The origins of Valletta St Pauls FC Published on: 22-01-2015
Before the World War II, there were many junior football teams in Valletta.The area of the ‘Arċipirku’ was predominantly taken up by ‘Pawlini’ and they had a popular team in St Paul’s FC in the lower divisions of the Maltese football league.
Valletta St Paul’s FC were founded in 1934 and that season,they were admitted to the Third Division league. That time, the Third Division was split in two sections, each with six teams.St Paul’s played their first league game in Section B on October 23,1934 against Cospicua Celtic. The team from Cospicua opened the scoring after 20 minutes through their centre-forward Seychell.
St Paul’s played much better in the second half and when Fenech got the equaliser, it was much in the run of play. Celtic’s Seychell was, however, in brilliant form and, in a flash of genius, he scored twice to give his side a 3-1 victory.
The City youngsters were bitterly disappointed but they soon recovered from that early setback.They won the rest of their matches to finish the competition just one point behind the section winners, Cospicua Celtic.
The next season Valletta St Paul’s played a few friendly matches against amateur clubs and also took part in the Third Division.They were drawn in Section B which was dominated by St Joseph’s FC of Msida.
St Paul’s started well enough when, on December 15, 1935, they beat the reserves of Melita FC 3-1.
In their next game, however, St Paul’s came a cropper when they lost against St Julian’s Spurs by the odd goal in three.With only five fixtures to play, a team could not afford to lose a game and still harbour hopes of winning the championship. So, the City team dropped out of the running early in the competition.
In their next game, St Paul’s drew 2-2 with Cospicua Unitas and then gained two points following a walkover by Valletta Swifts.With only five points to their credit, St Paul’shad nothing to play for when they met league leaders Msida St Joseph’s in the last match of the competition.
Taking into account the fact that Valletta were playing against the best team in the competition, they had a very good game. St Joseph’s,however, were too strong for them and they won 2-0 to take section
In 1936-37, Valletta St Paul’s finally came of age.The team improved considerably and together with Cospicua Unitas dominated Section A of the Third Division league.Both teams won all their matches and then drew their direct encounter 2-2. A decider was needed to determinethe eventual winners of the section.
The match was a keen encounter with neither side showing any superiority over the other. In the end,however, St Paul’s scored the vitalgoal which gave them the edge over their opponents.Section B was also well-contested and another decider was necessary to decide the eventual winners between Melita and St Julian’s Spurs.
Tight match Melita won another very tight encounter 2-1 to earn the right to meet Valletta St Paul’s in the championship decider.The final was played at the stadium on May 2, 1937.
It was a tight affair which failed to produce any goals even though extra-time was given.Melita had Cortis to thank for keeping them in the match. At times, the keeper seemed to defy the Valletta forwards on his own. St Paul’s were quicker on the ball and more direct in their attack and with a little bit of luck they would have won this game hands down.
The replay was held the following Sunday before the Second Division decider between Valletta City and Sliema Rangers.Indeed, May 6, 1937 was a glorious day for Valletta as St Paul’s beat Melita 3-1 to add the Third Division title to the Second Division crown won by Valletta City on the same afternoon.
This was the first step in the long road which finally led to St Paul’s winning promotion to the First Division in 1938-39.It also led to the formation of Valletta FC in 1943 but that,of course,is another story.
Carmel Baldacchino - Times of Malta