Béticos del universo, we have a new president. Rafael Gordillo, former left-back of this parish, was voted into the position amid scenes of restrained jubilation at this evening's EGM in a Seville hotel. While the appointment is temporary, in as much as we're still waiting for a court to rule for or against the decision to put him (and his two co-administrators) in charge of Manuel Ruíz de Lopera's 51 per cent shareholding, it's still pretty incredible to think that almost exactly 18 months ago the same Gordillo was marching alongside 60,000 fellow Béticos against Lopera's rule. No wonder today's news has been greeted, perhaps a little prematurely, as a liberation.
The EGM passed off fairly peacefully, thanks perhaps to the small army of police officers and private security personnel drafted in specially. Not that the event was entirely without an air of menace: the court-appointed chairman of proceedings apparently had to give up his job with a prestigious law firm after receiving threats (possibly from someone linked to the Oliver camp).
Once the old board - comprising Loperistas and Oliveristas - had been booed off the stage, Gordillo and Co. announced the new six-man management team (who will work with Gordillo and his two fellow administrators). These names have been a closely guarded secret over the past few weeks, for the individuals' own security, but it seems they wouldn't have meant much to the wider public anyway. As promised, the new board of directors comprises a range of lawyers, businessmen and economists, all of them low-profile and mostly with international experience. For the time being, none of the so-called "opposition" groups (to Lopera, that is) will be represented at board level, although they will no doubt be consulted on a regular basis (especially as they represent a sizeable number of shareholders).
Luis Oliver wasn't present at the meeting, having declared earlier with typical understatement: "Why would I go? So they can play football with my head?" Instead, he's retreated to what is no doubt a very tastefully decorated mansion somewhere to lick his wounds and wait for the courts to decide his fate.
And that, for now is that. The club remains close to financial ruin and in legal limbo, but at least we can sleep easy knowing that the man at the top has his heart in the right place. When Rafael Gordillo came out of the meeting room to be greeted by ordinary fans chanting his name, he was reportedly choking back tears. A new era has begun.