Dr Beltran was a charismatic and perfect host. | Majorca Daily Bulletin reporter


Doctor Bartolomé Beltrán from the northern Mallorcan town of Campanet, the man who changed the face of Real Mallorca forever, passed away in a Madrid hospital on Saturday aged 74 due to kidney failure.

In 1995 Real Mallorca were in dire straights both on and off the pitch with a team that were struggling to stay in the second division. With the monetary backing of Sr Antonio Asensio, the head of one of Spain’s biggest publishing companies, the Zeta group, Beltran set about doing something that not even the most optimistic Mallorquinista could ever have envisaged.

In his first year in charge, Mallorca narrowly missed promotion through the play offs, but one year later they did qualify for La Primera and were back into the big time after an absence of five years. During the Summer of 1997, Beltran pulled off a master stroke, bringing in an unknown Argentinian coach from Lanus called Hector Cuper who went on to be one of Mallorca’s best ever managers.

Suddenly there were radical changes going on at the Luis Sitjar stadium. The rickety old ground had a facelift, including a coat of paint!

Beltran brought in five new players, including four from Valencia. He also went “box office” signing a Brazilian player called Jorge Palinha, although he didn’t make the impression expected. These new signings were key in taking the team into new territory and we finished sixth in La Liga.

When he talked people listened. He didn’t hold back expressing what many thought but didn’t dare say. In 1997 Sky Sports arrived on the island to do a piece on a resurgent Real Mallorca. I was asked to chaperone the Sky guys around and we visited the Luis Sitjar to meet Dr Beltran, who was a charismatic and perfect host.

In April 1998, Mallorca reached an epic cup final against Barcelona in Valencia, losing 5-4 on penalties after extra time and with only nine men. Beltran was in tears after the game.

He was the visible face of the club for three years before he found the pressure too much. He returned to being a TV medical doctor and became a media superstar on Antena 3 TV.

Beltran stood head and shoulders above the adversity that had surrounded the Palma side, putting then-little Real Mallorca back on its pedestal. The Campanet native made Real Mallorca much bigger and better, opening the club to a wider society.

Descanse en paz, maestro.