After a weekend when I was asked the question “What’s the difference between a tramp and an MP?” – The answer was: one sits about all day usually falling asleep, enjoys long liquid lunches and contributes nothing to society, the other is a tramp – Real Mallorca, watched by a derisory crowd of just over 2,000, won the 45th City of Palma trophy beating Italian Serie A side Cagliari from Sardinia 1-0.
On a hot, humid August night, a Dani Rodriguez goal five minutes from half time saw the Palma side make it six wins from seven in pre-season friendlies. Cagliari were feisty and tetchy and didn’t turn up for the first half, but more than made a game of it in the second.
Once again coach Luis Garcia Plaza put out a makeshift starting XI with several regular first team members nursing minor injuries. It’s imperative he has all his big guns firing for our opening La Liga game in Son Moix against Real Betis (Saturday 19:30). They beat Jose Mourinho’s eight-man Roma 5-2 on Saturday.
Our strikers department is stretched to the limit with Angel and Amath injured and Abdon not back to full match fitness after being in quarantine for 10 days. Making an appearance for the first time in Son Moix was 19-year-old Pablo Galvez. He’s the son of our ex player and coach 46-year-old Pepe Galvez.
Pablo is being hailed as one of the “jewels in the crown” of our academy and recently signed a three-year contract extension. Having watched his dad many times back in the day, the similarity in playing style and body language between father and son is uncanny. Pablo had a couple of chances to score. His first effort was saved and his second attempt went high and wide. That shot was so far over the upright, the ball needed a PCR test to re-enter the field of play ! I just hope he’s not wasted playing for the B team in the local third division.
We looked sharp in the first half, showing hunger and desire, with fast, crisp passing which drew applause from the sparcely-filled stadium. Getting a special round of applause was our stand-out player, Jordi Mboula, who’s had a brilliant pre-season. He’s a totally different player from the last term and now shows the kind of form that made him one of the prominent students at the famed Barcelona academy, La Masia.
Without doubt the attendance was the saddest thing of the night. We knew about the call to boycott from some fans because of the local government only allowing in 5,000, but a call went out from another group who urged fans to attend and support the team, as the entry limit was not their fault. The City of Palma trophy game has never been a huge ground filler, especially as it’s held in early August when a lot of locals are on holiday, but I’ve never seen the Son Moix with so few fans.
After a few personnel changes at half time, Cagliari posed a threat but our defence were resilient again with stand-in centre back Pablo Russo outstanding. After the game was over, the cup presentation (which is usually carried out by a government minister, none of whom had the “cxxxxx” to turn up!) saw club president Andy Kohlberg doing the honours.
It’s going to take some getting used to the so-called “new normal” with regard to gaining access to the ground. It’s not so bad when there’s hardly any fans, but what happens on Saturday when 8,500 people are expected, it’s going to take ages to get in. Surely we haven’t got to go through the rigmarole 19 times this season? Everything security-wise was good, apart from some “jobsworth” at the turnstiles who refused to allow two of our gang (ladies of a certain age) to take in their parasols (which they got back at the end).
He must have thought the offending items constituted weapons of mass destruction!
The rehearsals are over and the main event kicks off in four days time. Mallorca are waiting for definite news from Real Madrid as to whether or not 20-year-old Japanese star Take Kubo will be coming back. Mallorca could offer him a two-year deal with a purchase option included and a repurchase option for his parent club Real Madrid. Kubo has played with several members of our team in his time here two years ago and the thought of him returning has started “Kubomania” fever from Mallorquinistas on social media.
Some important laws Newton forgot to state (1) LAW OF QUEUE: If you change queues, the one you left will start to move faster than the one you are now in; (2) LAW OF MECHANICAL REPAIR: After your hands become coated with grease, you always get an itchy nose; (3) LAW OF WORKSHOP: Any tool, when dropped, will roll to the least accessible corner; (4) LAW OF ENCOUNTER: The probability of meeting someone you know increases when you are with someone you don’t want to be seen with; (5) LAW OF BIOMECHANICS: The severity of the itch is inversely proportional to the reach; (6) THEATRE RULE: People with seats furthest from the aisle arrive last; (7) LAW OF COFFEE: As soon as you sit down for a cup of coffee, your boss will ask you to do something which will last until the coffee is cold.