Advert

Hibernians and Rainbows 1946 amalgamation attempt backfires

The Little Rainbows team in 1947-48.

The Little Rainbows team in 1947-48.

The end of the Second World War brought with it a surge of enthusiasm in football all over the island.

New clubs were sprouting everywhere and the MFA, in an attempt to control the situation, came up with the idea of district representation.

With this plan, each district was to be represented with only one team in the National League.

This rule forced teams from the same areas to amalgamate and form one strong side to represent their locality in the championship.

Was this a good idea?

At the time it certainly seemed so. The plan gave the league a more stream-lined look and it cut short the many bickering and under-the-table intrigues which went on when teams from the same parts of the island competed in the same division.

On the other hand, the system pulled the carpet from under the feet of many youngsters who could not make the grade in the first team.

Two towns that were hit hard by that MFA rule at the time were those of Paola and Tarxien as many were of the opinion that they should amalgamate.

Letters appeared in the press proposing such a move. At the time, Hibernians Athletic Club were in the First Division. Rainbows FC, of Tarxien, were in the Second Division and Little Hibernians in the Third Division.

Many favoured the idea of a merger but there were others, mostly from Tarxien, who interpreted the move as an attack on the autonomy of their club.

However, those in favour were in a majority and in September 1946 a committee was formed to formalise the proposed union.

Serafino Xuereb chaired this committee. J.M Falzon occupied the post of vice-president, T. Vella was secretary and J. Pullicino treasurer. J. Azzopardi, A. Bonello, E. Formosa, J. Zammit and N. Flamini were the members.

A couple of months later, an extraordinary meeting was called in which the committee was reorganised. Xuereb retained the presidency, vice-president C. Gauci, secretary G. Borg Myatt, treasurer J. Caruana and the members were W. Leeks, J. Zammit, E. Farrugia, V. Naudi and George Dyer.

The amalgamation, however, did not last long because in 1949 the two clubs separated.

It was obvious from the start that Hibernians were only interested in utilising Rainbows as a nursery club. On the other hand, Tarxien went into the bargain to solve their financial problems and, since Hibs’ situation was more stable, the union floundered and eventually broke.

Fortunately, there were still people in Tarxien who believed that their town should have its own football team and Little Rainbows came to life in 1944 as a youth side.

They played their first friendly on November 26, 1944 against Żabbar FC. In 1945-46, Little Rainbows took part in the Anglo-Maltese Minors League and in 1950 they were included in the Third Division.

Little Rainbows played their first league match on December 5, 1950, a 1-1 draw against Lija Athletic, and from then on they never looked back, continuing to develop into a Premier League outfit.

In the picture, the only player we identified in the Little Rainbows team of 1947-48 was Edwin Schembri (standing third from the left).

Schembri went on to carve a fine career for himself with Hibs and Valletta.

Any information on the other players would be appreciated (karmbald@vanilla.net.mt).

Comments not loading? We recommend using Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox with javascript turned on.
Comments powered by Disqus  
Advert
Advert