After a weekend when I was given a medical snippet from a woman’s magazine of yesteryear which stated “Public Service Announcement: In this hot weather, a little bit of medicated powder on one’s underside goes a long way to ensuring minimal chaffing and general comfort” – a rusty Real Mallorca could only draw with local third division side Poblense at Son Bibiloni on Sunday night in the last of their three island friendlies against local lower league clubs.
Tomorrow they go to Marbella for a ten-day training camp where they’ll play games against Malaga on Thursday, Valladolid on Sunday and Getafe on Wednesday August 7, when a vast improvement on last weekend’s showing will be expected. The team will return to Palma the following day and prepare for the City of Palma Cup against Levante on Saturday August 10.
With just three weeks to go until our opening La Liga game (for six years) against Eibar, Mallorca have a lot of work to do, both on and off the pitch. Coach Vicente Moreno sent a clear message to both general manager Maheta Molango and director of football Javi Recio that we are in desperate need of reinforcements. It’s likely another goalkeeper, two left backs, a mid-fielder and striker look nailed on priorities after Sunday night’s lacklustre draw against a stubborn Poblense who, to their credit, stuck to their task and ex Mallorca B scoring machine Mateu Ferrer head glanced in the 89th minute equaliser. Very worryingly, Lago Junior was taken off in the 51st minute as a precaution with what looked like groin injury. He joins Pedraza, Prats, Aridai and Sedlar on the walking wounded list. Moreno had to play right back Fran Gamez down the left and Dani Rodriguez, normally a mid-fielder, ended up playing down the right flank. Our starting line-up looked quite close to what he would pick for our opening league game. Mallorca were on top in the first half without looking menacing, with Budimir misfiring at least three times on what was, it has to be said, a poor playing surface – but the pitch wasn’t to blame! Good work between Salva Savilla and Joan Sastre saw him clip in the opener in the 24th minute. However, we lacked sparkle and precision and the need for some new blood is now top priority. Molango returned from Milan on Saturday with a six name shopping list of possible new recruits but at the moment, as one commentator described the situation, a lot of rumours with little movement. It’s now a race against time to bring in new faces and integrate them into the coach’s way of thinking etc.
I was asked the other day if I was any good at football when I was young – many, many years ago. The short answer to that question was “No”! I was so bad at football that I was inevitably shoved in goal. Nobody realised that I had the pace and tenacity of a plump chicken running through a refugee camp. I did attempt to silence the critics and show my mettle as a goalkeeper but I was hindered by our centre half who insisted on telling me dirty jokes. The punchline usually arrived just as the ball whistled past my head on its way into the net. For me, the final humiliation came when I was coerced into using my brand new ex-army store duffel coat as a goalpost. The ball got tangled up in the hood and there was a free for all as 20 pubescent Neanderthals scuffed my new coat through a huge puddle as they fought for possession. I couldn’t explain the intricacies associated with crossbars which seemed to be lowered or raised depending on the height of the incumbent goalkeeper and whether or not he jumped! Not for us the sophisticated 4-4-2 or 4-3-3, oh no. It was the 1-10 line up. The ten were totally committed attackers then defended like dervishes en masse. We just chased the ball, it we used the tennis ball the goalkeeper simply threw it into the other goalmouth where 20 players devoured it like a pack of rabid wolves. Sometimes we used the original leather “tubey” ball with a lace. It made you see stars if you headed it and it didn’t half hurt when you kicked it with your gym shoes (plimsoles for those not familiar with the Scottish vernacular).
PS Regular readers will know one of my pet hates is fans who leave a game before it’s finished, often as not with the result hanging in the balance with only minutes to go. The other day I read “Contrary to popular opinion, leaving a game early to beat the rush is often better than the match itself. The giddy feeling of getting up from your seat and avoiding eye contact with other fans while in hot pursuit of the exit is a rush I urge others to experience!”
A golden oldie. Three labrador retrievers, one brown, one golden and one black, were sitting in the waiting room at the vet’s when they struck up a conversation. The black lab asked the brown lab what he was in for. “I’m a pee-er,” explained the brown lab. “I pee on everything, the sofa, the curtains, the cat, the kids, but the final straw was last night when I flooded the owners’ bed, so I’m now going to get Prozac. It seems all the vets are prescribing it, it works for everything.” The black lab then asked the same question to the golden lab, who told him “I’m a digger. I dig under fences, dig up the flowers and trees, I dig just for the hell of it. When I’m inside, I dig up the carpets. Last night I went over the top and dug a big hole in my owners’ couch. It looks like Prozac for me as well.” The golden lab then asked the black lab “Why are you here?” “I’m a humper,” the black lab replied. I’ll hump anything, the cat, a pillow, the table leg, I want to hump everything I see. Yesterday my owner had just got out of the shower and was bending down to dry her toes and well, I couldn’t help myself, you can guess the rest.” The other two dogs exchanged a sad glance and said “Prozac for you, too, then?” The black lab replied “Not likely, I’m here to get my nails clipped!!”