Real Mallorca, like FIFA, are in serious meltdown mode having lost one-nil at home on Saturday to Huesca who, before Saturday, hadn’t won a game all season. We’ve now taken their place and are bottom of the Spanish second division.
There were unprecedented scenes during and at the end of the game when thousands of white hankies were waved in the direction of the pitch and the directors’ box, with shouts of “fuera, fuera” resonating around the Son Moix. I say “unprecedented” because after watching my beloved Real Mallorca go through undulating times over the past 33 years, I’ve never seen such angry supporters this early in a season. The Palma side now find themselves colista (bottom) and it’s no surprise.
To make matters worse (if this were possible) our goal drought continues: it seems we haven’t bulged the net since Jesus was a carpenter.
I really hate sitting down to write a report on yet another abject failure from Real Mallorca but Saturday’s performance was just that. When I saw the team our under-fire coach Albert “Chapi” Ferrer had selected I nearly fell off my already well-wobbly seat. Here’s Real Mallorca at the wrong end of the table, unable to score goals, playing a team who came up from the third division last season and were bottom of the league with one of the smallest budgets in La Segunda and what does our coach do? He picks five in midfield and selects one striker, leaving Rolando Bianchi, who is the club’s highest-earning player, an out and out striker, twiddling his thumbs on the bench. For most of the first half Mallorca ran about like headless chickens, we had no game plan and one wonders what on earth goes on at the Son Bibiloni training ground during the week. The build-up was slow and pedestrian and when we got down the other end, the front man didn’t have a “Scooby.”
As I write this on Sunday afternoon, I’m sure we’d still be waiting for Mallorca to score, and ex-Mallorca ‘keeper Leo Franco in goal for the visitors won’t have an easier 90 minutes this season. It’s not supposed to be this way after all the pre-season promotion talk. I know our president/owner Utz Claassen reads this column and I urge him to sort this mess out. What we need is an experienced second division coach who knows how to get this team promoted. What we don’t want is a coach who spends most of his time in the technical area clapping his hands. Trusted names like Fernando Vazquez and Juan Antonio Anquela are being mentioned.
Several people have openly criticised our tendency to bring in ex-Barcelona players as coaches. With director of football Miguel Angel Nadal being in total charge of signing players and having a major influence on who is the coach, there’s too much of an “old pals” scenario going on.
Sitting just in front of us on Saturday was ex-Mallorca centre half from the ‘90s, Marcelino Elena, who now works regularly on Sky Sports. He spent most of the game shaking his head in disbelief before making an early exit. Talking to a Majorcan friend of mine at half time, he said “I come here because I love Mallorca and I love this team but I don’t like what I’m seeing on the pitch. “We have no belief in our players, our coach has to go because he’s not able to improve our performances, we’re now grappling with second division survival.” Then to make matters even worse, Ferrer took off our best player on the night, Sissoko, early in the second half. His coming off started a cacophony of whistles from the crowd.
SUMMING UP: WHERE TO START?
The team trained all week behind closed doors at Son Bibiloni with four first team coaches in attendance and, as I said, what on earth do they do ? It’s certainly nothing to do with trying to beat a “pub team” like Huesca. They came here playing a classic away game strategy, solid in defence and quick on the counter attack and could easily have scored three goals but for some chronic bad luck.
Visiting fan Ken Norcross, who used to be a season ticket holder at the Son Moix for many years before moving back to the UK, commented after the game: “This is the worst Real Mallorca side I’ve ever seen.” Herr Claassen has opened his cheque book, he has been doing his bit and is being, wrongly in my opinion, pilloried as being the bad guy in all this. He’s flexed his financial muscle to keep the club going.
On Sunday the press had a field day of criticism, one article stated “After the defeat to Huesca, where all eyes and insults were directed at the directors’ box and president Utz Claassen, the situation was something nobody should be surprised about. If any company fails, the person ultimately responsible is the one in the highest office, which in this case is Utz Claassen. He now has major decisions to make as he is in charge of a ship that is in danger of sinking. If we pick people who don’t know how to sail, then they have to give up and let somebody come on board who can.”
It’s Claassen’s club, he owns it and pulls the strings. He has some difficult choices to make and he has the last word. The fans are angry, their patience even this early in the season has worn thin. The islanders appear to be veering dangerously close to full crisis mode. If that sounds strangely familiar that’s because crisis has become something of a regularity in recent years. We need to arrest this decline as soon as possible, starting away at Oviedo next Sunday lunchtime. If there’s not a favourable result at the Carlos Tartiere, with a plane-full of fans travelling to Asturias on Saturday including yours truly, then it’s bye bye Chapi – it’s as simple as that, his time’s up.
For the record, Tyronne scored the game’s only goal in the 64th minute.
PS. It was announced on Wednesday that we’d sold 10,000 season tickets, so how come only around 6,000 bothered to turn up on Saturday ?