Real Mallorca in the Big Time
After the celebrations have died down following the stunning victory over Deportiva la Coruña in the play off final the fixtures have been released for the coming season in La Liga, Mallorca´s first back in the big time in six years. Fans immediately looked for the dates of the visit of the big two and Real Madrid will be at the Son Moix Stadium on the 20th of October and Barcelona will visit the island on the 15th of March.
The good news is that the first fixture on the 18th of August is at home to Eibar from the Basque country. The following weekend Mallorca will have a second consecutive home fixture against another Basque team Real Sociedad. The islanders promotions over the last two seasons have been built on their home form and this is an ideal opportunity for the club to make a solid start in what will be a difficult season. After that it’s a trip to Valencia and another home fixture to Atletico Bilbao two of the big hitters. Every game is slated as a 6.30pm kick off on Sunday. However the tv companies decide a couple of weeks before each fixture which games take place on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday and the kick off times.
It has taken time for the achievements over the last two campaigns to fully sink in. When Mallorca visit the Santiago Bernabeu stadium, the home of Real Madrid, on the 12th of April the owner of the club Robert Sarver can expect first class facilities. There is an iconic photograph of multi millionaire Sarver in a queue for the only toilet at the tiny ground of Peralda in the third division the season before last.
On the playing front director of football Javi Recio and head coach Vicente Moreno have been putting the building blocks in place for the campaign. Following on from the excellent news that Martin Valjent has signed on a permanent basis Croatian striker Ante Budimir has also joined forces. Mallorca exercised the option to buy him and he should adapt to the top league admirably. The other loanee Estupiñan, whose parent club in Watford, will not be returning sadly. He is joining Osasuna who were promoted as champions. As the club´s other senior left back Salva Ruiz is joining Valencia there is a gaping hole on the left flank which needs to be plugged very soon.
More good news is that Ghanaian Idrissu Baba has had his contract extended after the young midfielder was outstanding in the play off final second leg.
Two new strikers have already joined in the form of Alex Alegrià from Real Betis and Argentinian Pablo Chavarria from French Club Reims. That means that a number of the existing squad will be sold off or loaned out. The most likely to leave are Lopez , Valcarce, Stoichkov and Buenacasa .
The recruits are not costing huge transfer fees despite the massive revenue increase from television rights in La Liga. Last season the tv rights generated around 5 million euros and this year a minimum of 45 million euros. The club is being realistic and to pay out huge transfer fees and salaries would be an enormous gamble. The aim has to be consolidation in one of the best leagues in Europe. The bookmakers are quoting Real Mallorca’s odds to win La Liga as 4,500 to 1!
An amusing footnote on the play offs came to light when it was revealed that after the first leg which Deportivo won 2-0 the beer company who produce Estrella Galicia put out a special beer to honour what they thought was Deportivo’s promotion to La Liga. 1,500,000 bottles went out with “Ascenso a Primera Division”. One wonders how many of those bottles remain unsold.