Mallorca goalkeeper Pedrag Rajkovic. | Majorca Daily Bulletin reporter


After a week when a bizarre survey suggested that Scottish men were more likely than anyone else in the UK to watch a movie at home over the holiday period in their underpants – appropriate titles could be : The Pelican Briefs, Lord of the Flies, all the Rocky movies (because they’re all about boxers), Strictly Ballroom and Free Willy! – Real Mallorca play bottom side Almeria at their Power Horse stadium on Sunday at 14:00.

The islanders were the only team in the bottom 10 of La Liga to pick up all three points last weekend, beating a poor Sevilla side 1-0. Although we gained these valuable points and won our first home game of the season, we once again put on an unconvincing performance and if it hadn’t been for the heroics of our Serbian goalkeeper Pedrag Rajkovic, Mallorca would have been beaten.

VAR also came to our rescue disallowing a late Sevilla equaliser that, to the Sevilla media, was about as controversial as the Rwanda bill in the UK! The result was more relief than joy for us fans, especially when 8 million euro Canadian striker Cyle Larin scored his first goal in 580 minutes since arriving from Valladolid in the Summer. It should be interesting to see what happens when our top player Vedat Muriqi returns to the fray early in the new year after injury, and plays up front alongside the “born again” Larin.

Although the 1-0 win last Sunday was a nerve settler, Mallorca still don’t look comfortable going forward and gave the ball away far too often in dangerous areas for my liking. For Sunday’s game at Almeria we must pass the psychological test. Mallorca are well known for coming unstuck against teams below them in the league and Sunday’s game looks no exception as we try not to shoot ourselves in the foot – again!

Last February Elche came to Son Moix. They were bottom of the league with only one win and were stuck on six points – relegation was a certainty. In the 88th minute Elche scored the game’s only goal and ran out 0-1 winners. Fast forward to August this year and we played away at Granada.

We lost 3-2 giving the Andalucians their only win of the season so far! Almeria haven’t won a game all season and are fighting for their La Liga survival so will be up for a fight – let’s just hope Mallorca can get another three points to get them away from the dreaded relegation zone and up to mid-table obscurity.

The draw for the last 32 of the Copa del Rey was made in Madrid on Tuesday and Mallorca will play away at La Segunda team Burgos in a one-legged tie. Because four Spanish sides, Real Madrid, At. Madrid, Barcelona and Osasuna will be playing in the Spanish Supercup in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, all the Copa del Rey games will be on January 5/6/7.

Mallorca will face Burgos on the 7th at 12 noon. It’s likely to be real “brass monkey” weather up in Castille/Leon at that time of year but Mallorca should win and progress into the next round. Burgos CF have a Mallorca connection as their striker is a guy called Fer Niño who (despite not being able to hit a cow’s jacksey with a banjo) played here in 21/22. He was ignominious to put it mildly!

News regarding the completion of the refurbished Son Moix is that work on the south end of the ground is expected to be completed in time for Celta Vigo’s visit on January 14. The south end stand to be named L’Infern 1916 will seat 2,760 spectators.

The first phase of the new stadium saw 19,315 season tickets sold. Now, with mid-season ticket sales starting on January 1, the club are hoping for a 20,000 plus record capacity. Prices in the new stand can be seen on the club’s website, I’m reliably informed that the “Ultras” have been told they’re moving to the south end permanently from January 1.

On Tuesday Real Mallorca’s business CEO, Alfonso Diaz, said after the traditional football match between the media and club employees (I was unavailable as I’ve run out of dubbin for my boots (football’s true forgotten smell !), that despite rumours to the contrary, coach Javier Aguirre’s job was never in doubt, saying after the Sevilla win “We were on the right path.”

With regard to the proposed friendly against PSG, which was talked about when Kang In Lee joined the Paris giants, Diaz said “The game is on the table and we hope to play it next Summer. Because of the busy fixture list, it’s impossible in January.” He also said some cash was available for signings during the January transfer window although no specific objective was mentioned.

Great to see a true Mallorca legend back coaching on the island. Jovan Stankovic, one of the greatest left wingers ever to pull on a red jersey, is back at struggling Genova in the Primera Regional league.

“Stanko” was one of our “nine men heroes” that lost a penalty shoot-out Copa del Rey final against Barcelona in 1998. He also scored the opening goal (check it out on You Tube) in the most exciting and emotional game of football I’ve ever seen.

AND FINALLY, the highway agency found 200 dead crows on the M4 near Bridgend in Wales last week and there was concern that they may have died from avian flu. A pathologist examined the remains of the crows and found there were no avian flu symptoms and the cause of death was from vehicular impacts. However, what was found during analysis was that various colours of paint appeared on the birds’ beaks and claws. After more tests, the reason for the paint residue showed that 98% of the crows had been killed by lorries and just two percent by cars. The agency then hired an ornithological behaviourist to determine if there was a cause for the disproportionate percentages of truck kills versus car kills. The behaviourist quickly concluded that when crows eat road kill they always have a lookout crow to warn of danger. They discovered that while all lookout crows could shout “cah” not a single one could shout “lorry”!