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The birth and rise of Pietà Hotspurs

The first Pietà Hotspurs minors team in 1968.

The first Pietà Hotspurs minors team in 1968.

Pietà Hotspurs have a long attachment to football in Malta.

In 1910, one of the earliest football grounds on our islands was opened just a few metres away from the present Pietà football club. The National Football Ground served Maltese football for a very short time.

It had a lot of disadvantages, mainly that the pitch sloped to one side of the ground.

The ground remained active up to 1912 when the Mile End was opened.

With football being played nearby, it was not surprising that throughout the years a number of clubs were formed in the Pietà area. Many of these teams have been forgotten but in 1932 Pietà United were formed and with a bit more luck, they could have even played in the First Division.

They applied to join the league but unfortunately for them, Hibernians FC, Sliema Rangers and Vittoriosa United were also seeking admission. Only two slots were available. Qualifying matches were played and Pietà lost 5-0 to Hibernians while Sliema Rangers beat Vittoriosa United 2-1 in the other decider.

Year 1934 saw the birth of Pietà Wolves and in season 1934-35, they took part in the Fourth Division of the MFA league.

The Wolves remained active up to 1938-39 when their existence was ended by the Second World War.

Pietà Hotspurs were formed in 1949. For 10 years, they competed regularly in the Third Division but their lack of success killed what little interest there was in the club and in 1960 it was disbanded.

Eight seasons passed without a club representing Pietà in the league. Then, in 1968, a group of football enthusiasts from the locality decided to revive the team. At first, it was decided that the team would take part only in amateur competitions.

They joined IASC where they gained a lot of valuable experience.

Then in 1973-74, the chance arose to take part in the MFA minors’ league. The Pietà youngsters did so well that the next season the club sought admission to the National League. The MFA accepted their application and Pietà were placed in the Fourth Division.

From then on, the Hotspurs never looked back.

In their first season in the league, Pietà won section B of the Fourth Division without conceding a single goal and they were promoted to the Third Division.

In 1975-76, Pietà reached the final of the knock-out competition, losing 0-2 to Għaxaq.

In 1982-83, Pietà won the knock-out competition for third and second division clubs after beating Tarxien Rainbows 2-1 in the final. They also narrowly missed promotion to the Second Division after going down 0-2 to Mqabba Hajduks in the decider.

Then, in 1983-84, Pietà once again reached the knockout final but this time they were beaten 2-0 by Qormi.

In 1984-85, they tasted Second Division football for the first time but the next season they were relegated back to the Third Division.

In 1985-85 they contested once again the Second and Third Division knockout final but finished on the losing side. This time they were beaten by Żebbuġ Rangers. In 1990-91 they clinched promotion to the Second Division after beating Rangers by the odd goal in five in a promotion decider.

The 1990s brought about a great change in the club’s fortunes. In 1991-92, Pietà Hotspurs won promotion to the First Division and in 1993-94, they went one step further and moved up the ladder to the Premier Division. However, their first stay in the top flight was rather short and after only one year, they were back in the First Division.

Having gained valuable experience during their short spell in the Premier League, Pietà won the 1995-96 Division One league.

This time their stay in the top division lasted longer but two seasons ago they suffered relegation to Division One. In 2009/10, the Hotspurs just managed to keep their place in Division One after prevailing in a relegation decider with St Patrick.

Having one of the best nurseries on the island, Pietà have produced several valid players who have gone on to make a name for themselves in local football.

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