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Valletta City taste first success

Valletta City were founded in 1929 by a group of vendors who sold their wares in the City market. One must say at this point that this team had nothing to do with the present Valletta club.

Valletta FC were formed after the war with the amalgamation of Valletta Prestons and Valletta St Paul’s. That, however, is another story that I will reserve for another time.

In 1929-30, Valletta City took part in the Amateur League but after only four games, they were found guilty of the abandonment of two of their matches and were suspended from the league.

The following season, they were re-admitted to the league and were placed in the Second Division. However, trouble seemed to haunt this team in its early days. They gave away so many walkovers that they were finally removed from the association.

After their turbulent period in the Amateur League, Valletta City were reduced to playing friendly matches against amateur teams from around the City area. The club, however, was destined for greater things and in 1932-33, they took the first step on the path that would eventually lead them to the top division of Maltese football.

In the summer of 1932, Valletta City were admitted to the Third Division of the MFA league. They made their league debut on January 29, 1933, against Little St George’s. They lost 1-0 but showed that they had enough potential to climb further up the league table.

City won four of their remaining five matches and finished third in the league, only three points behind the eventual winners, Little St George’s. This position assured them of a place in the Third Division the following season.

Season 1932-33 saw the end of the old Empire Sports Ground.

The enterprising proprietor of the ground, Carmelo Scicluna, signed a contract with a British syndicate to hold greyhound racing at the Empire.

Extensive alternations were needed and during the summer of 1933, the Empire was pulled down and work started on a new stadium.

1933-34 was therefore, the first season played at the Empire Stadium. That particular season, the Third Division League was extended to two divisions. Section A was the senior division and the eventual winners, Valletta City were declared Division Three champions.

Valletta City were worthy winners with maximum points from five matches. They were followed all the way by Gżira Amateurs and it was only the direct encounter that finally decided the issue in favour of the Citizens.

This game was played on Sunday March 11, 1934, in front of a huge crowd of enthusiastic supporters. Gżira needed a victory to win the championship while a draw was enough for Valletta.

It was reported in The Daily Malta Chronicle that Gżira played the best football, but Valletta were much more menacing in front of goal.

Midway through the second period, Valletta finally managed to open the score. However, a few minutes later, one of their players was sent off for kicking an opponent.

Despite this handicap, Valletta managed to hold on to their lead up to the final whistle. Valletta City were therefore declared Division Three champions and promoted for the first time to the Second Division.

In Section B, the leaders were always the new team of Melita FC. The amateurs won the section unbeaten, dropping only one point in the 2-2 draw against the reserves of Hibernians.

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