In the 2003-04 La liga season Valencia won their second league title in just three years and also won the UEFA cup in the same season to complete a famous double. However, since then things have not gone the way of los che, leading to a spiral of decline with most recently the third biggest club in Spain finishing 12th in back to back seasons in Spain’s top flight and have been through an incredible 18 managers in just 13 years.
Selling key players:
Notable great players have arrived and developed as players or been bought through the famous academy. However the vast majority have left the Mestalla in pursuit of success at other more stable clubs. The inability to keep hold of key players has been a big contributor to their downfall.
- David Silva: The midfield maestro switched from his boyhood club to the ambitious looking English side Manchester City in June 2010. The Spaniard has played a key role in the Citizens rise to one of England’s powerhouses, winning two premier league titles, one FA cup and two league cups, leading him to become a City legend. While since 2010 his former club have yet to win a trophy.
- Jordi Alba: The fullback, a previous Valencia academy member returned to los che in 2009 and stayed with the club for three years, making 74 appearances and putting in solid performances at either full back position. However, the inevitable happened and Alba was snapped up by Spanish giants Barcelona, where he is now a first team regular and has won every trophy in club football possible.
- Juan Mata: The current Manchester United attacking midfielder spent four seasons at the Mestalla, making 129 appearances and being involved in 50 goal, making him a real fan favourite with the supporters. However, he left for Chelsea in August 2011 where he won an FA Cup, a Champions League and a Europa League. He then left Chelsea for Manchester United where he has won another FA Cup, a League Cup and another Europa League.
- David Villa: The current New York City FC man, was a beloved figure for Valencia supporters, being at the club for five years between 2005-2010, where he scored 107 goals in 166 appearances. However, he too left for Barcelona where in three seasons won two La Liga titles, one Copa del Rey, two Spanish supercups, a Champions League, a UEFA Super Cup and a FIFA Club World Cup.
Owner and issues of the field:
Current owner Peter Lim was deemed as a heroic figure for Valencia supporters when he saved the club in 2014 from a real crisis of debt, potentially going out of business, and having two stadiums, one which couldn’t be sold and another they couldn’t finish building. As expected he was a adored figure over the coming months with chants of ”Lim we love you” ringing round the Mestalla on matchday. Although, things have turned to a direct contrast as chants in recent months being ”Peter go now” and banners across the stadium reading ”Lim go home”. The owner hasn’t been to a match for over a year and things were bitterly sour for fans after hearing star man Paco Alcacer would be sold to Barcelona, despite promises he wouldn’t. Terrible managerial appointments and lack of financial investment have only furthered the decline, with him appointing seven managers (in three years) since the owners arrival, none lasting more than 63 games. Recent times have exposed Lim and his ambition for the club, with many and myself included believing now is the time to walk away, before things escalate further.
The extent of the decline and solution:
Valencia have gone from a feared Spanish powerhouse to mid table mediocrity in a blink of an eye, which simply isn’t good enough for a club that size. Any club that has won six La liga titles, seven Copa Del Reys, three UEFA Cup (equivalents), one cup winners cup and two UEFA Super Cups should not be challenging for mid table, lingering in the bottom half of the league. They desperately need change, not in the managerial department (as the 18 managers in 13 years proves) but behind the scenes in the form of a massive clear out of the board, bringing in a new owner who has ambition for the club rather than themselves. Unfortunately, today this is very hard to find (as a Portsmouth fan I know).
The academy must continue to develop as it is still producing promising players to this day. Keeping hold of star players Dani Parejo, Jose Gaya, Mangala and co is essential and they need to sign players that improve the quality of the squad. Marquee signings mixed with youth talent can certainly revitalise the depressing, library like atmosphere of the current Mestalla, towards what any football fan knows has the potential of a very loud, intimidating atmosphere for rival fans and players.
What do you make of this article? Can Valencia make a comeback? Let us know in the comments below!