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Neptune swam in a sea of red and white

Logotipo de AS AS 19/05/2014 Alfredo Relaño

At the same time as Neptune seemed to be rising out a sea of red and white, there was a mixture of hope, fear and drama at four top-flight grounds. Relatively minor drama, if relegation can be considered that way. In view of events at El Sadar, however, it could have been higher drama. Sometimes it happens: some stadiums are in a state of neglect and the rules aren’t observed. They stipulate that everyone must be seated and that the stand’s capacity must not be exceeded by a single fan. This isn’t complied with, and it’s time for the authorities, civil and footballing, to take a serious stand. Inflexibility is crucial. Ask the ref to stop the game.

And he did just that, but it took injuries for it to happen. The game was halted and the others delayed, before everything went ahead again, ending as I’m sure you’re well aware: relegation for Valladolid and Osasuna, with Granada and Getafe safe alongside Almería, where there were great scenes. For a team like Almería, staying up is as much of a deal, or more, as a trophy is for a big team (and deserves as much credit, or more). For Valladolid and Osasuna it’s a blow (a thought for Puñal, who bows out on this low note), but they’ll already be plotting their return. Getafe and Granada can breathe again. They’re still in Primera. Mission accomplished.

And, as I was saying, Neptune was pulled along by his horses in a sea of red and white. Two hundred thousand Atlético fans poured out on to the streets, filling the route from the stadium to the fountain. There was no visit paid to the regional premier and Madrid mayor; whether to rein in the celebrations with an eye on what’s ahead, as Atlético discreetly explained, or actually because they were in Milan (where they were in for a disappointment), I don’t know. Hogging the attention of the cameras alongside Real Madrid’s much overlooked president, Ignacio González and Ana Botella swapped Atleti joy for basketball disappointment. No matter: Atlético had their fans.

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