Real Mallorca’s adventure back in La Liga after a six-year absence lasted only one season when they lost 1-2 with nine men to Granada on Thursday night. In all honesty, relegation was always on the agenda after a poor season caused mostly by disastrous planning from our former CEO Maheta Molango and director of football, Javier Recio. Our coach Vicente Moreno did his best with what he had at his disposal and he can leave Real Mallorca with his head held high. In his spell here we played 116 games, won 47, lost 39 and drew 30. This is the fourth time I’ve seen Mallorca relegated since I got my first season ticket in 1984 and it doesn’t get any easier. The writing was on the wall with our away form letting us down. We also conceded 63 goals and one win and two draws on the road all season is not good. Another alarming statistic I found out yesterday was we’ve had 162 corners this season and haven’t scored from any of them !
After Thursday night’s defeat, 388 days have passed since our euphoric play-off win coming back from 2-0 down to beat Deportivo 3-0 on a night I’ll never forget. Our team this season simply haven’t been good enough to compete in what is often described as the best league in the world.
We went ahead on a breakaway in the 20th minute through a brilliant Cucho goal. Budimir and Salva Sevilla came close, for their efforts only to hit the woodwork. Granada have been the revelation team this campaign and in Diego Martinez the coach of the season. Their goalkeeper had an easy time as we failed to hit enough shots on target. Granada found another gear and equalised just before the break when a 25 yard howitzer whizzed past Reina putting them in the driving seat. The second half got really scrappy and Fernandez wrapped up the points for the visitors near the end. Sedlar and Cucho were sent off and Raillo limped off, meaning we are down to the bare bones for our meaningless trip to Osasuna on Sunday. I’ll have more on our demise in the next Fan’s View on Tuesday. Mallorca will play next season in La Segunda and without many players who turned out on Thursday, some because they came on loan, others because they won’t want to play in a lower league and some because quite frankly they’ve been rubbish.
At the pre-match video press link-up on Wednesday, Moreno was asked about the “leaked” news that he was terminating his contract and leaving his position as head coach next week. He steered clear of any questions regarding his future, saying all will be revealed early next week after the season finale. He would only talk about the next game.
So why is he leaving? In a decision he’d made a few months ago, the main reason appears to be that he wasn’t consulted when it came to the recruitment of new players. The problem started back in August when Mallorca were at their pre-season training camp in Malaga. It seemed like every day new players were signed without the knowledge or approval of the coach. Instead of granting Moreno the powers to oversee transfer movement, he was witnessing players coming in that had never played at La Liga level. Indeed, he only found out from the local newspapers who would be the next player coming to the club! This saw a “cold war” scenario between the coach and the then CEO Maheta Molango and sporting director Javi Recio, in a situation which only got worse the longer the season progressed. After the Summer camp in Malaga, it’s alleged the coach and the CEO hardly gave each other the time of day.
Moreno’s second in command Dani Pendin became the mouthpiece for Moreno in Malaga and went in front of the local TV cameras to state categorically that the players who’d been brought in for the La Liga campaign were simply “not up to the standard required.” Indeed several of our ex players like the legendary Vicente Engonga commented after a couple of games that “we should have signed players who had La Liga experience.” With the exception of Manolo Reina, Salva Sevilla and Antonio Raillo, none of the other 24 players had played at the level expected.
Our American owners will not be happy with Moreno’s pending departure and they may have tried to sway his decision. But it’s unlikely they can guarantee him more say in our setup for the coming campaign in September, so he’s on his way. Whatever happens, Moreno is up there with Hector Cuper and Luis Aragones as one of the top three managers Real Mallorca have ever had. In today’s footballing world it’s not easy to find professional, serious, honest and hard-working people in a game that’s constantly changing. Moreno fits all these categories.
Since our last CEO Maheta Molango left in January, Moreno has been more or less the lone voice of the club and he was finding it difficult to be that and trying to get Mallorca back up the table with a limited squad at his disposal. Even with matches every three days, he was obliged to select the same starting XI. However, his time at Mallorca has helped him make a name for himself in the elite echelons of Spanish coaches. For that reason he’s decided to make the break and move to pastures new – he’ll be sorely missed.
PS In my heady schoolboy days our home team (Raith Rovers) were regularly putting out a reserve team with names like Newman, Trialist, A.N. Other and Junior. When another team wanted one of these youngsters a deal was hatched. The two managers concerned would meet in a local pub over a couple of pints of heavy, two Forfar Bridies and a packet of Craven-A (“for your throat’s sake”)! All monetary transactions were exchanged in a brown paper bag. No financial fair play being called into question back then.