I started a football team with £500 when I was 18 and now we play in the Europa Conference League

The closest thing most teenagers have to managing their own soccer team is to play a computer game, but Louis Perry really pulled it off.

The Brit moved to Gibraltar in 2013 aged just 18 and was keen to continue playing football.

Louis Perry founded Bruno's Magpies in Gibraltar

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Louis Perry founded Bruno’s Magpies in GibraltarCredit:
The team was formed in Bruno's bar

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The team was formed in Bruno’s barPhoto credit: Google Maps

Perry showed promising results during a trial at a club called Cannons, scoring two goals at left-back.

However, he was turned down by the club as he was told the assistant manager would take over the position.

This rejection gave Perry the motivation to start his own club in his grandparents’ bar, which he did.

Perry assembled the team from ex-pats who lived in the British Overseas Territory and were regulars at the bar.

And he managed to find enough players to complete a first team and even a reserve team.

Perry then appointed Mick Embleton as the team’s first manager. However, he took on the role as long as the word ‘Magpies’ was in the team name and they were playing in his beloved Newcastle’s black and white striped jerseys.

Perry spent £500 to register both teams with the GFA, with the help of his grandparents who also provided funding for the shirts.

And from that, combined with the name of Perry’s grandparents’ bar, Bruno’s Magpies was born.

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Perry told that Daily Star: “In the beginning we had a group of good, technically skilled players.

“We had good footballers, but the problem was that we were all overweight and heavy drinkers. Our recruitment was essentially through my family’s bar.”

“The first full training session we had was on the beach. Me and Mick were trying to gauge the soccer skills of the players on the beach.”

“There were guys who hadn’t kicked a ball in four years, twisted their ankles and pulled their hamstrings!”

The club twice managed to qualify for the Europa Conference League

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The club twice managed to qualify for the Europa Conference LeagueCredit:

The club’s first ever season was played in Gibraltar’s second division, but little did Perry know that the country had successfully bid to join Uefa.

This meant that clubs from the top division could qualify to take part in the European elite at their home stadium, Victoria Stadium, which is also the home of all other Gibraltar sides.

Bruno’s Magpies rose to the top division when the two divisions came together to give Gibraltar a senior division.

The club played in the Conference League last year but lost 4-3 on aggregate to Northern Ireland side Crusaders in the first qualifying round.

The team meets Dundalk in the first qualifying round

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The team meets Dundalk in the first qualifying roundCredit:

However, this year they have a chance to top that as they return to the competition after finishing third last season.

In qualifying, the club meet Irish Premier Division club Dundalk, who faced Arsenal in the 2020 Europa League.

Perry attributes much of Bruno’s Magpies’ success to Jansen Dalli, who has been the club’s director of football since 2019.

He managed to attract players such as former Birmingham City striker Jack Storer and former Real Betis midfielder Carlos Garcia to the club.

Former Birmingham City star Jack Storer plays for the club

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Former Birmingham City star Jack Storer plays for the clubCredit: PA:Empics Sport

However, Dalli has insisted it is difficult due to the uneven competition in the league.

He said: “I call it the Mickey Mouse League. Against one team it can be very professional, but then you play against another and it can be very amateurish.”

“One day it’s like you’re playing Wrexham and tomorrow you’re playing a seventh division team.”

The club is currently managed by Alfonso Cortijo who is back at the club for a second term.

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He used to play for LaLiga sides Cadiz, Rayo Vallecano and Sevilla and was a teammate of Deigo Maradona.

Bruno’s Magpies also recently signed Liam Nash from seventh tier Hornchurch on loan for the European Games.

ClareFora

ClareFora is a Dailynationtoday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. ClareFora joined Dailynationtoday in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing: clarefora@dailynationtoday.com.

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