After a turbulent week off the pitch, Mallorca get back to business on the pitch today when they face 14th placed Basque side Deportivo Alaves in the Son Moix at 13:00. After losing their 10th away game of the season 1-0 at Espanyol last Sunday (in one decisive moment), Mallorca have been sucked into a Winter/Spring relegation dogfight with Espanyol, Leganes and Celta Vigo. As we reach the final third of season 2019/20, it’s going to take a supreme effort from us to stay in La Liga. We’ve now lost four of our last five games so a win today is vital. I don't imagine there’ll be many starting personnel changes from coach Vicente Moreno but I would prefer if he picked Kubo from the start. Moreno has proved himself to be an excellent manager but he can be stubborn at times. Kubo’s prodigious talents are wasted when he comes off the bench in the last ten minutes. The 18 year old "Japanese Messi" is the closest thing we have to La Liga quality and his magic on the ball cannot be matched by any of our nine other outfield players. I hope that this past week’s distractions don’t play on the players’ minds as we face difficult opponents.
Alaves have the best stats as the quickest counter attacking team in La Liga and the team who've scored from the most set pieces. Their expected line-up should include Ximo Navarro who came through our academy in 2009/11 and then played for the senior side between 2011/14. They also have a Scottish player, Oliver Burke (or as he's called by Spanish commentators "Boorkey"), who’s on loan from West Brom. He started his career at Celtic. Burke scored in the last game making him the first "Jock" in La Liga to bulge the net since Stevie Archibald at Barcelona in 1984. Up front they have two strikers (18 goals between them) who have premiership experience, Lucas Perez played at Arsenal and West Ham and Joselu turned out for Newcastle United and is on loan from Stoke City.
There's no doubt about the week's big news story at Real Mallorca, the axing of general manager Maheta Molango on Tuesday. I don't have enough space to cover the whole story, but it appears the main reason for his firing was that Molango thought the club was his and he could more or less do as he wished without consulting his bosses in Arizona. Molango took control of signings and allegedly never consulted or listened to the coach. What we got in fact were half a dozen mercenary journeymen with no La Liga experience and whose profile was the exact opposite of what Moreno wanted. In August, before this season started, the coach made it clear that the arrivals did not match his criteria and didn't look like they would adapt to La Liga's high playing standards. Only a couple have stayed the course, whilst the others have had a testimonial presence and their capabilities were nothing short of abysmal. The Winter window has been another major disappointment, made worse when it was disclosed that two players from Getafe and Porto were on the verge of signing, brought in by technical director Javi Recio. Molango vetoed both transfers in a move that didn't help to improve his image.
What Molango's dismissal has done is make the coach's job even more secure and after being given a ringing endorsement he’s now untouchable. The only way he'd leave is if he does it off his own back or is offered a better position somewhere else. The director of football, Javi Recio, whose hands have been tied by Molango's interference, has kept his job – for now.
Molango's departure, although a bolt from the blue, was not accidental since the owners were looking for a sensational exit to send out a resounding message. The farewell has caused the expected impact and it’s now going to be impossible to make decisions without the owners' consent.
President Andy Kohlberg is going to spend more time in Palma and had a clear-the-air meeting with club employees and sponsors to inform them of news and future plans. It's anybody's guess who takes over the general manager’s job, with several names in the frame. The owners will now take a much more active role and won't repeat the mistake made by leaving just one person in charge. Whoever the new CEO is, one important issue will be their ability to speak English, as they will have to be in daily contact with Phoenix, Arizona.
Molango is expected to have a farewell press conference next week; on leaving the Son Moix on Tuesday night all he could say was "business is business." His policy of signing rubbish players saw his credibility run out, causing a breakdown in his relationship with Moreno, the architect of our double promotion. Molango decided in his wisdom to act without listening to his colleagues and the results have been a disaster. The owners were right to realise that the club was not optimising its potential resources.