One of the giants of Spanish football, Valencia, did extremely well in the league last term under the guidance of then manager Nuno Espirito Santo on their way to finishing fourth and, with it, earn a place in the Champions League.
This season, Santo found the going extremely tough and after a sequence of poor results the Portuguese schemer was shown the door.
Valencia are owned by Singaporean businessman Peter Lim, who also holds a stake in Salford City along with Gary Neville, his brother Phil, Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs. Apart from Salford City, Lim has also collaborated with Neville in several other business ventures. Neville, after all, is not just a business associate but also a friend of Valencia’s owner.
But still no one saw it coming when Lim appointed Neville as the manager of Los Che after parting company with Nuno. Neville took charge but instead of showing any signs of improvement, Valencia’s displays turned out to be even poorer than they were under Nuno. Their listless displays included a 7-0 thrashing by Barcelona at the Camp Nou in a Copa del Rey fixture.
Neville was given only a five-month contract – lasting until the end of the current campaign – and the results under his watch didn’t look like he would get an extension from the Valencia hierarchy. Nevertheless, no one expected him to get the sack either, considering the nature of his relationship with Lim.
But the unexpected happened on Wednesday as Valencia pulled the trigger and fired Neville after just four months at the Mestalla.
A statement released on the Valencia website stated: “Valencia have rescinded their contractual relationship with Gary Neville as coach of the first team today.
“After analysing carefully the sporting situation, the club decided to make this change in the best interests of Valencia Club de Futbol with a view to the end of the current season.”
The former England and Manchester United defender, who is currently with the Three Lions in his capacity of assistant manager to Roy Hodgson, later released a statement of his own following the sacking.
“I would like to thank Valencia Football club, the fans, staff and the players.
“I would have liked to have continued the work I started but understand that we are in a results business and in the 28 games (W10, D7, L11) they have not been to my standards or to those which are required by this club,” it concluded.
Due to his lack of managerial experience, Neville wasn’t a popular choice for the Valencia role and the way his team performed made it all the more clear that he lacked the wherewithal to get the best from his charges.
The managerial upheaval has taken its toll on Valencia’s league standings as they sit 14th in the league table, just six points off the drop zone and out of the Champions League, the Europa League and the Copa del Rey, all under Neville’s watch.