Real Mallorca will be hoping to make it three wins out of three tomorrow at the Son Moix when, at 5 o’clock, they play bottom club Bilbao Athletic. Coach Fernando Vazquez has a full squad to pick from and his biggest headache involves who to leave out. We have a serious case of “overbooking” with regard to attacking options: no fewer than eleven players are available for positions. Mallorca’s general manager Maheta Molango has signed six new players, all of them forwards, and we actually bought two of them, something that hasn’t happened for quite some time.
One thing about all these new faces coming in is the absence of any involvement from our director of football, Miguel Angel Nadal. He seems to have been put on gardening leave these past few weeks and I’m wondering if his days at Real Mallorca are numbered.
The majority of Real Mallorca fans have had their heads turned by two back-to-back wins (albeit without a goal from open play), two clean sheets (which now moves our 21-year-old German ‘keeper Timon Wellenreuther into the position of the second best goalkeeper in La Segunda) and our first away win last Sunday for nearly nine months. There’s a real buzz back again at the club but as the coach said at his press meeting on Friday: “We must not get complacent. Bilbao Athletic are dangerous opponents despite their lowly league position and several of their players have already played for the first team. I reiterate we must keep our feet on the ground and take everything game by game. Let’s get the nine wins we need to make us safe, then we can start getting excited.” Vazquez is expected to announce the appointment of an assistant coach some time next week. One name who could be on the list is ex-Mallorca centre half, the Argentinian Gustavo Siviero.
With Mallorca eleven points off the play-off positions, we have to concentrate on staying in La Segunda; everything else would come as a bonus. New striker Alfredo Otruño said this week that there was no reason why Mallorca can’t turn their season around and claw back that eleven-point discrepancy. On the subject of Ortuño, I overheard on a Palma bus during this week two “veteran” Mallorquinistas talking about Ortuño. One said: “He’ll never strut the catwalk with his looks” His friend replied: “I wouldn’t like to bump into him down a dark alley at night”
Our home fixture against Oviedo on Saturday, 5 March will take on special significance. The game (kick-off 6 pm) coincides with the club’s official 100th birthday and there’ll be lots of pre-match celebrations. It will also see new owner Robert Sarver and ex-top basketball star and part of our new consortium, Steve Nash, spending a week on the island as part of the festivities. Sarver will also be keen to see how his 21 million euro investment is coming along as well as taking in the Oviedo match.
There’s every likelihood that Real Mallorca will be signing new players this summer well before the end of the next transfer window. Molango wants to give Vazquez as much chance as possible to get his pre-season off to the best conceivable start, long before the beginning of next season.
PS I think I speak for all expat fans of Real Mallorca in wishing club president Utz Claassen a speedy recovery after a recent heart attack. Gute Besserung, Utz.