Son Moix new stadium. | P. BOTA


This weeks thoughts are a bit of a double edged sword. I want to give out praise where praise is due but there are a couple of negatives coming too. The negatives are in my opinion constructive and believe me when I say I only want the best outcome.

I’ve been a Real Mallorca fan since I came to the island. I started going regularly in the early 2,000’s, so I’ve seen the good times and the really bad times. In the 2016/17 season they were relegated to Segunda B meaning they couldn’t go much lower. In that league average attendances were around 3 or 4,000, you could sit in your allotted season ticket seat and not have anyone near you. Believe me at times it was awful to watch but we still went every week. At that time Mallorca were bought by a group of Americans investors who without doubt at that time would have been wondering what they had got themselves into. Remember that relegation doesn’t happen in American sport. However back to back promotions meant they returned to La Liga in record time. Another relegation during COVID was quickly turned around the following season and last season they finished a very successful ninth in the league.

During all this time the owners have invested a lot of time and money into the Club and away from the pitch their marketing and in particular their social media ranked them third in La Liga behind the giants of Real Madrid and Barcelona. One thing that had held the club back was the stadium. Built in 1999 for the World Student Games and leased to the club by the Palma City Council for 50 years, there had been many arguements over its renovation and in particular the running track. Thankfully those arguements subsided and work began on moving the stands closer to the pitch. When you visit the stadium now it is something to be proud of and this week a season record crowd of 22,051 saw the first leg of the semi-finals of the Copa Del Rey.

One of the major changes to the stadium has been on the corporate side. New offerings include the ‘Tunnel Experience’, the ‘Premium Club’ and the new VIP boxes above the North stand. One of those boxes for a season for 12 people will cost you an eye watering 44,000€. If all these offerings are sold and the money can be reinvested into the team that can only be good for the club.

Now I did say at the beginning of this there would be a couple of negatives. As I said I hope the club is looking into the issues I’m highlighting as it seems that the average season ticket holder like me has been left behind. I am more than happy with the stadium on the inside, my beef lays on the outside. Part of the renovation was to convert the old Mallorca Cafe into a state of the art club shop. Which I’m not criticising as it looks amazing but the Mallorca Cafe was a meeting point for fans before the game.

Last Tuesday there was a temporary constructed outside bar that was nowhere near big enough to service the thousands of people outside. Remember that you can only buy an alcoholic drink outside a La Liga ground as it is banned inside the stadium. So you can imagine what it was like. Are their any plans to replace the Mallorca Cafe, that would not only be used on match days but as before for people to enjoy it for a morning coffee or to watch away matches on a big screen? Surely this is an opportunity for the club to make extra income? On top of the lack of being able to get a drink, there were two mobile caravans selling burgers at 8€ a pop. Neither despite their best intentions could cope with the amount of people. If the outside experience of us fans not wanting the corporate experience is being looked into then that is something to look forward to.

The other problem is trying to get out of the stadium at the end of the game from the club car park. It took me an hour to get out on Tuesday night. I’m not sure what the answer is as it seems the majority of the crowd drive to the stadium. When a game is on there are cars parked everywhere, even on the motorway hard shoulder! Would the club and Palma City Council look at extending the metro service? Or maybe offer a rolling free bus service back into the city? There was talk by the previous government of building a tram service from the centre of Palma to the airport and also to Son Espases hospital. Could this be extended to the stadium? These projects were to paid for in part by European or Spanish Government subsidies.

Alfonso Diaz, Mallorca’s Chief Executive has said “Basically, we want this stadium, which is a major building in the city, to be a venue for the city and its people. Little by little, this is being achieved and this space is being opened up so that it could be used 365 days per year and not just 19 or 20 times when there is a football match. The city and its people should be able to enjoy this venue with facilities that can be used for social, sporting, and entrepreneurial activities.” That’s great but that outside experience and the transport problem needs looking into.

I will of course carry on being a season ticket holder as there’s nothing I want more to see the club be successful. I believe having a club in La Liga is positive for the island and is another arm to our tourist offering particularly in the low season. Not only that, it is an avenue for all youth footballers here to go into the professional game.

As the song sung at the stadium goes “Rojo, negro hasta que me muera” (meaning red and black until I die). But please remember and look after your non-corporate supporters.