By Humphrey Carter

PALMA
SKY Sports's face of the Premier League, Richard Keys, told the Bulletin yesterday that the purchase of Real Mallorca by the British entrepreneur and investor Paul Davidson “is very exciting for all Real Mallorca fans.”

Keys has spent his summer holidays on the island for many years and, apart from attending Real Mallorca games when he can, always keeps a close eye on the club and the Spanish league and he agrees that Davidson's pre-agreement to purchase 90 percent of Vicente Grande's 97 percent stake in the club for an estimated 42 million euros is a “landmark” deal. Not only is Davidson the first British owner of the club, he is one of the first British businessmen to have taken over a foreign football club.

“He has come along as something of a savior, judging by the problems Grande and his businesses are going through, and this could be the start of something really good for the club. From my experience with the Premier League and top flight football all over Europe, Mallorca needs to take a look at improving its hospitality on match days and how it conducts itself commercially.

“The club has great potential, it's got a first class training camp and great facilities but clubs need to post profits, otherwise they start seasons with one hand already tied behind their backs and are always going to have to sell players to cover their losses.

“Mallorca got close to European and that fourth spot, the Champions League spot, is much easier to fight for in Spain than it is in England. It's more open. “But, its not enough to say ‘we've a game on Sunday, come along if you want'. “I think the club needs to take a leaf out of what all the clubs in the top three divisions are doing in England to attract people to matches.

“People want hospitality, they want to be entertained, it's not just about the football and Mallorca needs to address that. “I've been to a number of games and apart from the little shop and bar, that's it,” Richard Keys said yesterday.

“I think the club need to get the whole island interested and the way to do that is to think more commercially and make those making the effort to go to the games, be they staunch fans or not, more welcome,” he added.

“And, obviously, if a few British players were bought under the new era then the interest will be increased immediately with such a large British community on the island and so many regular visitors coming to Majorca,” Keys said. “I think Real Mallorca's a great club, as I've said, with massive potential, and I hope they can be just as, or even more, successful in the coming season as they were in the last campaign.

“They were so unlucky to have missed out on a European post by just the one point,” he added.

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