Wiseman, who has played his whole career in England, joins Lincoln on a two-year deal after leaving Salford on a free transfer after the termination of the English League Two season.
The 34-year-old, who can play at right-back or centre-back, has 10 caps for Gibraltar, but hasn’t featured since a 6-0 defeat to Belgium back in 2016 – however, Wiseman, talking to the official Lincoln website, said: “Earlier this year I would have been playing for the national side again”, presumably referring to the cancelled March international friendlies against Malta and Liechtenstein. His return would give another option, and one with vast experience, to Julio Ribas side ahead of the upcoming Nations League.
Wiseman, on Lincoln’s official site, continued by saying: “I’m absolutely delighted to finally get things signed. After having countless conversations with the club about coming over, it was an easy decision for myself and my family to make.” With nearly 500 appearances in English football, from the National League to the Championship, the defender will add a lot of experience to the Lincoln team for the upcoming season.
We caught up with goalkeeper Frank Warwick to chat about life at Manchester 62, the 100,000m elevation challenge and more.
Firstly, we asked Frank to review his first season at Manchester 62 – “I think it was an all-round positive season for me. After many years at St Joseph’s, it was time to come out of my comfort zone and fight for some first-team game time. I started the season well playing consistently under Jeff Wood and the team got some positive results. We then had a period of transition with the changes of manager but under Davie Wilson, the team has again built a family feeling with a squad-based around local and young talent. I look forward to the new season and continue to battle it out for the number 1 spot.”
Frank is currently doing a 100,000m elevation challenge – we asked him what it means, “I am raising funds for 2 charities; A pathway through pain and Lymphoma Research. The challenge is simple yet brutal, I will be cycling over 4000km in the months of June, July & August but even more gruesome will be the equivalent task of cycling to the Top of the Rock 300 times.”
He added, “To put things into perspective, I must cycle to the Top of the Rock on average, 3-4 times a day in order to reach my target by the end of August. If we compare my challenge to something, well the Tour de France has a total elevation gain of just under 30,000m”
Assisting him during the challenge has been his team-mates at Bavaria, alongside his personal friends – we asked how it feels to be doing the challenge with his team, “The support from the team was incredible and it really makes the 2/3 hour rides more bearable. It can really be mentally exhausting and hard to motivate yourself to go out in the heat every day but having people join you really gives you that extra push! I hope they, as well as others, will join me over the next 70 days.”
Frank revealed what he hopes to achieve from the challenge, “I have always wanted to push myself to my physical limit and never had the courage to take the plunge. Raising funds and awareness for two charities so close to my heart led me to believe now was the right time to finally invest the time and effort into giving something back. I think the challenge will also help with my resilience which I can incorporate into not only sport but everyday life.”
We caught up with goalkeeper Jamie Robba to talk about St Joseph’s season, the Calendar Club, and more.
We asked Jamie Robba what he made of St Joseph’s season, “Well, I believe it was a successful season with signs of progression from the year before. “Finishing” second above Lincoln and being in the title race against Europa till the end. We are showing as a club that we are growing each year and who knows what could have happened in the Rock Cup or League if we were allowed to continue competing.”
After 3 years at the club, we asked Jamie what has changed this season compared to the previous ones – “We have grown as a squad and showed that throughout the season. We still have to keep improving if we want to be better than Lincoln and Europa. The competition itself in the league is growing and splitting the league into two groups made the top group very competitive and each game very difficult.”
Two days ago, Jamie Robba ran for the Calendar Club in a wedding dress – we asked him what it is about, “We are running 465km in the month of June. There are four runners and we each have to run the kms in correlation with the day of the month. So on the 1st 1km, on the 3rd 3km, on the 20th 20km, 21st 21km – all the way up to 30km. We are are doing this to raise money for Calpe House, which is a charitable foundation that helps Gibraltarians who need specialised medical procedures in the UK.”
We asked Jamie what he hopes to achieve with the Calendar Club, “We set out a target of 10 grand but after the overwhelming support shown by the community, we might surpass that and look to hit another target of a larger sum! Through the Calendar Club, we are hoping to inspire people to help support and donate. Also to motivate people to run with us and perhaps aspire them to keep a fitter healthier life.”
Finally, Jamie spoke about his goals for next season – “I would love to get back in the National squad as it is any locals’ ambition to be a part of that squad. I will always work my hardest to try and get back in. Regarding my club, I want to keep growing and improving – pushing Lincoln and Europa to break that “Big 2” as we did this season.”
Part Two of the FG Awards sees Adam Roberts and Daniel Griffin pick their Young Player, Player and Team of the Season while the Fans also have their say.
Young Player of the Season – Jayce Olivero (Europa FC)
Adam – This category was a close one with Jayce and Ethan having great seasons while Jaron kept up his good form from earlier on in the season with Mons and carried it over with him to his new club Brunos Magpies.
I’ve opted for Jayce on the basis that Europa overall had a better season than Lincoln which saw Jayce have more freedom to galavant up the pitch with freedom. Not to take anything away from Ethan, he’s been one of Lincoln’s few consistently good performers and his free-kick against Lynx is one of the best goals, I’ve seen in years.
Daniel – As Adam said, this was a tough choice this season – there were a number of good young players in the league, but no stand-out obvious winner (like say Tjay De Barr last season).
Both Britto and Vinet were very good performers for their clubs over the course of the season, and I’d expect them to get even better next season, but given his teams overall success, and his consistency in the squad (no Gibraltarian player played more minutes in the league than his 1,451 this season), I’d agreed with Jayce Olivero just pipping Britto to first spot.
Other contenders: 2nd Ethan Britto (Lincoln Red Imps), 3rd Jaron Vinet (Magpies)
Player of the Season – Liam Walker (Europa FC)
Adam – This season almost brought back the Liam Walker of old (I’m talking about seasons 16/17 with Lincoln and 17/18 with Europa). His stats do all the talking with 23 goals in 22 games and 26 assists.
Juanfri caps off an excellent season with 27 goals in all competitions and Juampe rounds the list, showing at 36 years old, he can still compete at the top.
Daniel – Walker’s stats are phenomenal this season, and are a big part of why Europa have been as good as they have been this season – 20+ goals and 20+ assists don’t come easily for anyone, and at times Walker has shown why he has spent parts of his career playing professionally in England.
Both Juanfri and Juampe have also had good seasons – for Juanfri it is another good showing in local football, while Juampe joined in the summer and immediately showed the class that saw him play for Balona for 9 seasons – however Walker came out on top over both of them and as such is my Player of the Season.
Other contenders: 2nd Juanfri (St Joseph’s), 3rd Juampe (Europa)
Adam – Team of the Season (3-4-3)
GK –Dayle Coleing (Europa)
CB – Olmo Gonzalez Casado (Europa)
CB – Sergio Sanchez (Europa)
CB – Ezequiel Rojas (St Joseph’s)
RM – Juan Pedro ‘Juampe’ Rico Dominguez (Europa)
CM – Alejandro Carrascal (Europa)
CM – Cristian Pecci (St Joseph’s)
LM – Domingo Ferrer Lopez (St Joseph’s)
RW – Liam Walker (Europa)
ST – Juan Francisco ‘Juanfri’ García Peña (St Joseph’s)
LW – Enrique ‘Kike’ Gomez Bernal (Lincoln Red Imps)
Daniel – Team of the Season (4-3-3)
GK – Dayle Coleing (Europa)
RB – Ezequiel Rojas (St Joseph’s)
CB – Olmo Gonzalez Casado (Europa)
CB – Sergio Sanchez (Europa)
LB – Jayce Olivero (Europa)
CM – Liam Walker (Europa)
CM – Cristian Pecci (St Joseph’s)
CM – Alejandro Carrascal (Europa)
RW – Juan Pedro ‘Juampe’ Rico Dominguez (Europa)
ST – Juan Francisco ‘Juanfri’ Garcia Peña (St Joseph’s)
LW – Enrique ‘Kike’ Gomez Bernal (Lincoln Red Imps)
Young Player of the Season:
Ayoub El Hmidi (Mons Calpe) – 400 votes
Jayce Olivero (Europa) – 379 votes
Ethan Britto (Lincoln Red Imps) – 164 votes
Player of the Season:
Liam Walker (Europa) – 385 votes
Dayle Coleing (Europa) – 340 votes
Enrique Gomez Bernal (Lincoln Red Imps) – 169 votes
Team of the Season:
GK – Dayle Coleing (Europa) – 585 votes
RB – Jack Sergeant (Europa) – 299 votes
LB – Jayce Olivero (Europa) – 484 votes
CB – Bernardo Lopes (Lincoln Red Imps) – 283 votes
CB – Olmo Gonzalez Casado (Europa) – 355 votes
CM – Nacho Fernandez (Magpies) – 289 votes
CM – Aymen Mouelhi (St Joseph’s) – 240 votes
RM – Lee Casciaro (Lincoln Red Imps) – 211 votes
LM – Liam Walker (Europa) – 344 votes
ST – Juan Francisco ‘Juanfri’ García Peña (St Joseph’s) – 409 votes
ST – Enrique ‘Kike’ Gomez Bernal (Lincoln Red Imps) – 435 votes
The second part of the FG Awards for the 2019/20 season sees Mons Calpe duo Andre Dos Santos and Ayoub El Hmidi win Challenge Group Player of the Season and Young Player of the Season respectively.
Player of the Season – Andre Dos Santos (Mons Calpe SC)
Dos Santos rejoined Mons in the summer, and in truth, the 28-year-old Brazilian defender looks most at home there, where he again showed the talents that have seen him sought after in local football circles over the last few years – this season Dos Santos also showed his versatility for Mons.
Playing as a striker for large parts of the Challenge Group, Dos Santos scored six goals in seven games, including a hat-trick in Mons last game of the season, and his experience and talent helped lead a Mons team who have had their ups and down to being not only the ‘best of the rest’ in the Challenge Group but also a place in the Gibtelecom Cup semi-finals. We imagine the 28-year-old will stay at Mons next season and could be a key part as his side attempts to make it into the Championship Group.
Young Player of the Season – Ayoub El Hmidi (Mons Calpe SC)
Ayoub and Andre have been Mons Calpe’s best players in the Challenge Group, combining multiple times to rack up six wins from seven games and scoring four goals. His performances at times have looked lacklustre, his penalty miss against Europa Point sums it up quite well.
One thing is for certain, Ayoub needs to be playing in the Championship Group next season. At 19 years of age, and involved in the Gibraltar U21 setup, we’re sure teams will be eyeing him up as the HGP ruling looks to move to five.
The first main part of the FG Awards 2019/20 sees the awards for goalkeeper, defender, midfielder, and striker of the season dished out, as well as the award for the best manager in the league this season.
Goalkeeper of the Season – Dayle Coleing (Europa FC)
The 23-year-old keeper has really stepped into his own this season, establishing himself as Europa’s clear number 1 despite the talent and vast experience of Javi Munoz, and being part of the backline which only conceded nine goals all season. Coleing’s commanding presence in the box has mirrored the commanding style of his team this season.
As well as breaking through into the national team, where he battles alongside Kyle ‘Chino’ Goldwin for the Number 1 shirt for Julio Ribas side, Coleing has also picked up interest outside of Gib – he recently was picked up by the Capital Sport Management group – and the future looks promising for the Europa keeper.
Other contenders: 2nd – Jamie Robba (St Joseph’s), 3rd – Kyle ‘Chino’ Goldwin (Lincoln), 4th – Bradley Banda (Lynx)
Defender of the Season – Olmo Gonzalez Casado (Europa FC)
One of the more challenging positions to choose from with Olmo & Sergio Sanchez creating such a dominant partnership. Olmo executed his defensive work with ease, giving Sanchez the freedom to venture up the pitch and scoring a total of four goals in thirteen league appearances – not bad for his debut season.
We opted for Olmo’s consistency, playing in fifteen of Europa’s seventeen league games – the Spanish defender also kept seven clean-sheets. His experience is vital in this team and Escobar will be hoping to keep him on for another year.
Other contenders: 2nd – Sergio Sanchez (Europa), 3rd – Ezequiel Rojas (St Joseph’s), 4th – Bernardo Lopes (Lincoln Red Imps)
Midfielder of the Season – Liam Walker (Europa FC)
Walker has led by example this season for his side, captaining the league leaders and scoring 21 goals in the process from an attacking role. His set-piece abilities are well known, but some of Walker’s free kick’s, especially an opening day one in a victory vs Lincoln, especially caught the eye as the 32-year-old pushed eventual top scorer Juanfri all the way in the scoring charts.
Walker’s vast experience both in Gib and abroad no doubt helps Europa massively, especially for some of their younger local talent, while his creative abilities have also set up countless goals for the likes of Manu Dimas, Juampe and more to get their fair share of goals this season.
Other contenders: 2nd – Cristian Pecci (St Joseph’s), 3rd – Alejandro Carrascal Aviles (Europa), 4th – Dan Bent (Bruno’s Magpies)
Striker of the Season – Juan Francisco ‘Juanfri’ Garcia Pena
Goals, goals, and more goals – that pretty much sums up Juanfri’s time at St Joseph’s since joining in 2018. “El Killer” as known by his team-mates are those close to him, Juanfri scored twenty goals in his debut season and followed it up with 24 league goals this season with four games still remaining before the league was made null and void.
Juanfri will best be known for scoring in both legs of St Joseph’s win over Prishtina in the Europa League and pulling off that famous celebration at the Victoria Stadium. His partnership with Boro and Domingo Ferrer Lopez keeps improving and soon will be bringing silverware home to St Joseph’s.
Other contenders: 2nd – Juampe (Europa), 3rd – Kike (Lincoln Red Imps), 4th – Alberto Caravaca (Lions)
Manager of the Season – Rafael Escobar Obrero
A fairly straightforward choice, in reality, Europa manager Rafael Escobar has guided his team to being undefeated at the Victoria Stadium for over 12 months now, and bar a few shaky moments in games vs the likes of Glacis & Lions, Europa’s tendency to drop unnecessary points seems to have been all but eradicated under his management.
Getting the best out of the attacking side of his team, while also ensuring a strong defensive aspect has made Europa very hard to beat, and you have to give credit to the manager for doing that. Escobar came with a good reputation having managed both Balona and Los Barrios in Spain, and he’s so far held that reputation strongly.
Other contenders: 2nd – Raul Procopio (St Joseph’s), 3rd – Albert Ferri (Lions), 4th – Albert Parody (Lynx)
With only four games remaining, the Gibraltar FA called off the league making it null and void. The European spots were handed out but no league winner announced. Here is our early review of the Championship Group.
Europa FC – 1st
While not being crowned champions has clearly left a very bitter taste in the mouths of all at Europa, they should no doubt still be happy at how their season went until the point of the league being terminated. From their opening week, eye-catching 4-1 win against Lincoln, Europa went on to be virtually unstoppable in the league, bar for a dramatic 2-2 draw against St Joseph’s in September which they were lucky not to lose.
They were of course expected to challenge for the title strongly, but few would have perhaps expected them to be unbeaten – past Europa sides have had a habit of very avoidable defeats that have cost them in the league dearly, but this Europa side, even when going behind in games, never looked like losing 99% of the time.
The emergence of Dayle Coleing in goal was a major plus for Rafael Escobar’s side, while the signing of Juampe from Balona was an inspired addition to a team who have never had trouble scoring. The plan for next season will be to try and maintain those levels, with St Joseph’s and Lincoln likely to be champing at the bit hoping to bring Europa down a peg or two.
St Joseph’s – 2nd
After years of coming so close in breaking the top two’s league dominance, Saints finally reached their potential this season. Sitting in second, five points behind Europa and five points in front of Lincoln with four games remaining.
Overall their season exceeded expectations – their Europa League campaign was memorable, came within minutes of beating Europa but would draw 2-2 in the final minute and did the league double of Lincoln.
The most important bit for Procopio and his men is to keep the same momentum and consistency going into whenever football restarts in Gibraltar.
Lincoln Red Imps – 3rd
For a team who have for so many years been the all-conquering, dominant force of local football, a third-place finish for Lincoln is disappointing – in fact, it is the first season they haven’t finished in the top two since the 1999/2000 season, where they finished fourth in a six-team league.
While they continued to beat the teams below them, normally with some ease, Lincoln came unstuck against both Europa and St Joseph’s, losing all four meetings against their title rivals. This saw their title hopes drift away in February, but there were some positive signs for the club, most notably the emergence of Julian Del Rio into the first team.
Next seasons aim for Lincoln has to be to appoint the right manager, after German Crespo’s departure earlier this week, and try to keep them in charge for a longer period than their last few managers – they have the squad, especially in attack, to challenge for titles, but stability is key if Lincoln wants to climb back on top of local football once again.
Lynx FC – 4th
Lynx was another team that started the season great, a 4th place finish is their highest since the 2014-15 season. Their three Croatians Hrvoje Bukvic, Ed Kokorovic, and Marko Marcius would play a big role in round one of the Gibraltar National League. Their departure would leave a big hole in the team and the results would show it with two wins from six games.
It has been a positive season for them though, Jaydan Parody has shown potential this season and Mohamed Badr has made the Gibraltar national team.
Brunos Magpies – 5th
Round one of the National League saw Magpies achieve their top half aims, albeit it was far less comfortable than expected, and saw the departure of David Wilson as manager, a move which proved unpopular among Magpies fanbase and seemed to hurt their attendances and atmosphere for a while after. They weren’t then helped by Alfonso Cortijo joining, only to leave for a job in China two months later, but he at least ensured they finished in the top six before the split.
Magpies issue seemed to be in beating the teams above them, with only a solitary cup win vs Lynx to their name vs the top four, so 5th place is a deserved finished, and perhaps around where the club would have hoped to finish, despite significant investment in both the summer and in January. Tight battles with St Joseph’s just before the league ended showed some hope they can battle with the big boys, presuming they don’t chop and change the squad too much this summer.
Lions Gibraltar – 6th
You can’t judge Lions’ season from their results in the Championship Group, with their financial resources not as strong as the others – the team itself knew what they were getting themselves into with a sixth-placed finish.
Lions did put in cracking performances in the Group and were unlucky not to get points on a couple of occasions. Looking at it from an overall perspective, Albert Ferri and his team showed great promise and that they don’t need to play so defensively to gain results.
With the Gibraltar National League halted due to COVID with the Gibraltar FA’s decision to null and void the league after a 2-month suspension – here is our early review of the Challenge Group.
Mons Calpe – 1st
In truth, Mons would have found themselves very disappointed to end up in the Challenge Group in the first place – they must have fancied themselves to finish above Lions and enter the Championship Group.
However, a much-changed and improved Mons had a good 2020, which culminated in reaching the semi-finals of the Gibtelecom Cup and all but securing the top spot in the Challenge Group before the season terminated. The challenge for Mons is to try and settle some of their off-field issues and try to build on their progress in 2020.
Europa Point – 2nd
Compared to their 2016-17 season in the top flight, Europa Point can find plenty of positives especially from January onwards. Ian Hendon and his team hard work reaped its rewards but a 5-5 draw against College 1975 before the suspension, would have left a sour taste in their mouths.
Europa Point will be keeping hold of Hendon and his players but most importantly, finding a good nucleus of HGP’s, the lack of which let them down for most of the season.
Manchester 62 – 3rd
Things were always going to be hard for Manchester, but third in the Challenge Group perhaps reflects where they were in terms of strength in the league. They would have perhaps hoped for Jeff Wood to last longer in the job but struck well in getting David Wilson, another former national manager, as his replacement.
Their commitment to local talent showed in the HGP tally, and Kian Ronan especially impressed, even as a makeshift striker – however Manchester will hope an 11-1 loss to Mons Calpe in their final game was not a sign of things to come next season, and was merely a one-off.
FC Boca Juniors – 4th
An underachieving team, if you look at their squad in the summer. Their lack of funds was their main downfall with most of their players leaving as a result. Boca announced Juan Carlos Camacho as their new head coach in November which lasted until January and following him out the door was their technical team.
Credit to them, the changes made in January were swift and were a competitive side for their level. Europa’s loanees Daniel Tudela and Elias Juel-Saleh were ones which impressed us over a short period of time.
Glacis United – 5th
Glacis suffered from a very stunted start to the season, where they had issues getting players registered in time for the opening games – meaning their Intermediate squad had to fill a lot of the gaps especially against Magpies and Lincoln. This gave them no chance of finishing in the top six, but in the Challenge Group they at least showed they were on the level of the teams around them.
One of Gibraltar’s more well-known teams, Glacis will hope they can get off to a better start next season – as second-bottom of the league will no doubt disappoint them massively.
College 1975 – 6th
After 18 games, College managed to pick up one point in a 5-5 draw against Europa Point – a game which they led 4-0 at one point. 17 straight defeats came previously, a tough lesson learned.
A worrying stat would be finishing bottom and having the least amount of minutes given to HGP’s outside of the top three.
We spoke to Joseph Chipolina about his recovery from injury, a review of Lincoln’s season and more.
Just before the GNL took a break for Christmas, Joseph Chipolina suffered an injury in Lincoln’s 2-0 win over Manchester 62. We asked the 32-year old how his recovery has gone, “Not the recovery we expected as we have had a little setback. I will need some manipulation and little surgery clean up as my knee won’t bend as it should. But all in all still doing what I can and building the quads up.”
With Covid bringing a halt to football in Gibraltar, we asked Joseph what he is doing during these tough times – “I am training 2 times a day one at lunchtime and one just before dinner time roughly at 19:45. I can’t really do cardio so what I am doing are workouts which I can do with my knee as it is.”
Before Covid brought a halt to the GNL – Lincoln were third, five points behind St Joseph’s in second, ten points behind rivals Europa in first and in the Gibtelecom Cup semi-final. Joseph reviewed his side’s season, “It hasn’t been the best of seasons but these things happen in football. Too many changes within the club etc but always for the best of the club, but all in all it is what it is and another year where we learn as a club and move on for our next challenge together as one.”
Nearly six months on from Gibraltar’s Euro 2020 qualifying campaign, which ended in a defeat to Switzerland at the Victoria Stadium, Joseph reviewed Gibraltar’s campaign – “I think we did quite well on some games; maybe on others we could have done better but that all comes down to us players maintaining our A-game all throughout the games. Lack of concentration is what is letting us down but we have improved vastly since the arrival of Julio Ribas who is an amazing coach and person.”
Lastly, we asked Joseph about any goals he has set for himself – “At this moment in time my goals are to try and play football again. My injury was a very harsh one, I had my ACL torn into bits, had my ICL torn 60%, had Both Interior and Exterior Meniscus torn, and my patellar dislocated, aggravating the patellar tendon. So my goal is to get as fit as I can and try to make it back on the field and keep doing what I most enjoy and love.”