Mosta F.C. (History 1935 - 2000)
Even though interest in football in Mosta started about eighty-five years ago, around the time of the First World War, the town did not manage to have its own football team in the MFA until 1935.
Naturally, football teams did exist in Mosta before 1935, but these were not well-organized and did not take part in MFA competitions. The first team from Mosta to take part in an MFA competition did so in 1935, when it took part in the Fourth Division.
For a while afterwards, the name "Mosta United F.C." (the original name of the Mosta team) could be seen in the MFA League Tables. This was not the real Mosta team, but a team of Sliema youngsters that played in the MFA Fourth Division under the name of the Mosta team. During this time, the real Mosta team only played friendly matches.
In 1938 the Mosta football ground was completed. This ground became known as the Creasy Ground, and it gave football in Mosta a new lease of life.
In the 1939/40 season Mosta United F.C. changed their name to Mosta Rovers F.C. and applied to play in the MFA Third Division. But, due to an argument between the football clubs in this division and the management of the Mile End Ground, where the matches were played, this league was cancelled and the Mosta team was left without a competition to take part in. After this, due to the Second World War, all football in Malta stopped.
When the bombing raids over Malta began to decrease, the MFA began once again to organize football competitions, and in the 1943/44 season, Mosta was represented by Mosta Olympics in the Third Division. This team had a short life as well, only taking part in two seasons.
In the 1946/47 season, under the name of Mosta Athletics, Mosta once again took part in the Third Division. This was the first season in which the matches were played in the Schreiber Sports Ground (nowadays known as Pace Grasso). The Mosta minors team took part in this ground’s inauguratory match, beating the Birzebbuga minors 2-0. Mosta player Lolly Scicluna, who later on joined Valletta, scored the first goal scored in a competition in this ground. In this season the primary Mosta team finished fourth in the Third Division, and was eliminated in the Semi-Final of the Knockout by Hibernians’ third team, after two replays.
In the following season Mosta Athletics went one step further, this time reaching the Final of the Knockout. Once again, they were beaten by Hibernians, losing 1-2 after a replay.
In the 1948/49 season, a vacancy was created in the Second Division, and Mosta Athletics were the team chosen to fill this vacancy. From this season until 1962/63, Mosta kept their place in the Second Division. The closest we ever came to winning their first competition was when, on two occasions, we made it to the Final of the Knockout. The first time was in the 1957/58 season, when Marsa beat Mosta 1-3, and the second time was in the 1961/62 season, when we lost 0-1 against Rabat Ajax.
In the following season (1962/63), we were releg
ated to the Third Division, where we played for two consecutive seasons, which ended with the first honours for Mosta Football Club. In the 1963/64 season Mosta once again reached the Final of the Knockout, but lost 0-1 against Senglea Ath. However, in the following season (1964/65), Mosta became champions of the Third Division, also winning the Minors Section. This was also the year in which Mosta FC moved into 38/40 Eucharistic Congress Road, its address to the present day.
The Mosta team kept its position in the Second Division until the 1967/68 season, when it was once again relegated to the Third Division. The following season was to be the best up to that time for Mosta FC. In this season (1968/69), Mosta FC won promotion to the Second Division, as well as winning the Reserves and Minors Section.
Once again in the Second Division, the Committee made a serious attempt to gain promotion to the First Division. The Committee managed to obtain the services of several well-known players, for a "record" sum (at the time) of Lm1,200.
This attempt failed and the following year Mosta, together with Rabat Ajax, would have been relegated to the Third Division, were it not for the MFA’s decision to increase the number of teams in the First and Second Divisions to ten.
In the beginning of the 1971/72 season, the Committee elected Tony Cutajar to the position of Coach. Thanks to his work, with the co-operation of the many young players he introduced. With the help of the Committee and the backing of many supporters, the Mosta team was rejuvenated and was the only one of the four teams the MFA kept playing in the Second Division that was not relegated. In fact, the Mosta team finished in fourth place, and it was only narrowly that Mosta failed to obtain promotion to the First Division.
Everyone was optimistic about the following season, and this optimism was well-founded. The 1973/74 season will surely remain one of the most important seasons in the history of this club. It was the season in which Mosta finally won promotion to the highest division of Maltese football. The promotion was ascertained on Sunday the 28th of April 1974, with the 2-1 victory against Little Rainbows. The strength of the Mosta squad was visible in the fact that, in the same season we also won the Reserves Section.
The 1974/75 was the season in which Mosta first played in the First Division. The team’s debut was a 0-1 defeat against Floriana on Saturday the 12th of October 1974. Unfortunately, this season was an almost complete disaster because the Mosta team only managed to accumulate three points, and therefore was immediately relegated back to the Second Division. The first and only win in the highest division was the 3-1 win over Zebbug R.
Between the 1975/76 season and the 1977/78 one, the primary Mosta team went through a quiet period. However, during this time, interest was growing, especially in youngsters. Obviously this interest was generated by the fact that a lot of talent was present in Mosta, something which is still evident in the present day. It is enough to say that in only six seasons, between 1972/3 and 1977/78, the Mosta Minors team managed to win its section three times and in all three occasions managed to reach the Final of the Intersection knockout in this category. In the 1972/73 and 1976/77 seasons the Mosta teams lost this final (0-1 against Hibernians on the first occasion and 1-2 against Floriana on the second occasion), but in the 1977/78 season Mosta became the Malta Youth Champions for the first time, following a 2-0 win over Valletta, thanks to goals scored by P.Gauci and P.Vella II.
In the 1978/79 season, Mosta were very close to once again gaining promotion to the First Division. In that year, the championship was divided into two sections, and Mosta were the winners of Section A. Unfortunately, after the play-offs Mosta finished in third place behind Birkirkara and Zebbug R. In the beginning of this season, the first pre-season tournament in Malta was organized. This was the Mosta Tournament, which is still held to the present day. The mind behind this tournament was Paul Muscat, then the Club Secretary.
In 1979/80 the MFA decided to introduce a new division: the Premier Division, which was to start in the following season. As a consequence of many bad results, Mosta FC found themselves relegated to the Second Division, which was equivalent to the Third Division of previous years. Until the 1982/83 season Mosta had a quiet period and kept its place in the Second Division.
Joe Attard was appointed Coach at the start of the 1983/84 season, and a reform was started in the first team with the introduction of young, local players. The season ended on a positive note when, after a series of positive results, the team finished in third place.
In this period, another drive was made to improve football among youths in Mosta. It was in this season that Mosta FC introduced the Under 14 and Under 16 teams. This was a period when the Youths team won their section for three seasons in a row, that is, 1983/84, 1984/85, 1985/86. On two of these occasions, the team even advanced to the Final of the Intersection knockout but on both occasions ended up on the losing side.
In the season 1984/85, the Club celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of its foundation. It was also the season that the Club won the most honours in any one season in its history. The team was champion of the Second Division, also winning promotion to the First Division. Best Player and Top Scorer were both awarded to Mosta players. The Club also won their respective section for the Under 21, Youths and Under 16 leagues, with the Under 16 team advancing on to become Malta Champions in this category, after a 1-0 victory over Sliema Wanderers
. Incidentally, this was the first match played at the National Stadium in Ta’ Qali in which a Mosta team was involved.
In its first season (1985/86) in the First Division, Mosta FC put on a good show, finishing third in this division. The following season (1986/87) brought about the highest honour ever won by Mosta FC since its foundation. This is because they were Champions of the First Division, thus winning promotion to the Premier Division. In this period, the Club also managed to get their first ever official sponsor - Attard Bros. Ltd. of Ta’ Qali.
In the Premier Division, the team was still under coach Joe Attard. For the first time, Mosta FC engaged two foreign professional players. These were the Bulgarians Hristo Sotirov and Borislav Gyorev.
Although life in the Premier Division was difficult especially in the first round, after a few changes, some very positive results were obtained, keeping our team hopeful of remaining in the Premier Division. Following wins against Floriana, B’Kara, Valletta and Hibernians and another draw against Floriana, our team was denied the chance of retaining its place in the Premier Division when, in the last game of the league, Hamrun Spartans, who had just won the Championship, could only obtain a draw against B’Kara, a result which condemned Mosta to relegation into the First Division.
The following year was to be a year of change for Mosta FC. Back in the First Division, it was decided to rebuild the team with youngsters product of the same Club. For this goal, ex-National Team coach Guentcho Dobrev was engaged. Dobrev was given a squad of thirty youngsters from which to build a team which could challenge again for promotion into Premier.
In this season (1988) Mosta FC founded its Nursery. The two main people behind the foundation of the Mosta FC Nursery were Architect Ludovico Micallef (later he was elected as Vice-President of the MFA) and Norman Saliba, who at that time held the post of Secretary of Mosta FC.
The work being done by Dobrev started bearing fruit following the first half of the season, in which Mosta FC were occupying last place, but in the second round, after a series of convincing wins, Mosta were again challenging for promotion.
The following season (1989/90) Mosta FC put on a very good show, ending joint second with B’Kara, losing out on promotion to the Premier Division when they lost 2-0 in the decider against B’Kara. In the FA Trophy, again Mosta played very well, bowing out in the Semi-Final by losing 1-0 to Sliema Wanderers. One thing of note during this season is that two players from Mosta FC were chosen to form part of the National Team. The players were Richard Buhagiar and Mark Farrugia.
During the season 1990/91, although finishing third, the team did not produce the same quality of football as in the previous year. Signs showed that what was built up in the previous two years was on the verge of collapsing. A crucial point was the loss of international player Richard Buhagiar to Floriana.
More evidence of this collapse was when the Committee decided not to extend Mr. Dobrev’s contract. Charles Agius (ex-player) was given the role of coach for the next season. This proved to be a disastrous season, with the team being relegated to the Second Division.
Meanwhile, however, the Club Nursery started bearing its fruit. In the space of four years, that is, seasons 1989/90 – 1992/93, the Under 18 team always won their section, whilst reaching their peak in the 1990/91 season by being crowned Under 18 Malta Champions. In 1992/93, the team also reached this Final, but this time lost out 2-1 against Qormi.
The 1992/93 season was to be the season when one single team won the most honours, although in an inferior division. Under coach Ronnie Cocks, the team won its section after a 1-0 win in the decider against Marsaxlokk, and also won the decider against neighbours Naxxar after a penalty shootout, thus winning the Second Division Championship and promotion to the First Division. Mosta FC also won the Knockout Competition for Second and Third Division, beating Sirens 3-1 in the Final, with goals coming from P.Vella, M.Farrugia and I.Galea. This season saw the foundation of the Mosta FC Supporters Club.
For the following three seasons, Mosta FC put on some good shows, alternating with not so very good shows, thus having to make do with third and fourth placings in the final standings. As a result of this, the enthusiasm that was previously present started diminishing, and the Club started to experience financial difficulties. Another thing of note was that during this period, the youth product of the Club was finding it more and more difficult to win a place in the first team.
In these last two years, the Club has probably gone through the worst time of its history. The first team, on the last two consecutive seasons, was continually fighting for relegation. To make matters worse, the Club was experiencing great difficulties financially as well as administratively. There was also a rift between club management and Nursery management, which, at a certain point, led to the Nursery administration being dissolved. But after a series of discussions, this was again set up to continue its valuable work.
Some positive moments to look at during this period were that the Under 18 team was still doing well, being crowned Under 18 National Champions in the 1995/96 season, the foundation of the Female Football Team in 1996/97, and also the winning of the Under 21 section for three conse
cutive years between 1995 and 1998.
In season 1999-2000 during the Annual General Meeting Charles Abela was appointed as Mosta F.C. new president instead of Winston Fenech.Also in this AGM President Charles Abela said that Mosta F.C. will be promoted to Premier Division after three years.In this year our team had a difficult season and finished in seventh place.Under the guidance of former Bulgarian player Borislav Giorev the Mosta F.C. team in the 2000-2001 season the team managed to finish in fifth place and in third season the team won PROMOTION to Premier Division together with Marsaxlokk.The committee made a lot of signings like Paul Zammit, Albert Busuttil, Stefan Farrugia, Kevin Loughborough, Frank Ellul and Charles Sciberras.The team finished in second place four points behind Marsaxlokk.
Back in Premier Division after sixteen years was magnificent. Our team although relegated had some positive results under the guidance of Vincent Carbonaro.A win over Hibernians and Floriana 2-1 and 3-1 respectively and draws against Valletta, Hamrun and Marsa.In the Relegation Pool zone the team managed to gain only one point a draw against Floriana and was relegated to the First Division after only one year.One of the main weaknesses was a lot of injuries that our team suffered during the season.
Back in the First Division under the guidance of Paul Zammit , the team challenged for Promotion but a defeat against St’Patrick’s and Lija Athletic in the last two encounters.Another setback this season was the injuries of Jura Da Silva and Bryan Agius with the former only playing a few matches and the latter made the whole season out with a cruciate injury.
Season 2004/05 was another season which saw our team Promoted to the Premier Division together with Hamrun Spartans as runners-up.The season began on a negative note because after 5 games our team only managed to obtain 2 points ; two draws against two Cottonera’s side Senglea and St’George’s.But after a good series of results and win three games on a row against Gozo,Mqabba and Balzan and a draw against San Gwann the team saw himself in a mid table position.The second round began with a defeat against Senglea and the final chance for Mosta to gain Promotion was a win against Hamrun Spartans.The team won that match 1-0 a goal from Ives Bilocca.The derby was coming again and our team for another time managed only to obtain a draw.It was difficult for Mosta to obtain Promotion now.With six games left Mosta needed to win five of them. A win over Marsa , and a draw against St’ George’s and other teams fighting for Promotion losing vital points saw Mosta with a good chance to make to the top. From then on four wins on a row that saw Mosta winning Promotion.
In season 2005/06 Mosta were back in Premier Division and for the first time the Mosta side managed to win the first match against Msida SJ 2-1 goals coming from Nigerian duo Nwoko and Chibueze. After a good win against Msida the team lost two games on row against Sliema and Marsaxlokk and a draw against Pieta. Another two defeats against Hibernians and Hamrun and another draw against Floriana and lost three games on a row against Birkirkara, Valletta and Msida SJ and eliminated against St’Patrick’s in the FA Trophy. After this game both Mosta FC coach and President , Paul Zammit and Frans Debono resigned. Instead of them former Charles Abela took the Presidential campaign and ex-player Charles Agius was appointed as a coach.Agius had a difficult task to do .The first two matches was against Marsaxlokk and Sliema losing 3-1 and 2-0 respectively and playing a very good match. Then the first win for Agius as Mosta coach against Pieta 3-1. Against Hibernians the team was unfortunate to lose a point in the dying seconds of the game 3-2.From then four straight defeats, conceding 15 goals without scoring a goal , the job came more difficult and impossible to avoid the drop. Beginning the Relegation Pool with only 4 points, with Pieta with 8, Floriana and Hamrun with 10 and a low morale and confidence was a drawback for Mosta. But in football everything can happen and three straight wins against Pieta 3-1, Hamrun 5-3 and Floriana 1-0 saw Mosta with a big chance to avoid the drop for the first time in history. The scenario was different now our team had 13 points together with Pieta and Floriana and Hamrun with 10 points in last place. Three games left and Mosta had something to cheer about now. The Pieta game was the most important one with the result ending 2-2. Mosta needed a win either against Hamrun or Floriana to avoid relegation. But the Hamrun match finished 0-0 with Mosta losing a penalty and two precious points. The last game against Floriana was a decider for both teams. A good first half by the Mosta boys saw Mosta leading by 3 goals to nil, goals coming from Chibueze (2) and a penalty by Pio Sciriha. With the result Mosta will play next season in the Premier League. Mosta were far the better side in this match with Floriana only once tested the Mosta goalkeeper, but the second half was a complete different . Floriana dominated the whole 45 minutes and scored 3 to make it 3-3.This means that Mosta are now relegated. What happened? We need to forget the past and talk about the future.