On 24 January 2012, Sporting Mahonés announced that it was withdrawing from Group III of Segunda B due to the fact that practically all the professional squad had left the club. With debts of over €230,000 and a transfer embargo in place, the club could not raise a team for the remainder of the season. It had struggled to field a side in what turned out to be its final match, when essentially a youth team represented the club in a 0-6 defeat at Sant Andreu. Sporting went the way of Villanueva del Fresno and Poli Ejido who also folded during the 2011-12 season
Another one bites the dust
Sporting Mahonés was an amalgam of CD Menorca and UD Mahón who joined forces in 1974, after both sides were relegated to the regional leagues. Between formation and 1978, Sporting played at two locations close to the centre of town, starting out at the former home of CD Mahón, the Campo Municipal de San Carlos. The following season saw the club play at the Estadio Mahonés, which had been the home of CD Menorca. Both stadiums are still in working order, with San Carlos practically unchanged since Sporting last played there. Sporting then alternated between the two grounds before moving two kilometres south of the town centre to the Estadi de Bintaufa in 1978.
Still in operation, Sporting’s former homes – Estadio Mahonés & Campo de San Carlos
Sporting’s most successful period came at the end of the 1980s when it spent six seasons in Segunda B, with a best finish of fifth in 1988-89. They dropped to the Balearic Tercera in 1993 and remained there until June 2009, when they dispensed of CD Mutilvera, Burgos CF and Tenerife B in the play-offs to clinch promotion back to Segunda B. Sporting spent two seasons battling at the wrong end of the table and in 2011-12, after a fair start, form and players deserted them as they edged towards extinction. Bintaufa is an old relic of a stadium set in scrub land close to the town’s Aeronautic Club and its small airstrip. It features a simple covered stand that is 65 metres in length has five rows of bench seating. Opposite is a boxy media booth and a narrow terrace, whilst rather uneven hard standing makes up the rest of the enclosure.
Basic and barren – Bintaufa in 2009
With a capacity of 3,000, the Estadi de Bintaufa provided adequate space for Sporting’s meagre crowds. The club & local council had plans to start work on developing an annex just to the south of Bintaufa. The new plans were relatively ambitious, as they focused more on the development of a training academy, rather than a replacement home. Despite Sporting’s demise, the council pressed-on with the development and started work in the summer of 2012. It features a full size artificial turf pitch, a smaller training pitch, a half-length stand on the west side and offices with changing facilities to the north. The new development opened in time for the start of the 2013-14 season.
Bintaufa’s new neighbour
Whilst the economic downturn has effected clubs the length and breadth of Spain, the Balearic Islands have been particularly hard-hit. Atletico Ciutadella, CF Soller and SD Eivissa have all folded in recent seasons, whilst Real Mallorca’s financial woes have been well documented. However, as sure as day follows night, a new club has emerged. CF Sporting de Mahon was founded in 2013 and play in the Primera Regional Preferente – Menorca, or level 5 of the Spanish pyramid. The new club play their home matches at Bintaufa, but have played some games at the new annex when the notoriously dodgy pitch at Bintaufa has proved unplayable. You can follow the fortunes of football in Menorca at https://www.menorcafootball.com/ and on Twitter https://twitter.com/MenorcaFootball