After a week when Aussie cricketer David Warner was spotted coming out of Edgbaston B&Q store after the semifinal carrying sheets of sandpaper, questioned as to why he replied “You’ve got it all wrong, mate, these sheets aren’t for ball tampering – they’re maps of the desert, we’re going to need them when we get back home!!” – Real Mallorca begin pre-season tomorrow as they prepare for their first campaign back in La Liga for six years. It’s been another busy week of signings and only a trickle of footballers leaving, although Sergio Buenacasa and Franco Russo have been loaned out to La Segunda side Ponferradina.
We’ve signed a talented mid-fielder, ex Real Madrid academy player Aleix Febas. He’s come from Albacete and played against us in the first two play-off games looking impressive. At 23 he’s been signed on a four-year deal, with Real Madrid getting 50% of any transfer activity. Another centre back called Josep Sené arrived from Cultural Leonese, he played over 30 games in La Liga in 2017 for Celta Vigo. Venezuelan fullback Roberto Rosales is on the wanted list after finishing a loan spell at Malaga. His parent club are Espanyol and it appears they won’t stand in the 30-year-old’s way, if he wants a move. He’s also won 76 caps for his country. Signing on the dotted line on Friday was another versatile defender, the Serbian international Aleksander Sedlar. The 27-year-old is a full international and has just left the surprising Polish league champions Piast Gliwice.
Pre-season games have been arranged. We start in Mallorca where we’ll play local side Felanitx in Sa Pobla on July 21 at 8 pm. On Wednesday 24th it’s Playas de Calvia in Son Bibiloni at 19:15, then the following Sunday (28th) again in the Son Bibiloni we face UD Poblense (Sa Pobla) at 19:15. Then the scenario changes as we head for another training camp in Marbella, where the opposition gets stronger, Malaga (August 1) then Italian side Crotone (as part of us signing Ante Budimir) on Sunday August 4 followed by Europa League contestants Getafe, August 7, 8 pm, all in Marbella.
The 44th City of Palma Trophy, the game where all the new players are introduced to the fans, takes place on SATURDAY August 10 in Son Moix at 9 pm, when we play Levante. They have given away 14,610 free season tickets to fans who attended every home match last season. This innovation and fundamental appreciation to their fans is what football should be all about. On the subject of season tickets, after all the kerfuffle on the first day they went on sale things have almost got back to normal. Just why so many decided to turn up on the first day when they have until August 8 is one of local football’s mysteries. It’s expected after August 8 that the “Johnny come lately” fans, who gave up on the club when we went down two divisions, will buy season tickets before pulling on their well-old Spanair tops, and return to the Son Moix wanting a piece of the action!
Kick-off times for the first three games of the new season were announced on Friday amid huge controversy. We have been scheduled to play Eibar on Monday August 19 at 8 pm in Son Moix. The next game is again at home to Real Sociedad on Sunday August 25 at 7 pm. Then the following weekend we are away at Valencia, kick off 5 pm on Sunday, September 1.
The Monday night game has opened a real can of worms as the seemingly endless feud between the RFEF (Spanish football federation) and La Liga has yet another chapter being written with the former releasing the first three days and kick-off times in the 2019/20 campaign which, to the surprise of RFEF, have been scheduled for Friday and Monday nights. Last March it was announced that there were to be no more Monday night games as there were huge demonstrations from irate fans. These three opening game dates had been considered as unconfirmed with meetings planned for later this week. Never slow to respond to La Liga, the RFEF have already communicated that they do not authorise the playing of games on Fridays and Mondays. It was proposed in March that a Sunday lunchtime game would take the place of Mondays.
The roads around Palma between 7 and 8 pm on a Monday (or indeed any working day) are usually close to gridlock without a football match! One local pundit described it as a “Logistical disaster – welcome to La Liga!” This Summer will be long and this latest development won’t help things move on at all. La Liga are adamant that games WILL be played on Mondays and maybe Fridays and the RFEF is equally clear that they WON’T be authorised. In the words of the old Fred Astaire song “There may be trouble ahead...”
AND FINALLY, on a beautiful summer’s day, two English tourists were driving through Wales. At Llanfairpwyllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyllllantysiliogogoch, they stopped for lunch, and one of the tourists asked the waitress, “Before we order, I wonder if you could settle an argument for us. Can you pronounce where we are, very, very, very slowly?”
The girl leaned over and said “Burrr...Gurrr...King.”