Gilbraltar: 10 slivers of trivia ahead of Saturday’s soccer match

Controversial fashion designer John Galliano is a Gibraltarian

Former Dior designer and Gibraltarian John Galliano  was charged with hurling anti-Semitic slurs in a Paris cafe in 2011, allegations that shocked the fashion world and cost him his job at the renowned French high-fashion house.  Photograph: Thibault Camus

Former Dior designer and Gibraltarian John Galliano was charged with hurling anti-Semitic slurs in a Paris cafe in 2011, allegations that shocked the fashion world and cost him his job at the renowned French high-fashion house. Photograph: Thibault Camus

 

Gibraltar face the Republic of Ireland in Dublin on Saturday in just their second competitive match ever.

Allen Bula’s men are the minnows of Euro 2016 qualifying Group D and something of an unknown quantity.

Here we take a look at 10 things you may or may not have known about them.

1. The Gibraltar Football Association was formed in 1895. It was admitted as Uefa’s 54th full member in May 2013 after a 20-year campaign.

2. The national team tasted victory for the first time in just its fifth senior international fixture in June when Kyle Casciaro’s goal was enough to secure a 1-0 home win over Malta. However, the going was a little tougher when they opened their qualifying campaign last month with a 7-0 defeat by Poland.

3. That historic opening ‘home’ fixture was played 150 miles from Gibraltar at the Algarve Stadium in Faro, Portugal as the Victoria Stadium on ‘the Rock’ does not meet Uefa criteria. A new 8,000-capacity national stadium is currently under construction at Europa Point.

4. Nine members of Bula’s squad play their football for Lincoln Red Imps FC, who currently sit in fourth place in Gibraltar’s Premier League table after three games, although they have won the title in each of the last 12 seasons.

:5. Bula, 49, played for domestic sides Manchester 62, Gibraltar United FC, St Joseph’s FRAC and Glacis United FC and Gibraltar’s under-21s before his career was brought to a premature conclusion by injury at the age of just 22. He was involved with the youth teams at Dover Rangers and Dover Athletic while studying in England, but got his break in academy coaching at FC Kosice in Slovakia, where Chelsea’s Nemanja Matic was one of the men who emerged from the ranks.

6. Three members of the squad are currently playing their football in England — defender Scott Wiseman at League One Preston, midfielder Jake Gosling at Conference side Bristol Rovers and striker Adam Priestley at non-league Farsley.

7. Priestley was born in Gibraltar while his father was serving with the RAF. He has scored three goals in his last two club games — against Glasshoughton Welfare and Radcliffe Borough.

8. Gibraltar has a population of just under 30,000, making it the smallest country to hold Uefa membership ahead of San Marino, Liechtenstein and the Faroe Islands.

9. The island has been ruled by Britain since 1713 under the terms of the Treaty of Utrecht, but its sovereignty continues to be disputed by Spain.

10. Notable natives include singer-songwriter Albert Hammond, who was born in London to Gibraltarian parents and raised on the Rock, and fashion designer John Galliano.

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