This week’s article should bring back many sweet memories for football followers from Cospicua.

The picture shows the St George’s team that ran away with the Second Division championship and the knock-out competition in 1973-74.

Throughout their long and chequered league history, the Saints produced many fine teams but the one I’m writing about this week takes some beating.

I remember that side quite well.

Although they did not win any major honours in the late seventies, the Saints enjoyed a good spell in the top division.

That year, the Second Division kicked off on September 23, 1973 with the Sons of Malta Cup final between Qormi FC and Żebbuġ Rangers. However, it was perhaps too early in the campaign for this game to generate much interest.

The contest was worth watching in the first half but became dull after the break.

In one of their sporadic attacks, Qormi scored the only goal of the encounter. Baldacchino sent in a searching cross-shot into the heart of the Rangers penalty area and somehow, the ball passed through a sea of legs and past the foot of the upright into Robert Gatt’s goal.

It was a lucky goal if ever there was one but it was enough to hand the cup to Qormi.

In 1973, St George’s were relegated from the First Division but the next year they bounced back to the top flight.

That was something the Saints did quite regularly in those days.

It seemed that, like Birkirkara, they were too good for the Second Division but not strong enough to compete in the top tier.

St George’s started badly when, in their opening game, they lost to St Patrick. However, the Saints never looked back, winning 12 and drawing five of their remaining 17 matches.

The Second Division champion-ship that season was very particular because four of the 10 participating clubs were from Cottonera and the surrounding area.

Derby clashes

Apart from St George’s, the other three were St Patrick (Żabbar), Senglea Athletic and Vittoriosa Stars.

Therefore, to win the championship, the Saints had to play six derbies of which they won three, lost one and drew two.

1973-74 was also a memorable season for Mosta as well.

The Blues finished in the runners-up position and gained promotion to the First Division for the first time in their history.

The Saints’ success continued in the knock-out competition. They beat Luqa St Andrew’s 3-0 in the preliminary round and Msida St Joseph 1-0 in the quarter-finals.

From now on, however, they faced a tough battle in their quest to complete a double.

In the semi-finals, St George’s were really given a rough ride by Mosta. The tie needed penalties to determine a winner after two successive goalless draws. The Saints won the shoot-out 4-2.

In the final, St George’s met neighbouring rivals Senglea. The latter started well and gave the impression that they were quite capable of winning the encounter.

However, just before half-time, Briffa put St George’s ahead. It was much in keeping with the run of play when Balzan sealed the issue in the Saints’ favour.

As I am not in a position to identify all players in the picture, I will refrain from mentioning anyone except the coach and mentor, Peppi Delceppo (standing on the right).

However, I would be grateful if anyone who can identify all the players would write and give us their names.

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