Ante Budimir and Dani Rodriguez celebrate a Mallorca goal. | EFE


After a week when the new Bond movie premier of No Time to Die was put back until November because of the Coronavirus – could it have a less sensitive title then like A Flu to a Kill or Quarantine of Solace? – Real Mallorca (now in the bottom three of La Liga) play Basque side Eibar in their 8,000 capacity Ipurua stadium today at 13:00.

The Palma team are once again looking for an away win, something that hasn’t happened since April last year.

We had a hugely disappointing home defeat at the hands of Getafe last Sunday (0-1), which has put us on a relegation collision course with Celta Vigo, Leganes and Espanyol, the first two have still to play us in Palma.

I know it’s still early March and there’s a lot of football to be played (12 games) but a glance at the La Liga table shows a gaggle of four teams who will spend the next 12 weeks fighting for survival.

There’s no doubt like every season a rank outsider could gatecrash the relegation dogfight as squeaky bum time (the tense, final stages of a competition) is on the horizon. The question is can Mallorca beat the dreaded drop?

Doubts remain over the fitness of our main striker/leading goalscorer Ante Budimir who missed last week’s game with a muscle strain.

Definitely abscent today is Salva Sevilla, who received a one-match ban after being dismissed from the bench for dissent last Sunday.

The good thing about this is that he’ll be available for next week’s crunch game at home to misfiring Barcelona on Saturday at 18:30.

It’s another huge ask to expect Mallorca to get something out of today’s game, especially as Eibar, at home, play in a similar style to Getafe although not quite so cynical! Eibar (population 27,000) lies 48 km from Bilbao and are known as Los Armeros (The Gunsmiths).

They have shown over the past seven seasons to have enough bullets in the chamber to guard themselves against much more experienced La Liga rivals. They have three ex Mallorca players in their squad, Ivan Ramis (Sa Pobla), Pedro Bigas (Porreras) and Sergi Enric (Ciutadella, MInorca) and is owned and run by its supporters’ association having over 10,000 shareholders from 69 countries worldwide. They’re a beacon of hope for all smaller clubs that it’s possible with effective organisation to run a club on a small budget.

Eibar are five points above us with a game in hand after their match with Real Sociedad was called off three weeks ago. High levels of chemical compounds from a nearby land fill site polluted the atmosphere. The game will be played on Tuesday night.

Their staying in top flight Spanish football for an eighth consecutive year means another year of global exposure and surviving is considered a major success. There are going to be some konnichiwas (hellos) and sayonaras (goodbyes) today when our Japanese player Take Kubo meets up with his countryman, 33-year-old Takashi Inui who’s been at Eibar for five years.

The next six match days will be stretched out over a month and a half from March 7 to April 22. During that period there will be two breaks. The first for international fixtures on the last weekend of March and the second for the Copa del Rey final played at the Estadio de la Cartuja in Seville on April 18 between Real Sociedad and At. Bilbao.
The last six match days however will be crammed into one month from April 26 to May 24.

PS Tip of the weekend: Fed up waiting in long queues? Want to reduce the time you waste waiting to be attended to? Cough loudly and say “It’s got progressively worse since I got back from China!”

AND FINALLY, and old Red Indian custom. Two Apache Indians and Paddy O’Reilly are walking through the woods. Suddenly one of the Red Indians runs up a hill to the mouth of a small cave. “Wooooo, wooooo, wooooo!” he calls into the cave and receives the reply “Wooooo, wooooo, wooooo!” He tears off his clothes and runs into the cave. Paddy’s puzzled and asks the other Indian “Is he crazy?”

The other Indian says “No, it’s our custom during the mating season, when Indian man see cave he shout ‘Wooooo, wooooo, woooo’ into the opening, if he gets an answer back it means beautiful squaw in there waiting for him.” Just then they come across another cave.
The second Indian runs up to the entrance and shouts out “Wooooo, wooooo, wooooo!” Immediately there’s an answer “Wooooo, wooooo, wooooo” from deep inside, he also tears off his shirt and legs it into the cave. Paddy wanders alone around the forest looking for another cave, then he spies one which is very much bigger than the other two.

He looks at the size of the huge opening and thinks to himself “Look at the size of this cave, it’s way bigger than the two Indians found, there must be a really, fine woman in that cave.” He shouts at the top of his voice “Wooooo, wooooo, wooooo!” and like the others, he hears the answering call “Wooooo, wooooo, wooooo!”

With a gleam in his eye, Paddy races into the cave tearing off his clothes as he runs.
The following day’s newspaper headline read “Naked Irishman Run Over by Train!!”