It Means So Much…

7E1C13AC-9EE0-47CE-A6FB-CFD2FA5C299CTo be honest I’m still on cloud 9 after the amazing result for Real Mallorca last Sunday. I’ve already written about the game but so many things have happened since then. The amount of texts, emails, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram messages I’ve had is amazing. Monday morning on the radio I was a little hoarse to be honest but it was all worth it. A couple of years ago I was lucky enough to get invited onto the Hawksbee & Jacobs Christmas radio show on Talksport and I’ve kept in touch since. Last week I wrote to Paul Hawksbee to tell him that Mallorca had made the play-off final and it was a great achievement for such a small island. He didn’t read the message until Friday morning after they had been beaten 2-0 by Deportivo in the 1st leg. So he wrote back and said he would keep an eye out for the score and mention it on Mondays show. Well that all changed after the drama of Sunday night. I got a message from him on Monday morning saying would I like to join them on the show to chat about the game and what getting Into La Liga means for the island. I was delighted to and we had a really good chat which can hear if you go to my or the radios Facebook page.

So what does it mean to the club and the island?

Firstly the club. After very nearly going out of business a few years ago this is massive. It’s payback for the new owners who despite misgivings from certain fans kept their faith in the team. The influx of TV money and sponsorships should be north of 50 million euros. Judging by the number of people asking me about season tickets then they shouldn’t have a problem filling up the stadium. The ground holds 23,000 so I wouldn’t be surprised if they got at least 15,000 season ticket holders. As of writing no prices have been released but they’re definitely not going to be as cheap as this season. I paid 100€ for mine and 50€ each for the boys to sit in Sol Baja which is the lower part of the uncovered stand. I can see that at least doubling which is fair enough as when Barcelona and Madrid come to town I’m sure the tickets will be around 90€ each meaning those 2 games alone would virtually pay for the season. The fixtures are released next Thursday the 4th of July and the season starts the weekend of the 16th of August. So I would expect the prices to be released on week beginning Monday 8th of July. If you’d like me to send you all the information please email me on the address below.

The team itself is going to need looking at. Sentiment unfortunately won’t be part of this process as they have to build in order to stay in the league. The team although strong is made up of Segunda and Segunda B players and the only player with significant La Liga experience is Salva Sevilla and he’s 35. They will look at the 3 teams that have gone down, Girona, Huesca and Rayo Vallecano and try and get some players from them.

Here’s my thoughts on the squad of 18 that started against Deportivo.

GK: Manolo Reina aged 34 has never played in La Liga but his experience means he may stay to be a number 2 to a more experienced La Liga keeper. That could be Binnisalem born Miguel Ángel Moya currently at Real Sociedad. Played for Mallorca between 2004 and 2009 and has bags of La Liga experience.

RB: Joan Sastre aged 22 and born in Porreres. Has a contract to 2020, he’s a solid young defender who was attracting interest from Spurs but with promotion to La Liga I expect him to stay.

CH: Martin Valjent aged 23, has never played in La Liga but formed a solid defensive partnership with Raillo and has just signed a contract to 2022.

CH: Antonio Raillo aged 27, has a contract to 2021 and has made 4 previous appearances in La Liga for Espanyol. Nottingham Forest made a bid for him in the January transfer window but the club persuaded him to stay. I expect him to stay and build on his partnership with Valjent.

LB: Pervis Estupiñan aged 21, on loan from Watford, has never played in the Premier League but has made 2 previous appearances in La Liga. Had a very strong second half of the season and had a great left sided understanding with Lago Junior. Rumours are he’s signed a pre-contract with Osasuna another promoted side but at the moment they are unsubstantiated.

LM: Lago Junior aged 28, has made 5 previous appearances for Numancia in La Liga. Rumours a couple of years ago were that West Bromwich Albion were going to buy him after Mallorca played them in pre-season. Can be a wonderful player on his day but doesn’t have those days every week. Has a contract Until 2021, i think they might sell him.

CM: Salva Sevilla aged 35 the only player with plenty of La Liga experience and the driving force behind their promotion. He has a contract until 2020 and I would expect them to give him another year.

CM: Iddrisu Baba aged 23, never played in La Liga. Without doubt the Man of the match for me against Deportivo and has a bright future. Contracted until 2020 and will definitely stay.

RM: Aridai Cabrera aged 30, never played in La Liga. One of my favourite players who always gives 100%. He’s fast and has a big heart but I think his age and lack of La Liga experience may count against him. Contracted until 2020, they might try to move him on, I hope I’m wrong.

CF: Dani Rodriguez aged 31, never played in La Liga. Mallorca’s outstanding player in the semi final against former club Albacete culminating in hitting a screamer of a last minute goal which proved vital in a 2-1 win. Has a contract until 2021 so I expect him to stay.

CF: Anti Budimir aged 27, never played in La Liga. Signed on loan in the January transfer window and has just signed a deal until 2023.

SUBS

GK: Parera aged 23 has a contract until 2021 I expect him to play with the B team or possibly move on.

CH: Xisco Campos aged 37 born in Binnisalem and played 2 games in La Liga in 2004/5. Might get a contract as defensive cover.

CF: Abdon Prats aged 26 born in Arta and has played 1 game in La Liga in  2011/12. Has a contract until 2021, scored the promotion winning goal on Sunday and is a fans favourite. Is he good enough for La Liga? Worth a shot I think.

CF: Alex De Groot aged 25, never played in La Liga. Has a contract until 2021. Is he good enough for La Liga? Offers a different option up front, I’m 50/50 on this one.

RB: Salva Ruiz aged 24, on loan from Valencia and will be going back.

CF: Stoichkov aged 25, never played in La Liga. Has a contract until 2022 but I expect him to leave.

LM: Leo Suarez aged 23, on loan from Villareal and has played 16 games in La Liga. A possible year long loan but will  probably go back to Villareal.

It’s going to be an interesting pre-season and I can’t wait for it all to start.

What does it mean to the island?

It will be a boost to tourism as there will definitely be people coming to the island to take in a game. So they’ll be benefits to the airlines, the airport, hotels, bars and restaurants. This will be particularly welcomed in the winter months.

It will also boost local football. Mallorca does have a great youth set up that has produced players such as Marco Asensio whose now at Real Madrid and a Spanish International. The chance to go and watch players such as Messi and Hazard live is an amazing opportunity. Something that my 2 boys are really looking forward to.

Good luck tomorrow to Atlético Baleares who like Mallorca need to reverse a 2-0 deficit at home to Mirandes. It’s a sellout at Son Malferit so hopefully the crowd can help them get promoted for the first time to La Liga 123. Once again this would be a huge lift to island football and be a fitting start to their move to their redeveloped old stadium.

Enjoy your weekend!

Richie presents the Radio One Mallorca Breakfast show Monday to Friday07.30-11.00am on 93.8fm in Mallorca and 102fm in Calvià, online at www.radioonemallorca.comon mobile through their free App for IPhone & Android, The Tunein Radio App, iTunes, the Spanish TDT TV service and all smart speakers. . If you can’t hear him on the radio then you’ll find him working at Pirates Adventure the islands number one night out and every now and again he may make an understudy appearance!

Feel free to email him at rprior@globobalear.

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