A late change to our pre-season fixture schedule sees us take on Gibraltar United on Wednesday night, kick-off 7.30pm (local time).
United stepped in to take on the Royals in place of their Gibraltar Premier Division counterparts, Europa FC, who beat Andorran Primera Divisió side Sant Julià to progress in the qualifying stages of the Europa league - they now face Legia Warsaw in the first of a two-legged encounter on Thursday evening.
Reading vs Gibraltar United FC (at Spanish training camp)
Wednesday 10th July 2019, kick-off 7.30pm CET
Gibraltar United finished sixth in the top tier in Gibraltar last season and have been managed by Paco Luna, who replaced Lucas Cazorla at the helm in January.
Founded in 1943 in the midst of World War Two, they have won their domestic title no fewer than 11 times, as well as the Rock Cup on four occasions - three times consecutively between 1999-2001 in fact.
Briefly, they merged with local club Lions Football Club, adopting a new name in the process - Lions Gibraltar FC. But after the Gibraltar Football Association was accepted into UEFA in 2014, they reformed as an independent club once again and won promotion back to the top division in their first season as Gibraltar United.
The club is owned by Dubai-based businessman Pablo Dana while there is also a boardroom link to former Spain international Míchel Salgado, the former Real Madrid right-back who won La Liga four times and also spent three seasons in the UK at Blackburn Rovers. Salgado also twice played in successful Champions League-winning teams, helping Real Madrid beat Valencia in Paris in 2000 before featuring in a 2-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen at Hampden Park two years later.
A year ago, in July 2018, Gibraltar United made some international headlines when it became the first football club in the world to pay its players in part with cryptocurrency - an innovation the Gibraltarian financial services are very much leading the way in.
Like all clubs in the Gibraltar Football League as well as the national team, Gibraltar United play their matches at Victoria Stadium - it also hosts the annual Gibraltar Music Festival and is located close to the airport.
Although the club’s philosophy of only signing local players has now loosened, United’s squad is made up largely of Gibraltarian nationals and Spanish players. Our opposition’s captain is goalkeeper Kyle Goldwin (pictured) who was in goal for Gibraltar when they recorded their first competitive win - a 1–0 victory in Armenia in October as part of the 2018–19 UEFA Nations League competition. The same game was also noteworthy as the Liechtenstein national anthem was mistakenly used instead of Gibraltar's.