaxlokk). We have to wait many years until we could trace another team in Marsaxlokk. In 1936 Delimara Rangers played a friendly match against Old Boys. This was played on the 11th of October and Delimara won 3-0. This is the only record we have about this team.
At this point it is interesting to follow Beland City, a team founded in 1940 at Zejtun. Beland tried to affiliate with the Malta Football Association but during World War II all competitions were stopped by MFA. In the season 1940/41 the Federation of the Island's Football Amateurs was founded in Malta with the aim of organzing competitions for amateurs. This federation was known as FIFA (in short) and orgainzed the Christmas Cup. Beland City played their first game on the 2nd of November 1941 against Vittoriosa St Louis - Result: 2-2. Unfortunately we don't know how this competition finished. Probably it was not even continued up to the end.
As the war was approaching its end, in the season 1943-44 MFA organized the New Year's Cup for Third Division Clubs (together with other competitions for other divisions). Beland City took part and in the Semi-final against Qormi United, they won 1-0. The final was played on the 16th of April 1944 against Floriana Britannia and Beland City won 1-0. This was the first and only honour won by this club in its brief history.
This honour encouraged Beland City to apply to take part in the MFA Third Division league. But duing the same season (1944-45) MFA introduced the District Representation Scheme where every district could only have one team taking part. Zejtun already had two teams. So Beland City applied under the district of Marsaxlokk. MFA accepted the application and a team from Zejtun was representing Maraxlokk in the Maltese Competitions.
In season 1945-46, MFA continued to insist that clubs from the same district amalgamate into one team. So Zejtun Athletics, Zejtun Corinthians and Beland City formed one team and Marsaxlokk had no representative in the Maltese competitions.
What led to the Formation of Marsaxlokk F.C.: by Joseph Grech
In the year 1935 a group of youths from Marsaxlokk, namely Karmenu Caruana (Zapeli), Gaetan Gafa', Mikiel Zahra, Manuel Gafa and his brother Joseph, Karmenu Schiavone (Petty), Peppinu Cassar, Karmenu Bugeja (Plymer)and Spiru Attard (Zirma) decided to begin the game of football in Marsaxlokk. A a ground they used a field where the Hanger of the ex-RAF is situated today. Manuel Vella, Wenzu Bonnici and myself (Joseph Grech) were about 12 years old and we used to follow this group. They used to send us to the RAF Station to lend a football so that we could play.
As time passed by we began to buy footballs and also a gear each. Each player used to buy his own gear. In the year 1936 a permit was obtained to form a better ground in a garden (ta' l-Ingliz). But in 1939 tennis courts were built in this area.
The love for football was evident with youths in Marsaxlokk. A group of youths who lived near the Church used to spend time playing fooball in an area where today we find Ta' Kilin Confectionary.
Friendly games were played between these two teams. The players who lived near the Church used to wear a green shirt and the others used a blue shirt. A French man - Mr Felix Blanch - who was the owner of the Tea Pot Hotel used to referee these games. It is good to note that the ground used was situated in the Hotel gardens.
For these matches the 'Green Team' had two guest players from Paola and the 'Blues' used two British players, namely Brown and Gallaway(goalkeeper).
When in 1939 the Second World War was declared, the garden used as the football ground was converted into a Barracks with a Parachute Hut and a slipway. So football in Marsaxlokk had to stop for about 4 years.
When in 1943, the air raids practically stopped things started to return back to normal. Tom Purshouse (British Chargeman) formed a football team from the Royal Air Force employees in Fort St Lucian. This team played a number of games and some of the players were from Marsaxlokk.
In 1944 Joseph Vella (Tal-Lillu) bought a red and white football gear and formed a Marsaxlokk football team on the 24th of December 1944. On this day they played against the Victory Lions of Zejtun in a football ground which was situated in the area where today we find the Marsovin Vine Yards. For this game the Marsaxlokk team used these players:
Delia Mabbli, Grech Rosario, Degabriele Salvu, Bonnici Wenzu, Zerafa Salvu, Schiavone Karm, Carabott Salvu, Cauchi Joseph, Vella Guzeppi(Captain), Zerafa Bernard, Grech Joseph.
Victory Lions won 3-1 with the Marsaxlokk goal scored by Salvu Zerafa(It-Trilla) from the penalty spot.
In the year 1945 Guzeppi Stagno formed the Seascouts Group and they also had a football team.
Between 1946 and 1948 Karmenu Galea (Ic-Cmajra) formed a team and with the help of Gammari and Mikiel Caruana, who were in charge of the St Andrews Sports Club, they played a number of Challenge matches and won a number of trophies.
Upto 1949 the enthusiasm for football was very high. The youths used to watch many matches against British teams in the ground of Santu Kristu, San Nikola, Ta Kalafrana and Gudja. Matches featuring Naval Prisoners from Italy and teams from Italian battleships "Guilio Cesare", "Ciao Dirlio" and "Andrea Doria" were played. This led to the seasiders to form their own football team.
On the 3rd of November 1949 a group of people from Marsaxlokk gathered at Karmenu Cassar's (Ir-Rejs) place and the Marsaxlokk Football Club was founded. The first committee for season 1949/1950 was:
| ASS. SECRETARY
| ASS. TREASURER
Training began in the RAF training ground in Marsaxlokk. Frans Paris used to play as a goalkeeper with Hamrun Spartans but played also with us during friendly matches. He was also a good centre forward and managed the team. Frans Paris bought a Navy blue kit and as a badge a white star was used. This was sowed onto the shirts by Frans Paris' girlfriend Giaconda Grech. This led to the team being called Marsaxlokk White Stars Football Club. The first game was played against Little Rainbows on the 11th of November 1949. Mr Karmenu Caruana(Zapeli) was the referee and the formation was:
1. Gianni Degabriele; 2. Nonu Darmanin; 3. Pawlino Paris; 4. Joseph Degabriele; 5. Joseph Caruana; 6. Joseph Grech; 7. Frans Ghirxi(Senior); 8. Salvu Zerafa; 9. Frans Paris; 10. Mabbli Vella; 11. Karmenu Carabott
The match was played in front of a large crowd at 10.30am and we won 3-1. The goals were scored by Frans Paris and Mabbli Vella in the first half and Salvu Zerafa in the second half. The Rainbows goalkeeper, Fardell, had a very good match and denied Frans Paris and Frans Ghirxi from scoring more goals.
More friendly matches were played during weekends. Frans Paris, Mabbli Vella, Joseph Caruana, Nonu and Frans Darmanin and Twanny Paris emigrated to Australia and were replaced by Censu Carabott, Censu Cassar, Zuzu Paris, Ganni Piscopo, Charlie Grech, FX Vella, Joe Baldacchino, Karmenu Degabriele and other players so more matches could be played.
In 1954 the name was changed to MARSAXLOKK FOOTBALL CLUB and we were given the chance to compete in the Amateur Cup. As from 1952, each year we applied to compete in the Malta Football Association 3rd Division. In 1955 MFA organised a Tournament between Gharghur, Qrendi, Mellieha and Marsaxlokk with the winner earning a place in the MFA 3rd Division League.
MARSAXLOKK WHITE STARS - 1950's
In the semi final we beat Qrendi with a solitary goal by Charlie Grech (1-0). In the final we beat Gharghur 4-2 with two goals each by Frans Paris and Charlie Grech. In our first proper competitive game in the MFA 3rd Division League we played against Dingli Swallows and drew 2-2.
In the meantime Marsaxlokk Football Club was offered to used Vendome Tower (Current premises) as club premises. Vendome Tower used to serve as a Fishermen Recreational Centre.
After a couple of years we again began competing in the MFA 3rd Division in 1965. From then onwards we continued to play in the MFA League. Between 1965 and 1990 we were promoted to the second division on various occasions. We managed to survive for a couple of seasons, only once. We spent the nineties in the Second Division, missing the promotion for the First Division in season 1992/93 after losing a decider. Otherwise, we were always involved in the tussle for relegation.
Season 1999/2000 was the beginning of the best years in our history. Mr Sciriha was appointed President of the club and with his financial backing we managed to win the 2nd Division Championship and get promoted to the First Division. In our first season in the First Division, we had to fight hard for survival, only to bounce back the year after to finish season 2001/2002 as champions. In season 2002/2003 we played in Premier League with the elite of Maltese Football for the first time in our history.
(Click on photo to enlarge image)
In our first season we surprised everyone by obtaining a place in the Championship Pool. In the championship pool we obtained some important results: vs B'Kara 1-0 (a game that virtually sealed the title for Sliema), vs Valletta 1-1 and a 2-1 against the Champions Hibs in the first phase of the league.
For season 2003/2004, Mr Victor Sciriha has again invested heavily in the team. This time a number of well established local players were given at least 3 year contracts. These include the return of current National Team Captain David Carabott, internationals David Camilleri and Malcolm Licari and current Lithuanian international Donatas Vencevicius. Other players were signed to have a better squad that the season before. Our aim immediately was to obtain a place in a European Competition. Even if we knew that this was a very ambitious task for a small club like ours, at the end we achieved our goal. A 4th place in the league and a runner-up position in the Trophy gave us the right to compete in the UEFA Cup for the first time in season 2004/2005. Our first opponents in Europe will be NK Primorje of Slovenia.
Now let's wait and see what season 2004/2005 will be like, hoping to improve on the season before.