The Mallorquin fans are getting used to big games; the club is
currently enjoying the most successful cycle of its history. Every year
they seem to sell their best player – Diego Tristan, Alberto Luque,
Ariel Ibagaza – and yet still they come back. They've been in the top flight since 1997 and have only had one relegation battle. Truly, Mallorca have never had it so good.
Before 1997 the club had seen more seasons in the Third Division
than the top flight: since then the club has astounded its
many doubters with two top-three finishes, two Champions League
campaigns, a Supercopa win over Barcelona, a Cup Winners' Cup final
appearance and, in 2003, a Copa
del Rey victory over Recreativo de Huelva. And all this under an astonishing flurry of managers, rarely lasting more than a season, some wishing they'd had that long.
It has been the sort of run of success you would imagine would make a
match at Mallorca's Son Moix ground a thrilling occasion. You'd be
wrong. The stadium, built for the World Student Games in 1999, is one
of the least atmospheric in Spain, a vast concrete monstrosity shaped
like an open clam, with a running track between the fans and the pitch,
where they place the latest models of yachts for anyone who's
interested in buying them. It's hardly the stuff to warm the cockles of
your passionate heart.
Then there are the fans. Behind one of the goals the Mallorca Ultras
Fondo Norte do their best to get an atmosphere going, but their words
fade into the azure sky, and nobody else is remotely interested in
joining in. The others politely applaud, as if at a cricket match.
An electronic scoreboard does its best to get people going, showing
symbols of hands clapping when it wants the crowd to get excited over a
corner or a free-kick, but few obey this vast idiot board. Where's the
swearing, the outrage at the referee, the bottles thrown onto the pitch
in anger? Mallorquins are simply too chilled for such behaviour. It's
so quiet, you can hear the exact words the manager shouts at his
The Son Moix (Cat's Place) looks cool from the outside but its 23,000-capacity rarely fills for games other than Madrid and Barça. It was built miles out of Palma city centre
with the driver in mind: ie plenty of parking.
You could get a pre-match drink in the centre of town then get a taxi or the number 8 bus from
Plaza España; the bus drops you some way from the stadium, but there's a bonus bar halfway from the bus stop to the stadium, by the basketball and tennis courts. They've usually got a barbecue going – ask for Arnau's "death sauce" if you dare.
Another option is the MallorCafé, located directly under the Fondo Norte and next to the entrance.
Club address Cami dels Reis, E-07011, Palma de Mallorca
Telephone (0034) 971 221 221
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