Levante are downing tools after two years without pay after one player had to send his missus home to live with his mother while he dossed down on a mateÃ¢ÂÂs floor, after a whole fleet of flash cars were taken back, after bank accounts were frozen, after Riga had his house dispossessed, after threats and stand offs, after protest t-shirts and a protest kick-off in which they allowed DeportivoÃ¢ÂÂs Sergio to run through unchallenged on goal, and after the aborted strike of a few weeks back. That time, the strike was averted because the club, the council and their preferred loan sharks promised to find the money to pay them; this time, the strike is back on because the club, the council and their preferred loan sharks broke their promises.
Because the man who caused this fine mess, former owner and president Pedro Villarroel, asked one player if he believed in God, adding - when the player said yes - Ã¢ÂÂGood, because youÃ¢ÂÂre going to hell.Ã¢ÂÂ
Levante thank Depor's Sergio Gonzalez for participating in stunt
Yesterday Levante trained for 54 seconds before travelling to Madrid to meet the PlayersÃ¢ÂÂ Union. They will travel to their game on Sunday in the presence of lawyers, they will take up their place in the away dressing room and if nothing changes they will then refuse to play. Which is a real bugger for Real Madrid. You see, the side that Levante play on Sunday is Real Madrid. Perfect for them - no other opponent would provide them with so much publicity - pretty awful for Madrid.
Not because they are playing for anything - the league title is already secure, as is BarcelonaÃ¢ÂÂs utter humiliation - but because Sunday was going to be their big day out: the biggest celebration ever, with fireworks, the league trophy, lots of loud music, ticker-tape, strobes, players dancing about and RaÃÂºl doing that bullfighting with a Real Madrid cape thing that everyone seems to think is so great. Instead, Levante have become Spanish footballÃ¢ÂÂs biggest party poopers since a furious Betis president turned up at a Halloween fiesta held at a player's house. Not as one of the guests - although he had come as the Prince of Darkness - but as the man who would break up the party, literally sending players clambering out the windows to avoid him.
The reason is simple: no Levante, no football. No football, no fiesta.
Real: Determined not to have their party plans pooped on
But fear not fiesta-lovers! Relax, revellers! DonÃ¢ÂÂt panic party-goers! Because Real Madrid have a cunning plan. Forget the one about playing Real Madrid vs Real Madrid subs, defence against attack or holding the best-attended training session in history (although, letÃ¢ÂÂs face it, thatÃ¢ÂÂs probably what will happen), this is a masterstroke.
Real Madrid have announced that they will get a team to come to town to take LevanteÃ¢ÂÂs place, thus making sure the party goes ahead regardless. Not just any old team either, but one of the Premierships Spanish-led big boys. Oh yes, Tottenham or Liverpool. The same Tottenham or Liverpool whose players disappeared off on holiday three days ago.