Real Mallorca make the trip to Vitoria, the capital of the Basque country, where they’ll play third top Alaves tomorrow (Saturday) at 8:15pm in the Mendizorroza stadium. They’re one of the form teams at the moment and are also the “dirtiest”, having accumulated an incredible 54 yellow cards and seven red so far this season. As we haven’t won on the road since beating Numancia last May, I’m not expecting too much - but you never know. Goodness knows what team our coach “Chapi” Ferrer will choose tonight as he’s had a week in the spotlight after being given another vote of confidence by president/owner Utz Claassen. I know there are many Mallorca fans who are far from happy that Claassen has stopped the Sword of Damocles dangling over Ferrer’s shaven head but one wonders for how much longer.
It’s pretty clear that Ferrer’s defensive style won’t get us promotion, so much so that Claassen went to the Son Bibiloni training ground last Tuesday to deliver a rallying call to players and staff in which he allegedly said to the coach that he should take more risks. Calls for Ferrer’s head to roll have been rife from all sides as Real Mallorca languish in La Segunda’s bottom four; with a club in our position there’s always the likelihood of an incumbent coach getting the dreaded vote of confidence. That’s issued in a footballing context to a manager/coach who will shortly be sacked, and as with many footballing phrases a vote of confidence actually means the exact opposite. The saying took on new meaning in the mid-90s when Aston Villa’s charismatic manager Ron Atkinson was sacked by chairman Doug Ellis five days after being given a “vote of confidence.” The phrase was coined shortly after and followed Ellis throughout his time at Villa Park.
After saying he had total confidence in Ferrer and the quality of his players, Claassen then went on Ultima Hora Radio. He started saying he had recently forked out ten million euros between shares, dividends and improvements and has guaranteed another ten million. As well as putting across his view about the sporting situation, he talked about the salary increase of two million euros thanks to the capital investment. He had no doubt the 20 million euro cash injection will be paid in full after an AGM next Monday.
The president considered the economic injection was one of the “most important” steps in the history of Real Mallorca. “This club has suffered a bad period of debt with a deficit of 20 million euros. Now, if the board approve, 20 million will be paid into a club which has been living above its means for years and we are still paying a high price for that. There’s now going to be a change in circumstances with Mallorca becoming a growing club and not in the hands of its creditors.” Claassen continued: “When you have high debt, it reduces your salary levels. Now, without the debt of the past, the salary budget today will be 7.5 million euros and after the increase another 15 million.”
Whatever some bitter and twisted local fans may say about Claassen owning the club, the money he and his family have invested has kept Real Mallorca afloat. The exposure of his input is 20 million euros; now we have to reciprocate his commitment by getting results on the pitch and gaining promotion.
With our lowly league position causing endless frustration, there’s news that at least four reinforcements will be brought in during the January transfer window. With players like Truyols, Fofo and maybe Bianchi leaving there’s a list of replacements drawn up. A new striker is a must and Borja Mayoral from Real Madrid “B” Castilla has been mentioned. Also on the list is the Schalke No. 9 Leroy Sane plus Bilbao’s Borja Viguera. Two players already on the staff are expected to be given first-team contracts. The Brazilian midfielder Lima who couldn’t sign in the summer for bureaucratic reasons and the scoring sensation from the “B” team Mateu Ferrer are also possibilities. We need a wind of change especially upfront and one of these guys could be just the spark we need to ignite the second half of the season.
The new Luis Sitjar stand has now been assembled and will be ready to use next Sunday when we play Albacete at 5pm. If anybody wants to sit in it (behind the North goal) and has a season ticket you can sit down for nothing otherwise it’s ten euros. This offer only applies to the Albacete game. Tickets for the new stand are available from the club offices between 9am and 2pm and from 3.30 to 6.30 pm.
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