After a week when I heard “If Boris Johnson doesn’t get Britain out of Europe by midnight on Halloween, does he turn into a pumpkin?!” – Real Mallorca face an uphill task tomorrow at 5 o’clock when they play Valencia in the Mestalla stadium.
With just two games played, the Palma side have won one and lost one, both by a single goal. After six years in the wilderness of Spanish football, the islanders now face their toughest opponents for a long time.
Gaining promotion through the play offs was a very exciting time for our club and was the result of hard work, team spirit and winning a lot of games, especially at home. Now it’s a much different ball game. As the new season starts in earnest, reality kicks in as we mix it up with the big guns of La Liga.
Staying in the higher echelons of Spanish football now becomes very difficult and our sole aim this season is to stay in the top flight at all costs. What we need is more power, more speed, more quality and to start scoring goals. Back to back promotion has propelled us into the limelight and we must step up and be counted.
The local media this week have had a reality meltdown and are now casting doubt about the quality and talent of a lot of our players who were part of our double promotion side, in my opinion this criticism has come way too early in the season. In tomorrow’s squad, coach Vicente Moreno has added new signings, Take Kubo and Yanis Salibur. Both these guys have obvious quality but 18 year old Japanese “Messi” Kubo is world class in waiting and is pure box office. It looks likely he’ll make his Mallorca debut tonight.
Vicente Moreno said in the pre match press meeting that Valencia were in this season’s Champions League and won last season’s Copa del Rey, so are a force to be reckoned with. “I’m going to the Mestalla where I used to train as a player and it’s always a bit special, especially with friends and family looking on. Over the past two seasons, losing hasn’t entered the equation for us but now we have to be calm in a difficult place and at a much higher level.”
We haven’t won there in nine years so we can’t expect too much tonight. Asked about new signing Cucho Hernandez, Moreno said “He’s more of a Winter signing as he’s unlikely to play for a couple of months, he won’t occupy my mind until he arrives.”
Around 150 Mallorca fans made the trip by ferry to Valencia via Denia. The stadium for me brings back fond memories of our epic 1998 Copa del Rey final when we lost 5-4 on penalties with nine men against Barcelona.
Mallorca’s general manager, Maheta Molango, said on Thursday that the club weren’t finished in the transfer market, which closes Monday night at 11:59 pm. It’s rumoured that left back Salva Ruiz will return on loan from Valencia. Molango went on “The budget allocated to the team this season will be 29 million euros,” which by La Liga standards is peanuts. “And because of that, we will suffer. We have a Fiat Cinquecento that works well. We are aware that three teams worse than us have to be found, but we’ll fight to the best of our abilities,” Molango concluded.
Behind the scenes at the Mestalla, all is not well, after a Summer transfer window in which club owner (the Singaporian billionaire) Peter Lim has repeatedly butted heads with coach Marcelino and general manager (ex Mallorca president/owner from Andraitx) Mateu Alemany as to the direction the club was going. Mateu (who players have described as looking like a zombie after all that’s been going on) was in charge here when we won the cup in 2003 and is highly regarded both by Valencia fans and Mallorquinistas.
PS At last this never-ending Neymar saga seems to be at an end without any kind of closure. Why does it take so long? Back in the day a transfer deal involving Raith Rovers saw two managers meet in a pub over two mutton pies and a couple of pints of heavy, then after 10 minutes of talk, and three or four Woodbines, one or the other parties handed over a brown envelope!
PPS Next weekend it’s the first international break of the new season so our next HOME GAME isn’t until FRIDAY September 13 against At. Bilbao – kick off 9 pm. Avoid traffic jams and get there early!
AND FINALLY, Paddy and Mick are flying back to Ireland when the pilot makes an announcement over the intercom : “Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. I would like to apologise, we are having some technical issues on this flight. I have had to close down our number 4 engine, which will mean that unfortunately our arrival in Dublin will be delayed by around 25 minutes.”
Paddy says to Mick “Bejeesus, we’ll be late getting to the pub.” Five minutes later the intercom crackles into life : “This is your captain speaking again. Unfortunately there are more technical problems and I’ll have to shut down No. 1 engine. This is something the aeroplane is designed for, there is no danger but I do need to revise our arrival time. We will be delayed by an hour.” Paddy tells Mick “It looks like we’ll be lucky if we’re back in time for last orders!” Mick answers “Ye’d better hope he doesn’t shut down the other two engines or we’ll be up here all fe*king night!”