Chipolina: “Winning one league is hard but staying there is even harder”

Lincoln Red Imps were crowned Champions of the Premier Division after beating Lions 7-1 last night, we caught up with captain Roy Chipolina to get his reaction on the triumph. 

Roy Chipolina reflected on how it feels to be Champions of the Premier Division once again, “After our disappointment last season, winning this league feels that extra special. All of us who experienced that disappointment were craving for success. We have worked very hard both in training and in matches and all that has thankfully paid off.”

After looking so comfortable during the first part of the season and many believing Lincoln had the title wrapped up at Christmas but a bizarre turn of events which saw them part way with two coaches, lose three games and draw two gave their rivals Europa an unexpected life-line to get back in the title race which were surprisingly ended at the hands of Lynx last Wednesday. We asked Roy how it felt winning the league on the third last game of the season, “Winning the league with two games to spare shows what a great season we have had. The days of wrapping up leagues by Christmas are long gone. We had a strong start which saw us win our first twelve games and only conceding two goals in the process giving us a great platform going into the winter break. After this, we continued where we started off – though we had a dip in form at the end of the second round, which i believe we were unfairly criticised when we lost two games in a row vs Mons Calpe and St Joseph’s.”

he added, “Both games were two great battles which unfortunately we came out empty handed. I don’t think enough credit was given to both those teams who i think gave their best performance of the season – (The same has to be said in our recent loss to a disciplined, hungry and professional Gibraltar United). From then on off the field matters rocked us and it told in our below par performances though we were still delivering in terms of points at such a crucial stage of the season. Thankfully we dug deep and have won the league with two games remaining in a season were any team could snatch points off you. I have to congratulate all the teams so far this season who have made it the most competitive season yet and again we have seen the local league grow which is fantastic for all involved.” 

After Europa won the league last season, we spoke with Roy Chipolina to get his view on the term “power change” which on social media many believed was happening. After winning their title back, Roy had this to say – “Power change was spoken about prematurely. The fact we have regained our trophy back at the first attempt suggests this. Winning one league is hard but staying there is even harder. Hopefully we can start a new run of defending our status as the number one club in Gibraltar.” 

At the age of 35 and juggling a tiresome footballing schedule with his work & family life. We asked Roy if he seems himself staying in the game as long as Gibraltar legend Al Greene & Europa defender Alberto Merino, “What Al [Greene] 40 and Alberto [Merino] 42 have done and keep doing gives me motivation to continue to work hard to be able to continue to play, two great players who locally are my role models – as the saying goes “age is just a number”.

Photo by William Gracia

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