With the new Gibraltar football season starting in August this year, to move in line with most of Europa, the fixtures for the opening weekend in both divisions were made public this week.
Reigning champions Lincoln face off against Lynx, who have impressed in their short history as a Premier Division team. Lincoln, who were Gibraltar’s Champions League representatives this season, look the most likely to retain the title once again, although this time it will be under new management, as former Balona manager Raul Procopio replaced the outgoing Mick McElwee.
The team who split Lincoln and Lynx in the league last season, Manchester 62, look to qualify for Europe this season as they kick off their domestic season against Lions. Lions are also under new management, as one time Brighton and Hove Albion manager, and former Gibraltar coach, Jeff Wood is tasked with challenging on both the league and cup front.
Newly promoted FC Britannia, under former College manager Juan Luis Perez Herrera, hope to ensure their stay at the top tier isn’t a temporary one, and they kick off against a St Joseph’s team who will be looking to bounce back from a poor season last year, where they ended up in the relegation play-off.
The other fixture sees Rock Cup runners up College Europa, fresh off their maiden Europa League experience, take on Glacis United. Both teams finished on 19 points last season, and will be looking to better that this term.
In the second division, while Sporting Glacis and Lions Pilots withdrew from the league, they were replaced by four teams, each with a different back story.
Gibraltar United, once one of Gibraltar’s leading teams, disbanded a couple of years ago, but have this season been reformed in a bid to return the club to its former status. They have a challenging opening day game against Gibraltar Phoenix, who are in seemingly more stable times after last season’s disastrous Premier campaign.
Gibraltar Scorpions may be more familiar as a futsal team; their indoor team won the national league and are off to Bosnia to compete in their UEFA Futsal Cup qualifying round. However, their new 11-a-side team go up against Boca Juniors, who will feel they could challenge for a top two spot this season.
Angels FC are a fairly unknown club, with little social media presence apart from a Facebook page, but they start their maiden campaign against last season’s basement boys, Cannons FC.
Europa Point FC are an interesting club to say the least. Formed about 18 months ago, with the intention to compete in Gibraltar, their motto is to give players released by clubs both on the Rock and abroad a ‘second chance’ to prove their abilities. They have come under criticism from some for their high percentage of non-domestic players, but will fancy themselves as a challenger for the title this season. They start their journey in Gibraltar with a match versus Brunos Magpies, looking to build upon a steady first season.
The other fixtures in the first game-week of the second division include runners up Mons Calpe going up against Leo FC, potential promotion contenders Olympique face Red Imps, and Hound Dogs going up against College Pegasus. With only one guaranteed promotion spot to next season’s Premier Division, the second division promises to be an exciting battle once again, and well worth following.