Son Moix set up for the four-day pop festival. | R.U.

After a week when a Saudi Arabian consortium completed the £305 million takeover of Newcastle United – the new owners allegedly have a better human rights record than Sports Direct, but the only proviso is that St James’s Park is made available on Tuesdays for stonings! – Real Mallorca have reached the second international break of season 2021/22 and after eight games they lie in 12th place on 11 points, won three, drawn two and lost three.

With 11 points out of a possible 24, that’s practically 50%, meaning things are above expectations. We’ve beaten all the rivals we anticipated defeating, with the sole exception of the “accident” against Osasuna 2-3.

We have won nine points against the teams below us: Espanyol, Alaves and Levante and these vital wins could mean salvation come the end of the campaign. We’re actually closer to a European position than the relegation zone!

This season in la Liga looks to be one of the most demanding ones in recent years.
In eight days Alaves beat Atletico Madrid, Espanyol beat Real Madrid, Barcelona couldn’t beat Cadiz and Sevilla lost to Granada.

Experts are saying we need 40 points to be safe from relegation come next May and we are now a quarter of the way through the season. The initial stage is over but the most difficult scenario is fast approaching over the horizon.

Two away games in a row, Real Sociedad and Valencia, followed by a tough encounter at home to Sevilla, possibly on Wednesday October 27th. Injuries, particularly in defence, haven’t made life back in La Liga any easier. We were “gubbed” 6-1 at Real Madrid in a game we were never expected to win but the scoreline was embarrassing as we were woeful in defence.

There’s still bad news from the Real Mallorca infirmary. The injury to Antonio Raillo is now becoming a real worry. He’s still in the process of recovering from a swollen ankle bone he suffered in France pre season and there is no date set for a return. I’ve been told club doctors have put him on growth factor therapy and for the moment he’s on sick leave.
Raillo is vital to our cause and if he’s not back to fitness by the new year, then a suitable central defensive replacement needs to be signed in January.

Take Kubo is still unable to put his foot on the ground as he hobbles around on crutches. He’s ruled out for October and we hope to have him back early November.

This past week saw several Mallorca players travelling to three continents (individually). Baba/Lago Junior to Africa, Hoppe to the USA and Fer Niño who plays in the Spanish Under 21 squad in Europe. We have to hope all these guys come back injury-free as the rest of the squad have until next Saturday to recover from minor knocks and improve the mistakes we made over recent games.

I was slightly perturbed to see cranes, heavy goods vehicles carrying scaffolding and an army of workmen winding their way into the Son Moix the other day. It turned out they were setting up a four-day pop concert stage on the pitch and the running track. The club stand to gain around 100,000 euros to stage the event and over 5,000 fans are expected to attend.

Thankfully Benito Mateo, our prestigious gardener, has made sure the pitch isn’t being touched as the summer turf has been lifted and a winter surface will be laid next week after the various concerts are over, in time for our home game at the end of the month.
I remember in 2010 Elton John John and Andrea Bocelli brought 25,000 into the Son Moix and the uncovered surface bore the scars of being trampled all over for months afterwards. Thankfully that won’t happen this time.

On the subject of the Son Moix I’ve since heard that the club will spend about 19 million euros on the removal of the running track. Most of the money will come from an agreement with the CVC Investment Group. If the amount is not enough, our owners will cover the rest of the budget. The covered stand will be the last part of the ground to be redeveloped as it’s the most expensive and the most complex. Reformation will be done gradually with the area in front of the Sol Alta/Baja to be given preference. The club is hoping something tangible may start next August but for that it needs to have the corresponding permits.

Our North American owners know only too well that the speed of public administration here is not the same as in the United States and the many bureaucratic barriers will have to be overcome before ANY work is started. The owners are determined to fulfil their promise to remove the running track.

One after another of our previous owners were all for transforming the Son Moix into a proper football ground but none kept their word. Ultimately the real obstacle was lack of funds to guarantee completion of the idea.

Now with reliable owners who’ve paid off most of the club’s outstanding debts and the fact that they will pay the necessary difference in the redevelopment out of their own pockets, it’s hoped the stadium owners, Palma City Council, will give the green light. They have already said that the club now has very sensible leadership. It may take a bit of time but at least the wheels of change are beginning to be put in motion.