Andoni Iraola spotted at Palma airport on Thursday afternoon

Andoni Iraola spotted at Palma airport on Thursday afternoon.

01-08-2020Diario de Burgos

After a week when it was announced that many people from the UK had been visiting Castello Bernardo in the Andalucian part of Spain to avoid the UK’s quarantine laws – they all claimed they had only been there to test their eyesight! – Real Mallorca could well have a new coach in place by the time this Fan’s View hits the news stands. Vicente Moreno was expected to move to Espanyol on a three-year deal worth around five million euros but late on Thursday night, news broke that for now the deal has stalled. According to reports on the Barcelona football website, Mundo Deportivo, Mallorca wouldn’t relent on their one million euros compensation deal, and Espanyol have refused to pay anything for “poaching” our coach. So what happens now?

Does an unhappy Moreno say he’ll stay on at Real Mallorca, albeit reluctantly, and, do us fans need him after he was ready to quit? Espanyol evidently want Moreno to take charge and believed he could disassociate himself for free, but our American owners quite rightly are not willing to reinforce a direct rival at zero cost. Espanyol put pressure on Moreno yesterday to break his exit impasse but there is no agreement from either club, the word intransigent comes to mind.

With Moreno’s impending departure, our new sporting director Pablo Ortells had wasted no time in contacting 38-year-old Andoni Iraola. The former At. Bilbao defender recently took second division Mirandes to a mid-table finish in La Segunda, and the semi-final of the Copa del Rey, beating Celta, Sevilla and Villareal on the way. Iraola was something of a local hero in his 16 years at At. Bilbao where he played over 500 games plus being a full Spanish internationalist. He then spent a season in the MLS with David Villa and Frank Lampard at New York City and speaks almost perfect English. After picking up an injury he retired and took a coaching job in Cyprus before joining Mirandes last year. He was recently voted the best young coach in La Liga SmartBank and will, I’m sure, one day take the reins at Bilbao. Iraola was easily spotted at Palma airport on Thursday afternoon – there was nobody else there!

Moreno had a contract until 2022 and our American owners were adamant they would not accept less than one million euros compensation (although that may now change), despite a false rumour that the amount was being reduced by 50%. Mallorca’s owners are shrewd operators as they own and run a 400 million dollar basketball franchise in the NBA, Phoenix Suns.

Moreno’s departure has dragged on for two weeks and it looks like a war of attrition. It seems Moreno had made his mind up as long ago as February to make this his last season. One day on the training ground, some of the hierarchy arrived with a South Korean player called Ki Sung-Yueng, who was a free agent after finishing at Newcastle United. He’d also played for Swansea and Celtic and had over 100 caps for his country. On paper it looked like he would be a decent player but it turned out to be an unmitigated disaster. The coach didn’t want him and allegedly said if Ki signed for the club he wouldn’t play him. Moreno stuck to his guns and Ki only played nine minutes in our last away game against Eibar just before quarantine.

The signing of Ki was the straw that broke the camel’s back as far as Moreno was concerned and the tension between the coach and the hierarchy went from being a minor wound to an almighty haemorrhage – there was no way back for the coach. It’s very sad to see him go but I don’t think he’s handled the situation very well. Now it’s rumoured he’ll be tapping up some of our players to take them to a direct rival. According to reports, the only one left will be Dimonio, the club mascot!

Now Mallorca want to concentrate on preparing for life back in the second division. The transfer market opens next Tuesday (August 4th) and then closes on October 5th. The season itself is expected to start in mid September. At least 14 players are set to come back for training on August 12th after being out on loan. We’ll be reinforced by the return of four of the best players in the second division, Stoichkov (16 goals), Antonio Sanchez (cup semi finalist), Franco Russo, and Ruiz de Galaretta from Las Palmas. Priority for us next season are full backs, that position has been our Achilles heel.

The club launched their season ticket campaign this week. The prices range between 80 and 335 euros for renewals. It will be a conditioned campaign and with a restricted road map due to present circumstances. Basically it’s 25% to renew and the rest paid once it’s known how many games there’ll be before fans can return to the Son Moix. Renewals have to be done by August 24th and all details can be found on the website www.rcdmallorca.es.

PS Being a football fan is both a pleasure and a form of torture, with ups and downs. Downs are a roller coaster of emotions that create a sense of belonging like no other. Being a Real Mallorca fan, I am well aware of this. The lows make the highs more enjoyable when they come along. I have often thought that supporters of the big successful clubs are somehow missing out on this as all they ever see and expect is success.

AND FINALLY
a little girl walks into a pet shop and says to the guy behind the counter “Have you got any wabbits?” The guy smiles and replies “Yes, would you like a fluffy white wabbit or a cuddly brown wabbit?” She answers “I don’t think my python gives a thit!!”

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