José A. Espina
Real Betis have sacked Pepe Mel and wasted no time in appointing a successor: former Villarreal coach Juan Carlos Garrido.
The Valencian coach, who left Club Brugges just a few weeks ago, takes the reins at the Seville club, currently bottom of La Liga, after meeting with representatives several days ago and agreeing a pre-contact deal, which will be fulfilled now Betis have decided to change coach.
Mel has been sacked in spite of the fact that Betis fans inside the Benito Villamarín stadium for the 2-2 draw with Rayo Vallecano on Sunday chanted against the board and the players, blaming them, and not Mel, for the club's miserable situation on the pitch.
Although the fans gave their thumbs up to the coach, the board's patience has finally run out.
A statement on the club's website read:
"In light of the delicate situation the team has found itself on the pitch and the need to deliver a change in results, Real Betis announce that Pepe Mel, coach of the first team since the summer of 2010, has been relieved of his duties.
"The club would like to thank Pepe for his commitment to the club in his years in charge, in which he has taken Real Betis from the Segunda División into the Europa League. We also thank his assistants Roberto Ríos and David Gómez, who will also depart the club."
Mel was the longest standing coach in La Liga, having held his job for two and a half seasons in the top flight, plus another season in the Segunda División, in which he secured promotion back to the big time.
44-year-old Garrido began his coaching carrer at El Puig Club de Fútbol, before taking charge of Villarreal B, and then the Villarreal first team in February 2010, securing Champions League football in 2011 before getting sacked in December of the same year.
He spent a year at the helm of Club Brugges and achieved a record points total in his first and only season in charge, but could only lead the club to fourth spot in the Jupiler League.
It is now up to him to lead Betis out of the quagmire they find themselves in.