Friday, July 25, 2008

RCD Mallorca sold to English...

This has been one of the worst summers in the clubs history and any true fan of this club has to be upset at what has gone on in the past couple of months.

While the owners of the club openly looked for a buyer, the team expectedly but belatedly pushed for a European spot and almost pulled it off. The decision to skip the Intertoto Cup seemed to be ignored as the team saw a mass exodus of talent would soon be leaving the club. Im not talking about sending players like Pablo Cendros or Tuni on loan to Tenerife or Hercules respectively, Im talking about letting tons of talent leave with their replacements offering very little hope that the club can maintain a top half of the table position and become a consistent European spot contender.

As soon as the ink dried on the final standings of 07-08, we lost Fernando Navarro to Sevilla, David Navarro returned to Valencia from his loan, Guiza was sold to Fenerbache in a move bad for club and player, Jonas Guitierrez ends up in Newcastle, and Ibagaza goes to Villarreal to play in the Champions League. Other then Moya and Arango, these are basically the players responsible for the great run last year. As a small club, you expect to lose talent but not in the mass exodus we have lost it this summer. What makes it hard is that there was really no explanation about what was done to keep these players. Even if we couldnt have kept them all, somebody in customer relations needed to be aggressive in explaining to fans why the players were leaving even if it was obvious. Marketing is important whether you are a soccer club or selling cars. The summer is not over and it is not a sure bet that Moya and Arango open the season in Palma so the plunder of this club may not be over.

Manzano, give him credit, has tried to bring in players with potential and on the cheap to help offset the losses, but to replace Guiza with Keita who can score goals in the Swiss League like no other, and Ibagaza with old Sevilla reject and Mallorca native Josep Luis Marti, only shows that our team is on the way to becoming this seasons Real Zaragoza. Josemi from Villarreal is a big question mark, Suarez from Atlhetico Madrid could help, and the biggest prize will likely end up being Jurado who we dont even own, who is on a year loan from Athletico Madrid. Fillers like Corrales from Osasuna, Ayoze from Racing, Scaloni from Lazio, and Oscar Diaz from Elche are worth what we paid for them with the word free pretty much coming to mind. When a club loses massive talent and downgrades in pretty much all key positions, in a tight LaLiga, this means going from fighting for a European place to battling for survival.

With the money flowing in from the sale of talented players, you would think we would have atleast one big signing of our own to offset these losses rather then buying players who are cheap and coming off injuries, or receive little playing time at their old club, or who can only dominate in lower level leagues. Maybe Morientes is interested in coming to Mallorca and we clearly have our eyes on some decent players who are still out there, but I wonder if the owners of the club were just trying to profit before they finally sold the club leaving new ownership holding the bag of angry fans.

Now that all the profits have been taken, the club was sold quietly by Spanish ownership to an English group lead by Paul Davison who pledges to maintain the quality of the team and wants them to stay competitive in LaLiga and Europe. If the new ownership was really interested in the club, they would have used their millions to get in earlier and buy the club before the spanish owners sold off all the assets. I guess they wanted the price to go down first which is not a good sign of a group who will spend money on players.

The club now for the first time in its history is not owned by Spaniards. I dont think having domestic ownership is a big deal and a situation like the Glazers buying Manchester United and the fans getting all crazy because americans are buying a British team is idiotic. Its all about spending money and keeping the club at a certain level. No matter where the owner is from, if they care about the club they will spend the money. If the money is not there, then they need to be more open with explanations to the fans about why the club cannot purchase players and keep the club competive. This club has been silent considering the massive losses we are suffering.

New ownership cant hurt, but the silence of the prior regime all while the assets were being sold or allowed to leave is bad for morale of not only the remaining players, but the fans as well. Ownership can speak with their wallet and we dont need to hear apologies or promises about what the future holds. The bottom line is that no team should lose this much talent without adequate replacements which ownership has failed to provide.

As the transition from old to new takes place, there are still games that must be played in the preseason. I am not too excited about ass kickings of Austrian third division clubs called Swasshtika or whatever. Manzano cant judge the talent by playing these games. I know its good to get a run and play a match, but there would be more competition with an intrasquad scrimmage.

Barring some sudden influx of talent, this has been one bad summer if you are a Mallorca fan. No team in La Liga has lost what we have and which remaining players are going to step up. Is a Webo/Keita strike force going to scare opposing teams? Is Arango going to work well with Jurado and is Marti even a LaLiga quality player? Will our defense be old and beat up who uses intimidation tactics to make up for lack of talent? At what point does Moya leave for a big club? There are way too many questions heading into this year and for all the selling off of players followed closely by the selling off of the club itself, anyone who supports this team has to be shaking their head.

Lets see what the season brings, but this is a sinking ship that needs some quick rebuilding. Lets hope new ownership and some of the new players surprise and help us forget how the club was decimated so quickly or we might turn into Celta or Zaragoza and by the time we wake up from this nightmare, we are in the Segunda Division. For a club that was the most exciting in LaLiga last year in the second half of the season, what a fall that would be, even for a small club.

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