Saturday 16 February 2019

Whose side are you on?

Josanne Cassar delves into the often mysterious world of football loyalties and asks a few people just why they support the team they do


Michael Briguglio  (Chairman AD and University lecturer in Sociology)

“I’ve been siding with Denmark since1986 since the exciting times of Elkjaer, Michael Laudrup etc. It is not a case of family tradition since my family consists of free spirits so there are no real diehard loyalties to any team”.
Bad loser or good sport? “Denmark are a great team but they hardly win tournaments, with 1992’s European cup being an exception and unfortunately I had to miss the final! So I cant be a bad loser!”


Dr Sue Mercieca (Notary and former TVM newscaster/journalist)

“I’ve always rooted for England- the whole family does – since my earliest recollections of watching football with my Dad and brother. Our relationship with England goes back to when a good bunch of my aunts and uncles worked and lived in the UK.  My dad used to go watch games when he worked and lived there and he was also present when England won the Football World Cup in 1966. I was also born in London so I feel I am rooting for my other country too. (That is – unless I am at watching Malta play – because then I will root for Malta.) I have watched England win in the Euro qualifiers at Wembley Stadium as well. It makes no difference to me where I watch a game (sometimes I miss a game too); at home or in big outlets does not make a difference.”

Bad loser or good sport? “I may be disappointed with how they might play but I’m certainly not a bad loser. Obviously I’m happy when they win. I love watching a lot of sports – be it football, tennis, athletics and especially swimming (since my son is in the National Swimming Squad). I have also managed tickets for the London Olympics at Wembley and shall watch England vs Brazil.”


Wayne Flask ( Music journalist, writer and DJ)

“I’ve placed my sympathies with Germany this time round. I think they deserve it most. Euro 2012 is a football festival for me, unless Brazil are playing I won’t be really bothered about international football. There’s no particular reason for siding with Germany.  I just like the fact that second generation immigrants have brought a lot of colour to the usually contrite German team. And I like their bockwurst too. I like watching football everywhere really; I could watch football in a coal mine. In good company would be better than alone, but when Milan are playing sometimes it’s better to steer clear.”

Bad loser or good sport? “Depends. If my team deserves to lose I take it rather well. If they lose because of bad luck or a single individual messing everything up, well please don’t talk to me for a couple of hours.”


Maria Savasta (housewife, works part-time)

“I side with England of course…since forever! My Mum and Dad were always in favour of anything British and they both adored the queen and the royal family and anything to do with England…in fact they were Striklandjanii.  Also although I was only 10 yrs old when England won the world cup, I still remember my Mum ironing and shouting for joy when they won. When the games are on I’m working most of the time but if I could I would go to one of the pubs or as I did last year, the big screen at Tiguglio…or any big screen would do.”

Bad loser or good sport? “I’m not a bad loser but I do spend quite a lot of time grumbling (indum ftit neqred) and I’ve even cried in the past!”


Mark Abela (Personal fitness trainer and tennis coach/ former sports journalist)

“I side with England because that is the team my Dad supported. Our family probably had more affinity with England since we were under the British at the time, and also because of our experiences during the war when the British were seen as our ‘heroes’. I also remember as a child watching games on TV, England always played an attacking game which was more attractive than the Italians, who at the time were more known for defense, with few occasions for goal. It really doesn’t matter where I watch a game, but I have to admit I’m not as keen on watching football as I used to be, and if I miss a game it’s no big deal”.

Bad loser or good sport? “While I enjoyed the fact that England won yesterday and that they have a chance to go through, at this point it doesn’t matter to me as much.  When I was younger I was much more passionate about supporting England”.


Leo Brincat (Labour MP) 

“I support England but not with the same passion with which I root for Manchester United. Perhaps because I am results oriented! I have been supporting England ever since I can remember, probably because of the want of a better alternative. It makes no difference whether I am with friends, family or alone. I sometimes focus more on the game when I’m alone but am averse to the idea of watching on a big screen”.

Bad loser or good sport? “I can easily take a bad result in my stride but love teasing friends when their side loses. The closer we are as friends the more I tease them.”


Rene holding the World Cup when it was in Malta for a conference back in 2002

Rene Rossignaud (photographer)

“I have supported England since childhood, and my Dad is also a big England fan, which must have conditioned me to also support the English team.  Still I believe that England has a special place in the nation’s heart when it comes to football.

The best place to watch football for me is in bed in front of a nice big screen, air-condition full on, and away from everyone, plus all the benefits of having a fridge full of food only 10 meters away.”

Bad loser or good sport? “If England loses I get very angry, and depressed, as this could last a week or more, especially if the Italian team is     doing better than us! I hate Italian football…..”


David Agius (Nationalist MP) 

“I have supported  England since I was very young probably because my father supports England too.  As he was a FIFA referee and a first division football player,  I believed that he supports one of the best teams, and in fact it was/is the case and I started to support them too.
I enjoy watching the games at home with my family who all support England”.

Bad loser or good sport? “A good sport”.



Jes Saliba (Managing Director, Corporate Identities)

“I am supporting two countries, Poland and Italy. Since I was a child, I have always supported Italy during international tournaments. There’s no particular reason and definitely not a family tradition as my father supports England. I always lovedItalyas a country and above all AC Milan. So I guess the support for Italy is something I developed at a young age. In the past 13 years, I have also developed a passionate support for my second homeland, Poland. Obviously, being married to a Polish woman and the father to Polish-Maltese daughters (who love football, which they sweetly call ‘Milan like Daddy’s’), doesn’t leave me much of an alternative. I’m not the kind of supporter who enjoys the elimination or defeats of other teams, as long as the protagonists contribute to the beauty of what is the BEAUTIFUL game.

When the going gets tough forItaly, I think that i better stay indoors on my own. On the other hand, I enjoy watching the other games (whereItalyisn’t involved) with various groups of friends in open air or similar bars where the atmosphere is nice.”

Bad loser or good sport? “I don’t like it when my team does not win. (so far Poland and Italy are still to register their first victory). But I don’t think I am a bad loser, as in I get over it quite easily.”

Jes with his wife and twin daughters in Warsaw with Euro 2012 mascots


John Busuttil (Marketing manager at Euro Tours and former sports journalist)

“I side with Italy – it’s just a family tradition I suppose, from when I was very young. I think that my Dad was an active member of The Borg Olivier clan so he just had to be an Italian supporter and so was I. I prefer to watch the games  alone at home”.

Bad loser or good sport?  “I always blame the coach or some other player since I am a bit of a sore loser. And I dont write anything on Facebook since I dont like to be teased. I just keep it to myself and since at my office I am surrounded by girls who do not interest themselves in football, I am quite lucky not to have to put up with any teasing from others.”


Dr Sandra Dingli (Director/ Senior Lecturer – The Edward de Bono Institute)

“I have always supported England, mainly because it’s a family tradition – my maternal grandmother was English  and she was instrumental in my upbringing as a child!”
“I prefer to watch the games with other England supporters in public places, generally at a popular pub in Paceville/ I enjoy watching other people’s reactions and hearing the sounds of hope and glory … and despair at times too! As long as it is a public place with lots of enthusiastic supporters, it could be anywhere!”

Bad loser or good sport? “I think one has to be realistic, if my team loses, then so be it, that  is how the game functions, and it is impossible for every team to win!  So I guess I am a good sport!”


Dr Carmen Sammut (University lecturer in International Relations)

“May I represent that segment of society that is simply not interested? I am not a football fan. I do make the effort to watch just to keep my partner company. However, I almost always give up before half-time. My attention fails me and I prefer to resort to a good book or do other things that appeal to me. It is great as I have time for myself.
I find it interesting how in male-dominated circles, schedules are planned according to the matches. If your activity competes with the European Cup matches, football wins. I am actually rather fascinated how many manage their priorities; if it were the other way round I am not sure they would have been this sympathetic. Last Monday, it must have been torture for our male-dominated House of Representative to meet and vote on the RCC motion, while Italy played Ireland. I strongly suspect that if they could do otherwise, they would have made other arrangements”.
Winner or Loser: Winner the day this ends!

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