Ferrer pleading, but walking the tightrope.

20-09-2015Tjerk van der Meulen -

Real Mallorca make the trip up to Asturias today (along with yours truly and a charter flight full of Mallorca supporters) where they'll play Real Oviedo at midday on Sunday. It's exactly 14 years, three months and 18 days since we've played them and like our last two opponents (both of which beat us) they came up from the third division last season through the play-offs.

Today's headline is a football chant taken from John Lennon's Plastic Ono Band's 1969 hit Give Peace A Chance and it was a toss up between that and The Only Way Is Up by Yazz and the Plastic Population for the headline as Real Mallorca languish at the bottom of the Spanish second division scoring a paltry two goals. Coach Albert “Chapi” Ferrer has been coming under fire this past week (although he denies it) and ironically when he coached Cordoba at the start of last season after six games in La Liga they were also bottom. Two games later he was sacked.

With Mallorca in such a precarious place, there's no room for error. Even before they take to the pitch at high noon, the odds are already stacked against us. Out of 14 games we've played at midday, we've lost eleven and drawn three, so it's time we put that right. Ferrer has a full squad available and it's a game Mallorca must win to get back up the table. After last Saturday's game the repercussions have been many. Starting on Monday, president/owner Utz Claassen called in the coaching staff and the four team captains to separate meetings at the Son Moix. The bottom line is that if Real Mallorca don't beat Oviedo, then it's very likely P45 time for the coach. Claassen didn't say that in so many words but reading between the lines it's what he meant.

One person who is very upset about what's going on at Real Mallorca is Italian striker Rolando Bianchi. “Rolo”, as he's nicknamed, was evidently told by the coach last Friday that his starting place for Saturday's match against Huesca was guaranteed. Fast forward 24 hours and he was then informed he wouldn't be starting and didn't come on until the second half. Bianchi has been telling his people that he's not happy at the club. When he was signing for Mallorca, he was told about their ambitious centennial promotion plans and the idea excited him. Now, however, he's seen the club's predicament and seen the club in action, and he's not so enamoured, especially as he felt he was being made a scapegoat. He's said he had other offers which he turned down in favour of coming here but now unless things improve he'll consider leaving in the January transfer window.

After last Saturday's defeat to Huesca, the local media had a field day. One paper described our performance as “turgid”, another said we were “insufferable” and “nothing”, and another writer with a sense of humour said there was too much long ball and as the sphere was being booted all over the pitch it would have been no surprise if the ball had been “carried off on a stretcher”. There were 15 new players brought in during the summer. You can blame them of course and some need to give themselves a severe stare in the mirror, but just who is to blame for our poor start to the season? Our director of football is Miguel Angel Nadal. He has total authority when it comes to bringing in new players. A friend of mine, who's a long-time season ticket holder at the Son Moix, believes the problems rest fairly and squarely on Nadal's shoulders. But because he's Majorcan, he appears to be untouchable when it comes to criticism. His name is never mentioned as the locals tend to stick together in a form of nepotism. Perhaps Herr Claassen has relied too much on Nadal. Another supporter made a point that Mallorca don't need to play with attacking wing backs. We want defenders who can defend and at least three of the seven goals conceded so far this season have come when our full backs are in the opposing half after an aborted Mallorca attack has broken down.

For me, the coach is the reason for all these horror shows of late. He hasn't picked the same team two games running and some of his tactical nous is extraordinary. There's now talk that on Sunday he could revert to the tried and trusted 4-3-3 or even a 5-3-2 system. Whichever one he chooses, we must have more attacking intent. Ferrer's past history at Cordoba wasn't that great. He took them up when they finished seventh two seasons ago after a play-off when a pitch invasion at Las Palmas saw the home team down to nine men. Before that, he had a less than successful spell in Dutch football with Eredivisie club Vitesse Arnhem. They finished 15th and had a narrow escape from relegation, with Ferrer being subsequently relieved of his duties.

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