Mallorca looking for their second home win tonight. | Majorca Daily Bulletin reporter

After a week when after Rishi Sunak became another unelected Conservative prime minister, Larry the Downing Street cat glued himself to the pavement outside No. 10 – in protest against the new Chicken Tikka Masala-flavoured Whiskas catfood he’s being given ! – Real Mallorca, after their sensational win in Valencia last Saturday, take on arch-enemies Espanyol (two points behind us in 14th place on 10 points) tonight, Friday, in the Son Moix – kick off 9pm.

Our 1-2 win in the Mestalla showed the two faces of the islanders. We started with the tried and tested five at the back but as the game began slipping away after we went behind to a Cavani penalty, coach Aguirre decided to ring the changes.

Reverting to a four-man back four, the introduction of Baba, Dani Rodriguez and a born-again Amath Ndiaye in the 55th minute turned the game on its head. Amath has been brilliant in his “off the bench” last two games.

After undergoing partial amputation of the little toe on his right foot, the Senegalese striker has regained the dazzling form he showed that was key to our promotion campaign two seasons ago when he scored nine goals. A couple of weeks ago our striker Vedat Muriqi was interviewed on local TV channel IB3, stating that Mallorca were 300% better than the outfit he joined on loan in January.

Tonight’s opponents Espanyol, under new coach Diego Martinez, have had to a stop/start season with their Chinese owners coming under increasing pressure from irate “Budgies” fans.

Mallorca’s Mexican coach Javier Aguirre has more or less a full squad to pick and choose from. With Espanyol’s patchy form, I expect “Los Bermellones” to pick up all three points for only their second home win. However, Espanyol are always a threat and with the in-form (ex Stoke City and Newcastle United predator striker) Joselu banging in seven goals we have to be on our toes (or in the case of Amath 9½ !).

Good news for Mallorca came earlier this week when on-loan (from Lyon) Zimbabwean striker Tino Kadewere was seen back in light training at the Son Bibiloni after a serious knee problem. He’s expected to fly out of the blocks early next year.

We’ve been drawn against some pub team, Club Deportivo Autol, from the Rioja wine region of Spain in the early round of the Copa del Rey. The tie will take place in the World Cup month on November 12 or 13. Autol’s tiny ground, in a town of just 5,000 population, is situated 60 kilometres from Logroñes. There’s a distinct possibility the game could be switched to a bigger ground depending on ticket sales.

Once again in this column I’m banging on about referees – in particular the Spanish variety. I can’t believe so many Premier League club fans in England lambast their officials when here in Spain they’re 10 times worse.

We have reached a point where the referee’s decision is more important in any game than what’s happening on the pitch. Results of games in La Liga can be changed willy-nilly depending who’s officiating on the pitch and who’s viewing the VAR screen in Madrid. Lots of Spanish referees know the rules but don’t know enough about the game. Spanish referees love to be in the limelight, but them being the focal point is not what the fans want to see. Indeed much of the criticism about referees and VAR is that fans are unaware what is being discussed during viewing decisions.

Referees in Spain lead a charmed existence. A La Liga referee earns a basic salary of 12,500 euros per month, even if they’re not officiating a game. If he is, the man in the middle gets 4,500 euros more per game AND if he’s wearing blinkers in the VAR room in Madrid it’s another nice little earner of 2,000 euros per game. Under normal circumstances a referee gets about 25,000 euros each month for all concepts.

AND if they get to referee a European game, they get 7,000 euros per game. PLUS all expenses are paid, including four star hotels, train or air fares, lunches, dinners and breakfast. Everything is paid for by the referees’ committee and that money comes from the clubs, and mostly TV rights. Many La Liga referees have other jobs, nice work if you can get it. All that money for a load of incompetent numpties.

PS Unai Emery is the first man to coach four Villas : Sevilla, Villareal, Aston Villa and David Villa !

AND FINALLY, Olaf the Viking is shopping at a supermarket when he comes across an old lady in a wheelchair, almost in tears. “What’s the matter ?” asks Olaf. “Oh,” sobs the old lady. “I want to have a look at the frozen puddings but, as you can see, there are three steps down to the chiller cabinets.” “No problem,” says Olaf, lifting her onto his back. “I’ll take you.” Olaf strolls through the chiller cabinets with the old lady on his back. She selects several puddings and puts them in the basket he is carrying for her. At the other end the old lady’s husband is waiting with her wheelchair. “I’d really like to thank you,” says the old lady as Olaf sets her back down in the chair, “But I don’t even know who you are !” Olaf just waves and walks off. “I was really worried about you,” comments the old lady’s husband. “What have you been doing ?” “I’ve been through the desserts on a Norse with no name !”