Wheee! Slice! Argh! Madridistas fall on their swords

Wheee! Slice! Argh!Wheee! Slice! Argh!That, dear readers, is the sound of two more men falling on their swords.Baa! Hack! Argh!Baa! Hack! Argh!The sound, more to the point, of two more sacrificial lambs being slaughtered. Two sacrificial lambs by the name of Mariano Rodríguez de Barutell, known as “Nanín”, and Luis Bárcena.Not sacrificial lambs that La Liga Loca feels especially sorry for – especially not poor little rich boy Nanín - but sacrificial lambs nonetheless. You see, last night Bárcena and Nanín were sacked from their posts at Real Madrid by (the still) president Ramón Calderón. The guilty men in the scandal uncovered by Marca. The men who have paid the price so that Calderón doesn’t have to. Rather like Fabio Capello, in fact. Or Bernd Schuster. Now, for those of you a little behind, here’s what’s happened so far…(You might want to adopt a deep cinema-style voice here.)Previously on Castle Greyskull … Unpopular president Ramón Calderón – already accused of, well, too many things for La Liga Loca to recap, especially without the help of our lawyer Lionel Hutz - panics that he might not get the accounts and a few other bits and bobs of business approved by the members’ assembly on December 7. He is terrified, nay petrified, of the dark shadow of a certain Florentino Pérez.Calderón scrapes through the members’ assembly. During aforementioned assembly, members of the Ultra Sur - one of whom, a gift for the media, could not have been any more of a cartoon bad guy if he joined the Ant Hill Mob - spend the assembly shouting “anti-Madridistas sons of bitches” at those who oppose him and o“Presidente! Presidente!” at Calderón himself.There are lots of accusations and angry words, lots of shouting and pushing and other generally un-edifying shenanigans going on. Votes are cast by a show of hands (as they always have been). Votes are counted in the pretty little heads of the stewardesses (as they always have been). Some members are denied access to the arena to watch events unfold. Accusations are made that the club laid on busses to get the Ultras there. Calderón denies it.“What are busses?” he says.* Just over a month later, Marca breaks the story that Calderón “robbed” the assembly. It alleges that Calderón infiltrated the assembly with people loyal to him to make sure he got through the vote. Bárcena, director of members and the man responsible for organising the assembly, says he will investigate and take the necessary actions.The next day, Marca publishes a follow up. It includes photos of the men who shouldn’t have been there: some because they are not compromisarios (members with a voice and vote for the assembly), some because they are but shouldn’t be (because their form wasn’t completed correctly or because they have not been members long enough to qualify), and one because he is an Atlético Madrid season ticket holder. Strategically placed, all are aggressive during the assembly.

All voted in Calderón’s favour…  And so it was that Calderón stood before the media at the Santiago Bernabéu, backed by all the president’s men. Sweating. Fighting back. And denying everything.

Calderon & co. face the music...

“We had an unpleasant surprise when we saw what was published this morning. None of us have participated directly or indirectly in the presence of unauthorised people in the last assembly of Real Madrid. I swear on my honour – and that is worth a lot to me,” he said, as everyone stifled a giggle and the temptation to mutter 'well, it aint worth jack to us, sunshine.'

“I have nothing to hide, I don’t mind being here until four in the morning,” Calderón continued. In fact, he didn’t quite make it that far. But he was there for over an hour in which he managed to say an awful lot and admitted that the assembly was indeed fraudulent.“We will investigate every single one of the compromisarios at the assembly,” he said.“Would I be here if I had anything to hide?” he said.“We would like to re-stage the assembly but we’re not sure if we’re legally entitled to do so,” he said. “Look into my eyes, can’t you see they’re open wide. Would I lie to you?” he said.**“My directors are completely behind me and they have not leaked this. I trust them 100%. I would put my hand in the fire for them. In fact, I’d put both my hands in the fire for them – I wouldn’t mind ending up armless,” he said. “We will kick out any members who are proven to have entered the assembly under false pretences,” he said.What he didn’t say was what most people wanted him to: “I’m off. It’s a fair cop, guv. You’ve got me bang to rights. I’ll sling me ‘ook.”What he didn’t say was: “I will resign and call elections. Like, now."And he didn’t say that because “resigning would be the act of a coward.” Because “people who resign are people who have something to hide.” Because, “if there is one thing I have done in my life it is act with honesty” (stop sniggering). Because, above all, “this board and I have not done anything. We are the victims here. Because, we have done nothing wrong.”The man who had, Calderón said, was Nanín – a 25 year old who works in the club’s members’ department, acts like he owns the place, and drives a flash BMW worth €70,000 even though he is theoretically on €12,000 a year. The same Nanín who admitted to Calderón that he had sneaked in a few of his mates.Not that Calderón could explain why. “Perhaps,” he ventured, “he thought he was helping. When you love someone you try to help them out, even when you shouldn’t.”Whatever the reason, it definitely was not because he was under orders.That’s why Nanín had to be sacked. And so did Bárcena, because he’s Nanín’s boss.But not Calderón, even though he is both of theirs.Because, Calderón said, he didn’t know anything about it. Because, never mind that hidden camera documentary that accused him of rigging votes during the elections, Nanín is just a lad who works in the members’ department. And because he doesn’t even know the infiltrators in question.Which will be why the photos in today’s Marca show two of them on a boat with Calderón’s brother and Bárcena, or three of them on holiday in Rome with Nanín and Calderón’s son. Which will be why when he won the elections, in his acceptance speech, Calderón said he “particularly” wanted to thank Nanín. “Without whom I could not have won.”Just because Calderón is paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get him. And just because they’re out to get him doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve it. “I don’t have long left,” he said. It was the only thing he said that you could be sure was true.    (*Calderón did not actually say that.)(** Or this. But he might as well have.)


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