Correspondents cower at Calderon's Christmas dinner
La Liga Loca is hanging its head in shame this evening, readers.
And not just because itÃ¢ÂÂs 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 Ã¢ÂÂ yes, thatÃ¢ÂÂs right: both La Liga Locas are here boys and girls, which only makes it worse Ã¢ÂÂ that we have let you down.
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 PeopleÃ¢ÂÂs 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 RamÃÂ³n CalderÃÂ³n in a headlock? Take a towel to PedjaÃ¢ÂÂs 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 didnÃ¢ÂÂt.
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, Ã¢ÂÂOi! Wanker!Ã¢ÂÂ 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
LetÃ¢ÂÂs face it, we completely bottled it. Utterly failed to be the bad boys we pretended to be.
And then we said, Ã¢ÂÂthank you very much Mr CalderÃÂ³n, sir, thatÃ¢ÂÂs awfully kind of youÃ¢ÂÂ when he gave as a little Christmas present. Even though we couldnÃ¢ÂÂt believe what a vile show he was putting on.
WeÃ¢ÂÂve 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. RamÃÂ³n CalderÃÂ³n is a lovely chap. And Pedja Mijatovic is definitely not sinister. Nor, in fact, is RaÃÂºl.
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 havenÃ¢ÂÂt is invited to the BernabÃÂ©u. 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 TomÃÂ¡s Roncero, who today declared in AS - and in English - Ã¢ÂÂRaÃÂºl I love youÃ¢ÂÂ (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, Ã¢ÂÂoh sh*t!Ã¢ÂÂ Every. Bloody Time.)
A great big shebang proceeded by a frighteningly pointless speech from some sour faced old bat about how her husband doesnÃ¢ÂÂt know anything about football, but how one day some Ã¢ÂÂtypical black taxi driver, Rastafarian likeÃ¢ÂÂ 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 thatÃ¢ÂÂs Real Madrid and Di StÃÂ©fano plays for them, and he said wow that shows how big Real Madrid is and isnÃ¢ÂÂt it amazing and universal and things or somethingÃ¢ÂÂ¦
A great big shebang in which RamÃÂ³n CalderÃÂ³n 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 Ã¢ÂÂto hold out my hand to those who have attacked meÃ¢ÂÂ and asked for forgiveness for all those who have made mistakes, adding Ã¢ÂÂand surely I have made more than anyone,Ã¢ÂÂ expecting everyone to go Ã¢ÂÂoh no RamÃÂ³n, no,Ã¢ÂÂ only for them to mutter, Ã¢ÂÂaye, surely.Ã¢ÂÂ
In which he brilliantly got in a dig, insisting he forgave those journalists who because of Ã¢ÂÂthe pressures of the job... donÃ¢ÂÂt always check out their stories properly.Ã¢ÂÂ
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 RamÃÂ³n CalderÃÂ³n held court, smoking a cigar the size of a marrow, while the businessÃ¢ÂÂs big boys sat in attendance Ã¢ÂÂ greasy chinned Roberto GÃÂ³mez, Angel RodrÃÂguez, 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.
A table that said everything about whatÃ¢ÂÂs 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.