|Full name||Marsaxlokk Football Club|
|Founded||1949, as Marsaxlokk White Stars|
|Head Coach||Alessandro Ciantar|
|League||Maltese Second Division|
|2015–16||Maltese third Division 2015-16 Champions|
|Website||Club home page|
Marsaxlokk Football Club is a Maltese football club from the town of Marsaxlokk, which currently plays in the Maltese Third Division. The club was founded in 1949. Marsaxlokk won the Maltese Premier League title for the first time in their history, after finishing as league champions for the 2006–07 season. Marsaxlokk FC has its headquarters at Vendôme Tower, a historic 18th century redoubt.
Early years (1949–1954)
The first team to Marsaxlokk represented in competitions MFA were Beland City back in 1944. Although the team was formed within the Zejtun, they decided to represent to Marsaxlokk after the MFA adopted the scheme of representation of the district. In 1935, a group of individuals from Marsaxlokk decided to form a football team. Way back in 1894, there were already two teams based in Marsaxlokk, Delimara Wanderers and Tas-Silċ Rovers, but these were probably formed by service personnel stationed here. Therefore, the 1935 team could be taken as the first real attempt to set up a team in this peaceful fishing locality down south. Memories of the 1894 teams were probably still alive in the 1930s because the new team was named Delimara Rangers. Facilities were scarce. At times, they even had to borrow a ball from the Servicemen at the local RAF Station. The lads, however, did not give up. They found an abandoned field which, years after, was transformed into an RAF hanger as well as their training ground. This team, however, did not last long. Some friendly matches were played but the outbreak of the Second World War stopped their activities short. After World War II, a number of teams could be formed and in 1949 eventually team Marsaxlokk FC was formed. Marsaxlokk White Stars took part in the Amateur Cup and in 1955 they applied to take part in competitions organized by the MFA. The White Stars played their first friendly against Little Rainbows on 11 November 1949. The team from Marsaxlokk won 3–1. Other matches followed until 1953–54 when Marsaxlokk took part in the Amateur Cup organised by the Malta FA. Marsaxlokk played their first match in the competition on 29 March 1953, losing 0–4 to Sliema Shamrocks. The next season, they beat Mellieħa FC before losing 4–1 to Melita in the semi-finals. In 1955–56, Marsaxlokk White Stars applied successfully to take part in the Third Division but after only one year they were relegated and lost their league status. This was followed by a difficult period for the team from Marsaxlokk. Interest hit rock bottom and for the next 10 years the team only survived by taking part in amateur competitions. Then, in 1965, Marsaxlokk dropped the prefix White Stars from their name and re-applied to take part in the MFA League. Their application was accepted and that season they took part in the Third Division. The rest of their story was one of ups and downs. For many years the club alternated between the Third and Second Divisions The association held a series of play-offs to fill the gap that was left team Naxxar Lions in the Third Division. Nevertheless, after two years, the team decided to withdraw from the competitions MFA. In 1965, Marsaxlokk FC again applied to participate in the competitions of the MFA. The application was accepted. In season between 1965–66, they took part in the league of the Third Division, finished in third place and reached the final of the Knock Out. The season after, Marsaxlokk FC finished runner-up in both the league and in the Knock Out thereby gained promotion for the first time. But season after (1970–71) they were again relegated. The promotion to the second division again achieved the following season (1973–74). After an excellent season in the league, where they maintained a record without defeat, they lost against in Siggiewi Championship decider. They remained in the Second Division until the 1977–78 season when they were relegated.
After eight years in the Third Division, Marsaxlokk won Section B in 1985–86 to then been promoted to the Second Division. The season after, they failed to be promoted so fell again in the Third Division. However, in the 1991–92 season, they won the Third Division Section A with only one loss in Championship decider on penalties against Zejtun Corinthians.
Then, back in the Second Division, Marsaxlokk have set themselves until finally won the Second Division in 1999–2000, to eventually been promoted to First Division. In 2002–2003 season, Marsaxlokk were promoted for the first time in the Premier League having been crowned champions of the First Division Rothmans.
Then after two years in the Maltese Premier League, for the first time, Marsaxlokk wrote in their history the final of the FA Trophy. Although lost against champions Sliema Wanderers c, are qualified for the first round of UEFA Cup qualification where finally have met with NK Primorje of Slovenia.
Entering the League (1955–1957)
The club applied for a place in the Malta Football Association competitions in 1955. The Malta Football Association organised a series of play-offs to fill a vacancy left by Naxxar Lions in the Maltese Third Division.
Marsaxlokk went on to win the play-offs and secure a place in the Maltese Third Division, but following a lack of interest in the club, they opted out of Malta Football Association after just two years.
Re-entering the League (1965–1978)
In 1965, Marsaxlokk again applied to take part in the Malta Football Association competitions and their application was accepted. Marsaxlokk took part in the Maltese Third Division 1965/66, finishing in third place and reaching the final of the Knock-Out. The following season, the Southseasiders finished as runners-up in both the Maltese Third Division and again reached the knock-out.
They managed to win promotion to the Maltese Second Division for the first time in their history during the 1970/71 season, but were relegated the following season. The club again achieved promotion to Maltese Second Division in 1973/74, following an excellent league campaign where they held an unbeaten record, and only lost to Siggiewi in the championship decider.
Between the Maltese Third Division & the Maltese Second Division (1978–1992)
The club remained in the Maltese Third Division for eight years, before winning Section B in 1985/86 and as a result gained promotion back to Maltese Second Division. The promotion didn't last long and the club were relegated back to the Maltese Third Division the following season.
Some six seasons later Marsaxlokk found themselves back in the Maltese Second Division after winning the Maltese Third Division Section A, and only failed to clinch the championship decider to the Zejtun Corinthians on penalties.
Promotion to the Maltese First Division (1992–2000)
Marsaxlokk established themselves as a Maltese Second Division side for nearly a decade, until they finally won the Maltese Second Division for the first time in the history in 1999/00, and won promotion to the Maltese First Division.
Promotion to the Maltese Premier League (2000–2002)
With the club seemingly doing well, they spent just two seasons in the Maltese First Division.
Entering Europe (2003–2005)
Marsaxlokk failed in an attempt to sign England legend Paul Gascoigne. After two years in the Maltese Premier League, the Southseasiders managed to reach the final of the Maltese Cup in 2004; this was the first time the club had ever reached the final, and despite the club losing to the champions, the Sliema Wanderers.
Despite the fact that Marsaxlokk had lost in the final of the Maltese Cup, they qualified for the first qualifying round of the UEFA Cup where they met NK Primorje of Slovenia, losing 1–0 at home in the first leg and 2–0 in Slovenia in the return leg.
It was reported on 6 January 2003 that the ambitious Maltese club had made an attempt to sign former England legend Paul Gascoigne, but the club failed in any attempt, despite a reported salary of £12,500 a month, which would have been a record salary in Malta had Gascoigne agreed to the terms.
During the January transfer window of 2003/04, the club strengthened the squad further, with the signings of highly rated young Maltese midfield duo André Schembri from Hibernians and Cleavon Frendo from Pietà Hotspurs.
Marsaxlokk were showing real promise by this stage and were looking ready to challenge the likes of the Sliema Wanderers, Valletta and Birkirkara to major honours, and yet again signalled they were a side improving. However, the side finished in fifth place for the 2004/05 season, a place lower than their highest-ever league finish of fourth the season prior.
In the 2005/06 season, Marsaxlokk made some very interesting signings: Brazil-born striker Wendell Gomes and Portuguese ex-Boavista defender Nuno Gomes joined the club, along with Malta internationals, defender Carlo Mamo from the Sliema Wanderers and Jamie Pace from Valletta.
The club also pulled off the biggest transfer in their history on 6 August 2005, when they acquired the services of former English Premier League and former Sheffield Wednesday and Nottingham Forest player Chris Bart-Williams.
Despite all the hype surrounding Bart-Williams' move to Malta, he did not live up to the billing and the signing resulted in one of the biggest flops the club had ever experienced. Bart-Williams was soon on his way back home only managing eight appearances before having his three-year contract cancelled after only two months of signing it.
The club enjoyed a successful season and finished in the highest league position in their history, when they grabbed a third-place finish in the Maltese Premier League. The club also managed to qualify for the first round of the UEFA Intertoto Cup where they would meet the Bosnia and Herzegovina side HŠK Zrinjski Mostar; sadly for Marsaxlokk their European adventure didn't last for long as they were knocked out 4–1 over the two legs.
Winning the Maltese Premier League (2006–2007) season
The following season Marsaxlokk made some very impressive signings, acquiring the services of Maltese internationals, goalkeeper Justin Haber, defender Luke Dimech, midfielder Peter Pullicino and striker Daniel Bogdanovic along with Nigerian midfielder Haruna Doda.
With the club finishing in third position the previousseason, and with the list of impressive signings that had been made by manager Brian Talbot, the Marsaxlokk fans had every reason to be in an optimistic mood.
With the club doing well in the league the January transfer window arrived. The club swapped André Rocha da Silva for Udo Nwoko with Hibernians, both on loan deals until the end of the season. Shaun Bajada also left the club on loan until the end of the season, joining Msida Saint-Joseph.
The team again impressed during the league season, and were confirmed as champions with one game remaining. They even achieved a 4–1 defeat of the second-placed Sliema Wanderers on the penultimate day of the season with Cleavon Frendo, Jamie Pace, André Schembri and Daniel Bogdanovic all finding the net on the day.
Another award went back to Marsaxlokk when striker Daniel Bogdanovic finished as the league's top goalscorer with 31 goals in 28 appearances, and ended the season one goal short of Danilo Doncic's Maltese record of 32 goals in a season, set while playing for Valletta during the 2001/02 season.
Marsaxlokk started the 2007/08 season with more worries than the previous and many believe that Marsaxlokk will struggle to emulate the success of the 2006/07 season with the loss of some vital players such as Luke Dimech, Justin Haber, Daniel Bogdanovic all leaving, and André Schembri going on a season-long loan to German club Eintracht Braunschweig. The club also decided against renewing the contracts of duo Samir Garci and Haruna Doda. The club did however sign Englishman Daniel Webb following his release from Yeovil Town.
Following the team's triumph the previous season they were entered into the UEFA Champions League qualifying stages. Following so many player departures the club struggled to list a full 16 players in their debut match against FK Sarajevo, where the club only managed to list 13 players, and due to the club's lack of resources they lost the tie 9–1 on (agg).
Daniel Webb lasted just one game with the club, and returned to his native England to team up with AFC Wimbledon. The team have so far signed Maltese international William Camenzuli, along with the Brazilian trio of Renato Conceição, André Rocha da Silva and the re-signing of Wendell Gomes. The team also snapped up Mark Barbara on a season-long loan from Valletta.
The transfer window re-opened on 1 January 2008 with the club in seventh place after 12 games, taking a pretty bad beating from the newly promoted Ħamrun Spartans on 7 December 2007, where they were beaten 7–3.
On the transfer front the club released the Brazilian duo of Wendell Gomes and André Rocha da Silva by mutual consent (with the latter joining the Sliema Wanderers); this meant that two of the three foreigners at the club had now left, paving the way for two new foreigners to join the club during the January transfer period.
Marsaxlokk made their first signing of the January transfer window, when they acquired the services of Argentine striker Julio Alcorsé on loan from fellow Premier League side Hibernians. Marsaxlokk followed up the signing of Julio Alcorsé on 23 January, with Montenegro born striker Aleksandar Madžar, who joined on a free following his release from Sliema Wanderers.
Things took a turn for the better with the aforementioned changes within the striking department and it was the names of Julio Alcorsé and Aleksandar Madžar that would appear on the scoresheet regularly. Following the players' good form in front of the goal, Julio Alcorsé finished the season third in the top goalscoring charts with 12 goals and Aleksandar Madžar finished seventh with 10 goals to his name.
Marsaxlokk finally managed to clinch a second-place finish in the table, and grabbed a place in next season's UEFA Cup first qualifying round, a rather impressive achievement given the number of departures the team had to overcome in the season. The team rounded off the season with a fantastic 4–0 victory over newly crowned champions Valletta, with goals for the day coming from Jamie Pace, Stephen Wellman (x2) and Aleksandar Madžar.
Following the club's second-place finish during the 2007/08 season, they were seeded for the first qualifying round of the UEFA Cup. The draw was made on 1 July 2008, in which Marsaxlokk were drawn against Croatian outfit Slaven Belupo, who also finished second in their respective league last season.
On the transfer front long serving defender Charlo Magro announced his retirement, after five seasons with the club. André Schembri completed a season long loan at German outfit Eintracht Braunschweig, and will return to Germany for the current season, after joining Carl Zeiss Jena on another season long loan. Also departing are the influential midfield duo of Jamie Pace and Cleavon Frendo, who both signed with league champions Valletta, along with Montenegro striker Aleksandar Madžar who wasn't retained, and later went on to join Floriana. Young midfielder Gordon Mizzi will spend the season on loan with Maltese Third Division side Gzira United, in order to gain some valuable first team experience.
Joining the club are Valletta goalkeeper Saviour Darmanin, who struggled for first team appearances last year, with Valletta preferring Andrew Hogg in goal. Replacing Aleksandar Madžar as the club's third foreign player is Marcelo Pereira, who played last season for relegated Mqabba, and finished in second place in the league's goalscoring charts, with an impressive 14 goals. Last season's top goalscorer Julio Alcorsé and fellow striker Mark Barbara had their loan moves from Hibernians and Valletta respectively, extended for a further season.
On 8 July 2008, Marsaxlokk strengthened their squad further with the signings of midfielder Christian Cassar, who joined on a five-year contract from Floriana and defender Clive Brincat from St. George's, although the latter had spent last season on loan with Msida Saint-Joseph. Marsaxlokk also confirmed the signing of Malta vice captain and defender Brian Said from Sliema Wanderers along with fellow defender Arnold Buttigieg from St. Patrick the following day. However, goalkeeper Reuben Gauci and defender Shawn Tellus departed, both players signed season long loan deals with newly promoted side Qormi.
Marsaxlokk started the season on 28 August 2008 with an unimpressive draw against newly promoted Qormi, with Julio Alcorsé scoring a very late equaliser to cancel out an earlier goal Ivan to force a 1–1 draw.
Following a 2–0 defeat by holders Valletta, Marsaxlokk recorded their first win coming from two goals behind to beat Ħamrun Spartans 4–2, with goals from Malcolm Licari, Brian Said, Marcelo Pereira and Claude Mattocks.
Following a list of disappointing results, Marsaxlokk appointed Msida Saint-Joseph manager Patrick Curmi as the club's new manager on 18 December 2008, with previous manager Brian Talbot moving upstairs as the club's technical director.
Patrick Curmi's reign began with an unfortunate 1–0 defeat to Valletta, with former Marsaxlokk player Cleavon Frendo scoring the only goal, Curmi did taste his first victory in his fourth game with a 2–1 win over Floriana.
With Marsaxlokk still running the risk of finishing 7th and playing in the relegation pool, their fate would be sealed on the last day of the first phase with a game against Curmi's old club Msida Saint-Joseph. A Marsaxlokk win would mean the clubs would swap places in the league and condemn Msida Saint-Joseph to a place in the relegation pool. Patrick Curmi used his knowledge of his old club to mastermind a 2–1 win and claim the final place in the championship pool.
Marsaxlokk season did however have a sour note after an ongoing investigation into an allegation of bribery against player Claude Mattocks and team manager Peter Hartshorne. On 24 March 2009, both were convicted of bribery and sentenced to four months jail suspended for a year and fined €500. Both parties had pleaded guilty to trying to bribe Msida Saint-Joseph goalkeeper Matthew Camilleri in a fixture on 23 November 2008, the game ended 1–1. Following the verdict Claude Mattocks and Peter Hartshorne were both relieved of their duties with the club. Marsaxlokk concluded their season in impressive style, when despite a 2–1 defeat to Floriana the club managed a fourth-place finish.
Marsaxlokk FC were demoted into the First Division by the Board to Investigate Corrupt Practices.
Apart from being relegated, the club was also fined e4,000. Also, the MFA Executive Committee is expected to declare that the two matches already played by Marsaxlokk in the Premier League are null and void.
It was in view of the above that the board decided to relegate Marsaxlokk FC to the First Division with immediate effect and ordered the club to pay a fine of e4,000 to the MFA. It also said that unless the fine is paid, the club will not be allowed to take part in the MFA leagues.
It was also revealed the Board’s sentence (33 pages) approved by the MFA Executive Committee.
Thus, the southern seasiders have become the second club to be relegated after Vittoriosa Stars. And, like the Stars, they will now have to reduce their foreign players’ complement to just one player. At present they have three foreigners – Martin Deanov, Florin Raimi and Emil Yantchev – and have to retain Deanov (who has Maltese nationality) and one of the other two players. This, of course, in the eventuality that they also lose a possible appeal.
The Club still claiming its innocence, pursued its campaign in the First Division with fierce competition and at a heavy financial coat eventually winning the double honors of that season and claimed its Premier place once again.
During this time the Club started restructuring its facilities that of a new training ground completed with dressing rooms and other needy facilities.
After finishing sixth last season, the Southseasiders were due to start their BOV First Division campaign with an eight-point penalty after failing to pay before the 31st July deadline the amount of €28,000 – a condition which was tied to the issue of a licence to participate in Division 1 this coming season. However, since the club felt they would be unable to field a competitive squad, Marsaxlokk FC made a formal request to the association to start from the Third Division. The proposal which is being put forward states that the BOV First Division will be played with thirteen teams and not fourteen as originally scheduled. Therefore, no team will replace Marsaxlokk FC in Division 1. The increase from twelve to fourteen teams in the BOV First Division had been approved last season. On the other hand, with the addition of Marsaxlokk FC to the BOV Third Division 2013/14, the number of teams will increase from thirteen to fourteen. Marsaxlokk FC will still start with an eightpoint deduction. At the end of the coming season, two teams will be relegated from the BOV First Division to the BOV Second Division while three will be promoted from the BOV Second Division to the BOV First Division. On the other hand, three teams will be relegated from the BOV Second Division to the BOV Third Division but four will be promoted from the BOV Third Division to the BOV Second Division. Marsaxlokk FC had already withdrew its Youth team from the Youth League Section B. This led to a number of changes with Zebbug Rangers replacing them in Section B, Lija Athletic replacing Zebbug in Section C and Marsa replacing Lija Athletic in Section D.
The future of Marsaxlokk FC looked bleak after they failed to form a new committee, owing to a shortage of candidates, by the deadline stipulated in the Malta FA regulations. This scenario raised fears that Marsaxlokk might close down but the Malta FA responded to this crisis by taking over the running of the club on an interim basis in an effort to find a solution. A shock campaign was initiated and over a 100 new members conscripted into the Club and while some members produced their candidacy for a new committee. MFA Vice-President Dr Chris Bonett presiding over the Clubs General extraordinary meeting, told the new club members that the Members Status Committee within the Malta FA, which took charge of the club after it failed to submit the names of its officials as required by the association’s rules, will now advise the MFA council to officially recognise the new club committee. The new Marsaxlokk committee were given two months to provide the Malta FA with a new statute and accounts approved by its members with the aim that the delicate situation the club has experienced in the last two months will not repeat itself. The Malta FA added that its Member Status Committee, led by Dr Bonett, will keep monitoring the situation to enable the new committee to succeed in their work "so that the people of Marsaxlokk will have a football club built on solid foundations". With a new committee in place, Marsaxlokk were given the go-ahead to take part in the Division Three championship.
Footballer of the Year Award
For previous winners, see Maltese Player of the Year.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Club officials and coaching staff
See Marsaxlokk F.C. Managers
|John B Darmanin||1997–97|
Maltese Premier League Champions:
Maltese Cup Runners-Up:
Maltese First Division Champions:
Maltese First Division Knock-Out Winners:
Maltese Second Division Champions:
Maltese Third Division Champions:
Maltese Third Division Runners-Up:
1973–74, 1985–86, 1991–92
Maltese Third Division Section Winners:
1962–63, 1967–68, 1993–94
Maltese Third Division Knock-Out Winners:
|2004–05||UEFA Cup||1Q||NK Primorje||0–1, 0–2 (0–3 agg)|
|2006||UEFA Intertoto Cup||1R||HŠK Zrinjski Mostar||1–1, 0–3 (1–4 agg)|
|2007–08||UEFA Champions League||1Q||FK Sarajevo||0–6, 1–3 (1–9 agg)|
|2008–09||UEFA Cup||1Q||NK Slaven Belupo||0–4, 0–4 (0–8 agg)|