History

Farewell Robert! The Gunslinger makes his Exit!

All great stories come to an end sometime and for the the sharpest gun in the West the sun has set over his Gibraltar United Career on the pitch.

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Robert joined us for the start of the 2015/16 season as our marquee signing in the attacking area of the pitch, leaving Second Division side Europa Point as the lure of working with former Boss Manolo was too strong for Robert to resist. He set the tone for his Red and White career by scoring his first goal in his first match against a feisty Britannia.

That set him off on a remarkable scoring streak that saw him net 15 times for the first team and a further 8 times for the Reserves. His goals against Man 62, Lynx FC and most notably Glacis and Angels FC saw the club safe in a difficult first season in the top flight. The moniker John Wayne was to serve Robert well in his first season as almost every ball he touched in the area was converted into a goal. His connection with Pitu was deadly as one can appreciate below.

Scoring 15 league goals in a struggling side, add to that 9 for the Reserves, brought Robert to the attention of Jeff Wood and the clamour for him to get capped was immense. Roberts prowess on the pitch made Mr Wood’s selection easy. A local forward getting regular game time and scoring regularly could not be left out despite the club’s standing in the league. As it was Robert earned his two UEFA caps in the home friendlies against Latvia and Leichtenstein in March 2016. He was to carry on being a regular call up for the following year as Gibraltar begun its FIFA journey as well; just rewards for his efforts.

The following season was much like the last as we fought at the wrong half of the table but yet again Robert ended the season as our top goalscorer, netting six times. It was with a heavy heart that he approached the club informing us of his decision to step down as age has finally caught up with him. His sharpness in front of the goal has not blunted and it will be Olympique 13 that will benefit from this poacher extraordinaire as he is sure to set the 2nd Division alight!

His eagerness to help with our youth has seen him become a coach and will continue that role. Though he leaves the club as a player he still works tirelessly passing on his experience and wisdom to the young strikers in our youth ranks. Indeed Robert has certainly become a Gibraltar United man through and through!

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Farewell Capitan!

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Credit to Christopher Milan, Christian Correa, Core Photography and Snaprimages for the photos.

Season in Review

30th June is a marked day in many football calendars around the world as it sees the end of one season and the start of another with many contracts traditionally finishing on this date. As such it is fitting that we post our 2016/17 season review today as the football world begins to turn its attention to the 2017/18 season.

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United moved fast and quick in the heady days of the summer of 2016 to secure several marquee signings. GFA regular Jamie Bosio joined from Lincoln FC after completing his studies and he was joined by the Hernandez brothers from Man 62. Jason Pusey, Paul Podesta, Ashley Rodriguez, Aymen Mouehli, Erin Barnett Dani Wink and Jesse Victory all signed for the club in a bid to challenge for a place higher up in the league.

A mixed preseason saw an inconsistent run of results as Manolo gelled in so many new faces into the squad. So many new players in key positions meant that there was an unfamiliarity and lack of chemistry that takes time to foster. Yet as is his want, the manager drilled the squad hard in preseason to have them ready for a late September kick off against Manchester 62.

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United’s first game of the 16/17 Season

Robert Montvio promised to carry on where he had left off the previous year by netting a brace that earned United a point when perhaps they should have got three. After one game the league took its first hiatus for International Football and Jeff Wood called up a number of United players and its also provided an opportunity for new players to gel with their new team mates. Games against recently crowned European Champions Portugal and the first FIFA World Cup Qualifiers for Gibraltar followed.

The league continued mid October with United facing tough opposition in champions Lincoln, 3rd placed St Joseph’s and in Mons Calpe the surprise package of the season. 3 defeats left us 7th hovering above Europa Point, Lions and Lynx FC. Our first win of the season came against the latter with yet another Montovio goal. United had showed great maturity in their play and the results against Lincoln in particular showed the progress made.

United were dealt a major injury blow early in the season when defensive stalwart, Brad Power, succumbed to a major injury that was to leave him out of the game for a long time. Jason Pusey stepped into the breach and became the defensive rock Manolo built his defence. Erin Barnett was his constant companion flanked by Pishu and Perez. A dour 0-0 draw against Lions FC augured what was to come however.

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Robert in action vs Lincoln Red Imps

The Red and Whites next tasted ‘victory’ in a forfeited match in early December but broke off for the Christmas with a tremendous morale booster of a 3-1 win over Man 62 in which Paul Podesta scored a spectacular long range effort to seal the win. The Red and Whites however entered a very negative spiral of results that threatened to unhinge the whole season.

In a run of 12 matches from January to April, United garnered two points and went 6 games without scoring as the dependable John Wayne (aka Robert Montovio) found that his powder had gone somewhat dry. A 93rd minute loss to basement club Europa Point saw United at their lowest ebb as the spectre of relegation loomed large. January had also seen club stalwarts Jared Buhagiar and Carl Thomas leave the club, they had a combined appearance total of 125 and would now don the claret and blue of Glacis United. EL Andalussi and Marquez were transferred to Mons Calpe while evergreen Robba resigned for the club alongside Paul Grech.

Gibraltar United also showed that it was committed to its civic duties when it supported a charity initiative by Stuart Felice and joined him for his Dip a Day on a cold, wet but fun March afternoon at Camp Bay.

April 2017 however brought the most momentous news in the Club’s recent history. News broke that former Real Madrid and Spain international Michel Salgado, alongside Dubai based banker Pablo Dana, had bought the club. There was an immediate stir of excitement, not only among United supporters, as Michel Salgado landed on the Rock on the 4th April 2017 to announce not only his purchase of the club but also a partnership with Turicum Private Bank as the club’s main sponsor. Michel met all the teams in the Youth Division as well as the Senior squad. Morale was on the up and the effect was immediately felt on the field.

Turicum Logo 2016, white on blue background, two lines - 2 June 2016

United had rediscovered their form. A battling point against St Joseph’s was followed by two more draws and a much needed victory against Glacis United that pulled United away from the relegation places and into safety. Both Hernandez brothers scored against Glacis United with Pishu showing a composure beyond his years to seal the win very late on. Despite a catastrophic result against Europa FC, United saw the season out in 7th place, an improvement on last season and with solid foundations being laid for a more promising 2017/18 season as the Salgado era began.

The club finished the season with a massive recruitment drive and held youth trials at the stadium for over 130 young  players and held a charity Gala night in which £5,000 was raised for the Calpe House trust. Club legend Adolfo Ramriez was named the Club’s Life Honorary President. Oh yes and just the small matter of a World Cup and Champions League Winner, Brazil legend called Roberto Carlos being the club’s guest of honour!

 

Vi et Animo, Ad Victoriam!

Season in Review 2015/16

First season back in the Premier Division since the club’s return and the objective was clear; stay in the top flight. The summer had been a very busy one with plenty of transfers in and out. Though we retained the bulk of the promotion clinching squad the board was well aware that an injection of quality was needed. The first signing was perhaps the most important one, Manuel Sanchez Nuñez as manager.

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Manolo is no stranger to Gibraltarian football having had a spell managing College Europa (now Europa FC). He was instrumental in attracting new players into the club and his vast knowledge and experience soon won over new and existing squad players. It was frankly an honour having someone of his experience and with his CV at Gibraltar United and it may be argued that he was crucial in Gib Utd staying in the top flight.

Robert Montovio, ‘Pitu’ Anes, Duane Robba, Jamie Currer and young starlet Byron Espinosa were among the names who signed up in the summer. The #SupportingLocalTalent campaign we had started last year had born its fruit with the club becoming an attractive option to players as we sought the quality needed to stay up.

The opening game way back in September saw us line up against Britannia, who had got promoted the season before as Division 2 champions. A credible 1-1 draw with a debut goal for Montovio gave an indication of the season to come; a tough ask but this team does not know when to lay arms and die! Several incidents in the match however threatened to unhinge our efforts. Mark Casciaro was suspended for 6 games while Lee Buhagiar suffered an injury which subsequently was to indefinitely leave him out of eleven aside football. With the top two next United were in 8th place after 3 games with 1 solitary point on the board. The teams around them (Glacis Utd, Angels FC and Man 62) would be permanent companions for the duration of the season.

The first revelation of the season came in the shape of Brad Power. Locally recognised as a striker the manager saw the potential for a shift of position to the other end of the pitch as a center half. He suffered a very tough baptism of fire vs Lincoln FC but Brad cemented his position in the team through hard work and determination and was rewarded during the season with a call up to the national squad in March and a renewal of his contract with the club. David Gallardo, last year’s flying winger was also reconverted to a centre half and more often than not partnered Brad at the back.

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United did not record their first win of the season until late November when Angel’s FC and Man 62 were defeated in back to back games that did wonders for morale. Robert clearly still had an eye for goal and he was constantly netting for the team in defeat after defeat but the goals tasted better in victory and as we entered December United held their heads above water and Glacis and Angels who were floundering at foot of the table.Yet a lean month meant that the January transfer window was to be key.

A total of 12 players left the club and a similar number drafted in. Perhaps Ashley Perez was to have the biggest impact of the January signings. Signed on a 6 month deal from St Joseph’s he quickly asserted himself as a regular in the team either as a left winger or a left center back. Dexter Panzavechia, signed from Glacis United, also quickly became a fixture in the first XI. Loanee Evan Green also pitched in with important goals. An upturn in fortune saw United gather more points against Glacis United FC and Lions FC. As we climbed positions in the table Britannia began a free fall that was to have dire consequences for them.

No matter how gratifying those results were United never made it easy for themselves. Back to back defeats to Angels FC (who turned up with a new team in January) and Man 62 saw us plummet down to 8th. Another victory over Glacis United, a rearranged fixture from November, kept us afloat. However having to face the top 3 one after the other let the clarets and blues claw back points and positions. They had a resurgence of form post January that saw them gather a substantial number of points against the bigger teams in the league, most notably a 1-0 victory over Europa FC. We lost to St Joseph’s the following day meaning Glacis now had the upper hand.

Once again our character showed through. Wins against Lions, again, and most especially Britannia meant that a new contender joined the basement battle. A contender that had not won in 13 games and was in free fall. Before the curtain closed however the was a break for internationals and four of our squad were called up. A just reward for outstanding performances but more importantly for getting minutes on the pitch they would no get elsewhere. Robert, Brad, Chino and Evan were called up by Mr. Wood for the games versus Liechtenstein and Latvia. Chino has been frankly outstanding this season and his call up was extremely well deserved. His saves had been remarkable and there was a series of one on one saves in our first game versus Angels FC that gave us the three points. Chino and Brad got minutes in a match versus San Roque but Robert played as a sub in both UEFA games at the stadium.

As league action returned United approached the last few games of the season knowing it was still in their hands despite a very damaging 2-0 defeat to Glacis United in late April. Angels had already gone but Britannia had joined us at the foot of the table. Suspensions and injuries were also beginning to take their toll. Kaylan Rumbo proved a godsend to Manolo as he filled in practically every position in the pitch. Chino missed a key game versus Lynx and young Ayden Viñales took the gloves. The 17 year old handled himself brilliantly against a strong Lynx side. A crucial Montovio goal gave us 3 unexpected points at a time when Britannia could not get a win. With St Joseph’s, Angels and Man 62 to come in our last 3 games survival was in our hands.

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Photo courtesy of Correa Photography

The loss to St Joseph’s meant that Glacis United were safe. The relegation spot would be a fight between us and Britannia. Europa FC annihilated them 16-1 the day before we beat Angels 7-1 to make our league spot practically safe for the following season. Lincoln cemented our place by beating Britannia 10-0. We closed our season with a 2-2 draw versus Manchester 62 FC to finish 8th place with a respectable 29 points.

A very hard season but respect needs to go out to these group of 100% local players who have beaten all the odds to stay in the Division. We only failed to beat Lincoln, Europa and St Joseph’s and we have shown we have the ability to fight it out in Gibraltar’s top division. Work has already started in the 2016-17 squad and we cannot wait!

Vi Et Animo, Ad Victoriam!

Games 2015/2016

Date Opposition Venue Match Score Scorers
23/07/2015 UK Academy Castellar Pre Season 1  4 Lopez
26/07/2015 Facinas F.C Facinas Pre Season 1  2 Montovio
06/08/2015 U.D. Casares Casares Pre Season 3  1 Currer, J.Collado, Sean Gilbert
11/08/2015 Mons Calpe FC Victoria Stadium Pre Season 3  2 Montovio, Bosio, Sean Gilbert
20/08/2015 Gibraltar Regiment DTC Pre Season 5  0 Montovio (2), J.Collado, El Andalussi, Trialist
22/08/2015 U.D. Tarifa Lopez Pua Pre Season 1  2 Montovio
08/09/2015 Mons Calpe FC Casares Pre Season 3  3 Montovio (2), Cardona
27/09/2015 FC Britannia XI Victoria Stadium Premier Divison 1  1 Montovio
29/09/2015 Lions RES Victoria Stadium Reserves 0  3
03/10/2015 Europa FC Victoria Stadium Premier Divison 0  2
16/10/2015 Lincoln FC Victoria Stadium Premier Divison 0  7
29/10/2015 Bruno’s Magpies RES Victoria Stadium Reserves 8  0 Montovio (5), Bakkari (2), Bosio
01/11/2015 Glacis United FC Victoria Stadium Premier Divison 1  0 Montovio
03/11/2015 FC Britannia XI RES Victoria Stadium Reserves 2  1 Montovio (2)
07/11/2015 Lynx FC Victoria Stadium Premier Divison 0  3
11/11/2015 Lincoln FC RES Victoria Stadium Reserves 1  2 Montovio
13/11/2015 St Jospeh’s FC Victoria Stadium Premier Divison 0  2
23/11/2015 Angels FC Victoria Stadium Premier Divison 2  1 Montovio, Anes
25/11/2015 St Jospeh’s FC RES Victoria Stadium Reserves 2  2 Montovio, Bosio
28/11/2015 Manchester 62 Victoria Stadium Premier Divison 1  0 Montovio
02/12/2015 Lions FC Victoria Stadium Premier Divison 0  3
05/12/2015 FC Britannia XI Victoria Stadium Premier Divison 1  3 Montovio
11/12/2015 Europa FC Victoria Stadium Premier Divison 0  2
21/12/2015 Lincoln FC Victoria Stadium Premier Divison 0  6
02/01/2016 Lions FC Victoria Stadium Premier Divison 1  0 Montovio
11/01/2016 Glacis United FC Victoria Stadium Premier Divison 2  1 Montovio, Power
14/01/2015 Mons Calpe SC RES Victoria Stadium Reserves 3  0 Cumbo (3)
17/01/2016 Lynx FC Victoria Stadium Premier Divison 1  3 Montovio
20/01/2016 Europa FC RES Victoria Stadium Reserves 7  0 Laguea (3), Gracia, Steven Gilbert, Sean Gilbert, Ailtachen
23/01/2016 St Joseph’s FC Victoria Stadium Premier Divison 0  4
06/02/2016 Angels FC Victoria Stadium Premier Divison 1  2 Green
08/02/2016 Manchester 62 RES Victoria Stadium Reserves 3  0
10/02/2016 Red Imps FC Victoria Stadium Rock Cup 2nd Round 2  1 C Ellul (2)
14/02/2016 Lynx FC RES Victoria Stadium Reserves 2  4 Sean Gilbert, Asquez
21/02/2016 Manchester 62 Victoria Stadium Premier Divison 0  1
28/02/2016 FC Britannia XI Victoria Stadium Premier Divison 2  0 Buhagiar, Green
01/03/2016 Lions FC RES Victoria Stadium Reserves 2  7 Anes, Currer
05/03/2016 Europa FC Victoria Stadium Premier Divison 1  3 Green
12/03/2016 Lincoln FC Victoria Stadium Premier Divison 0  4
15/03/2016 Bruno’s Magpies RES Victoria Stadium Reserves 3  1 Montovio, Currer (2)
19/03/2016 Lions FC Victoria Stadium Rock Cup 1/4 Final 0  1
04/04/2016 Lions FC Victoria Stadium Premier Divison 3  1 Montovio (2), Perez
06/04/2016 FC Britannia XI RES Victoria Stadium Reserves 1  6 Currer
10/04/2016 Glacis United FC Victoria Stadium Premier Divison 0  2
14/04/2016 Linocln FC RES Victoria Stadium Reserves 3  8 Laguea (2), Rumbo
16/04/2016 Lynx FC Victoria Stadium Premier Divison 1  0 Montovio
19/04/2016 St Joseph’s FC RES Victoria Stadium Reserves 0  4
24/04/2016 Glacis United FC RES Victoria Stadium Reserves 1  0 Thomas
29/04/2016 St Joseph’s FC Victoria Stadium Premier Divison 1  3 Marquez
01/05/2016 Mons Calpe SC RES Victoria Stadium Reserves 0  1
05/05/2016 Europa FC RES Victoria Stadium Reserves 1  3 Sean Gilbert
09/05/2016 Angels FC Victoria Stadium Premier Divison 7  1 Power, Montovio (4), Currer, Rumbo
14/05/2015 Manchester 62 FC Victoria Stadium Premier Divison 2  2 Perez, Marquez
23/05/2016 Manchester 62 FC RES Victoria Stadium Reserves 1  2 Steven Gilbert
28/05/2016 Lynx FC RES Victoria Stadium Reserves 3  0

2015-2016 Statistics

Surname Name Premier Reserves Senior Cup Rock Cup Total Goals (all comps)
Aitlachen Aziz 1 4 1 6 1
Anes Pitu 16 7 2 25 2
Asquez Derek 2 7 9 1
Bakkari Abderrahman 6 2 8 2
Borrell Dylan 5 5
Bosio Jamie 7 3 10 2
Buhagiar Lee 1 1
Buhagiar Jared 27 10 1 38 1
Cardona Steffan 7 5 1 13
Casciaro Mark 1 1 2
Catania Jaydan 3 1 1 5
Chipolina Kenneth 5 3 8
Collado Aaron 3 3
Collado Justin 2 1 3
Crisp Shane 1 1
Cumbo Stefan 2 2 3
Currer Jamie 17 7 1 25 3
El Andalussi Naufal 7 5 12
Ellul Carl 5 1 6 2
Ellul Jamie 1 12 13
Espinosa Byron 13 5 18
Gallardo David 16 10 26
Gilbert Sean 14 15 2 31 3
Gilbert Steven 10 7 17 2
Goldwin Kyle 25 3 1 29
Gracia William 2 2 1
Green Evan 9 6 1 16 3
Laguea Thomas 6 6 5
Lopez Adrian 3 7 10
Lopez Andrew 18 3 2 23
Marquez Lython 5 6 11 2
Mascarenhas Sean 2 4 6
Massetti Matthew 1 1
Medina Neal 1 1 2
Montovio Robert 24 5 1 30 25
Neale Liam 2 4 6
Panzavechia Dexter 9 6 2 17
Parker Alan 7 4 11
Perez Ashley 13 5 1 19 2
Power Brad 24 6 2 32 2
Robba Duane 18 5 2 25
Rumbo Kaylan 16 8 1 25 2
Thomas Carl 24 7 2 33 1
Vella Jonathan 8 8
Viñales Ayden 2 6 1 9

An Interview with Adolfo Ramriez

Adolfo Ramirez is a well known and well loved football personality here in Gibraltar. He has had a long, established career in the game as player and manager. He is a recognised Gibraltar United Legend and we are very grateful that he took some time to talk to us.

 

Adolfo holds the 2014/15 GUFC Shirt

Adolfo holds the 2014/15 GUFC Shirt

Adolfo began his playing career with Shamrock FC until the end of the 1953 season. He then joined Gibraltar United who went on to enjoy a long period of success. Adolfo remained with the club until 1966. He then proceeded to help found Lions FC. More recently Adolfo is more well known for his stint as GFA manager between 1994 and 1997. Indeed, he was at the helm during the successful Island Games held here in Gibraltar achieving the silver medal in front of the home support.

 

Adolfo reminisced about his time with the club. He told us he decided to join as his brothers also played for Gibraltar United. Pepe and Jaime Ramirez already played for the club and later his brother Frank also joined Gibraltar United.Indeed it was the first time that four brothers played at the same time for the same club and the GFA selection.

From Left to Right: Pepe, Frank, Adolfo, Jaime

From Left to Right: Pepe, Frank, Adolfo, Jaime

Among his many memories and anecdotes from his time as a Gibraltar United player several were at the forefront of his mind. He fondly remembers the different clubhouses at Bombhouse Lane, Turnbull’s Lane and the 1772 Club. His team mates like F.Felices and H.Fabre, ” the best dribbler Gibraltar has ever seen” in his own words. He was very proud of a 4-0 victory over Desportivo Fairense, the Portuguese Division 2 Champions at the time. There was certainly a glint in the eye as he recalled these matches of yore. Likewise, Adolfo was keen to stress that at his time at Gibraltar United the club remained undefeated every time the club participated in a trophy that pitched the League Champion against a team made from the Rest of the League.

He told us that the club’s original name was Gibraltar United Social and Athletic Club and that it was so named because due to the Evacuation during WW2 and the emigration of lots of players as a result, it was decided to form a club for those players that stayed behind hence the name Gibraltar United. Its first Presidents being Mr Henrich and Mr Danino. He also reminisced about his time as manager and how Mr Pepe Asquez kept the club going, later the baton passing on to his son Kenneth.

But perhaps the memory he was proudest of was the 1959-1960 season when Gibraltar United went undefeated through the season and won a total of 11 trophies. Illustrious names in Gibraltar’s football, Prince of Wales, Britannia FC, Europa FC and Rosia Rovers (now St Joseph’s FC) were brushed aside as Gibraltar United, with the Ramirez brothers reigned supreme. Indeed Adolfo brought a specially minted medal presented to each member of the squad that season; each also engraved with the recipient’s name and club crest.

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Reverse of 1959-1960 commemorative medal showing club crest and Adolfo’s name.


We also touched upon contemporary football matters and Adolfo expressed his desire for Gibraltar to put up a good show against the stern opposition coming their way!

In conclusion Adolfo approved of the club’s return and he was visually emotional when I handed over a shirt for him to pose for. An invitation was extended to Adolfo to attend our first official match of the season on the 17th September against Gibraltar Phoenix. Indeed in his own words, “it is a dream of mine to see Gibraltar United once again on the pitch.” So hopefully we will see him down at Victoria Stadium. A massive thanks to one of our ‘viejas glorias’ for his time.

Presentation of our kits for the forthcoming season

Mr Cherepakhov, Chairman of the Bentley Group, our main sponsors with club President Paul Collado presenting our new kits for the forthcoming season. We channel the traditional red and white stripes of the old Gibraltar United while our away strip is a bold yellow and black ensemble. Our players will be wearing these proudly throughout the season as they battle it out the pitch.

 

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Mr Cherepakhov on the left