Looking at the La Liga table, it makes grim viewing. Bottom of the table with just 5 goals scored and 10 conceded, and having lost all 4 games, Valencia are in a mire. One of the most famous clubs in Spain, a plaything of the worst kind of football owner, is currently mired in one of their worst seasons of all-time so far.
It’s the worst run of form in the club’s history, having embarked on a club record losing streak. Add in a disjointed squad, with star striker Paco Alcacer moving on to Barcelona for backup player Munir to come the other way, and Valencia look a shadow of the club they could and should be.
The recent loss, a 2-1 reverse against Athletic Bilbao, looks to have thrown even more weight onto the shoulders of the club. The path to this moment, though, has been coming for quite some time.
Heading back to the breakdown in communication between the fans and Nuno Espirito Santos, the previous manager, Valencia has been on a spiral for some time. The fact that Nuno took the Mestalla club to the UEFA Champions League created the wrong impression. To fans, the ownership of Peter Lim and influence of Jorge Mendes was yet to be truly unleashed.
Yet, here we are. Nuno left the club having fallen out with fans for being a member of the Mendes stable. In came something even worse – Gary Neville. Now, Neville may have been a good man and a wonderful pundit, but his reasons for getting the job were impure at best. Lim, in a bid to avoid being seen as hiring a Mendes client again, hired a friend instead. Lim is involved with Gary Neville and the ‘Class of 92’ in various ways, and showed a severe lack of transparency to the fans.
Neville was so bad that he had to leave mid-season despite being a stopgap himself. In came Pako Ayestarán, who had arrived as Neville’s assistant at one stage. Pako held connections to the club from the Rafa Benitez era, when he was assistant manager.
However, with this rapid loss of form and a shocking transfer window, Pako may be out of time himself now. The club is in serious disarray, and has experts coming from all corners of the map to call for change.
Club legend Mario Kempes has stepped forward to put his name into the ring for the (soon to be) vacant coaches’ role. With Alaves, newly promoted this season, arriving at the Mestalla midweek, a result is needed. However, they’ve already won at the Camp Nou and will be likely to produce the same kind of result here.
Valencia are a club promoted purely on their name and size of club at the moment. Rudderless on and off the pitch, a loss here would spell the end of Ayestarán you would imagine. But, really, what does it change? Perhaps relegation would be a blessing, which is a distressing thing to say about such a massive football club.