MLL / The Club / History

History of the Club

1970 - 1990
1970 - 1990
1950 - 1970
1916 - 1949

1970-1990: The Transition From A Difficult To Brilliant Period (2/2)

The pursuit of a return to the First Division in the 1984/85 would be headed by Spaniard Manolo Villanova, who not only benefitted from his experience as RCD Mallorca’s goalkeeper across the 1966-67 and 1967-68 campaigns, but inherited a talented squad boasting the likes of Manolo Preciado, Pep Bonet, Damià Amer, Antonio Orejuela, Paco Higuera and Gerry Armstrong. Despite such strength in depth and aptitude, promotion was not to be.

The following 1985-86 season would be remembered for a dramatic manner in which RCD Mallorca reclaimed their spot in the First Division. The final-day victory against Logroñes in La Guanas on the 18th of May, 1986 went down in local folklore as, in front of thousands of fans making the trip to northern Spain, Luis Garcia caused pandemonium in the terraces by securing promotion with five minutes remaining.  While Spanish manager Llorenç Serra Ferrer is credited with masterminding the success, Enrique ‘Tronquito’ Magdaleno’s ice-cold execution in front of goal assured his place in the pantheon of deadly forwards to have represented the club.

While fans’ mouths watered at the prospect of seeing Ferrer’s side pit themselves against household names such as Real Madrid’s Hugo Sanchez, Andoni Zubizarreta of FC Barcelona and Espanyol’s Ernesto Valverde ahead of the 1986-87 season, few would have anticipated the emergence of their very own star in 20-year-old Miquel Àngel Nadal. The midfielder would not only become one of the finest and most important players to have worn the shirt, but later transfer to La Blaugrana and a regularly feature for the national side. Quickly becoming one of the first names on the team sheet, Nadal stood out alongside club legend Ezaki Badou, the Moroccan goalkeeper of eye-catching performances in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, while reinforcements included Jose Antonio Martínez Martín ‘Trobiani’, Eduardo Belza and the return of Bonet.

RCD Mallorca would go onto achieve their highest league finish to date by securing sixth position but unfortunately miss out on the UEFA Cup’s European football. The 1986-87 season was a notable one for history buffs as in addition to Los Bermellones’ First Division performance, Magdaleno broke the goalscoring record while Lluís Sitjar registered its largest attendance as 29,000 fans witnessed a 1-0 victory over Real Madrid, courtesy of a strike by ‘Tronquito’ himself.

Optimism for building on prior achievements was replaced by disappointment as poor performances would not only cost Ferrer his job and mark the return of Muller, but RCD Mallorca were sucked into a relegation play-off against Real Oviedo. Rafael García Cortés gave fans a slither of hope in a 2-1 away defeat in first leg, but the return fixture would end in a goalless draw. One year after securing a best-ever finish, RCD Mallorca returned to the Second Division.

The setback would not last long, and despite notable departures including Garcia’s transfer to Atletico Madrid, Higuera’s switch to Real Zaragoza in addition to Magdaleno, Bano and Sebastián Chano leaving for Real Burgos, reinforcements were not in short supply and included: Miguel Molondro, Eduard Abadal, Alberto Albístegí, Guillermo, Javier Sánchez-Clemente, Josep Sala, Antonio Rivas, Angel Pedraza, Endika, Zoran Stojadinovic and Zoran Vúlic. While RCD Mallorca stayed true to the quality of their academy system with Gabi Vidal’s notable emergence among others, the 1988-89 season would mark the first-ever inclusion of three foreign players in the official squad. Serbian Ivica Brzić started the campaign as manager but soon left, leaving the door open for the returning Serra Ferrer to achieve promotion via a play-off victory against Espanyol. In typical dramatic fashion, RCD Mallorca would overturn the 1-0 defeat in Sarrià on the 28th of June 1989 by taking the return fixture four days later to extra-time courtesy of Nadal’s equaliser. Vidal struck early in the 93rd minute to tee up a tense final few minutes, but Los Bermellones’ passage to the First Division was secure come the final whistle amid the island’s celebrations.

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