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2015/16 Second Division preview

The 2015/16 Second Division season kicks off tomorrow – and you can warm-up for the new campaign with our comprehensive guide to the Second Division teams.

Below you’ll find links to Second Division team profiles.


Cannons FC

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Cannons have added Jack Fraser to their squad this summer.

A disappointing rock-bottom finish in the Second Division last season means many people think Cannons could be in for much of the same this season. Christoper Gomez was appointed as manager for the new season and has plenty of work to do as he takes over a team that was clearly below par last season. Can he turn things around?

Cannons have made plenty of signings this summer, which could make a difference. Jack Fraser was brought in from Red Imps, Kaylan Borda was signed from Gib Scorpions and many more. Although, with plenty of Second Division teams bringing in ‘Premier rejects’, we will be expecting Cannons to be fighting at the bottom of the table again this year.


College 1975 FC

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The Second Division new-boys come into this league taking the place of Gib Scorpions and they have plenty to do as they hope to become as big of a threat to their rivals as Scorpions were. 

College have been by far the quietest of all the teams in Gibraltar, there has been no mention of the signings they have made with the club not even having a Facebook page. We, like everyone else, will be eagerly waiting the team that turns out for their first game.


Europa Pegasus FC

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Pegasus endured a frustrating 2014/15 season. They failed to build on their fourth-place finish from the year before and, after flirting with the relegation zone, ended their campaign in 12th. Christian Olivares will expect better this time around.

Pegasus, during their preseason, have looked in good condition, producing some decent displays. They have been very active through the transfer window bringing in some great talent, mainly from across the border.


Europa Point FC

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Europa Point have been tipped to mount a serious title tilt this season, with the club bringing in plenty of quality from top academies in and around Europe. Europa Point were the in-form team in the second half of the 2014/15 season – can they maintain that level for an entire campaign?

We have announced throughout the summer that Europa Point have lost many of the players which were so instrumental last season like Robert Montovio & Dexter Atkinson. This season will be a platform for many of their new signings to make a name for themselves and possibly take the step up to Premier football next season. 


FC Hound Dogs 

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FC Hound Dogs finished last season in 10th place, after such a poor start to the first half of the season, the clubs performances turned around near the end as the manager Chris Gomez had a full squad to pick from as his players had returned from their studies in UK.

Hound Dogs have been very busy in the transfer window. Despite losing some big players like Nick & James Castle, they did manage to bring in some great local talent in the form of Shaun De’Ath, the pacey winger from Leo, and also full-back Shaun Gonzalez who brings plenty of experience to this young squad.


FC Olympique 13 

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FC Olympique started very strongly last season, producing some great displays. Early results saw them hover around the top three in the table. As the season went on, the consistency which Olympique started slowly to fall with injuries and suspensions hampering the club, sending them down to 7th.

Olympique have been very busy in the summer, mixing experience with youth. If they can get striker Justin Santos firing on all cylinders again, Olympique could be the dark horses of this season.


FCB Magpies 

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Brunos Magpies go into this season hoping to shake off their ‘Pub team’ title. Louie Perry, Magpies President, started with the appointment of Joel Williams which was followed by a handful of signing such as Max Bothen from Phoenix, Michael Macias from Gib Utd & some players from abroad.

The around the Magpies camp is that the team is looking for promotion and with the players Joel has brought into the club, they might be causing a few upsets this season.


FC Boca Juniors

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Boca Juniors finished last season 10th in the league, seven point behind Brunos Magpies. Boca struggled a lot of last season with consistency, they would pick up points against teams in the top half of the table but then struggle against teams in and around their position.

Boca have been heavily revamped this season, a new crest, a new sponsor and some new players has seen the ambition at the club change massively over the last few months. Despite losing their best player Nicholas Ramagge to Olympique, they have been able to bring in some Premier experience and along side players who have proved themselves in the Second Division.


Gibraltar Phoenix FC

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Last season’s ‘big boy killers’ will be hoping to pick up from where they left off to improve after finishing 4th last season and beating all the big teams in the second half of the season.

Phoenix have enjoyed a relatively good preseason and like most teams have been quiet this transfer window, President Brian Brosco confirmed to us that the team has been reshaped with many comings and goings, but they were very happy that they were able to keep hold of Fernando Cuesta who was so instrumental last season.


Leo FC

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Leo FC will be looking for a better performance this season after finishing 13th last season. Karl Alecio, President of Leo, has been very busy through the summer, his shock appointment of Juanfran Perez as manager from Angels showed the kind of ambitions the club will have this season.

Leo have also needed a major reshape this season, they had plenty of departures this season but with Juanfran’s links in Spain, they were able to bring in plenty of players to fill the holes which they were lacking in. Leo were also able to renew the contracts of Dylan Hayes & Iain Latin who were one of few consistent players from last season. One major blow for Leo is the loss of Charlie Santos who moved to futsal.


Mons Calpe S.C.

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Mons Calpe would probably like to forget about last season. They saw three different managers followed by an 8th placed finish which no doubt seemed poor after having such a great season two years ago when they finished second, missing out on promotion by the play-off stipulation.

Mons Calpe have by far done the best business in the Second Division with the signing of Jansen Dalli. Other players brought in like Francis Marquez means Mons Calpe seem to be early favourites to be promoted.


Red Imps FC

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Red Imps, the feeder club of Lincoln Red Imps, have also had a major turnaround. The appointment of Garry Lowe, followed by some great signings, shows where the club wants to be at regarding producing great local talent.

Red Imps have been working hard during preseason to be 100% ready for this season. Red Imps made many signings through the summer, Evan Coleing returned to the club, experienced duo Thomas Hastings & Colin Dyer and followed by striker Cesar Rosa who has been dubbed as ‘one to watch’ this season.


Matchday 1 fixtures

21/09 – FC Hound Dogs vs Europa Pegasus FC & FC Boca Juniors vs Cannons FC

22/09 – FCB Magpies vs Europa Point FC & FC Olympique 13 vs Red Imps FC

24/09 – Mons Calpe S.C. vs Gibraltar Phoenix FC & College 1975 FC vs Leo FC


So who will win promotion to the Premier Division? Will it be Mons Calpe, will it be Europa Point, will Brunos Magpies proved all the doubters wrong? We expect the next few months to be exciting aswell as hectic, stay tuned at Football Gibraltar as we will be with you every step of the way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gomez: “Our squad is strong enough to compete further up the table”

With the new season just days away, Football Gibraltar reporter Adam Roberts caught up with Hound Dogs manager Chris Gomez, to gather his thoughts ahead of the upcoming season.

“Pre-season has gone well. We started really early and have been training intensively to build up our fitness levels; getting the group together early has also helped us integrate the new signings into the squad.” Gomez said, when asked how the teams preparations had gone ahead of the upcoming season. “We try not to focus too much on the results in pre-season, it’s more about the performances and being able to experiment; the performances have been promising and the players have gained invaluable match fitness.”

Last season Hound Dogs finished 11th in the league, a position that disappointed Gomez: “We were disappointed to have finished 11th as we felt the squad was good enough to have achieved a mid-table finish; our form at the back end of the season showed our true potential.”

Hound Dogs have a younger squad than some of their competing teams, and while that may give them the edge in some areas, problems do arise when some of the young players inevitably choose to move abroad to further their academic studies. “Six or seven key players from the previous season had left us during the summer to begin their studies in the UK; this was a big loss for us and of course meant that we needed to integrate a lot of new faces into the squad.” notes Gomez, who also attributed the low finish to factors such as “ bad luck in games, key decisions going against us and conceded late goals – these along with the transition of new players resulted in a bad run up until December.”

The transfer window is big for any team in Gibraltar, especially with player turnover traditionally high amongst teams domestically. Hound Dogs chose to do their business earlier in the summer, both by securing players already at the club, and taking on new recruits to bolster the ranks. Gomez highlighted one area of particular need, when saying “A centre back was high on our wish list as we lacked defensive cover last season and it showed, particularly when we had injuries and suspensions.”

No team can keep hold of every player they want to though, and Hound Dogs had a few losses of their own, for a variety of reasons. “Sanchez and Mauro left before the end of last season. Olivero was invited back for pre-season; he chose to pursue other options. Holgado was offered a contract but turned it down as he wanted to focus on futsal as he has been involved with the Gibraltar Under 21 Futsal squad.”

Turning our attention finally to the season ahead, Gomez was hopeful, albeit realistic about his sides chances. “ Promotion is not something we are thinking about, but we feel that our squad is certainly strong enough to compete further up the table than we did last season. We hope to develop and nurture the youngsters we have signed and introduce them to competitive men’s football gradually.”

The topic of youth development, especially with regards local players, is always a hot topic in local football; many feel the advent of UEFA football has had both a positive and negative effect on the development of local players. For Gomez, the temptation of UEFA football would not, in his opinion, change the direction his team goes in. “We hear people complaining that there are no local players available and quite frankly it’s surprising how many teams have flooded their squad with foreigners; we believe in blooding young locals and will continue to do this – we won’t change our philosophy or forget about what we stand for just to pursue silverware.”

Hound Dogs are clearly a club committed to local talent, and Gomez affirms this when stating: “There are plenty of young talented Gibraltarian players out there if you want to give them the opportunity and invest time in them.”


Hound Dogs are on the lookout for energetic and positive coaches who want to develop youngsters for the Senior team – any interested parties are encouraged to contact the club at the following address – fchounddogs@gibraltarfa.com

Everyone at Football Gibraltar thanks Chris for taking his time to be interviewed, and wishes him and the club the best of luck for the upcoming season. Hound Dogs play Europa Pegasus on the 21st September, and kick off is at 18:15.