After a week when Tyson Fury allegedly made so much money from his fight with Deontay Wilder that he’s upgraded his home – installing a third Calor gas bottle outside his back door! – Real Mallorca (sixth) play “millionaires” Malaga (fifth – two points ahead of us) in the Son Moix, kick off 6 pm. I use the word “millionaires” because Malaga were relegated from La Liga last season, their first demotion in top flight Spanish football for 10 years. Going down meant they were handed a substantial sum from parachute payments and their pre-season budget was 25 million euros to our six million. Real Mallorca should be almost at full strength for this “six-pointer,” the only absentee Aridai Cabrera. However his place could be taken by the star turn in last week’s 0-2 win in Reus, Pablo Valcarce. Skipper Xisco Campos is suspended so either Franco Russo or the Slovakian international Martin Valjent could deputise.
Supporters clubs have asked for as many fans as possible to be at the main entrance gates to the Son Moix at 4:15pm to meet and greet the players as they arrive on the team coach. A bigger gate than normal is expected with a perfect kick-off time and day. Stay-away fans have no excuse. Tonight’s game will see just how far we’ve come this season, and it’s a great chance for Real Mallorca to put forward their candidature for a place at the top table of Spanish football.
Malaga have lost four of their last six games and are owned by the Qatari investor/hotel magnate Sheik Abdullah Al Thani who took over in 2010. He went AWOL in May and only reappeared two weeks ago. Expected to be in their squad today is a Malagueño of Scottish origen. Twenty-two-year-old Jack Harper was born in Fuengirola when his parents John and Tracy swapped Barrhead for the sunnier climes of the Costa del Sol. Jack, aged just 13, caught the attention of Real Madrid scouts and he signed for their C team, where he played for six years before the team were disbanded. Jack then moved to Brighton but the experience with the “Seagulls” wasn’t what he’d expected. He also has been capped for Scotland at Under 19 level. Homesickness took over and Jack returned to Malaga, where he started this season from midfield, scoring three times in two games. Harper’s shirt number is 30. Another player with English football connections is Alfred N’Diaye, the vastly experienced French Somalian, who has turned out for Wolves, Hull City and Sunderland. His squad number is 21.
BRAVE CUP EXIT
Valladolid were made to work very hard on Wednesday night in a Copa del Rey last 32 second leg tie by a team of Real Mallorca bench players who held their heads high after a narrow 2-1 defeat (4-2 on aggregate). Mallorca took the lead through Abdon Prats two minutes after half time but Valladolid equalised a minute later with a deflected shot from Plano. With Mallorca only needing one more to go through on the away goal ruling, Valladolid brought on the big guns and Italian Daniele Verde, who scored both goals from distance in Palma, struck another “rocket-fuelled” winner near the end and we were out.
Our best player was Sergio Buenacasa, who seems to improve game by game.
Mallorca are reportedly monitoring Getafe’s Manacor-born striker, 27-year-old Sergi Guardiola, who’s failed to hold down a place at the Campo Alfonso Perez. Our striking flop Carlos Castro looks likely to be off-loaded in January, so Guardiola may arrive on loan. He was key to Cordoba staying in La Segunda last season – scoring 24 goals in 42 appearances.
PS When Abdon scored for Mallorca, the TV cameras homed in on a solitary Mallorca fan sitting at the back of the away section. He could be seen dancing around in celebration. The commentators on BEIN Sports were having a good laugh about Billy-no-mates.
On social media a request went out to find out who this lone supporter was that fans have taken to their hearts. Turns out his name is Eduardo Guadilla, a resident of Valladolid but born in the now decaying Son Dureta Hospital, Palma.
He lived in Alcudia until he was five. He said “My home is in Valladolid but I only go and watch them play against Mallorca, which is my team.
“The last time I saw them play here was three years ago when 700 Mallorca fans came to watch their team stay in the second division winning 1-3.” He’s been invited to a game whenever it suits him to sit amongst the Mallorca supporters. All his travelling expenses, accommodation etc. will be taken care of and he said “If only I can get to the Son Moix to watch a game, it will be the happiest day of my life.” Nothing like a good football story to bring a tear to a glass eye, pass the panuelos!
Paddy is sitting having a quiet drink when Murphy walks in cradling a lizard. Paddy exclaims “Bejeezus, Morph, what the hell have you got there ? Looks like some mad kind of swivel-eyed dinosaur type of thing!” Murphy carefully sets his new pet down on the table and replies “He’s not a dinosaur type of thing, he’s a chameleon.” Paddy lowers his head to the table until he’s almost nose to nose with the animal and says “Go on, then, tell me a joke”