One On One Gilbert Agius
Your questions answered by….
Interview Joe Attard, Portraits Andrew Grima, Archive photos by Vallettafc.net
Your current contract with Valletta FC comes to an end this season. Is there any intention by both parties of extending your contract as I, and no doubt every other Valletta supporter, would very much like to see you wearing that number 7 shirt for many more seasons?
Mark Consiglio –Mgarr
Yes, unfortunately my contract comes to an end this May. To-date, I haven’t yet discussed any future plans with the club committee, even though it is obvious that I am very happy to be part of this team. Right now, my priority is focused on helping the team win this year’s championship. After that I will decide on my future. I appreciate that the committee may have its own priorities, but as far as I’m concerned, my personal wish is to carry on and eventually end my football career with Valletta FC.
If you and the club agree terms for an extension of contract, would you consider including an agreement to form part of Valletta FC’s Nursery set up?
Kenneth Debono –Fgura
As already indicated, I have not as yet discussed my future intentions with the committee. It’s true that for the past seasons I have been helping out with the club’s nursery, and I also dedicate a lot of my spare time in helping the other coaches, especially so this year, since I got more involved on the coaching side. My wish is to eventually take up coaching and hence, if an offer of this sort comes my way, especially if it is from Valletta FC, I will be ready to consider it.
Would you consider playing for another team if you didn’t agree terms with Valletta FC?
Dunstan Camilleri –Valletta
My intentions are to play for Valletta FC and I am convinced that a good part of the committee would like this to happen, even though I have not yet sat down to discuss a new contract. For me, Valletta FC is not just a club; it’s a way of life.
Was there ever a particular moment in your career when you came close to leaving Valletta FC?
Clint Taliana – Ta’ Xbiex
Yes, that was when I left to play for AC Pisa in Italy. As far as Malta is concerned, there were other local teams that approached me, but I always made my intentions clear to them that I was not willing to leave Valletta FC.
What does the future hold for you?
James Mckay Ta’ Xbiex
This month I will be 37 and I am taking each day as it comes. My intention is to finish this season as a player and hope that I will be fit for the next season, but if not, I will definitely think about embarking on a coaching career. Great players have left this club before me and yet the club has always moved forward, and that needs to keep happening.
I am not only a Valletta player but a great fan as well, and like all other Valletta fans I want my club to succeed and win more trophies. I will always be there to support them.
If you have to choose the favorite goal you scored throughout your career, which one would that be?
Sean Lanzon Sta. Lucia
It’s very difficult for me to choose my favorite goal, it’s mostly goals that bring so much emotion, or win you trophies that are my favourite. One such goal that was most important for me was the one against Naxxar Lions, in the season when we won the championship with a decider against Birkirkara. With the score at 1-1 after a Chris Laferla equaliser, I managed to score the winner in the last five minutes of the game. This was a crucial win for us as it continued our winning sequence of 7 consecutive matches and enabled us to force a championship decider against Birkirkara. Another important goal was the winner in the 1996 FA Trophy Final replay against Sliema Wanderers. Yet another important goal was that in the decider for 3rd place against Hamrun Spartans, which paved the way for us to go into Europe, where we met Turkish side Trabzonspor. Other goals that come to my mind are those I scored from half pitch against Floriana and Hibernians. Obviously, scoring is a wonderful feeling anytime, whether it’s a friendly game in the park with your mates, at Ta Qali National Stadium, or any other local or foreign venue.
What about your relations with the now national coach John Buttigieg, when you were both playing for Valletta?
Mario Dalli- Valletta
I had extremely good relations with John when we were both playing for Valletta. Obviously, we all change as we mature and take on different responsibilities in life and John is no exception of course. Obviously, I fully respect his position as national team coach, now that he so much more responsibility on his shoulders. We enjoyed our days together, especially in that season when we won the six cups and when we beat Barry Town. I have very fond memories of John and me, when we teamed up together in that great city side.
How did you take it when you were left out of the national squad?
Rodney Ciantar –Naxxar
I respect the national coach’s decision; time waits for no man and I was aware that at my age, sooner or later my stint with the national squad would be up, but I am very proud of having played an incredible 119 times for my country.
Over the last 20 years of your career, I have seen you play in different positions, what has been your favorite playing position?
Clint Zammit –Valletta
I find it very difficult to choose my best playing position; honestly, I simply can’t decide. At the moment I am playing in front of our defence and I am enjoying this position as perhaps I got a bit slower these days. I my earlier days I used to prefer an attacking position as I could score more goals, which was immensely satisfying and often put me in the limelight and in paper headlines!
Do you think the present team will achieve the past success of the previous ‘six cup’ winning team?
Michael Giles – Valletta
It’s not in my style to compare teams, but one thing is for sure, no one fully realised the strength of that team in those days and we only came to realise this in recent years. I sincerely hope that in ten years time, all our supporters will be talking of the present team in the same glowing terms of that of the ‘six cups’!
Does the City ‘support’ really help you on the pitch?
Clayton Camenzuli Valletta
It’s a great boost to have the best supporters on the land behind you; they are our 12th man on the pitch. I can never forget the time when we were passing through a bad patch and their support was always there to lift us up. It’s also true that sometimes they put a lot of pressure on us, but that`s all part of football and I have to cope with that; it’s always great to know you are playing for the best supported team on the Island.
You played under various coaches. Which of these did you enjoy playing for most and which one the hardest to play under?
Anthony Zarb St. Julian’s
As you say, during my career with Valletta FC, I played under quite a number of coaches, all of whom I can assure you were very important for the development of my career in their own way and style, but the greatest pleasure in playing for these coaches is every time I don that Valletta shirt, irrespective of who is coach. I play my heart out for Valletta FC. Indeed, my team is my heart.
Vallettafc.net aka Il Capitano`s ,
Your favourite all-time player?
In Malta – Ray Vella (Il-Mundu), Foreign – Zenadine Zidane and Diego Maradona, and Teams – Arsenal and Roma.
Your best game?
FA Trophy final vs Birkirkara (six cups season)
Your most enjoyable game?
Actually two! The Centenary Cup and the Anniversary Cup finals, both won against our arch rivals Floriana!
Your toughest opponent?
Your worst moment?
Whenever I have an injury
Now that your football career is nearing its end, a no1 best-seller with the City fans would be Gilbert Agius’s autobiography. Are you planning to write down your memoirs?
Joe Agius San Gwann
Football autobiographies are a new subject for Malta, and I would think that in the near future, I will perhaps sit down and start writing my memoirs. There is so much to write on this beautiful game.
Can you please tell us about your experience abroad? Was it a failure?
Joe Portelli Msida
Playing in Italy with A.C. Pisa was a great experience that helped me through the last stages of my football career. I enjoyed every single minute of it.
How do you see the future for Maltese Football? Can you pick any talented youngsters coming up?
Sandro Spiteri L-Iklin
Football has improved so much since my earlier days. There is so much talent on this Island and I hope that bright kids that are coming up don’t disappear into the night-life. There are so many opportunities nowadays. I urge all those who attend the football academies to take their football seriously as a lot of sacrifices are being made by their parents to ensure that they enjoy a healthy environment, which will surely benefit them in the future.
Are we capable of winning the league this year? Who stands in City’s way?
George Curmi Qormi
As things stand, I am hopeful that we will be crowned champions this year, but there is still a long way to go. All other teams in the championship pool can give us a hard time as this year’s league teams are evenly balanced.
We ask you to Email your questions (as many as you like) to firstname.lastname@example.org by not later than Monday 28th February. Please include Name, Town, membership no or id card if non member. Coming up next ex goalkeeper Frankie Grima.