Well, sort of. The 2011/12 version of Real Betis Balompié have their first game tonight, a pre-season friendly against last year's French league runners-up, Olympique Marseille - which is obviously a tough start in anyone's language.
The match is taking place at the Bayonne rugby stadium in south-west France, just round the corner from the Betis training camp up in Fuenterrabía, northern Spain. Kick-off is either at 8pm or 8.30pm - depending whether you believe the organisers' website or the Seville press - and the game is being televised on French satellite TV, so you may be able to find an internet stream for it somewhere. There'll also be commentary on Radio Betis.
New keeper Fabricio has picked up a sore shoulder in training, which will keep him out for a couple of weeks, so Casto should get the nod tonight, behind a defensive line of Chica, Mario, Dorado and Nacho. Iriney and either Beñat or Matilla will anchor midfield, with Salva Sevilla, Emaná and Jefferson Montero ahead of them and Rubén Castro upfront on his own. However, there will be plenty of substitutions, both at half-time and throughout the second half, so it'll probably be best not to read too much into the final scoreline.
A couple of extra news items...
l Former Almería defender Chico is reportedly on standby to become the next new signing, but Betis really do have to get rid of the some of the dead wood before they can complete the deal. There are currently 35 players with the first-team squad, which Pepe Mel wants to reduce by 10 by around this time next week. Goitia, Arzu, Fernando Vega, Juande and Rodri have all been put out on a trestle table next to a hand-scribbled "Will listen to any offers" sign.
l The Betis online shop has been revamped. The new range of the last season under the RBb brand isn't particularly extensive as yet, but it may well be added to over the next few weeks. There's a contact form if you want to ask about overseas shipping.
l The Pavone-to-Blackburn deal seems to have broken down, possibly over the amount of compensation due to Betis. Personally, I hope for his sake it gets reactivated as he always seemed like an OK bloke, but I think we can forget seeing anything near the €1.5million that was originally suggested might be on its way to Seville. It still seems an unlikely move.