Madrid celebrates a grown-up gathering

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“It was a great example of Madridismo!”

Has all that toiling and tinkering, sweating and swearing in La Liga Loca’s basement finally paid off?

“Madrid can write another glorious chapter!”

Has its spanking new time machine transported the blog 150 years into the future to bring you the headlines heralding the club qualifying for the Champions League quarter-finals?

Actually, no.

These whoops and hollers are just an acorn-sized sample of the preening praise being hurled in Real Madrid’s direction after the club that puts the ‘fun’ in ‘dysfunctional’ managed to organise an institutional event that did not involve widespread corruption or the intervention of the Old Bill.

On Sunday, the Madridista massive rolled out a rerun of their General Assembly - the event that was originally held back in December but blighted somewhat by the presence of hooligans and vote-riggers.

However, Assembly v2 went off in a distinctly adult atmosphere of civility thanks to all sorts of ingenious ideas, such as an electronic voting system and the screening of ‘socios’.

And this has led to an enormous sigh of relief from the club’s support, as there were frenzied fears in the days leading up to the gathering of ‘compromisarios’ that yet another unseemly scramble would take place.

The biggest concern for Madrid was that stand-in suit Vicente Boluda would not be ratified by the club’s super-members - something that would have led to the assembly’s immediate suspension, warned Boluda.

There were genuine fears that the increasingly bitter and twisted Ramón Calderón would deck the halls with boos and folly and cause carnage.

The ex-president is officially back in business and is threatening to wreak revenge on those who forced him out of his presidential position at Madrid by standing in the next poll which is expected to take place in early June.

“I will tell you the truth. I will not win the elections, I just want to make things difficult,” declared Calderón to AS demanding a television debate with Florentino Pérez.

So at 8am on Sunday morning, the nine hour affair got underway with a distinct lack of Ultras, riot police or Atlético Madrid supporters - all features of the club’s last attempt at a Big Tent gathering.

Instead, the club had outsourced the organisation of the assembly to a third party, meaning things went uncharacteristically smoothly.

Angry middle-aged men waving red or white cards were replaced by fancy-pants electronic voting and the attendees implemented the cunning plan of allowing each other to speak without being interrupted or insulted.

The first order of business was the ratification of Vicente Boluda as president, followed by the confirmation of the club’s accounts. But perhaps the biggest change made to the Madrid's barmy way of doing business was to the statutes governing the postal vote during the presidential election.

The previous rules allowed block voting, where a candidate could hand out the poll slips to employees of any of his companies and was in charge of sending them back to the club - a process that allowed great scope for votes to be ‘lost’ or altered, as happened during the last election in 2006.

Despite opposition from the pro-Florentino Pérez platform, Etica Madridista, a two-thirds majority gave their support for the implementation of a standard confidential postal vote system, as used in official elections.

“Madrid goes into the 21 century”, beamed Marca on Monday’s front page in response to the change.

Much of the paper’s praise has been flung in Vicente Boluda’s direction, with the editorial lauding the oil-slicked stand-in for “having to take on rivals of the calibre of Barcelona and Liverpool, face the uncertainties of the winter transfer window and lead the club through the 'Champions Chapuza' (the Huntelaar/Diarra mess-up).”

For the record, Barcelona are still leading La Liga, Liverpool thrashed Madrid, Julien Faubert was signed and Boluda managed the scandal by punishing no-one.

The overblown reaction to the smooth-running of an event where police horses were not required - for once - shows how just far down the path of off-the-pitch pottiness Real Madrid has wandered.

But with a whole collection of crackpot candidates set to duke it out for the keys to the club over the next two months, the self-congratulatory back-patting may turn out to be more than a little premature.

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