An official statement was released on Valencia’s website on Wednesday, confirming his contract had been terminated by the club and thanking Gary Neville for his services.
After just under four months in charge and 28 games as head coach, the club came to the decision Wednesday afternoon to sack the former Manchester United player and Sky pundit, due to serious issues in winning games and keeping fans satisfied.
While it seemed that Gary’s heart and enthusiasm for success existed, the results and performances proved otherwise. Neville wasn’t able to capture a stable or even respectable form with his Valencia men, where his last five games brought four defeats, leaving the Spanish side currently six points above the relegation line. Valencia fans will feel discomfort for the remaining games in the season as they are left to wonder if relegation will be a serious outcome.
Were we like Peter Lim and the rest of the Valencia management board duped into thinking the footballing mind, as so impressively shown in Sky, was worthy enough to lead a team at this calibre? Or perhaps it was just simply too early a job for Neville? It may be he wasn’t the right fit for a coaching role especially abroad in the Spanish league. As much as he was keen to learn Spanish, the language barrier may have been too much of a problem for the Englishman to be effective in the La Liga. To frame how bad a tenure this was for Neville, we will have to remember this role offered was temporary in the first place, he was fast-tracked to becoming a captain with the job of steadying the rocky ship but has left this sailing boat engulfed in flames.
With Neville effigies recently burned at Valencia’s Festival of Fire, it was plain to see there were serious warning signs and uproar in angered fans, symbolically this was an omen for his coaching role. Speculations were made as he got on a plane to meet up with England staff to resume his managing role instead of using the break with available players to address the big problems. That wasn’t the case,v and even so, as much as he repeatedly expressed his desire to stay and fight, the decision of his departure had been decided long before he left for international duties.
Neville, in his statement on Valencia’s website, expressed that he had no intentions of quitting but recognised that results were poor. “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 (10 Wins, 7 Draws, 11 Losses) they have not been to my standards or to those which are required by this club.”
What lies in store for Neville next is the important question, a man of his footballing background and punditry will have a few options available. Sky Sports have said that the doors are still open for a return while odds for Neville continuing his managing career in the UK seems as likely.
In his stead, the club board has turned to the services of former Liverpool coach Pako Ayestarán to lead the Mestalla camp. Phil Neville will remain at the club as an assistant and will work alongside his third head coach since joining the management team. Valencia have eight games left to climb the ranking in the La Liga, although they will have to show a strong resolve as they face Barcelona, Real Madrid, Sevilla and Villarreal.