Збогом Јагодина,Merħba Valletta
When you listened to our last podcast (and I know you did) you’ll have noticed we announced we will no longer be following Serbians FK Jagodina. Due to recent events in Serbian football, as a website we do not feel comfortable promoting a Serbian football team anymore. Of course, Jagodina did nothing wrong but due to recent events and other circumstances, they became a victim of circumstance. Збогом Јагодина (Goodbye Jagodina), we had a good run but all good things must come to an end.
So as the site’s resident dogsbody and general genius bloke, the responsibility fell to me to pick a new foreign team for Born Offside to follow. Now, I’d love to tell you about the scientific methods used to select our new team, I really would. However, I got bored and basically clicked on ‘Random Article’ on the Wikipedia homepage until something football-related came up. After what seemed like hours (but in reality was about 15 minutes) the diamond in the rough shone through like a blinding light. This was fate. This was…beautiful. This was a natural choice, and I’m frankly disgusted that Steve Norman didn’t pick them first time around. So who are we supporting?
We are…VALLETTA FC of the Maltese Premier League!
So who are Valletta, I hear you cry? Well, pull up a chair, get comfortable, and join me as we Merħba (Welcome) Valletta to Born Offside.
Valletta FC have been around in some format since 1904 through various team amalgamations, name changes and mergers but became Valletta FC in 1943. In their first season, the Maltese FA did not run a league but instead formed a ‘Malta Cup’ to be played in the 1943/44 season as football and Malta in general was recovering from the Second World War ending in the country. You’ll notice the war ended a little earlier in Malta. Anyway, a youthful Valletta were not expected to do well in the cup, but against all odds they won the Final, defeating the far more experienced Floriana 2-1 a hard-fought match.
This first season gave the club a taste of victory, and they’ve never given up winning since that fateful Malta Cup Final. Valetta have won the Maltese Premier League 21 times, only beaten by Floriana (25 times) and Sliema Wanderers (26) and have won the league two seasons in a row. The White Warriors have also won the Maltese Cup on 12 occasions, again only beaten by Floriana and Sliema. They hold the record for victories in the MFA Super Cup, winning it 10 times, double the amount of Birkirkara & Hamrun Spartans.
Valletta have also won various smaller cups a staggering 41 times, so we’re following quite a successful team!
In 1996–97 Valletta F.C. won all five competitions that the Maltese football offers.This was only bettered in the 2000-01 season, when a team won all SIX Maltese competitions that season, as the Centenary Cup had been added as a one-off to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the MFA. The team who won all these titles? Valletta. So we’re also following record breakers!
Throughout their history, most of Maltese football’s big guns have played for the club, but the biggest name to ever appear for the club is probably Jordi Cryuff. Yeah, THAT Jordi Cryuff, the ex Man-Utd player. He played for Valletta as player/assistant manager in the 2009-10 season, playing 17 games and scoring 10 goals and leading the run on their way to victory in the MFA Cup.
They’re currently managed by Englishman Mark Miller, who spent some of his playing career in the English lower leagues but has spent most of it and his entire managerial career in Maltese football. He has been in charge of the club since June 2012.
Their current squad has a name which may be familiar to Coventry fans…Michael Misfud. Michael is possibly the most famous footballer Malta has ever produced, and while his various spells in German, Norwegian and English football brought him little success(but some goals), he has always scored in the Maltese league and is the national team’s all-time top goalscorer with 36 goals (at the time of writing).
Valletta are currently undefeated at top of the BOV Premier League after nine games with seven wins and two draws to their name, including a 2-0 victory over their biggest rivals Floriana. They play their 10th league game tonight against mid-table Balzan Youths FC. Follow us throughout the season as I keep you updated on their results and any news that might come out of Malta. Who knows, maybe I’ll report on one of their games from the TaQali one day…