Football in Birkirkara dates back to the year 1916. Salvu Troisi, a famous Msida player who later joined Floriana, founded a club called Birkirkara United. This club, together with Birkirkara Celtic, laid the foundations of the present Birkirkara Football Club. Birkirkara Football Club was established in 1950 after the amalgamation of both clubs, when the Committees of these two teams agreed to sacrifice their clubs in an attempt to build a team capable of challenging for club honours on a national scale. Amongst the persons who worked hard to establish this dream were Wigi Borg, Carmelo Micallef, John Baptist Galea, Eleno Borg and Paul Gauci.
The first club premises which were bought, were situated in Main Street, a few meters away from the small church dedicated to St. Paul. The club premises were not much but it was a place where at least all committee members and supporters could meet. Once the club premises were purchased, the attention turned towards the team. Lolly Rizzo, Emanuel Borg, Victor Farrugia and Lolly Cuschieri were amongst the first players to form part of Birkirkara F.C. The team was further strengthened by the coach Mr. Frankie Tabone from the then famous Ajax side. Tabone was engaged as a player coach. The team did not have an official training ground and most training was carried out in the streets of Birkirkara. The Metropole cinema, which was still under construction, was also used as a training ground. This problem was only resolved when the Education Ministry permitted Birkirkara F.C. to train at the Government Primary School (Brared Street) and later at the Imriehel Technical School. Once all these problems were settled, Birkirkara F.C. were ready to join the "big boys".
The baptism of fire proved to be too much for the Yellow-Reds. Losing match after match, Birkirkara F.C. were relegated to the second division. Season 1950/51 was no better. Birkirkara F.C. just managed to avoid relegation to the 3rd Division courtesy of a 4-1 win over Naxxar Lions in a relegation decider.
Season 1951/52 was totally different. Birkirkara won all the matches and were promoted back to the 1st Division. Not only did they win all their encounters but also they suffered just one goal in the process (against Melita F.C.)! The team was made up of some of the best elements ever to don the Birkirkara shirt. These included Raymond Cosby, Sunny Borg Cardona, E. Borg, L. Caruana, A. Preca, E. Attard, Valenzia, Manwel Saliba (il-Likku), Joseph Pisani (il-Gross), Sammut Tagliaferro and Frans Bonnici (Lula). This team, in season 1952/53, led Birkirkara to second place in the 1st Division and to the final of the Cassar Cup were they lost to Floriana by a solitary goal. The Birkirkara supporters later labeled the final as the "Briffa Cup" - a tribute to the referee who according to the supporters delivered the cup to Floriana on a silver plate. After this eventual final, Birkirkara remained in the top flight for a period of eight years. Not that these eight years were of any success, as Birkirkara were always hovering above the relegation zone.
In the 60's Beatle mania definitely influenced Birkirkara F.C.,as like their hit song "Yellow Submarine", Birkirkara was floating between the 1st and 2nd Division on a regular basis.
The Stripes were too good for the 2nd Division but were not up to the challenge of the 1st Division giants. Season 1967-68 was the most memorable. Apart from the 2nd Division championship, Birkirkara managed to land the Sons of Malta Cup. Birkirkara beat Gzira United 3-0 in the final to lift the cup.
The 70's were more exciting than the previous decade. Birkirkara managed to keep their place amongst the elite and established themselves as outsiders to win some silverware. In season 1970-71 Birkirkara had a good cup run and were only stopped by a solitary goal in the semi-finals in a tough contest against Hibernians.
Season 1972-73 saw Birkirkara challenging as outsiders for their first league title. Floriana started the league tremendously but suddenly hit a bad patch which enabled Birkirkara to creep closer. The ultimate game saw Birkirkara facing Floriana with the winner being declared Champions. The match was a tight affair. Everything pointed towards a draw. The young Floriana striker "Tichy" Grech thought otherwise and scored the match-winning goal in the 77th minute. Birkirkara had been so close but yet so far from their first Championship. A very good cup run followed this league defeat. On the 3 June 1973, Birkirkara faced Gzira United in their first F.A. Trophy final. The match ended 0-0. This was the same result when the teams faced each other again in mid-week. Thus both teams had to meet again for the third time to settle this marathon final. Unfortunately Gzira United scored twice to end another dream. Birkirkara were destined to remain without any silverware.
The eighties did not bring about any particular magic. Birkirkara maintained their trend of being promoted in one season only to face relegation in the next. It was only at the end of the 80's did the Stripes supporters have anything to shout about. Birkirkara had a good F.A. Trophy run. In the first round they beat Zurrieq 2-1. This was followed by a 1-0 win over Senglea.
In the next round, Birkirkara were drawn to meet Valletta but there participation had been withdrawn by the M.F.A. due to previous violence. Hence we were drawn to meet Floriana in the semi-finals. The Greens had just mauled Hamrun Spartans 4-0 in the previous round and hence were already dreaming of the final. Birkirkara, led by a superb Todor Raykov, twice came back from the dead to beat Floriana 3-2 in an exciting semi-final. The final pitted us against Sliema Wanderers. Birkirkara played a shrewd counter attacking game but lady luck once again turned her back on us. In the 90` minute Sliema scored the decisive goal through Hubert Suda. The jinx continued.
In 1994 Birkirkara F.C. joined forces with Luxol St. Andrews in an attempt to establish themselves as a force to be reckoned with. The team was renamed Birkirkara Luxol. The amalgamation lasted only two years. This project, did not give the results expected. What it did give however, was the force and energy needed to change the team from a small club mentality to a more commercial target oriented organisation. Birkirkara were finally on the right track. In 1996 Birkirkara obtained new premises which were quickly converted into a modern administrative building. From here Birkirkara could embark on various projects. On the 6 December 1996 Birkirkara F.C. registered itself as the first football public company in Malta. This enabled it to register share holders to finance several projects.
The team was strengthened and it brought the surprise pack in season 1996-97. In a new league format, played over three rounds, Birkirkara maintained the pace with favorites Valletta right until the very end. The season presented us with several memorable occasions particularly the treble over Sliema Wanderers, a double over Floriana and a hard fought victory over Valletta. Birkirkara ended as runners-up and qualified for the UEFA cup for the very first time. Season 1997-98 saw us competing in Europe for the first time. Birkirkara were eliminated against Spartak Trnava 4-1 on aggregate with new signing Michael Galea being the scorer of our first goal in Europe. The league campaign again saw us challenging Valletta to the very end. In a packed Ta` Qali Stadium, Valletta lowered our hopes with a 2-1 win. It appeared that Birkirkara were really destined to remain without any silverware.
The First Silverware
1998-99 saw us challenging even stronger. The campaign couldn't have started off on a better note. A 4-0 win over Hibernians landed us the Löwenbräu Cup. A similar score against Sliema Wanderers landed us the Super 5 trophy. Birkirkara were finally laid the ghost!
The league campaign started off with Valletta racing into the lead with the yellow/reds hot in pursuit. The Lillywhites kept their head and maintained a slender leads over Birkirkara F.C. Both teams met again in the F.A. Trophy final but Valletta managed to beat us. A couple of days after Valletta repeated their feat to land the Super Cup. Birkirkara had lost and ended what appeared to be a promising season on a bad note.
This season brought us better luck. During this year, the Club was celebrating its 50 years anniversary from its foundation. In a new league format Birkirkara started off strongly and were way in front of the chasing pack. Due to the new format, the points were halved and the gap suddenly grew smaller. Two defeats against Hibernians and Pieta H. sent out warning signals. The jinx semed to had struck again. The team however, managed to control the situation and finally delivered. Amongst a carnival atmosphere never witnessed before, Birkirkara thumped their arch rivals Valletta to the tune of 5-1.
The joy was dented by two poor results against the improving Sliema Wanderers who raced away with both the F.A. trophy and the Super Cup.
This remains a historic one for Birkirkara, not in terms of silverware, but becase 'The Stripes' managed to obtain their first qualification to another round in a European competition.
Under the guidance of Alfred Cardona, Birkirkara F.C. drew 1-1 against Lokomotiv Tbilisi in Georgia. A goalless draw at Ta' Qali saw 'The Stripes' qualifying for the next round. Birkirkara faced Dynamo Moscow in the first round of the UEFA Cup and suffered a 1-0 defeat in Russia and a goalless draw in the return match.
It was two years later, in season 2001-2002, that 'The Stripes' managed to win more silverware as they claimed both the F.A. Trophy and the Super Cup.
Birkirkara plagued with several injuries beat Naxxar, then Hibernians in the semi-final of the F.A. Trophy. In the final against Sliema, a goal winner by Matthew Calascione gave the cup to Birkirkara for the first time.
A few days later in the Super Cup final, Birkirkara beat Hibernians 1-0 to win all the major honours, that the Maltese championship can offer.
Birkirkara F.C. reached another first, by notching three cups in a row, the Super Five Cup, and for the second consecutive time, both the F.A. Trophy and Super Cup.
Thus, Birkirkara F.C. made up for the disappointment at failing to secure the Championship despite showing a great potential.
A historic 7-2 win over rivals Valletta remain imprinted in the Clubs' History for many years to come.
The 2003-20004 season started with Birkirkara winning the Löwenbräu Cup for the second time, by beating Hibernians 5-4, and then winning over Valletta by the score of 5-1. This meant, that for the first time, Birkirkara were the holders of four cups.
For the third consecutive time Birkirkara F.C. notched the Super Cup after beating Sliema Wanderers 3-1.
'The Stripes' had managed to start this season by winning another Super Cup which meant the 4th consecutive Super Cup in their history.
In the Premier League, Birkirkara lost the title for a mere two points but a few days after this dissapointment, they bounced back by winning the Rothmans Trophy.
This season began with the 5th consecutive Super Cup won by 'The Stripes', and ended in yet another Premier League title acquisition as our side managed to win the second ever league title.
Michael Galea was the top scorer of both the club and the Premier League itself.
Birkirkara finished the league with 48 points but then failed to qualify for the MFA Trophy final due to the semi-final loss against Hibernians.
Birkirkara played against Faroe Islands' B36 Torshavn in the 1st round of the UEFA Champions League. However, our side was surprisingly eliminated with a 5-2 aggregate.
It was a season to be forgotten by 'The Stripes', as the team dissapointed so much, that it finished in the 3rd place of the Premier League and knocked out of the FA Trophy in the quarter-final stages against Sliema W.
This was the first and only time that Birkirkara played in the Intertoto Cup, when our team met NK Maribor with the final aggregate reading 5-1 for the foreign team.
The 2007-2008 season was a brighter one for our side, as after a thorough "cleaning" of the side, where all controversial players were transfer-listed, the team finished third despite having many inexperienced players in the squad.
Furthermore, the Birkirkara F.C. supporters had the pleasure of celebrating the winning of the FA Trophy for the fourth time, which is Maltese football's second most prestigious honour.
The UEFA Cup draw which took place in Nyon, drew our side against a very strong opposition in the form of HNK Hajduk Split. Ironically, it brought the famous Torcida Ultras group (the first Ultra' group in Europe) against the Birkirkara Ultras 1997 (the first Ultra' group in Malta). Hajduk Split won with a comfortable 7-0 aggregate margin.
A disappointing 2008-2009 season ended with 'The Stripes' securing third spot after Champions Hibernians and runners-up Valletta, with this placing our team secured an automatic spot in the Europa League competition, where thanks to two spirited performances both at home and away, Birkirkara achieved a highly-respectable 0-1 aggregate loss against Slaven Belupo of Croatia. During this season, Birkirkara managed to clinch the first honour of the season, the Euro Challenge Cup.
In a delightful season for the Birkirkara F.C. supporters, our team managed to win the BOV Premier League title for the third time. This happened exactly ten years after the first Premier League title acquisition.
Prior to this the supporters of 'The Stripes' had the pleasure of celebrating two other competition victories. In the last few weeks of the Pre-season, the team managed to secure the 'Hibernians Tournament' with a draw against Qormi and the hosts themselves, whilst beating Marsaxlokk in the second game.
Just a few weeks into the new year, Birkirkara were invited to take part in the first edition of the 'Gozo Cup', together with Hibernians, Valletta and Gozo XI. After beating Valletta in the first game, thanks to an own goal, our team then managed to beat Hibernians with the score of 2-0 , much to the joy of the Birkirkara Ultras and the rest of the supporters who had crossed over from Malta to our sister island Gozo, to support our lads.
The Season 2010-2011 was a season of two halves. In the UEFA Champions League ‘The Stripes’ wrote history as they managed to qualify and win a game in the 2nd round for the first time ever in Maltese Football history.
Few days before the start of the new league, a satisfactory performance was not enough as Valletta emerged as winners of the Super Cup in the dying seconds of the second half of the extra time period.
The league campaign was not satisfactory as we assisted to disappointing performances which saw ‘The Stripes’ ending in the 3rd place, which meant at least, participation in the UEFA competions for a local record of 15 consecutive times.
In the U*BET FA Trophy, after Birkirkara eliminated Sliema Wanderers with the penalty shoot outs, ‘The Stripes’ were eliminated with a score of 2-1 by Floriana to end their season commitments.
The 2011-2012 did not bring much joy to the Birkirkara FC clan as they ended in the 3rd place in the league and eliminated at an early fourth round from the U*BET FA Trophy.
In the first honour of the season, the Euro Challenge Cup, Birkirkara registered two draws against Floriana and Valletta, and the latter were the winners of the cup. Just a few days later, Birkirkara were involved in the first round of the Europa League. A first round away-leg goal, was enough for opponents FK Vllaznia to go through to the second round, with a 1-0 aggregate, following a goal-less draw in the second leg played in Albania.
In the U*BET FA Trophy, Birkirkara eliminated Vittoriosa with a 4-0 score in the third round, but surprisingly they were eliminated in the fourth round, by Hamrun Spartans with a 3-2 score.
The Premier League campaign saw Birkirkara disappointing in the first phase but improving enough in the second part to finish in the third place and extended their record for participating in UEFA competitions to 16 years.
Birkirkara opened their season’s commitments by two positive performances in the UEFA Europa League as they shared the spoils in a 2-2 and 0-0 draws against Macedonia’s side Metalurg Skopje. However, this was not enough for the Stripes as the foreigners advanced thanks to the away-goal rule.
In the U*BET FA Trophy, Birkirkara were once again eliminated in an early fourth round stage. The Stripes eliminated Tarxien Rainbows with a solitary goal, in the fourth round, but they were defeated by Qormi with a 2-1 score to end the Stripes' knock out commitments.
However, for all the disappointments, Birkirkara bounced back high. In the Premier League, they showed the best football thanks to a collective and versatile squad. A decisive decider-match had to be played as Birkirkara and Hibernians ended their league commitments with level points, something which had not happened in Maltese football in 41 years.
In the decider, Birkirkara showed great character, when after being a goal down till the half-time, they turned the match around to beat Hibernians with a 3-1 score, They were crowned champions for the 4th time in a season which will remembered by all the Birkirkara clan for the success that the Club managed to achieve.
Season 2013-2014 was a mixed success for Birkirkara FC. The Club won the BOV Super Cup, but despite showing great potential, lost the BOV Premier League in the final match of the league, and was eliminated at the Quarter Finals of the U*BET FA Trophy.
Birkirkara kicked-off the season with two excellent displays in the UEFA Champions League where they were drawn against the Slovenian Champions, NK Maribor. Birkirkara held Maribor in a goal-less draw at home but lost with a 2-0 score away, with Maribor advancing to the next round.
In the first domestic honour, Birkirkara won the BOV Super Cup against Hibernians with a 3-2 score. The Stripes built a comfortable three-goal advantage but Hibernians pulled two back in the second half. For Birkirkara, this was the sixth Super Cup in their history.
Once again, the U*BET FA Trophy did not bring much luck, as Birkirkara were eliminated in the Quarter-Finals by Qormi with a 3-1 score. Birkirkara reached the Quarter-Finals by beating St. Andrew’s with a 4-0 score in the third round and Vittoriosa with a 4-1 score.
In the BOV Premier League, Birkirkara showed great potential but they lost the last league match against Valletta, with the latter being crowned Champions therefore leaving Birkirkara finishing in the second place. During this league campaign, Birkirkara reached the record of notching thirteen straight victories in Premier League.
The 2014-2015 season brought better luck as the Stripes ended winning two out of three domestic honours by clinching the BOV Super Cup to start the season on the right foot and finishing it in style by winning the FA Trophy.
The season started with mixed results in the first round of the UEFA Europa League. The Stripes were drawn against the Hungarian side of Diosgyor VTK. In the first leg played in Hungary, the Stripes were sunk with a goal in added time to lose with a 2-1 score but in the home leg, the foreign were superior and won with a 4-1 score to advance with a 6-2 aggregate score.
Following the last season’s last match, the start of the domestic scene with the BOV Super Cup renewed rivalry between Birkirkara and Valletta. The Stripes won the first final over the Citizens with a 2-1 score to secure their seventh success in this cup.
In the BOV Premier League, Birkirkara lacked consistency and they failed to give a strong challenge for the title as Hibernians were declared Champions with three games to go. The Stripes ended in the third place to win an automatic place in the UEFA Europa League which meant that the Club’s record went on.
The Stripes finished the season in style when after eliminating Valletta in the Semi-Final of the FA Trophy, they produced a magnificent performance to deny Hibernians the double and won the Club’s fifth FA Trophy thanks to a 2-0 victory.
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