How about one of our periodic updates on the serpentine politics of the club? (With apologies to everyone who's already up to speed...)
(Adopts deep voice): "Previously, on Real Betis Balompié..."
So, you'll remember that in the summer, with Judge Mercedes Alaya gradually uncovering his alleged multi-million euro defrauding of the club, former president Manuel Ruíz de Lopera passed on his 51 per cent shareholding hot-potato-style to Luis Oliver (for a supposed €16 million). The judge immediately froze the deal, but Oliver still managed to wangle his way onto the board and take de facto charge of the club in the absence of a shareholders meeting that could unseat him. In the meantime, the judge put Lopera's 51 per cent shareholding under the administration of a three-man panel headed by ex-player Rafael Gordillo. One of these administrators, the lawyer Juan Manuel Gómez Porrúa recently died of a heart attack, and has been replaced by a colleague with similarly august credentials, José Antonio Bosch. Meanwhile, down a completely different legal avenue, small shareholders have had to get a legal ruling forcing the board to hold an EGM, which will now take place on December 13th and at which the judge's administrators - Gordillo, Bosch and their economist colleague Luis Carlos Huidobro - are expected to take over the running of the club and convene an entirely new board, headed by Gordillo as president. Luis Oliver will have to retreat into the shadows, at least until Lopera's appeal against all Judge Alaya's ruling is heard (probably sometime at the start of next year). There is still a possibility - thought to be slim - that an appeal court will declare Alaya to have acted beyond her remit and unfreeze the shares, in which case Oliver will be able to assume control once again.
The reason for the resumé is that yesterday the administrators held a press conference to outline their "road map" for the future of Betis. And all you can really say is, So far, so good.
Their overall plan is to combine a modernisation process involving every aspect of the business - sporting, communications, marketing, customer liaison, etc - with a drive to involve the enormous fanbase as fully as possible in the evolution of the club.
"We're going to work under the slogan 'Making Betis'," explained José Antonio Bosch (the one with the moustache), "as a way of articulating our project. It's going to aimed at the whole Beticismo, so they can help out and give us a push in this new stage that we're trying to inaugurate. We want to be able to reach out every Bético individually and ask them to answer our call, each according to their abilities or economic power. Because this fanbase is as generous as it is brave. Any support we get from the fans is for the club; no-one here, or anyone who comes in from no on, is going to get carried away. Get right behind us, and the club, and I'll give you a role to play and complete transparency. Come to the stadium and enjoy your Betis."
Both Bosch and Gordillo also outlined plans for a revamped board structure including (as yet unnamed) hand-picked professionals in all the key areas (ie not just cronies of Lopera/Oliver), to work alongside an advisory committee, and a completely redesigned sporting director's department. "In Germany the boards are highly professionalised," said Bosch, showing an impressive awareness of the international football landscape. "There, the one aim is to construct a good sporting project, to ensure that the only joys and disappointments come from what happens on the pitch."
Encouragingly, they also announced plans for two new websites - www.haciendobetis.com and www.yohagobetis.com - via which they aim to communicate more closely with the club's fans (though I'm not sure why they need two). The day that the club's official online presence comes anywhere near to matching the breadth and detail of the many fan sites around will be the day we know we're getting somewhere.
Of course, it would be silly to get too excited about these new developments. For a start, there's still time for an unexpected twist or two before the key EGM. Then there's the club's parlous financial situation overshadowing everything, not to mention the possibility that the new regime's hold on power might only be temporary. But I think it's fair to say that things are still headed very firmly in the right direction.
Trouble is, after all that the news that Momo is to have a knee operation and will be out for six weeks seems very insignificant.