Having explored the Maltese village of Għargħur last week and getting to rummage around Għargħur F.C.’s training ground while there (read up on our adventures in this article), it’s high time we put one of the club’s shirts to a full review. Introducing the club’s current away shirt, designed and supplied by Italian brand Givova.
Green and white provides a fitting alternative to the white and red of the home shirt, arranged in an attractive design with thin hoops running across the width of the body with further white detailing on the collar and cuffs. Two sponsors feature on the front of the shirt, while the manufacturer’s logo is repeated on both sleeves.
Għargħur doesn’t run an online store per se, but if you are inclined to purchase shirts and/or other merchandise from the club you can easily shoot the staff a message on the Official Facebook page. All of the proceeds of your purchase go directly to the club.
Quite why the club decided to order green away shirts from Givova is actually an interesting story relaid to us by Mark, the club admin we met during our visit. In his role, he is responsible for (among many other things) negotiating the designs used for Għargħur’s shirts with Givova.
In doing so, Mark is naturally limited by the constraints of the Italians’ catalogue as well as by club traditions and the nature of kit rules in Malta. In quite unusual fashion, Maltese leagues actually require the home team to change their kit in the event of it clashing with the colours of the visiting side, rather than the other way around (the away team wearing their away kit while on the road) as is standard around the world. Despite being quite unusual, this custom of making the hosts change their kit does make some sense; after all, they can be expected to have all of their various kits on hand at their home ground, while the travelling visitors only bring one set. This advantage is lost for quite a few teams, including Għargħur, considering they play their home matches at shared venues like Ta’Qali Stadium.
But still, why go for this green shirt (seen in use above during a league match against Attard in 2018/2019, with the old San Marino Oro sponsor – credit for the picture goes to the club) out of all the possible colours Għargħur could use for their away kits?
Well, this is down to two reasons; firstly because green is one of the two colours of the village’s annual fest (in honour of St. Bartholomew), and secondly, because Mark is a very clever man and had a look around the leagues. His line of reasoning was that, with Għargħur having the common colours of red and white in their home shirt, the club would best be served with an uncommon colour for their away top. This instantly ruled out blue – another popular colour in Maltese football – and paved the way for green to be used. After all, only a select few teams in the Maltese pyramid use this colour in any significant way; for 2019/2020, these sides are Għaxaq, Kalkara, Xgħajra Tornadoes, Żebbuġ, Qrendi, and Floriana.
Out of this list, only Għaxaq plays in the same division as Għargħur, with Żebbuġ and Qrendi being two promotions away while Floriana is a top team in the Premier League (the highest tier in Maltese football, which Għargħur has never played at). Two additional teams, Oratory Youths and Sannat Lions, also wear green but as they take part in the Gozitan leagues, Għargħur realistically won’t meet them outside of the FA Trophy.
This away shirt ticks three boxes, then; it provides ample contrast with the home shirt, it shares the home colours of just one other team in Għargħur’s current division, and it relates to the club and town through the Fest of St Bartholomew. You couldn’t ask for more, really.
The club’s crest is similarly pleasing, applied to the shirt as a firm, durably embroidered patch. The design itself is simple yet effective; the star and hill (possibly representing the Ġebel San Pietru hill) of the village’s coat of arms are displayed in the centre of five blocks of red emulating the outline of a football. The club’s name, with traditional Maltese ħ, is done up in black underneath.
Two charmingly local sponsors are stuck onto the front of the shirt, the first of which is MV, a local contractor who, rather than a web address, has placed his phone number on the shirt, without a country or area code (then again, we doubt MV caters to foreign clients who happen to randomly see a Għargħur shirt online). Mark noted that the owner of MV is actually a former coach of the club.
The second sponsor on the front is CG Associates, who have a rather fine abstract logo in thin gold stickering. This company’s owner, we were told, lives on the ridge overlooking Għargħur’s training ground.
The panels on each side of the shirt are formed by mesh that runs from the bottom hem to the sleeves, which are attached via further mesh panels. For added durability and detail, stretchy ribbed fabric lines the mesh along the bottom hem; this is a common technique used by many technical suppliers to avoid shirts at these delicate locations when being pulled by opposition players.
So what about the specific supplier of this shirt? Givova, an Italian brand who make their debut on this site (if we don’t count last week’s minireview of the old Għargħur home shirt), have their wordmark embroidered on the chest. It sits just below the ribbed crew collar, which is made of the same stretchy fabric seen on the bottom hem and seems to pull one of the thin hoops on the chest upwards. Inside the collar, Givova’s full logotype and logomark are stickered in orange and navy alongside the usual sizing info.
A young brand, Givova was only founded in 2008 by one Giovanni Acanfora, who had previously worked with the Italian brand Legea for years. This new venture snapped up Chievo Verona, a relatively big side, as a customer only a year later and has since grown to be one of the premier suppliers of sportswear in the Italian leagues – no mean feat when you’ve got comparatively huge players like Macron and Erreà also vying for a share of the market. Behind those two behemoths, who are now internationally known, Givova competes with Legea and Zeus for the position of third biggest homegrown sportswear company in Italy. The brand has had less of an impact abroad; although it is steadily growing in the Balkan and Israel, it has had only notable customer team in the UK – Margate FC, who played in the National League in Givova gear.
In Malta, however, Givova are the single-biggest brand in terms of exposure; the national team has been playing in Givova for years and teams throughout the pyramid wear the brand’s products, as do the locals who seem to prefer the company’s tracksuits over those made by adidas, Nike, and other such big foreign names. Għargħur has been wearing Givova for the better part of a decade now, with this away shirt being the ‘Caos’ template (colour code 13-03) from Givova’s 2019 catalogue. The current home shirt seen last week is the ‘Derby’ design in colour code 12-03.
Most every brand insists on having a logo of sorts appear on the sleeves of their kit, and Givova are no different; a rather big square with a checkmark sits on either sleeve in white embroidery. It’s a good thing the Maltese Third Division does not require teams to wear a league-related sleeve patch, because there wouldn’t be any space to place them.
Pleasingly enough, the back of our shirt has a number, a sponsor, and hoops; good to see Givova isn’t afraid to continue the design from the front to the back. The choice of gold for the number here was a good one – it fits well with the green (we are biased, of course) and provides enough contrast to remain visible.
A big sticker is applied to the upper back, advertising Powerade. Founded in 1988 and owned by the Coca-Cola Company, Powerade is a line of sports drinks with a Maltese office in Marsa. From what Mark told us, they sponsor teams up and down the league system on the island, in a fashion not too dissimilar from that seen previously in Singapore with Yeo’s H-TWO-O.
The 3 is done up in an attractive font, and Mark told us that this particular number is used as a spare by Għargħur – an interesting choice when considering that this squad number is usually given to the starting left-back (as seen on this Northampton shirt).
Mark also assured us that this shirt has not been worn in matches, but there seems to be some battle damage here and there (notably in the crumpling of the Powerade sticker and the weathering of the sizing info), so we are inclined to believe that it may have seen some action. This makes it all the more special to have, but since we cannot confirm its status, we won’t list it as matchworn on the site.
The squad seems to like these shirts just fine, although that might also have something to do with this photograph (credit to the club) being taken following an impressive 1-0 home win over Kirkop United (who play in red and white, hence Għargħur donning their green away shirt).
If you fancy getting one of these shirts for yourself, you’re always welcome to come down to the training ground off Triq Stiefnu Zerafa and buy a copy in person but alternatively, contact the club to see what your options are in terms of sizing and availability. The white home shirt currently isn’t on sale, but once it is rotated out in favour of fresh new designs (or undergoes a change of sponsor) some tops might become available. All proceeds from shirt sales go towards the club’s budget and with the ambition to return to the Second Division sooner rather than later, Għargħur F.C. will be thankful for all the support its fans are willing to give.
As for Club 25, we hope to return to Malta one day and will most definitely swing by this beautiful town and friendly club once more when we do. Until then, we will continue to cheer the team on from afar – and hopefully this article and the previous Travel Special have helped to introduce Għargħur to football fans outside of Malta.
That’s just about all you need from us for now, but as always, we would like to remind you that Club 25 is a weekly publication – expect a brand new article from us next week, so keep checking back for when we have a new shirt going live. Additionally, keep up to date with us on our Twitter page and flick through the site’s Shirt Archive to see what shirts we’ve covered in the past.