Malta Football Association
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Apr 2, 2015
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Volume Four of this work by Maltese football historian, Carmel Baldacchino covers the period between 1949 and 1959.  This work, which is planned to go to ten volumes is recognised by the Malta Football Association as its official history.


 

The publication was presented to MFA President Mr. Norman Darmanin Demajo ahead of yesterday’s Council Meeting, by the author, Mr. Carmel Baldacchino and Mr. David Bezzina in representation of  Horizon as the publishers. Mr. Baldacchino and Mr. Bezzina also presented the MFA with a chart featuring all past Presidents, General Secretaries and Hon. Treasurers which held office since its foundation back in the year 1900.

 

This volume goes through in minute detail the late Forties and Fifties when the game in Malta was at its peak. 

 

The late Forties and early Fifties were constructive years for Maltese football. During this period the game rose gradually from the ashes of the Second World War and organised itself into the biggest and most popular pastime on the island.

 

The Fifties were years of abundance. The standard of the game was very high, and enthusiasm at its peak. The crowds for their part filled the terraces of the Stadium in their thousands. Those who were lucky enough to have lived through those glorious years will remember with nostalgia the host of great Maltese footballers who graced the game.

 

Who can ever forget the great Ajax team which reached its peak and took Maltese football by storm during the Fifties?  The Ajax were a symbol of a new generation which, having passed through the fires of destruction, emerged determined to succeed were others before it had failed.

 

The Ajax were a great team, but they were not alone. One must also mention the great Sliema Wanderers’ team of that era.  The Blues had a fine team which reached its peak in 1955-56 when it won the quadruple crown. The same can be said to a certain extent of Valletta, Hibernians and Hamrun Spartans. These three protagonist played second fiddle to the Sliema and Floriana but they had fine teams in their own right. In fact, every team in the First Division had its own quota of stars and this made football in those days of such a high standard.

 

This transformation period however, was not without its teething troubles. The Fifties were turbulent years as far as crowd behaviour was concerned. Hardly a game was played without some trouble between the players and the spectators, but somehow the game not only survived this difficult period but also produced some of the best players in the history of the game.

 

Malta’s first-ever international against Austria in 1957 served to whet the appetite of the Maltese for more international commitments, not only on a National level but also on a club level. This dream however could only be realized if Malta joined FIFA. This dream came true towards the end of the era but the first step towards this goal was taken on that faithful day in 1957 when the National team made its international debut on the bone-hard pitch of the Stadium against mighty Austria.

 

The 1959 FA Trophy final brought to an end one of the most memorable eras in the history of the game in Malta. It was also the start of the end of another era in the history of Maltese football. After more than 70 years of British dependence the MFA began to find its feet and take the first steps towards full independence.

 

In this volume the author has captured those great moments and this will surely revive many fond memories to those who still remember that glorious era.

 

Once again, as in the first three volumes Baldacchino has kept his story in chronological order.   The book is divided in four parts:

 

       Part 1:         Football in Malta

       Part 2:         The National Team

       Part 3:         Foreign Teams

       Part 4:         The A-Z of Maltese Football

 

While Parts 1 to 3 give the story of what was happening in Maltese football during the period covered by this volume, the narrative is supplemented by a huge amount of statistical data which makes this book a must for all football lovers.

 

Part 4 is a true encyclopaedia of Maltese football in that it lists all events, competitions, players, referees, coaches, officials, Maltese and foreign teams and football writers of the era.

 

 

 

 

 

The book which is published by Horizons is available from all leading bookshops in Malta and Gozo.

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