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Youth Focus: Under 9s

With Youth Football soon to kick off across all age Categories we will be introducing our Youth Teams and coaches over the following days. The kids have been working hard through the Summer and in Pre-Season led by a team of dedicated and committed coaches. Today we introduce our Under 9’s coached by Ian Mañasco and Ernest Costa. We caught up with the team and asked them a few questions.

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1. Ian, reflect on how your team did last season.

IM: Last season’s reflection was a very positive one considering it was a new team and our first year together. The team was facing a massive change going from 5a side to 7aside and from the small Futsal pitches to Pitch 2 which is much, much bigger. The team has taken the new scenario very well and given massive steps forward, they have proved they can compete with all the teams in the league, even the second-year ones. Our lowest moment came just after Christmas when all the teams had still not completed the first round of fixtures and the GFA decided to split the league in 2 tiers. Sadly, to our surprise we had been put in the Second tier after we had won all our games beating Under 9 teams of 2nd year. Our best moment and highlight must be finishing off our season playing in the prestigious Boni cup in Marbella with teams from all over Spain. The team and myself have benefited from this massive experience and has given us the right motivation to work even harder in the future.

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2. What are you hoping to achieve this season?

IM: For this year I hope to see the team continue with the development and potential shown up to now. Our aim this season will be set on the Futsal cup and the league cup which are the only two competitive titles to play for. The team is already well into pre-season and with the necessary motivation and work ethic to achieve our objectives.

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3. Ernest, how has preseason gone so far with your team?

EC: This year we began pre-season on the last week of August in Sandy bay. Training in the beach is hard but it is also fun for them, we have a great group of boys, we really make sure they enjoy their football and their time together. In the last couple of weeks, we have also played two friendly matches in Spain in order for them to begin to get the feel of it after a long summer break. Thanks to Palmones and Peña Madridista for having us. We are really looking forward to begin training more regularly (as soon as the allocations become available) and for the season to begin.

Match Preview: Lynx Football Club

Match preview is brought to you courtesy of Turicum Private Bank.

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Record against Lynx F.C.

Played: 6
Won: 2
Drawn: 1
Lost: 3

Last Result: 1-1 (22-4-17)

Manager: Allen Bulla
Captain: Robert Guiling
Top Scorer 16/17: Raul Segura

Lynx was established in 2007 and have been a regular Premier Division side since 2012. Their most successful season so far has been in 2013/14 when they finished 3rd and reached the Rock Cup Final which they lost to Lincoln F.C.

Like United, Lynx have had a busy summer. Former Gibraltar National Manager Allen Bulla took over as manager from Albert Parody and they have carried out a large overhaul of their squad. Local players like former Gib Utd centre half Lee Buhagiar and Jeremy Lopez joined the Red and Yellows amid a large number of local players signing for the club. As is customary they also have a fairly large non local contingent but they have lost Mosquera who was their defensive stalwart last year. United vs Lynx matches tend to be close run and well contested matches and in essence this 7th encounter between the clubs sees two massively overhauled sides clash in their opening match of the 2017/18 season.

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.

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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!

Seniors!

Michel was also keen to meet the senior squad and staff. He was introduced to First Team Manager, Manolo Sanchez Nuñez; Assistant Manager, Javier Sanchez Alfaro; Physio, Gavin Viñales; Coach, Chris Currer and goalkeeping coach Edgar Harrison.

Captain Robert Montovio also introduced Michel to every player in the squad and Michel also directed several words to the players extolling the virtues of sacrifice, dedication, hard work and effort.

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Senior squad, staff and club officials.

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Skipper Montovio introduces the squad.

Michel meets the Youth Divisions

After the formalities were over Michel was keen to get to the pitch to see our Youth Divisions at work. He has already stressed the importance of the grassroots level of football in his press interviews and he spent a whole training sessions with our youth teams, from Pre Leagues to Under 11s. As the President introduced him to our Youth Coaches Michel stopped here and there to shake hands or give pointers to some star struck boys and girls. He certainly had caused a sensation if the avalanche of photograph and autograph requests at the end of the session is anything to go by.

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The Future of Gibraltar United

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Michel passes on some tips from on defender to another.

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Star struck youngsters meet the new owner

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A New Chapter!

 

The news broke around 14:30 on Tuesday. Gibraltar United had gone into partnership with 2 time Champions League winner Michel Salgado of Real Madrid and Blackburn Rovers fame and Italian, but Dubai based, banker Pablo Victor Dana. President Paul Collado hosted a press conference at the HQ if Turicum Private Bank who were also unveiled as the club’s main sponsor.

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Paul, Michel and Pablo at the press conference.

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Paul stressed the club’s ambition in moving forward and the partnership that has been established is primarily focused in creating an Academy and fostering Youth Football. He also highlighted the possibilities that would open for the Senior side to and the benefits that a partnership with Mr Salgado would bring at a sporting level through his contacts and know how.

Michel was also keen to stress how excited he was to be involved in the project indicating the strength of the Gibraltar United brand and he felt this was ‘the start of something great’.  Mr Dana also stressed that the idea was not to ‘buy trophies’ but to earn them through hard work and grit; mirroring Michel’s career on the field of play.

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Michel and Pablo being presented with their Gib Utd strips.

After some interviews with local media and press Michel took his leave to meet with both the Senior and Junior squads at Pitch No 2.

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Certainly the news quickly set local twitter and international twitter feeds alight.

Gibraltar United Football Club vs Lincoln Red Imps Football Club

Match corresponding to the 2nd Round of the Gibraltarian Premier Division and played on Friday 30th September at 20:30.

Gibraltar United Football Club  0 – 2 Lincoln Red Imps Football Club

Gibraltar United Football Club

1  Kyle ‘Chino’ Goldwin
3  Ashley Perez
5  Jason Pusey
19 Brad Power
21 Erin Barnett
2  Carl Thomas
15 Aymen Mouheli
26 Ashely Rodriguez
24 Jamie Bosio
22 Naoufal El Andalussi
7   Robert Montovio (C)

SUBSTITUTES

Kaylan Rumbo on for Naoufal El Andalussi
Andrew Hernandez on for Ashley Perez

Match day 2 sees Gib Utd square up versus perennial champions Lincoln in the last league match before the International break. Manolo opted for a more defensive formation dropping Pishu Hernandez to the bench and adding more steel into the midfield by starting Mouehli as a defensive midfielder in a 5-1-3-1 formation. Anthony has injured himself in training this week and may likely miss the upcoming International games. Ashley Perez and Naufal El Andalussi make their first starts of the season in place of the aforementioned Pishu and Jamie Currer. Buoyed by the performance against Man 62 but aggrieved at the officiating in said game, Gib Utd’s players are seeking an improvement in their last performances against Lincoln who come into the game after putting Lynx to the sword 5-0 last time out.

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As was to be expected Lincoln were to dominate the possession stats. United’s solid defensive organisation however was to prove firm and difficult to break down despite the quality in Lincoln’s side. It was to be our Achilles’s Heel, a corner, that allowed Lincoln to get in their first goal 17 minutes in. In form Joseph Chipolina found himself with the ball at his feet after clearing a crowded area and he had no hesitation to drill it past his International colleague Chino. Credit however to the team who did not crumble as in these fixtures last year and quickly resumed their lines to carry on giving Lincoln a hard time of it.

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Joseph Chipolina charges into the box. Photo courtesy of JDK Photos.

Chino was called into action a number of times before half time as he denied Lee Casciaro and Roy Chipolina with solid saves and keeping the score at 1 nil as Mr Warwick blew for half time.

It was more of the same with Lincoln attacks breaking on the Gib Utd bulwark. Defensively very sound, but little going forwards. Little that is until Montovio made a play down one wing leaving Casciaro in his wake. Carl Thomas burst a gut on the other wing to find himself in space. Robert squared him the ball but the full back blasted over the bar with only the keeper to beat. Several minutes later however the diminutive George Cabrera found himself in space amid our defensive towers and was able to head in a Chipolina cross past Chino and into the net to settle the game at 2-0.

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Robert runs past Ryan Casciaro. Photo courtesy of JDK Photos.

A 2-0 defeat versus a Lincoln side that annihilated us last season is good evidence of the solid progress our squad is making. There is no doubt that Lincoln were made to work hard for this victory and United’s players left the field with their heads held high as these tweets from Jamie Bosio and Ashley Perez testify.

Photos from match versus Manchester 62 FC

Photographs are copyrighted to Club Official Photographer Christopher Milan.

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First line up of the season. 6 players make their debut.

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Chino denies the dangerous Toncheff.

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Anthony glides past Mark Casciaro.

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Erin rifles in the shot Robert turned in to make it 1-1.

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Keita punches clear.

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Carl Thomas stops Liam Clarke.

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Pishu is brought down by Andrew Lopez.

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Penno!

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Robert makes no mistake. 2-2.