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Bone gives his all to Valletta FC

Walter Bone had a distinguished career with Valletta, his hometown club.Walter Bone had a distinguished career with Valletta, his hometown club.

In football, there are many types of players.

Some are artistic and delight the crowds with their ball control. Others are fast and rely heavily on their speed to beat an opponent.

There are intelligent players who use their wits all the time to read developing situations and others who use their strength and all-out endeavour to stop opponents. Walter Bone was definitely one of the latter.

Born in Valletta on June 7, 1935, he started playing football at Stella Maris College in Gżira and, at the tender age of 11, was already being chosen to play for the school’s first team.

In the 1940s, a district league was organised in Valletta which was very popular with the people of the city. Bone played for Valletta Swans in this competition and it was not long before he attracted the attention of the Valletta FC committee.

He was signed for the minors’ team but soon found himself turning out for the third and second division Valletta FC teams which, in those days, played at the Schreiber Sports Ground.

On November 17, 1956, Bone made his first division debut for Valletta against Hibernians.

The Citizens won that game 2-0 with goals from Frankie Zammit and Silvio Rapinett. Bone played his usual solid game at right-back and this marked him as a good pro-spect for the future.

It was a good time for a young player to command a place in Valletta’s first XI because the Citizens were in the process of building, perhaps, the greatest team in their history.

By 1958, apart from Bone, the team had legendary players like Tommy Taylor, Edwin Schembri, Joe Cilia, Charlie Mackay, John Darmanin, Jackie Grech, Joe Zammit, Josie Urpani, Mario Azzopardi, Frankie Zammit and Alfred Borg in their ranks.

Bone settled down nicely in the team and, after a particularly fine performance against Ħamrun Spartans on January 10, 1958, he was made captain. It was a great honour for a City born-and-bred young man and he repaid his club’s faith by leading the team to the league championship.

The next season, Valletta went one better.

They retained the championship crown and won the FA Trophy for the first time in their history after beating their bitter rivals Floriana 3-0 in the final with two goals from Azzopardi and one from Zammit.

Between 1955 and 1964, Bone played 94 league matches for Valletta. A natural right-back, his job was to mark his winger and prevent him from feeding the centre-forward with crosses into the centre.

Bone was a no-nonsense defender and wingers like Pullu Demanuele, of Floriana, Sammy Nicholl, of Sliema Wanderers, and Frans Xuereb, of Hibernians, were sure to feel the full force of his tackles.

Bone continued to play for Valletta up to 1962 when, to his surprise and that of many of the loyal City supporters, he was transferred to Melita FC. However, he did not last long at the Amateurs as he suffered a serious injury in a friendly game against the Navy and was forced to retire.

Bone’s story is that of a local boy making it good in football. His only disappointment was perhaps that he was never capped by the national team.

In his days, international matches were few and far between and it was easy for a player to miss the chance of representing his country.

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