Premier Division

Gibraltar United vs St Joseph’s FC

Match corresponding to the 3rd Round of the Gibraltarian Premier Division and played on Friday 20th November 2017 at 20:30. Match report brought to you courtesy of Turicum Private Bank and Quantocoin.

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Gibraltar United 3 – 1 St Joseph’s FC

Roman (2)
Elghobashy

Gibraltar United

1   Kyle ‘Chino’ Goldwin
23 Andre De Oliviera Farinha
5   Erin Barnett
15 Aymen Mouelhi
2   Alberto Del Rio Fernandez
4   Yalany Baio
24 Jamie Bosio
20 Michael Negrette
17 Marco Meireles
8   Filipe Aguiar
19 Manuel Roman Salado

SUBSTITUTES

Ayman Elghobashy on for Manuel Roman Salado
Igor Djoman on for Michael Negrette
Yassine Idouaziz on for Filipe Aguiar

Injuries and the performance against Man 62 have moved Manolo into shuffling his pack. With Brad out after injuring his ankle against Man 62, Erin comes in to partner Aymen in defence while both Aguiar and Negrette start to provide the width so sorely missed last time out. Elghobashy drops to the bench alongside Ramalho as United look to exploit their pace against a tough St Jospeh’s side.

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Photo courtesy of Rough and Ready

It was a perfect evening for football with little wind and a balmy, early autumn temperature as both teams took the field of play. St Jospeh’s were looking to continue their 100% start to the season while United looked to put the disappointing performance against Man 62 behind them.

It was a cagey start but United looked menacing when going forward. Roman was keen to exploit his pace from the off, as it turned out this was the key facet of the match. While Aguiar and Negrette sought to widen the pitch at every given opportunity. It was from a Aguiar cross that United got their breakthrough in the 6th minute of the match. Robba in the St Joseph’s goal came out and fumbled what seemed a run of the mill catch. Roman, hovering on the keeper’s blind side was rewarded with a gift of a ball as it sailed through the keeper’s hands. A simple point blank range header and Roman had finally broken his duck and put the misses on Sunday behind him. United 1-0 up and game on.

St Joseph’s sought to get back into the game and fought hard for it. The centre backs relied on their physicality to control Roman’s lightning bursts of speed while up front JP Duarte tried to stretch our defence perfectly marshalled by Erin and Aymen. Indeed the match went through periods were it resembled a pitch battle. These are the scenarios in which Baio and Bosio excel in. They broke up St Joseph’s attempts to create and the Blue and Whites resorted to longer and longer balls as thier playmakers were squeezed out of time and space.

The one time they were afforded space St Jospeh’s equalised and what a goal it was! Ferrer was given the freedom and time to turn full about 35 meters from the goal. He was given the time to line up his shot and let loose a well placed, powerful shot that left Chino with no chance. There is no denying the quality of the finish but Ferrer was largely allowed to set up the goal with no pressure at all. Great timing for the Saints as the goal came while they were dominating the midfield. United however have a rapier up front.

Untied’s lead was once again restored by Roman. His harrassing of the Saints’ playmakers saw him exploit his pace once again as he bored on Robba like an arrow. The keeper started to come out of his line as the striker closed in, the Blue and White defence trailing behind him. Roman looked up saw Robba’s postion and drilled a shot past him to the far post. As the ball nestled into the net Roman and the team wheeled away in celebration with the half time whistle close on their heels.

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The second half however proved to be an exciting 45 minutes of football. Both teams came out all guns blazing to gain the lead. St Jospeh’s looked a bit more creative and forced Chino into his only save of the game but they exhibited little real danger after that. Roman however was denied a hat trick. Once again he outfoxed the Saints’ defence using a mix of guile and pace and it was only a bobble on the Victoria’s surface that came to Robba’s resuce as he faced Roman for the third time.

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He was subbed soon after and received the applause of United supporters as a well deserved plaudit. The rapier was replaced by the broadsword. In Elghobashy we have a different type of forward relying more on sheer power and close ball control. As is his want, he began harrasing the tiring St Joesph’s defence and it was clear they could not handle him. He had a number of chances and buried his second one after rounding Robba and tapping into an empty net. Had he shown more composure a few minutes later he would have doubled his tally for the match.

Mention as well to Marco Meireles who demonstrated his experience and nuance in controlling the ball and the game masterfully for the last 25 minutes. He seemed to be everywhere at once, supporting the defence and sending balls forward for Ayman to chase. It was a night to remember for all in Red and White as Mr Murphy called time on the game. Our first win versus St Joseph’s and a good performance to bolster morale before our next game against in form Lions FC.

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Match Preview: St Joseph’s FC

Match preview brought to you courtesy of Quantocoin and Turicum Private Bank

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Record against St Joseph’s FC

Played: 6
Won: 0
Drawn: 1
Lost: 5

Last result: 0 – 0 (9-4-2017)

Manager: Raul Procopio
Captain: Ivan Gonzalez Lobato
Top Scorer 16/17: John Paul Duarte

Another historic name of local football. Founded in 1912 St Joseph’s is the South District Team and have one league title to their name and 9 Rock Cups, the most recent coming in 2013. A regular in the top division St Joseph’s qualified for European competition for the first time last season and participated in the qualifiers for this season’s UEFA Europa League.

Chino gave us his prematch thoughts, ‘the squad has been more focused since the Man 62 game and everyone is eager to get the game started and get back to winning ways, however as always it will be a tough match against St Joseph’s and we are under no illusion it will be an easy game’

St Joseph’s have finished 3rd for the past two seasons and have been a very consistent team for the past few seasons. Despite a decent 0-0 draw last time out St Joseph’s have always been a tough nut to crack but the squad is eager and has been working hard to improve on Sundays result and the game promises to be an exciting one. Kick off Friday at 20:30

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Manchester 62 FC vs Gibraltar United

Match corresponding to the 2nd Round of the Gibraltarian Premier Division and played on Sunday 15th October 2017 at 16:30. Match report brought to you courtesy of Turicum Private Bank and Quantocoin.

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Gibraltar United 1 – 1 Manchester 62 FC

Bosio

Gibraltar United

1   Kyle ‘Chino’ Goldwin (C)
23 Andre De Oilveira Farinha
6   Brad Power
15 Aymen Mouelhi
2   Alberto Del Rio Fernandez
24 Jamie Bosio
4   Yalany Baio
10 Filipe Da Cruz Ramalho
17 Marco Meireles
19 Manuel Roman Roman
9   Ayman Elghobashy

SUBSTITUTES

Filipe Aguiar on for Filipe Da Cruz Ramalho
Michael Negrette on for Ayman Elghobashy
Erin Barnett on for Brad Power

United field a strong looking team with a view to build upon their strong start to the season. Elghobashy makes his first Premier Division start for the club while Aymen Mouehli comes in for Barnett at the back. Elsewhere is as it was last time out with Aguiar on the bench along with Marcelo, Prescott and De Torres who are looking to make their debuts off the bench.

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Gibraltar United XI

United kicked the match off with the strong, blustery Easterly wind in their favour. It was clear from the beginning that Man 62’s effort was going to be largely to contain United’s attacking forays and use the pace and height of front man, Adams, to harass Ayman and Brad. The early phases of the match were characterised by lengthy spells of Gib Utd possession but little penetration of note.

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Ayman tussles with Crisp

Elghobashy looked to charge at the defence whenever he got the ball but perhaps tried a little too hard while Roman was looking to his pace to give him the advantage over the solid Man 62 defence. The early breakthrough however was achieved 10 minutes into the game. A short corner was played to Ramalho and he delivered a pin point cross to the man 62 far post. There it was met by the head of Jamie Bosio who gave United the lead. A deserved lead at the time that despite the lack of goal mouth action, was just reward for the pressure being asserted.

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Marco on the ball.

The match then settled down in a fairly turgid routine until the last 5 minutes or so. Man 62 consistently looked for Adams and on the one occasion they found him they nearly equalised. The front man out muscled Mouehli and skipped past Chino, the goal beckoned but there, to sweep up was the majestic Baio who scooped the ball off the forwards toe and over the bar into a corner. A tremendous show of defensive midfield play by the former Liverpool FC youth player. With Mr Warwick calling time on the first half shortly after United breathed easily as they maintained their slender lead.

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Baio tracking back!

United started the second half with a quick substitution when Aguiar replaced goal maker Ramalho. Manolo had realised the lack of width was accounting for the little penetration in the team. With Aguiar on the left and the subsequently introduced Negrette on the right United had the aforementioned width. By that time however United had only one forward on the pitch as Negrette had replaced the quiet Elghobashy that had run himself to the ground.

What followed where two very clear United chances in front of the goal that should have really seen the game put to bed. Firstly it was Roman who had been put through one on one against Tellez on goal. His pace left the defence behind, but his finishing made it easy for the Man 62 keeper that left the score at 1-0. A few minutes late Negrette cross in a peach of a pass to leave Roman with a tap in that was put over the bar by the forward when he should have buried it.

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Catania in hard on Roman.

Football’s age old adage of rueing missed chances ultimately was our downfall. Man 62 had kept fighting for the 90 minutes of the match and their stubbornness and determination paid off to our detriment. Despite a two footed challenge on Baio by Catania, a challenge that the referee waved of as consequential, Man 62 surged upfield and won an innocuous free kick on the right side of our box. A well delivered ball to the far post saw it met by the onrushing centre half Vargas who buried the ball past Chino and restoring parity on the scoreboard. With the match concluding shortly after United fans were left wondering how the 3 points had escaped us. Credit to Man 62’s battling nature through the 90 minutes. A tough result to take but on to St Joseph’s on Friday at 20:30

 

 

Match Preview: Manchester 62 FC

Match preview brought courtesy of Turicum Private Bank

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Record versus Manchester 62 FC

Played: 7
Won: 2
Drawn: 2
Lost: 3

Last Result: 0 – 3 (5-3-17)

Manager: Jose Manuel Manzanero Prieto
Captain: Aaron Duran
Top Scorer 16/17: Aaron Payas

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Manchester 62 is another of those classic names associated with football on the Rock. Founded in 1962 with the name of Manchester United, with official permission from the Club in England, they changed their name upon Gibraltar’s entry into UEFA. They have won the league 7 times and their Reserve side hold the distinction of being the only Reserve side to win the Rock Cup in 1977.

Man 62 finished 9th in the 16/17 season only retaining their Premier Division status by emphatically defeating 2nd Division Runner’s up FC Bruno’s Magpies in the playoff. The Summer has seen the departure of top scorer Aaron Payas and playmaker Fran Mejias. Former United defender Jaydan Catania joined their ranks in July and they were hard done by not to get a point in their opening fixture of the 17/18 season versus St Joseph’s.

Despite losing heavily in our last encouter, United v Manchester matches tend to be close fought and tough affairs. Last year we shared the spoils in the league with a win, a draw and a loss each in our three encounters. The Red Devils also knocked us out of the Rock Cup in the Second Round. United, currently second, look to build upon the solid start made to the season. Match kicks off at 16:30, Sunday 15th October.

Premier Division 1st Round Review

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Lions’ great win over Europa FC closed the 1st round of the Premier Division late on Wednesday evening with a surprising 2-1 victory. With Lincoln setting a blistering pace following a 4-0 win over Glacis United earlier in the evening everyone has now played their first game of the 17/18 Season.

Gibraltar Phoenix claimed their maiden Premier victory over 10 man Mons Calpe while St Jospeh’s laboured against a well disciplined Manchester 62 to gain a 2-1 win in the league’s opening fixture. With United beating Lynx the first table of the season sees us second. Very early days but certianly a morale booster for the squad going into the second round of matches in a fortnight’s time.

Round One Results

Manchester 62 FC (Lopez Luque)     2   1 St Joseph’s FC (Delgado, Lorenzo)
Gibraltar United (Aguiar, Elghobashy)     2   0 Lynx FC 0
Mons Calpe SC (Sastrie)     1   2 Gibraltar Phoenix FC (Pecino, Benavente)
Lincoln Red Imps FC (Garcia 3, Bardon)     4   0 Glacis United 0
Lions FC (Gallardo Monje, Chipolina)     2   1 Europa FC (Moya)

Round Two Fixtures

Europa FC     Vs Mons Calpe SC
Lynx FC     Vs Lions FC
St Joseph’s FC     Vs Glacis United
Manchester 62 FC     Vs Gibraltar United
Gibraltar Phoenix FC     Vs Lincoln Red Imps FC

League Table 28-9-2017

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Gibraltar United vs Lynx Football Club

Match corresponding to the 1st Round of the Gibraltarian Premier Division and played on Monday 25th September 2017 at 21:00. Match report brought to you courtesy of Turicum Private Bank

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Gibraltar United 2 – 0 Lynx Football Club

Aguiar
Elghobashy

Gibraltar United

1   Kyle ‘Chino’ Goldwin (C)
23 Andres De Oliveira Silva Farinha
6   Brad Power
5   Erin Barnett
2   Alberto Del Rio Fernandez
4   Yalany Baio
24 Jamie Bosio
10 Filipe Da Cruz Ramalho
17 Marco Meireles
8   Filipe Aguiar
19 Manuel Roman Salado

SUBSTITUTES

Ayman Elghobashy on for Filipe Da Cruz Ramalho
Michael Negrette on for Marco Meireles
Igor Djoman on for Jamie Bosio

The Premier Division is finally back and it sees United face off against Lynx FC in our first match of the 2017/18 season. United give debuts to 7 new summer signings in a new look line up. Chino has taken permanent ownership of the Captain’s armband, while Brad and Erin form the first centre half partnership of the season. Elsewhere it sees a debut for Aguiar, Meireles, Ramalho and Roman in a formidable attacking line up backed up by Bosio and Baio in midfield. Alberto and Farinha also make their debuts in the full back positions. De Torres and Negrette sit on the bench awaiting their chance following an Under 21 call up.

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A blustery, Westerly day greeted United for their first match of the season against Lynx F.C. The match was preceeded by a minutes silence in memory of the passing of Mr Hidalgo Calvente, father to Pedro one of our coaches. The silence was observed impecably by all in attendance and our thanks go to the GFA and Lynx FC for agreeing to it.

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Impeccably observed.

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1…2…3…GIBRALTAR

United’s attacking intent was clear for all to see from the kick off as Roman kicked off the game. The native of Amsterdam was playing his first game for the club, one of 7 players making their debut from the start (3 more were to make their first appearance from the bench). Jamie Bosio touched upon this in a post match interview, ‘we’ve upped the intensity in our training and preseason matches and even though the team is completely new, it feels like we’ve known each other for a long time already. Today’s performance wasn’t the display of a team playing their first competitive game together which is excellent for us.’ Certainly the hard work preseason is starting to pay instant dividends.

Roman’s devillish pace was creating problems for Lynx since the off. His incessant hounding of the centre backs meant Lynx could not create from the back and they resorted to long balls which were inveitbaly picked up by Yalany Baio. The former Liverpool FC youth player was immense tonight. He was almost everywhere at once covering his defence while winning the second ball and then passing it on to the likes of Meireles and Pipo to create. Indeed United, despite a slow start, grew into the game and began to dominate the match. Chances came for Roman and Aguiar as United’s pressure began to tell.

However credit to Lynx and Allen Bulla who fought back and were more or less on an even pegging by half time. Credit too to the refereeing team lead by Mr Murphy who at all times let the ball flow and applied common sense to their appliction to the Rules of the game. Lynx’s attacking focus was clearly their gigantic forward Gargiulo that towered over everyone on the field. Erin and Brad pefrectly marshalled the Argentine striker who at no time was allowed to take advantage of his prodigious height. A defensive masterclass by the Gibraltarian internaitonals. Brad had this to say, ‘it was a tough but satisfying duel with their striker. We knew exactly what he was going to offer and how he would try to link up play with the players around him. A physical battle is something which I relish and I feel the defence as a whole came out on top yesterday. I have a very good understanding with Erin at the back and we dealt with everything he threw at us. Baio also did an excellent job of winning the second balls.’ Mr Murphy called time on the first half with United feeling pleased with themselves.

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Mr Murphy calls Half Time

The second half kicked off in the same vein and apart from a shot from sub Cano it was all United. Roman had two chances saved while the midfield and defence confidently contained Lynx’s forrays. Manolo moved his bench on the 70th minute and the subs were to have a dramatic impact on the game. Micheal Negrette came on for Pipo and striker Ayman Elghobashy replaced Meireles who had taken a knock. Negrette in particular, was to have a instant impact. He moved to the right flank as Nuñez moved to a 4-4-2 formation. His first peach of a cross was met by the other sub Elghobashy, unmarked on the penalty spot. Whether it was nerves or the fact that the ball was perfect or that he was totally unmarked, he scuffed his lines and missed the header. Another chance going by the wayside.

Yet as usual United kept on plugging and the team got its just rewards on the 80th minute when Roman was found by Elghobashy wide on the ride. He delivered an pin pint accurate cross to Aguiar who was rushing unmarked into the left side of the area; a deft touch to set it up with his left and bang, a cross hit ball that cannoed off the far post into the net. A goal of immense quality in all of its three phases. United deservedly in the lead!

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Aguiar receives the plaudits of his team mates.

Euphoria on the stands and on the pitch as United continued to surge forward. Negrette was pinging them in from the right and Roman was driving the Yellows mad with his pace and guile. The last act, however was to belong to El Ghobashy. Baio spread the ball to Farinha who found Negrette on the right. One touch, quick look up and youngster floated in another peach that found Ayman far post. He won his tussle with the defender and thrusted the ball into the net for a dream debut goal!!! United 2-0 with 90 minutes on the clock.

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El Ghobashy introduces himself to local football.

Lynx finally had the fight drained out of them and the final four minutes of added time were inconsequential as Mr Murphy whistled for the end of the game United supporters applauded their heroes off the field. A highly anticipated match had delivered and United’s players had banged loudly on the table. Captain Chino spoke to us after the game and said, ‘ this win was vital in order to kick start our campaign on the right foot. The team performed very well considering we have a few new players.’ 3 points and a job well done!

 

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.

Captain’s Chat

With the start of the league barely 5 days away we decided to catch up with our new look Captains for the season.

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Chino, Brad and Jamie with the Club’s new training gear.

The captain’s armband had been left vacant once Robert Montovio left the playing staff and it was Michel Salgado himself who announced Chino as Club Captain at the Club Gala Night held in June. Brad Power and Jamie Bosio were named as Vice Captains for the season and they took time out of  a busy preseason training programme to answer a few questions.

It has been a very busy transfer window with many players leaving and many more coming in to reinforce the squad and the Skippers addressed the issue for us. Chino for one was pleased to see the influx of new players and stated the Club should be praised for the efforts. Brad likewise welcomed the reinforcements claiming that, ‘the club has added quality in different areas of the pitch. Goals is something which we lacked last season but our new additions this year will address that issue and allow us to hopefully get more results and points on the board.’ Sentiments that were echoed by Jamie, ‘ I think we’ve signed some very decent players with plenty of experience of playing in different leagues that could prove vital this year.’

Preseason started very early this year with the players hitting the beach as early as 29th July and have played a substantial number of preseason friendlies, essential to the gelling of a new squad. Chino’s thoughts on the matter were, ‘ This year preseason has had a different but positive feel about it as the club has changed its philosophy. Its has been far more professional and competitive. We have played lots of friendlies where the new players have made their mark and raised the bar as a whole for the club.’

Both Brad and Jamie agreed with Chino with the latter further adding, ‘all in all I think the preparation has been ideal. Many hours of work will hopefully show come the start of the season.’ All three also agreed that the standard of professionalism across the Club had been raised and it was being felt on the training pitch with Brad highlighting the intensity during the sessions and the knock on positive effects that was having.

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We kick off aginst Lynx F.C. this coming Monday at 21:00 and all three were asked about their expectations for the match.

Chino answered, ‘Monday’s game will no doubt be a tough game as its always is against a resilient lynx but everyone is upto the task and securing those first 3 points is vital for a positive start.’

Brad expressed similar sentiments, ‘everyone is buzzing for kick off and our final preparations are almost complete. We have a game plan and although both teams have changed a lot from last season we are hoping for a positive start to get confidence right from the off. We’ll go into the season game by game and as we continue to gel as a squad we will hope to be looking further up the table this season.’

Finally Jamie aslo responded, ‘ Lynx are always a tough side to come up against. They usually invest heavily each summer, so we are expecting no different. They will be well-drilled under Bula and I’m sure he will want a positive start to the campaign on Monday like we do. It’ll be a gritty game and I’m really looking forward to getting the ball rolling.’

The Captains and the squad are raring to go and as they strode off onto the training pitch Chino, Brad and Jamie exuded quiet confidence that Gibraltar United was ready for the season to come and impatient to get the ball rolling!

Vi Et Animo, Ad Victoriam!

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!