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Ta’ Xbiex win their first promotion in 1977-78

In the Seventies, the MFA decided to expand the league and introduce a Fourth Division.

This innovation did not last long and the competition was only held 12 times, and in 1978-79, the division was dissolved.

One of the last winners of the competition were Ta’ Xbiex FC who won the league in 1977-78.

Ta’ Xbiex FC is one of the smallest league clubs in Malta. This district is so small that it tends to get lost between Msida and Gżira.

It is however, one of the most picturesque localities on our islands and the yachts and boats moored around its perimeter make it more open to water sports than football.

The first team to be founded in the district was Ta’ Xbiex United way back in 1953.  It was a small club that took part in amateur football. Then in 1976 Ta’ Xbiex St George’s were formed in the locality.

The present club Ta’ Xbiex FC were founded in 1975 and they were immediately accepted as full members of the Malta Football Association. As a new club, they had to start from the Fourth Division. They had a good start to their league career beating Qrendi FC 1-0 on October 12, 1975.

A typical formation from that season read: Mario Borg, Charles Zarb, M. Gatt, J. Sciberras, Charles Chircop, J. Farrugia, Martin Bartolo, F. Micallef, Pawlu Grech, T. Saliba and Tony Chappell.

Ta’ Xbiex have never really set any houses on fire. They are a small club with very few ambitions. However, they have had their bright moments.

In 1976-77, they finished runners-up in their section and won the Division Four Cup.

This success must have given Ta’ Xbiex a lot of confidence and brimming with ambition, they were determined to make 1977-78 a memorable season, and so they did.

Playing in Section B, Ta’ Xbiex brushed aside all opposition on their way to winning section honours.

In the whole campaign, Ta’ Xbiex lost only one point. Thus, after only three seasons they had already won promotion to the Third Division.

It was now time for the championship decider against Luqa St Andrews. Could Ta’ Xbiex really make the season one to remember?

The game was played on Sunday, May 7, 1978 in front of a packed Schreiber Sports Ground.

The game however, finished in a 0-0 draw and it had to be replayed the next weekend.

In the second game, the more experienced men from Luqa took the game in hand from the very first whistle. They controlled midfield and it was no surprise when Lennard Azzopardi scored the decisive goal.

In the second half, Ta’ Xbiex threw caution to the wind in a vain attempt to score the equaliser. The Saints’ defence however held fast and did not yield an inch.

It was a huge disappointment for the Ta’ Xbiex faithful but at least, they had the satisfaction of winning promotion.

Luqa continued with their good form in the cup competition but Ta’ Xbiex were eliminated in the preliminary round by San Ġwann.

In the quarter-finals, Luqa defeated Balzan Youths 3-0 and in the semi-finals they eliminated San Ġwann 2-0.

In the final, Luqa met Birżebbuġa in a very balanced game which ended in a 1-1 draw.

However, in the replay, Luqa dominated the game and they well deserved to win the cup by a 3-0 margin.

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