So much ROFL... Facebook has over 1,000 ha-ha reacs for Joseph Portelli

Laugh out loud... Joseph Portelli wants to be a football star and Facebook can only think this is the greatest joke of 2023 so far

Laugh out loud... Joseph Portelli wants to be football star
Laugh out loud... Joseph Portelli wants to be football star

It could have been an April Fool’s post. A standard mock headline from satirical website Bis-Serjetà.

Instead, it was dead serious: Gozo’s mega-developer and patron saint of construction, Joseph Portelli, wanted to step down as president of Hamrun Spartans – officially – to be picked for its team and play in the Premier League.

The stuff of fantasy, ego and arrogance. At 45, well past the prime of even the paunchy dads at Sunday five-a-side leagues, the chairman of the board wants to be at the service of Hamrun F.C., sitting on the bench and hoping coach will pick him to play.

Facebook had a real laugh. Over 1,300 laughing reactions had been registered within at least two hours of the post from Net TV’s Replay.

It was yet again a classic case of Portelli’s overreach. Not content with courting the architects of Zaha Hadid for his 34-storey Mercury Tower, or delegating the chairmanship of his hometown Nadur Youngsters to his son – and then go on to score a penalty for Nadur in their championship decider match, with number 99 on his gear – or even being immortalised as the evangelist of the Apocalypse, St John, in a festa standard (pavaljun) for the Nadur feast, Portelli wants more.

But his bare-faced ambition risks being immediately scaled back, with the Malta Football Association saying that if Portelli’s resignation from president is so that he can play for the same club – and arguably, one assumes the next president is also likely to be extremely partial to the selection of his club’s most recent acquisition – the association may choose not to accept his resignation.

“In that case, the Association may elect not to accept such resignation. Rather, it would be referred to the competent bodies in compliance with its Reputational Risk Management Policy – a document that is public and which is endorsed by its Executive Board,” a spokesperson said.

So it’s not just laugh reacs that Portelli is getting now. It’s also a large middle-finger from Maltese football.