Steadying The Islander’s Ship

Joaquin Caparros doesn't fail. Well, he doesn't normally. He did leave Neuchatel Xamax after just five games last year, but that wasn't exactly his fault. Would you stick around if your boss came into the dressing room after a game waving a gun around?

In every other circumstance, the man has excelled. He established the foundations and made the glory days at Sevilla possible for Juande Ramos. Two years after that, he guided Athletic Bilbao to the cup final and a sixth place finish in the League – that's a fair bit higher then Marcelo Bielsa managed this season. Mallorca at the beginning of this season were failing.

The then Coach, Michael Laudrup, had a falling out with the club's board, which led to him swiftly leaving. The main reason for their disagreement was the directors’ decision to sell Jonathan de Guzman at the end of the transfer window. He was one of the team's key players, but the club's poor financial state meant their hand was forced and that they couldn’t bring in a like-for-like replacement. That's been a theme over recent seasons – the top players always leave sooner or later.

Dani Guiza, Borja Valero, Jose Manuel Jurado, Jonathan de Guzman, and this season it could likely be Chori Castro who flies out of the island, to name a few. Enter Caparros. It's hard to think of anyone that could have done a better job then he has. With his vast experience, he's a man that commands respect from both his team and opponents. Level headed and calm, yet calculated and efficient, he's a manager that is hard to dislike. It's those attributes that have enabled him to transform a Mallorca squad that, on paper, lacks quality into a committed machine that ended up just three points outside of the Europa League spots. Caparros has been the perfect tactician for the club in every way.

As I touched on before, over the last several years the club's finances have been terribly managed. On top of the problems that the other clubs in the league also suffer from (mainly the pitiful amount of money they gain from their television contract), they also have a terribly small fanbase – mainly due to geographical reasons. In July 2010 they were made to suffer the consequences.

Despite finishing fifth in the league in the previous season, UEFA would not allow them to play in the Europa League, because of the financial situation. After a lot of disruption behind the scenes, the club has now moved on and appear to be in the safe hands of Jaume Cladera.

They're on the road to getting things back under control, and ensuring the players and fans won't ever have to suffer again due to circumstances out of their control. At least in the foreseeable future, the club won't have a lavish transfer budget, and will rely on Caparros to carry on working his magic and getting the best out of what he's got. But everyone at the club is working hard to ensure that there will be a steady, long-term future. When so many clubs are scrambling, and still can't manage to stay above the red line, Mallorca's quiet, humble work both on and off the pitch could well prove to be an example to others.

La Liga - Club News