It’s often said that we’re living in a media age. This has never been more evident than with the game of football which now receives saturation second-by-second coverage on various websites and social media.
But what of the game in Malta? What is the coverage like from the clubs in the Bank of Valletta Premier League for example? With the local game trying to increase its profile among an ever-increasing football-hungry public on the islands, are the clubs making the most of their opportunities to reach out?
In this article I review the websites of Premier League clubs and give each a rating according to how useful / informative I believe they are. I have given each a mark out of 10 based on a variety of points. You may disagree with the ratings I give. Leave me a comment at the bottom of this article if you’d like to add your own thoughts and opinions into the mix…
Balzan (7 / 10) – here
This site is good. It’s colourful, shows pictures and has plenty of information. There’s quite a lot of information about various sections of the club too. The youth setup has its own page where you can find a team photo and also results for the current campaign. It’s also up-t0-date where so many sites are not. There are also match reports, although these do not contain line-up information. Also there is a detailed page for contacts should you ever need / want to get in touch with different areas of the club.
Conclusion: A good effort but lacking in certain details. The current squad information doesn’t supply any details on the players, just pictures. No area for purchasing merchandise which is tricky if you don’t live in Malta. It’d also be nice to see more detail on the match reports, such as line-ups etc.
Birkirkara (9/10) – here
Be under no illusions, this is a top website. Most clubs in the top leagues in England, Spain, Germany etc would love a site like this one. It’s a generally fantastic effort with everything a supporter needs. It’s updated constantly, contains a vast array of details on the current playing squad (including career appearances and pen pics) and it’s easy to navigate. There is even an array of detail on the Youth and Women’s sides to browse. Information about the previous and forthcoming fixtures is prominent and tells you what you need to know if you’re attending a game. Top notch effort and kudos to the designers!
Conclusion: This site is superb and well worth a visit for any fan of Maltese football. Anything you need to know about Birkirkara FC is right here in these pages. BUT, the only thing stopping it for getting a full 10/10 is the fact there is no merchandise area. Adding an online store to buy replica shirts etc would be the icing on the cake.
Floriana (0 / 0)
A big shame this. The Greens used to have a fantastic website but this seems to have died a death since last season. A quick enquiry to the club about it being made available again has been met with a wall of silence. Floriana FC do have a nursery website (here) which is an interesting mix of the Maltese and English languages but it’s not up-to-date and contains precious little about the first team, not too surprisingly for a nursery site. A big shame and hopefully the club will get their main site up-and-running again soon.
Gżira United (0 / 0)
The Premier League new boys unfortunately haven’t designed their own site so there is not much to write in this section. They do have a Facebook page which is regularly updated (here) but it’s a pity there is not more of a presence on the web.
Hamrun Spartans (6 / 10) – here
Unlike Gżira, Hamrun Spartans have managed to get themselves a presence online. A good effort with plenty of graphics and information to be had. The site contains information about the past / future fixtures as well as very detailed match reports that even contain attendance figures. That’s not something many Maltese clubs publish. The club pays homage to its history on the site, with a Hall of Fame section and information on trophies won. However this is a work in progress and three tabs do not work – Club Info, Nursery and Team. The last tab means that information about the squad is tough to track down.
Conclusion: Well worth a visit for the match reports alone. Some good photos from each match to look at as well. It’s a good effort but definitely needs improvement in the coming months to be up there with the greats. Kudos to the club for actually having an online presence though.
Hibernians – (8 / 10) – here
Another good effort this one. Along with Valletta and Birkirkara, this is a pretty in-depth site that gives its readers plenty of facts but also probably the best online football store in Malta! Click on the Shopping tab and you’ll be tempted with a variety of Hibernians merchandise – replica shirts, club CD’s, team posters, mouse mats… You name it, they have it. It’s great to see and a lot of credit must go to the club for being so innovative. The match reports are up-to-date and detailed and there is also an area to find statistics and pen pics on players in the First, Youth and Women’s sides. Well worth a visit!
Conclusion: A lot of clubs in Malta could learn a thing or two from the Hibernians site. It doesn’t always look the most polished but it’s tidy and with plenty of detail.
Mosta (5 / 10) – here
Mosta’s new website uses the Team App program and is quite a fresh looking presentation. The news section on the home page is updated often although none of the articles really go in-depth. Upcoming fixtures are displayed prominently and include all the detail a supporter would need. There are also prominent links to the club’s pages of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. This is a site that is a work in progress though. The Player Profiles page only has three players, for example. There are no pictures on the Gallery tab and there are no proper match reports. That said, the league table and fixtures pages are updated regularly and this is a site that will hopefully go from strength-to-strength.
Conclusion: A decent start on the template but a long way to go to make this a bona fide official website. The shell looks streamlined but it need more detail and this will surely come with time?
Pembroke Athleta (0 / 0)
Pembroke Athleta do have a website as an organisation. Sadly it’s devoted almost exclusively to athletics and doesn’t mention the football club in the Premier Division.
Sliema Wanderers (2 / 10) – here
As a Sliema Wanderers fan myself, it gives me no pleasure to see the the club’s “official” website not updated since 2011. The graphics are pretty outdated and the site has clearly not been touched in some time. The fixtures and league table make interesting reading, although purely from a nostalgia point of view. On the plus side, there are some decent graphics to be downloaded in the form of wallpaper for both computers and mobiles. Those aside, this site should be far better (and up-to-date) than it is. A great shame and hopefully the club will get itself a better online presence soon.
Conclusion: Not fitting at all of one of Malta’s premier football clubs. Hopefully rectified soon.
St. Andrews Luxol (0 / 0)
Sadly the The Saints seem to have taken the website they had down. Let’s be clear, it was extremely basic and dedicated one page to the football club but that is no longer operational. Again, hopefully the club will get back online and provide its supporters with a quality product.
Tarxien Rainbows (0 / 0)
Unfortunately, Tarxien no longer have a functioning website. A previous effort by the supporter’s club has been made non-operational and the club seems to be relying more on Facebook these days. A pity.
Valletta (8/10) – here
And finally to the current league champions. The men from the capital have done a superb job off the pitch as well as on it. This website is definitely one of the better one’s in Maltese football and information is not hard to find when browsing. There are pen pics for the senior squad and plenty of pictures of previous matches to view. The website is updated regularly and there is even a section for club members which includes a forum for voicing opinion. Need a match report from four seasons ago? No problem – the guys and Valletta FC have it covered with their “Season” tab that lets you go back in time. There is even the cherished Merchandise page where you can pick up Valleta FC souvenirs although, curiously, no shirts. Top effort though and well worth the visit.
Conclusion: A great site and one to go back to again and again due to its regular updates. The only thing that stops it being as good as Birkirkara’s website is the depth of details. Birkirkara’s site has far more information on it than Valletta’s. Other than that, this site is easily one of the best two or three in Maltese football.