The battle for the soul of Betis begins

Andalusia is a land where out-of-tune wailing by battered old hags is considered music, where the locals speak as if their mouths are full of chorizo and where it’s always really, really hot.

But very soon, the region down in the sticky south of Spain will be playing host to the mother of all battles, a fight to take back the light from the forces of evil, a scrap to rival any trailer for a Lord of the Rings rip-off.

To tell you the truth, it will probably end up being a couple of hundred beered-up loons wandering down the street holding a very wide banner before going to the pub after about five minutes.

"Don't worry, I've got supplies" 

Nevertheless, a very excited AS have spent many days bigging up a struggle that is now taking place for the heart and soul of Betis.

Now that the sobbing from the club’s fans has died down, along with the laughter from everyone else over their ejection from top-flight football, the supporters of the Seville-based club are as frustrated as Maniche facing a childproof honey pot and looking for revenge for their relegation.

Yet another movement has been formed with the goal of removing majority-shareholder, Darth Manuel Ruiz de Lopera, from the club by forcing Betis’ godfather to agree to sell the stake he has held since 1992.

But Darth de Lopera is in no mood to move his dirt-filled coffin to pastures new.

Indeed, he plans a bigger, brighter future for the second division side with the dotty old codger promising to turn Betis into the “Real Madrid of la Segunda.”

But probably not in the ‘humiliated by anyone half-decent’ sense.

“I will take the team to the Europa League, the Champions League and once again we will go to Madrid... and that is what Manuel Ruiz de Lopera is working for,” bellowed the biggest of Beticos, slipping easily into the third-person school of insanity.

Aside from several swarms of locusts, a 200,000 strong zombie army and Hugo the Husky, De Lopera stands quite alone in his campaign to keep control of the Betis helm.

AS reports that the rebellion against Don Manuel began a long way from Spanish shores with a small group of Betis fans in Kosovo walking to a UN building to protest against his leadership. No-one is quite sure what they thought that would achieve, mind.

Not even the appointment of former Málaga man, Antonio Tapia, as the new coach could stop this juggernaut of a campaign which has taken on the slogan: “for your dignity and future, Betis.”

Next to make their vexed voices heard were Seville’s local politicians.

“Betis deserve to be relegated, they have done things so badly,” complained José Antonio Grinan, president of the parliament of Andalusia and a man who now has to sleep with the lights on. And with a battle-axe in hand.

The next stage of the campaign to oust the local Lord of the Flies is a march that is set to take place in Seville’s city centre on Monday evening.

Marca report that it will be attended by 112 fan groups, some bullfighters (of course) and former Betis waster, José Mari.

But Darth de Lopera has continued to blame everyone but himself for the team’s recent failures.

“I brought in the coach that everyone asked for and the signings they asked for, because they wanted Betis in the UEFA,” complained the Beelzebub of Betisland.

Despite all the clamour, La Liga Loca feels that De Lopera won’t be leaving the club anytime soon.

Unless, perhaps, Monday’s protesters are armed with garlic and stakes as well as banners and chants.

Lopera: "I have a cunning plan" 

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Competition winner

A big blog pat on the back to Phil Jones for his winning entry to help Florentino Pérez name a sponsor to brand the Santiago Bernabeu and raise a bit of cash for the club.

A year-long subscription to the world’s greatest footie magazine is on the way....

The FourFourTwo judges were most tickled by the idea of the “Laxostar Santiago Bernabeu - where not just the football flows freely - also the verbal diarrhoea. And Madrid are always loose at the back.”

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