Real Mallorca, along with the 21 other teams in La Liga SmartBank, have the weekend off as they prepare to start the second half of the season away in Madrid next Saturday at 4 pm when they’ll play fourth-placed Rayo Vallecano. They were only one of three sides to have beaten us so far this season when they won the opening game 0-1 at the Son Moix in September. The reason there are no games in either of the top two Spanish professional leagues this weekend is that the Spanish Super Cup is being played, as is another round of the Copa del Rey in this diminished season.
At the halfway point Mallorca sit proudly in second place on 42 points, three behind leaders Espanyol. It’s one of the best starts we’ve ever made in a league campaign, only spoiled by three defeats at home by Rayo, Fuenlabrada (third to last) and Las Palmas (last). Between September and December we went 17 games unbeaten. Despite the recent reversals we are still the side that has suffered the fewest defeats so far this season. Our two central defenders, Raillo and Valjent, have been magnificent and 35-year-old goalkeeper/captain Manolo Reina has rolled back the years, keeping 13 clean sheets so far. We topped the table five times before our Fuenlabrada defeat and Reina has been ever-present with Joan Sastre being our most used outfield player.
A recent survey carried out by Marca.com showed that Espanyol (with a three times bigger budget than us) and Real Mallorca will be promoted in May. Espanyol got 4,500 votes, almost double our tally. The survey showed Almeria, one point behind us with a game in hand, are third choice for automatic promotion. The survey also reckoned that the three sides relegated last season, Espanyol, Mallorca and Leganes, will go straight back up – time will tell !
With the January transfer window now open, our sporting director Pablo Ortells has been working overtime. Our top priority is another striker, as only Abdon Prats (5 goals in the league and two in the cup) has been finding the net on a regular basis. Other goals have come from midfield, Dani Rodriguez (6) and Salva Sevilla (4). The salary limit and the demand from other clubs for a striker greatly reduces our chances of bringing in quality, and a deal all depends on when striking non-entity Alex Alegria leaves on loan. He’s been a bench warmer who comes on with only minutes remaining to wind down the clock. His contributions to games have been minimal and he’s about as useless as a barber’s shop on the way to the guillotine ! Indeed, one of my friends has offered to take Alegria to the airport once a loan deal is arranged, to make sure he gets on the flight. Unfortunately he has a contract until 2024 so we need to get rid of him – permanently.
Five Mallorca players’ contracts are up for renewal : Parera, Abdon, Salva Sevilla, Antonio Sanchez and the forgotten man, Alex Lopez. He’s been out for a year with knee-ligament damaged and won’t be ready to play until April. Parera and Sanchez look likely to leave in the Summer and Salva Sevilla with Abdon Prats, everything is to be decided. Salva will be 37 in March and his football continues at the highest level of productivity. Abdon is the fans’ favourite player and he’s likely to be offered an improved deal. However, it’s reported Getafe are interested in signing him. In my opinion Abdon is not good enough to play in La Liga and I expect him to stay.
Things are not made any easier by the pandemic situation. It’s wreaking havoc with the club’s finances and it’s been said that Mallorca are set to lose a minimum of five million euros. Promotion obviously means a lot more money, that’s why it’s imperative we get back into La Liga quickly. Things like sponsorship deals and advertising revenue have gone down with the pandemic. The good news is that our outstanding debts have been reduced from 27 to 10 million euros, putting us in a lot better financial place than we were under past squabbling boardroom regimes. Gate money/season ticket money has all but disappeared and nothing at present indicates that the Son Moix will be open up to the public before the end of this season.
PS The Return of Party Seven – Watching live football on TV back in the 1970s was a special treat. What better way to watch it than with a few mates and a big can of Watneys Party Seven ? It allegedly held seven pints, although by the time you’d got into the liquid contents (with a hammer and nails), the spray went everywhere, soaking the person trying to open the damn thing (like F1 drivers celebrations). The worst part was trying to explain the stains on the ceiling and why the beer explosion had brought down all yer mam’s polystyrene kitchen tiles. Party Seven is making a comeback, this time with a tap attached for easy pouring. Let’s hope it tastes better than it did back in the day !
AND FINALLY, there I am, sitting at the bar, staring at my drink when a really big, trouble-making biker steps up next to me, grabs my drink and gulps it down in one swig. “Well, watch gonna do about it ?” he says menacingly, as I burst into tears. “Come on, man,” the biker says, “I didn’t think you’d CRY. I can’t stand to see a man crying.” “This is the worst day of my life,” I reply. “I’m a complete failure, I was late to a meeting and my boss fired me. When I went to the parking lot, I found my car had been stolen and I don’t have any insurance. I left my wallet in the cab I took home. I found my old lady in bed with the gardener and then my dog bit me, so I came to this bar to work up the courage to put an end to it all. I buy a drink, I drop a capsule in it and sit here watching the poison dissolve. Then you, you a****ole, show up and drink the whole thing ! But enough about me, how’s your day going ?”