Mallorca's captain Ivan Ramis in argumentative mood last year in the Bernabeu. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
There is a very good English-language site devoted to Mallorca, realmallorca.co.uk, which does an excellent job covering affairs on the pitch as well as off it. Chris, who administers the site, agreed to answer some questions we put to him about the team, their financial situation, and the fractious relationship between Villarreal and Los Bermellones. We also gave him a rundown of Villarreal's season,on the pitch and off, and here is a link to that article. Thanks very much, Chris, for your insights!
Obviously your season to date has been a lot like ours--not great results on the pitch and a coaching change. How has the team and fanbase reacted to Caparrós? And where will the goals come from to keep you in the Primera?
The reaction to Caparrós has been fantastic. But that is very much down to the performances. There has been a vast improvement, for the most part, in teamwork and general consistency. The only slight negatives coming from Caparrós' reign is his absolute refusal to use Gianni Zuiverloon. Alejandro Alfaro hasn't had a sustained run in the side either. But so far, Caparrós has shown that he knows best.
As for the goals? Tomer Hemed is looking bright and hopefully Marvin Ogunjimi will be able to deliver the goals. But realistically, we are looking towards Chori Castro. It's our biggest problem. We have failed to score in ten games this season.
Tell us a bit about the current state of the club finances and the boardroom situation. Have you emerged from the Ley Concursal now, or is the administrator still involved at the club?
The club are still in administration. Finances appear to be settled but there are constant disputes between the Board and the administrators. It's rather embarrassing. The Board just love to bicker amongst themselves too. They all seem very paranoid of each other.
As far as the squad is concerned, what controversies should we know about? Any near-deals in the transfer window that fell through?
For once we had a quiet transfer window. Caparrós wanted to add to the squad but wasn't allowed to do so. But there is always controversy. It was revealed Chori Castro only has an €18,000 release clause due to a typing error, but it looks as if he will leave the club for free in the summer anyway as his contract expires.
An extra €1m was paid in the Alejandro Alfaro deal at the beginning of the season which the administrators weren't happy with, hence the current fall out between the Board and the administrators. Apparently the administrators want the contract to be nullified.
And we, of course, had the last minute deal for Ogunjimi in the summer that never was. It was so last minute that we actually missed the deadline and had to wait until January for him to complete the move.
In the summer we used most all of our Europa League money to buy Jonathan deGuzmán from you (at full price). Are Mallorca fans still as united in their hatred of Villarreal as they were after UEFA pitched you out of the Europa League? Or should we expect the rancor to live on?
Actually, it wasn't full price! His buyout clause was €12m but we would accept €8m from anyone but yourselves. In the end, the board relented when Jonathan said he wanted to leave and Villarreal finally offered €8m.
Time is a good healer, but the summer of 2010 wasn't the last time Villarreal upset Mallorca. The conduct of the club during the de Guzmán transfer angered fans too. We had already had several offers below €8m that were rejected because they were too low. And despite this, Villarreal came in with the lowest offer of everybody because they knew it'd unsettle de Guzmán. Everyone knew he wanted to be in Spain, and everyone knew he wanted to play Champions League football. This was seen as extremely disrespectful, particularly considering the history from the year before.
And during the whole Europa League issue, the main reason for the fallout between the two was because of the things which Roig publicly said about the club. There is no hatred, or even dislike, aimed towards Athletic Club who also lodged a complaint at the same time as Villarreal because they didn't come out with any comments about the club itself. We even apologised to Athletic Club!
So for the moment at least, I would expect the rivalry to continue.
We've heard there are plans to move back to a renovated Estadio Lluís Sitjar, but is that still being considered given the financial mess of the last few years?
Yes, there are plans to move to a renovated Estadio Lluís Sitjar. There are many reasons behind this. The fans hate Son Moix. They see Lluís Sitjar as home. The stadium just wasn't made for football. There is a huge running track between the stands and the pitch. And the comfort isn't fantastic, keeping older fans away. The stadium also has a number of structural defects too.
They feel a move to Lluís Sitjar would boost attendances throughout the season from locals (they dropped massively when the club left originally). Because it is easier to get to, they hope that more tourists will visit games. In addition to this, there will be a shopping mall added to boost income.
The stadium will be funded mostly by an investment group.
But there are more disputes between the club and, this time, the island council. The Mayoress, Aina Calvo, was against the idea because the island 'does not need two football stadiums'. So, as things stand, it is touch and go whether it will happen. But it is a priority.
Having given Chris my prediction (to be revealed in the podcast preview), I asked Chris for his.
The usually reliable Aouate is struggling for confidence and this is starting to filter through to the back four. And, unless Chori Castro is in form, we usually struggle on the attack. The occasion may just mean they struggle to get going. Real Mallorca 0-2 Villarreal.