Peter Lim: How To Ruin A Historic Football Club
The atmosphere around Valencia CF continues to be toxic as the club sit in the relegation zone and are in real danger of dropping down to Segunda División for the first time since the late 1980s.
Let’s travel back in time to 2008. Following a fourth-place finish in the previous season, Valencia CF triumphed 3-1 over Getafe which saw them lift its seventh Copa Del Rey trophy with players such as David Villa, Juan Mata, David Silva and Raúl Albiol all featuring for Los Che.
The year is now 2023 and a young and inexperienced Valencia sit inside La Liga’s relegation zone and have appointed its 18th manager in the last 11 years.
While at the time of Peter Lim’s purchase of the club Valencia CF was admittedly in serious debt, there is no hiding that the causes behind the club’s struggles over the last eight years have a common denominator.
One of Lim’s main promises when acquiring the club was the completion of the Nou Mestalla Stadium by 2019. The stadium’s construction has still not begun four years later.
A major source of discontent for Los Che fans has been the endless lack of transparency surrounding the club’s finances, transfers and appointments.
Another issue faced by Valencia fans is Lim’s connections. In 2015, the famous experimental appointment of Gary Neville was no mere coincidence.
While Lim claims that the former Manchester United right-back was appointed on a professional basis, it is clear that this had a lot to do with a friendship developed through their co-ownership of Salford City.
Neville achieved 10 wins in 28 games, and following a 7-0 loss to Barcelona, he became known as one of the worst English managers.
Los Che’s net spend that season was negative 103 million euros meaning the club had no choice but to spend the summer selling top talent such as Shkodran Mustafi.
Whilst on the topic of transfers, it brings us to another one of Lim’s connections. Super agent Jorge Mendes has been largely dictating transfer moves at the club for many years which has in turn greatly restricted transfer options.
Lim is a friend of Mendes and has used Mendes’ services to acquire and trade players for Valencia CF since taking over ownership of the club. Through his company Gestifute, Mendes has sold endless amounts of low-performing players to Valencia with very high price tags.
The Breaking Point
The 2018-19 season saw Valencia enjoy its most memorable season in many years with a fourth-place finish, an impressive Europa League run and an iconic 2-1 win against Barcelona in the Copa Del Rey final, a night Valencia fans will never forget.
A huge amount of credit for this success was given to manager Marcelino but Valencia’s situation quickly became too good to be true and owner Lim sacked Marcelino, a man loved by players and fans.
When asked about his sacking, Marcelino claimed that he was sacked for ‘trying to win the cup’ when instructed not to. A civil war continued to break out when Pablo Longoria and the now Director of Football at Barcelona, Mateu Alemany, were also sacked.
Many of those inside the club expressed their fury. “They destroyed a project where the players were happy and felt we could beat anyone. That week we had Barcelona and I remember Rodrigo saying we were going to win”, stated Marcelino.
When asked about the reasons for his sacking Marcelino also stated: “We had been told not to try to win the cup, not to play our best team and we took different decisions.
“We did what we thought a club like Valencia should do, what’s natural. A great Valencia has to think about winning. We did what fans wanted, what the club’s history demanded. In football, in life, you have to try to win. But it was like: ‘We said this, you did that and here are the consequences.’
The year 2019 also saw Peter Lim’s daughter take to Instagram to express her feelings about the situation.
Recent years have seen Los Che fans come together and voice their displeasure with Lim’s leadership of the club and his lack of investment in the team and its stadium through protests.
Banners seen at protests typically spell things along the lines of: “For Sale”, “Lim, go home” and “Against Mendes’ Mafia”.
22 games into the season, Valencia sits in the relegation zone for the first time since 1986, the only time the club has ever been relegated.
A fifth consecutive league defeat and a winless drought since the start of November have instilled fear into fans’ minds that they may find their team playing in the Segunda Division later this year.
While past protests have seen no positive change, fans will continue to show their desire for Peter Lim to leave the club with another protest planned for Sunday’s home fixture against Real Sociedad.