Ultras at La Liga club Real Betis threatened to halt Tuesday’s training session if they were not allowed to speak with the players to demand more commitment in coming games.
Betis, hammered 5-0 at Atletico Madrid on Sunday evening, are currently in the relegation zone as they struggle with a huge turnover of players last summer, a lengthy injury list and Europa League commitments.
About 30 members of the club’s radical ‘Supporters Sur’ group, apparently unimpressed by such contributing factors, showed up at Betis' training ground in Sevilla on Tuesday morning, insisting they be allowed to speak with captains Nacho and Jorge Molina.
Verdiblanco coach Pepe Mel told El Larguero that he had initially wanted to ignore the request and go ahead with training as normal, but then thought it better not to escalate the situation.
“A club employee told me that some fans wanted to speak with the captains and I told him it could not happen that we were going to train,” Mel said. “He insisted, because if not, he said they were going to come out onto the pitch. We could either keep trying to train and maybe put petrol on the fire, or try and calm things down.
"So we decided to talk -- they were well mannered, there was no problem. They asked the players to make more of an effort [in Betis’ next game] on Thursday. It took ten minutes and then we trained as normal.”
Club captain Nacho told Radio Sevilla that he had been happy to talk to ensure a more serious situation did not develop.
“We agreed to meet with them so that it did not go any further,” Nacho said. “They wanted to discuss things. You understand people by talking to them. We have no problems talking with anyone, it came up like that, it was not something planned. They asked us to change our attitude, and communicated their support saying they would not stop lifting us in these difficult times.”