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Valletta City secure promotion in 1935-36

Football in Valletta received a near mortal blow in 1932 when Valletta United were disbanded.

For a time, the game in the City went into hibernation and it was left to the amateur clubs to keep the flag flying. The situation improved with the emergence of Valletta City which graduated from the Amateur League to the Second Division of the Malta Football League. In 1935, the club showed from the start its intentions of winning promotion to the senior division.

In the first match of the league, Valletta beat Tarxien Rainbows by the comprehensive score of 7-0.

At first, the Citizens found stubborn resistance and took 35 minutes to open the score.

However, once they scored, the Rainbows’ resistance wilted and the goals started to flow in regular intervals.

Valletta continued on the same path when they met Bramtoco on Sunday, December 8. This time they won 6-0.

During the week leading to this game, the City team was strengthened by the signing of E. Camilleri. The former Tigers’ inside-forward was a valuable addition to an already formidable attack.

The greatest challenge for Valletta came from Melita and Senglea United.

Melita beat Qormi Ramblers 1-0 but they dropped a precious point in a 1-1 draw against fellow challengers Senglea United.

On Sunday January 5, 1936, Valletta met Melita. The teams were evenly balanced but Valletta won 1-0 and consolidated their position at the top of the table.

It was a long time since the Mile End Sports Ground played host to such a huge crowd as the one which attended this memorable encounter.

The game lived up to expectations and was played out at a terrific pace. Playing in favour of the wind in the first half, City took the lead through Ċensu Rossi. In the second period, Melita went all out for the equaliser but Valletta somehow managed to keep their goal intact.

After drawing with Melita, Senglea United continued with 4-0 and 3-0 victories over Rainbows FC and Little St George’s respectively.

The decisive match of the season was played on Sunday, January 12, when Valletta City met Senglea United.

It had been a long time since the old ground had seen such scenes of excitement. The supporters of the old Valletta United went in their thousands, armed with trumpets, horns, and rattles. The Senglea supporters, although not so numerous, were also armed to their teeth.

In the first half, Senglea played against a strong wind and they soon found themselves trailing by two goals to nil, Ċensu Rossi scoring twice for Valletta.

With the wind against them in the second half, the Citizens still went forward in search of goals. In the excitement of the moment, centre-forward Tanti charged the Senglea goalkeeper who fell down injured. Ellul of Senglea kicked Tanti and the referee immediately ordered him off the pitch. Pandemonium broke out and the game continued amid great disorder both on and off the field as Rossi and Camilleri added further goals for Valletta.

At that stage, the Senglea captain approached the referee and asked him to abandon the match in favour of Valletta. Tanti was escorted off the field by the police but the incident brought to an end what should have been a very interesting game. The afternoon ended with a free-for-all between the players and the supporters.

Valletta strengthened their claim for promotion with a 2-1 victory over Sliema Amateurs and then made sure of the title by beating Little St George’s by the rugby score of 15 goals to nil!

Sliema Amateurs were still unbeaten when they met Valletta. The game started off well for the Citizens and after a few minutes, Rossi gave them the lead. However, the Amateurs rallied quickly and it was not long before Psaila scored the equaliser.

This was the first goal conceded by Valletta in the league.

The Wasps, however, opened a barrage on the Sliema fort and once again it was Rossi who scored the all-important goal which gave them two further points in their quest for promotion.

City still had to play against Ħamrun Spartans who were passing through a very lean period. Relegated from the First Division in 1934-35, the Spartans could hardly hold their place in the Second Division.

Valletta celebrated their promotion and with a resounding 6-0 victory over their old rivals.

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