Anabel Moreno, president of the Real Maestranza bullring in Seville from 2006 to 2019, remembers how in the first appearances in the box she was sent to wash from the laying. And not only that.
“The day I debuted, the public was as surprised as I was”, he has the serenity that the passage of time offers. “Not in vain was it the first time that a woman served as president, and there were spectators who spent the entire celebration looking at me to see what my reactions were.”
And there was something else: “I experienced curious and somewhat offensive situations with journalists; After a celebration in which there had been some controversy, they systematically asked me if I had allowed myself to be advised by the advisor. But, do you ask that same question to my male companions? The decision is mine, heck … “
But these were not the only issues that the new president had to deal with pens.
“The day the new presidential team appeared before the media, Demetrio Pérez, Government Delegate of the Junta de Andalucía in Seville, and I were prepared for what happened: a journalist raises his hand and asks: ‘What are the merits of this lady to be president? ‘ And Demetrio replied: ‘I don’t remember the same question for the rest of the presidents; next question, please. ‘ We knew someone was going to bite and it happened. Sometimes it happens out of naivety, and sometimes because your head doesn’t give you any more ”.
“When I stopped being something picturesque and punctual, respect prevailed”
Imaginable is the surprise of this woman, a high official of the Junta de Andalucía, who had been Secretary General of the Institute for Women in Andalusia, among other positions in the autonomous government, and who at the time of her access to the box was responsible from the economy area of the Seville City Council.
She became president of the Maestranza due to her status as a prestigious fan and for her membership in the PSOE, and for this last reason she was dismissed by the current Andalusian government, which now presides over a PP-Citizens coalition. Beneficiary and victim of the interference of politics in the bulls.
In any case, it is true that the initial macho reluctance gave way to the recognition that the president earned in the box with her passion and seriousness.
“When I stopped being a novelty, something picturesque and punctual, respect prevailed; it’s true, ”he remembers.
“The first years were tense and insecure, and I admit that I made decisions that were not the best ones,” he continues; “Although with the passage of time I have noticed that the disputable ones are not so many. This is an absolutely democratic spectacle, and part of the resolutions are taken after listening to and perceiving the reactions of the public, but trophies cannot be awarded in a square as important as the Maestranza because the people are happy one afternoon ”.
Anabel Moreno was born in Las Palmas because her military father was stationed there; He landed in Seville in 1976, and there he stayed. At the age of 24, she met her husband, Manuel Grosso, a university professor and an excellent amateur, from whom she received the first lessons in the teacher stands. She took out her first season ticket in 1985, and became steeped in bullfighting while rising as a civil servant in the Junta de Andalucía. There he worked with the politician José Antonio Viera, who had been responsible for the bulls in Seville.
Another woman, Evangelina Naranjo, Minister of the Interior in 2006, was the one who invited her provincial delegates to look for fans to come up to the boxes. Thus, Anabel Moreno appeared in Seville, Ana Romero in Malaga, Ana Alonso in El Puerto and Clara Montaño in Jerez.
After fourteen years as the highest authority in the Maestranza, the former president affirms that there have been more satisfactions than bad times.
“I have learned a lot, I have had fun, I have suffered moments of hardships and fat fights, but I have the feeling that I have gotten to know in depth a show to which, normally, you do not have access, such as the bull in its natural space , in the countryside. The truth is that being president of the Plaza de Sevilla is an honor… “
He cannot find the words to explain how the square looks from the box, but he does remember the tension of each afternoon of celebration.
“In the 90s there were no more experts, but more subscribers”
“I have always felt nervous. When it was my turn to preside, I would arrive alone in the square an hour before and lock myself in the chapel to avoid conversation with people. I always took it very seriously; From the first time, a bullfight without picadors in which the Ecijano Miguel Ángel Delgado fought, who arrived accompanied by many countrymen who did not bring handkerchiefs, but crib sheets, until the last, El Cid’s farewell, on September 28, 2019 ”.
Anabel Moreno recalls two big fights she received for not granting a second ear. It was denied to Pepe Moral one afternoon with bulls from Miura because the president considered that the sword had fallen low (“that cannot be allowed”), and on another occasion to Pepín Liria …
“The latter has haunted me throughout my career; I have been and I am absolutely respectful to those who stand in front of a bull, but I understand that you have to defend the prestige of a square like Seville, although, sometimes, you can have the impression that nothing would have happened if you awarded a second trophy … “
“The category of a square is marked by the spectators. Today there are more public than fans, fewer subscribers, but that does not mean that any time in the past was better. In the 90s there were no more experts, but more subscribers, because going to the bulls in Seville was a social event. On the other hand, the laying is capricious, and sometimes, he understands that the awarding of trophies is a justification against the attacks suffered by the party. The solution is not to lower the requirement ”.
– But do you think it has been lowered?
– “In general, yes, but not only in Seville.”
His face changes when he is asked if bulls are shaved at La Maestranza. And his answer is blunt: “No, not at all.”
– But are bulls shaved?
– “Can be. I think bulls are arranged so that they can be fought, and not that they shave by system.
– You are still a member of the PSOE …
-And do you agree with the bullfighting position of your party?
– “Do not. You have to be braver and speak clearly ”.
– By the way, how do you see the future of this party?
– “I do not see it; every time there is a greater social rejection. Animalism is nonsense, and the ethics of the animal is that it fulfills its objective as such, and not that it becomes a pet. If the bull disappears, so will the pasture, and the fields will be burned to cultivate them. I have a four-year-old granddaughter, and I doubt that bulls exist when I am an adult ”.
Anabel Moreno continues her work at the Seville City Council, where she is General Director of Recruitment and Interior Government, and yearns for her recent past …
“I would have liked to say goodbye to the Maestranza and close a stage,” he laments, “but they haven’t let me.”