Correspondents cower at Calderon's Christmas dinner

La Liga Loca is hanging its head in shame this evening, readers.

And not just because it’s sitting in a rubbish Irish pub in Madrid penning this here blog - and not even being rock and roll enough to do it on the back of a beer mat.

Instead, La Liga Loca has actually got its laptop out like some bang bang shoot em up game-playing teenage no mates. Like a right sad git.  La Liga Loca is hanging its head in shame because it has just dawned on us – yes, that’s right: both La Liga Locas are here boys and girls, which only makes it worse – that we have let you down.  Big time.  All that talk about how the assorted eejits running the gaff at Castle Greyskull are mad, bad or both. All that spleen venting. All that acting really hard. All that People’s Champion bit. All that literary socking it to the man.  And what happens when we get the chance to actually sock it to the man? Did we get Ramón Calderón in a headlock? Take a towel to Pedja’s slimy head? Give the board of directors a Chinese burn? Slap those purveyors of lies, damned lies and even more lies? Laugh at those one-eyed Madrid-worshipping freaks? Did we tell them what we told you? Again and again.  Of course we didn’t.  We hid in the corner and giggled. Pathetically. We bitched privately but just smiled publicly. We cooed at the waitresses. And took a couple of rubbish photos with our mobile phone. We were the first-year pupil shouting, “Oi! Wanker!” at the sixth-former but running away the second he took a step our in our direction.

The sly, over-the-shoulder shot of Ramon 

Let’s face it, we completely bottled it. Utterly failed to be the bad boys we pretended to be.

And then we said, “thank you very much Mr Calderón, sir, that’s awfully kind of you” when he gave as a little Christmas present. Even though we couldn’t believe what a vile show he was putting on.        We’ve been bought, readers. Just like [obscured for legal reasons]. And [also obscured for legal reasons]. A nice new camera and, hey presto, Real Madrid can win the league. Ramón Calderón is a lovely chap. And Pedja Mijatovic is definitely not sinister. Nor, in fact, is Raúl.    Yes, Thursday was the Real Madrid Christmas dinner. A huge event in which every journalist who has ever covered Real Madrid and a few thousand who haven’t is invited to the Bernabéu. Which might explain why La Liga Loca was there. Or it might not.  A great big shebang with plates full of ham and fish and meat and rice and these massive strawberries dipped in chocolate. And some lemon sorbet drink thing that left comical strains on unsuspecting female top lips.  A great big shebang attended by the normal journalistic loonies that keep La Liga Loca in business.

Loonies like mad Tomás Roncero, who today declared in AS - and in English - “Raúl I love you” (and, worryingly, probably meant it), like cuddly Carmen Colino and the permanently startled Juan Carlos Rivero (the man who despite a career spanning two decades still responds to the camera coming on by going, “oh sh*t!” Every. Bloody Time.)  A great big shebang proceeded by a frighteningly pointless speech from some sour faced old bat about how her husband doesn’t know anything about football, but how one day some “typical black taxi driver, Rastafarian like” once stopped him in New York or somewhere and asked him where he was from, and he said he was from Madrid, and they said wow that’s Real Madrid and Di Stéfano plays for them, and he said wow that shows how big Real Madrid is and isn’t it amazing and universal and things or something…  A great big shebang in which Ramón Calderón gave a little speech that sounded suspiciously like the little speech he gave last year - one in which once again, in the spirit of Christmas, he forgave his trespassers as his trespassers forgive him.  In which he said he would like “to hold out my hand to those who have attacked me” and asked for forgiveness for all those who have made mistakes, adding “and surely I have made more than anyone,” expecting everyone to go “oh no Ramón, no,” only for them to mutter, “aye, surely.”  In which he brilliantly got in a dig, insisting he forgave those journalists who because of “the pressures of the job... don’t always check out their stories properly.”  Above all it was a great big shebang with only one table where anyone could actually sit. Occupied by lots of not really very important men acting very important.

"Just pretend you're taking a picture of my face..." 

A table packed with slick-backed hair and brogues, blazers, stripes shirts with collars in different colours and initials nattily sewn in, the only Champagne in the place, and trousers with creases so sharp you could slice your shin.

A table at which Ramón Calderón held court, smoking a cigar the size of a marrow, while the business’s big boys sat in attendance – greasy chinned Roberto Gómez, Angel Rodríguez, and Marca Eduardo Inda, the man whose knowledge about football could be put on the back of an extremely small postage stamp. With a bloody great marker. While they and some other chinless wonders laughed on cue and fawned all over him, puffing away, acting big and hard.  And servile.  A table that said everything about what’s wrong with presidents and the media. A truly vile spectacle offered up by truly vile men.

The kind of spectacle that we really should have done something about. The kind we should have run in there and broken up, shouting and screaming and spitting bile. But the kind about which we did no such thing.

Instead, we surreptitiously took photos over our shoulders like a bunch of uselessly scardey cats.   And for that, dear readers, we hang our heads in shame.

---------------------------------------------- More to read...La Liga Loca homeBlogs home Latest Spain newsNews homeInterviews homeForums home