Premier Division – End of season review

As the Premier Division season came to close, we assess each club’s campaign.

Lincoln Red Imps won the title, scoring the most goals but did so in less than convincing fashion after going into Christmas unbeaten. 

Europa and St Joseph’s qualified for Europa League, with Gibraltar United narrowly missing out and Manchester 62 suffered relegation. 

Below read our season review with verdicts from Adam Roberts & Daniel Griffin.

Lincoln Red Imps

Finishing position: 1st
Total points: 65 
Gibtelecom Rock Cup: Semi-finals
Top scorer: Rafael ‘Falu’ Aranda Vincueria (12)

Adam Roberts’ verdict: Deserved Champions in my opinion; they looked untouchable all the way up to Christmas. The team seemed to crumble after the Internationals in March with two managerial sackings and injuries to important players but were very lucky that their rivals Europa were unable to capitalise. 

One question which has stuck with me for the last few months is; how does this Lincoln team compare with ones from the last 5-10 years? 

Europa FC

Finishing position: 2nd
Total points: 60 
Gibtelecom Rock Cup: Winners
Top scorer: Enrique Carreno (19) 

Daniel Griffin’s verdict: The very poor start Europa suffered almost ended their title defence before it started – while they recovered from it to make sure they secured European football, they never looked overly convincing, and threw away too many points vs smaller sides.

The return of Liam Walker could potentially be a game-changer next season though.

St Joseph’s

Finishing position: 3rd
Total points: 54 
Gibtelecom Rock Cup: Quarter-finals
Top scorer: Salvador Manuel ‘Boro’ Alegre Delgado (9)

Adam Roberts’ verdict: It was a very different type of season after qualifying for Europa League so comfortably last season. Credit to Saints though, who despite not being as financially backed as those teams in top 5, still manage to build such a well rounded team with players like Samuel Fernandez, Ernesto Cornejo & Domingo Ferrer who all impressed so much this season. 

Interesting to see how they fare with the new HGP rule next season. 

Gibraltar United

Finishing position: 4th
Total points: 53 
Gibtelecom Rock Cup: Semi-finals
Top scorer: Ayman Elghobashy (11)

Daniel Griffin’s verdict: The investment made last summer almost paid the ultimate dividend, with Gib United unlucky not to make European football – while the circumstances on that day didn’t help them, a very poor spell before Christmas is what really stopped them finishing third.

They’ll be out to improve on fourth though and I expect they’ll invest significantly over the summer.

Mons Calpe

Finishing position: 5th
Total points: 44 
Gibtelecom Rock Cup: Final
Top scorer: Ruben ‘Rubo’ Blanco Rodriguez & Juan Pablo ‘Pibe’ Pereira (15)

Adam Roberts’ verdict: If you would have told the Mons Calpe board they would finish in the top five and be in the Gibtelecom Rock Cup final – most likely they would probably would have laughed after their performances in the first half of the season but an excellent job from Luis Manuel Blanco made it all happen. 

I said it before and I’ll say it again – this current squad of players would have finished top three if they started together in the summer. 

Gibraltar Phoenix

Finishing position: 6th
Total points: 30
Gibtelecom Rock Cup: Quarter-finals
Top scorer: German Cortes Narvaez (15)

Daniel Griffin’s verdict: A good first season after promotion, but they owe it largely to German Cortes’ goals – he scored nearly 50% of their total league goals as they secured a comfortable mid-table finish.

Keeping hold of Cortes is key, plus with the new HGP rule we expect them to make a few key local signings.

Glacis United

Finishing position: 7th
Total points: 26 
Gibtelecom Rock Cup: Round Two
Top scorer: Antonio Cerezo Ramos (9)

Adam Roberts’ verdict: From finishing fourth last season under Manuel Jimenez Perez to just avoiding the playoffs with Mariano Marcos Garcia. Just like Lynx, goals were hard to come by but the introduction of Antonio Cerezo in January did the club wonders and i’m sure they wouldn’t have been in this position if he had come in earlier. Last season’s FG player of the season nominee Francisco Cano had another solid season while Mahamud Sidi’s thirteen yellow cards overshadowed the terrific season he had. 

If Mariano is able to keep his current squad and add wisely, we expect good things from Glacis next season – a little less time wasting would help also. 

Lions FC

Finishing position: 8th
Total points: 23 
Gibtelecom Rock Cup: Round Two
Top scorer: Juan Manuel Llaves (6)

Daniel Griffin’s verdict: Becoming Europa’s “bogey team” essentially kept up Lions, who suffered a mid-season wobble which left them at the wrong end of the table. They just about had enough in the tank to stay up though and face a big summer.

They’ll need to build around their core of talented local players, but have the advantage of a youth system that seems to produce good players on a fairly regular basis.

Lynx FC

Finishing position: 9th
Total points: 22 
Gibtelecom Rock Cup: Round Two
Top scorer: Franco Gargiulo (6)

Adam Roberts’ verdict: On paper I’d say that Lynx have a better team than Glacis & Lions but goals were very hard to come by this season which was clear to see in the playoff game against Olympique. Questions need to raised on why this problem wasn’t dealt with in January. 

It’s going to be a very long summer if Albert fails to keep the players which were so influential all season.

Manchester 62

Finishing position: 10th
Total points: 7
Gibtelecom Rock Cup: Round Two 
Top scorer: Jorge Junco Diaz (4) 

Daniel Griffin’s verdict: A disaster from start to finish for Manchester, who only narrowly avoided the drop last season. Mistakes were clearly not learned, and even re-signing keeper Matt Cafer was nowhere near enough to save them.

“Performances” at the end of the season showed the desperate state this once-great club are in – for their sake I hope they rebuild and recover next year, from whatever is left from this season’s wreckage.

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