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Hamrun Spartans FC

A soccer pitch around Blata l-Bajda exists just one mile away from the main gate of Valletta. This used to be called the Mile End ground and even before WWII served as a recreation spot for British services and Maltese for soccer. The local Hamrun Spartans soccer club acquired it as their training pitch and included a small restaurant. During the 1980s its name was changed to Victor Tedesco pitch in honour of their president who led them to victories during the decade.

Founded in 1907, the Hamrun Spartans F.C. was already an established soccer team by the 1913-14 season winning the title over St.George's. Four years later they finished in top spot again beating St.George's, in a play-off. Gejtu Psaila known by the nickname il-Hacca was their top player at the time. In the 1920s and 1930s, the club went through a difficult period as most Hamrun players left to join other clubs.

Hamrun Liberty, a new team, was formed and in just a couple of years was among the elite of Maltese soccer. On its return to the First Division in 1946-47, the club reverted to the Hamrun Spartans name. Right away they won both the Johnnie Walker Championship Trophy and also the Cassar Cup, winning it again in 1948-1949 season. Between 1947 and 1952 they were runners-up four times.

The team started losing its prowess in the 1960's until it was relegated to Second division in the 1969-70 season. After winning back a place in the First Division, the team was relegated once again in 1973-74. After two years marking time in the Second Division, Hamrun Spartans was back in the First Division and on its 75th anniversary, in the 1982-83 season, the club celebrated its winning the title after an absence of 36 years. To top the joy of the fans, Hamrun Spartans also managed to win the FA Trophy during that season. This all began under the wise presidency of Victor Tedesco and the strengthening of the team with top players like Raymond and George Xuereb, Edwin Farrugia and Carlo Seychell being acquired and the hiring of Alfred Cardona as coach. Victor Tedesco managed to sign two foreigners, Englishmen Peter Hatch and John Linacre after a lot of disputes with Immigration authorities. At this time, Spartans set a new record being the first local team to win both the home and away legs in a UEFA competition after beating Ballymena of Northern Ireland. In 10 years, Hamrun Spartans managed to win three league titles, three F.A. Trophies, the Super Cup and the Euro Cup twice each. But even after all this success, Spartans faced financial difficulties and had to transfer their best players, finally being relegated to the First Division in 1998-99. Again came a period of ups and downs because even though after one year they were back in the Premier League, Spartans were once again relegated to the First Division at the end of the 2003-2004 season making another comeback in 2005.

Victor Tedesco, before giving all his energy to the Hamrun team as its president, used to manage a theatre company and before and during this time was a well-known local actor. To show appreciation for his work with the club, they renamed the football pitch they had at the Mile End after him. In 2008 this pitch was furbished with artificial turf and floodlights for nighttime use.

Click HERE to listen to a march composed for the Spartans supporters in the late 1960's to urge their team on.
An update to the records below was sent to me by Mr Victor Cassar who in 2012 was the director of the Hamrun Spartans complex including the Victor Tedesco stadium. In his own words: In season 2007/08 Hamrun Spartans F.C. made it to the final of the F.A.Trophy after 13 years. They lost 1-2 against Birkirkara, the winning goal being scored in the last minute. This final rekindled the old supporters flame and in 2009/10 the team made it to the semi-final vs Valletta. This time they were knocked out after a dramatic penalty shoot-out against the super favourites of the day, playing most of the match with ten men. Last year 2011 a major refurbishment project was held at the Victor Tedesco Stadium which increased the stadium seating capacity, improved the facilities and gave the complex a fresh and modern look. Stefan Sultana, the record-breaking goal scorer of the club, was recently appointed as Head Coach assisted by Marco Grech, another ex-Hamrun player. They seem to have given new motivation to the players and we hope to end the season on a high note, having also qualified this year to the F.A. Trophy semi-final once more. Hamrun Spartans winning record.

Season.............Division..............Position:

1999-00................1st..............CHAMPIONS
1990-91.............Premier..........CHAMPIONS
1987-88.............Premier..........CHAMPIONS
1986-87.............Premier..........CHAMPIONS
1984-85.............Premier..........Runners-Up
1982-83.............Premier..........CHAMPIONS
1951-52................1st..............Runners-Up
1949-50................1st..............Runners-Up
1948-49................1st..............Runners-Up
1947-48................1st..............Runners-Up
1946-47................1st..............CHAMPIONS
1919-20................1st..............Runners-Up
1918-19................1st..............Runners-Up
1917-18................1st..............CHAMPIONS
1914-15................1st..............Runners-Up
1913-14................1st..............CHAMPIONS
1912-13................1st..............Runners-Up
1911-12................1st..............Runners-Up

Other Sport

Apart from the only outdoor sport of Soccer that most Maltese have at heart or better are fanatical about, there are other sports like Water Polo which interest the natives of towns and villages on the coast in summer. There is also Archery for which Malta sends competitors even to the Olympics or even Horse Racing at neighbouring Marsa. Hamrun has facilities for none of these but there are indoor sports like Billiards and Table tennis, which are promoted by the Band Clubs which also cater for the facilities. There were Snooker champions of the Mediterranean being produced from Hamrun for a while.