Moaning masses and Maniche moves on

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La Liga Loca is unsure whether it’s a catastrophic caña-caused comedown from Seville’s annual Feria - which Sergio Ramos definitely, definitely did not attend two days before el Clásico - or reaching a tipping point of grumpiness.

But something has definitely yanked the cranks of Betis fans of late.

Yelling abuse at the squad during training, death threats during matches and bawling out their best players are the latest tactics to have been adopted by barmy Beticos during the side’s latest relegation rumble.

The most recent incident of rancour took place on Tuesday when Emana faced a torrent of taunts from a posse of Spain’s version of White Van Man - mid-40s, moustachioed, belly of pot and face of red.

But it’s not just the club’s three defeats in a row that has got the Betis masses all angry - losses that leaves the side just three points and three places from relegation, but also the realisation that Darth de Lopera, the club’s cuddly owner, isn’t going anywhere. Again.

At the back end of March, there were stories - commented on by the club itself - that the very loaded Emir Humaid Bin Rashid Al Nuami of Ajman was in talks to buy out the Andalusian Lord of the Flies.

“It would be amazing if a sheikh bought Betis!” squealed Betis’ website-quoting club president Pepe León.

“Lopera has decided to sell and now it’s in the hands of the Emir,” said the sheikh’s supposed spokesman, Israel Gutierrez de Alba, who posed merrily in the club shop wearing a Betis shirt with ‘Humaid’ on the back.

"Well, Sheikh it up baby now..."

The trouble is that the story turned out to be absolute poppycock and one concocted by the club to turn attention away from their latest on-the-pitch problems, say some suspicious sources.

That’s the opinion of Sport anyway, having contacted a close business partner of the suspected Betis buyer who poo-pooed the whole story. “I called the Emir to congratulate him on the purchase, but he knew nothing about it,” said Rashidi Omrani.

Another club facing a stand-off with supporters are Atlético Madrid, who are crossing every appendage imaginable that the team’s victories against Sporting and Betis will lead to a less hostile atmosphere on Sunday in their Vicente Calderón clash against Espanyol.

“It will be a time to win back the fans,” cooed club president Enrique Cerezo.

Atleti have taken another step to soothing fans' furrowed brows by terminating Maniche’s contract and telling him to pack his oversized suitcases.

The Portuguese midfielder was already serving out a suspension for failing to turn up for the Sporting encounter but is now as free as a very big bird.

“He told the fans to go to Gran Via [instead of the Calderón], failed a roadside breath test and grew fat due to too much nightlife, his natural habitat,” noted AS’s Atleti man Iñako Díaz-Guerra.

The downside to Maniche’s sacking will be the lack of income from his various fines, report El País. “He practically paid our wages,” is the quote the paper gives from one club insider.

"Doh! Dough!"

Both Marca and AS have become even more unreadable than usual this week, with the blog routinely zooming through the first 20 or so pages of absolute pig swill.

Both papers have gone completely doolally in linking every player in the world with Madrid – once the omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent Florentino Pérez ascends (bearing in mind the very hot place where he will be travelling from) to the Bernabeu throne in June.

But in a break with recent tradition, it appears that Real Madrid may actually be worth watching next season, not just for the comedy factor but to work out how Wenger / Mourinho / Ancelotti manages a forward line of Kaká, Ronaldo, Silva, Villa, Zlatan, Huntelaar and of course, Raúl.

Lassana Diarra is going to be a very busy man.

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