Dear Sir, AFTER spending a couple of days in Kössen, Austria, late last month with Carlitos (a long-time pal of mine) and your “In the Stands” reporter Billy Morris watching Real Mallorca's pre-season preparation, I got to know Billy (who's reportedly Mallorca's No. 1 ex–pat fan) a wee bit better !! After the Blackburn reversal 0-2, he was so overcome with gloom that he'd more or less written the team off for season 05/06 before a ball had even been kicked in earnest. At this time of year the summer has either been cruel or kind and in the mind of the ill-at-ease football fans all sorts of doubts begin to congregate. Billy, pre-season friendlies are nonsense (especially when key players sustain injuries). They say absolutely zilch about future form and are NOTHING more than a manicured fitness regime to tease players back from a month of playing with their buckets and spades on Magalluf beach. When the proper football kicks off next Sunday night (28th August) players will up their game. If Billy thinks pre-season matches are a pointer of things to come then he's wrong. Every time Real Mallorca lose (pre-season included) it's a knife to the heart of us ex pat “socios” (our hearts had more puncture holes than a Swiss cheese last season !) but I have unequivocal confidence that season 05/06 is going to be great for Real Mallorca and their fans. Let's hope for Billy's sake that the up-coming season's scenario doesn't come down to an exhaust pipe and a length of rubber tubing !! No chance. Visca Mallorca!

Monro Bryce.