Terrace Talk: Valencia

Patience is an underused virtue within the walls of Valencia. Yet, Todor is not your average Mestalla matchgoer. Based in Macedonia, some 2,000 miles eastward, his love of Los Che defies geographical boundaries. And, some would argue, sense.

After riding the emotional rollercoaster for almost two decades, Todor is well versed in Valencia’s art of unpredictability. Refreshingly, however, there’s no hint of handkerchiefs. Despite being an avid viewer of Europe’s ultimate soapbox club, his remains a well-balanced, somewhat ‘patient’ perspective.

First things first; why Valencia?

I started watching VCF matches probably when I was around 11. I became a fan about a year later. Their quick, counter-attacking football and intricate technique in tight spaces was amazing.

 Now, the Mestalla has been very vocal in its disappointment of the club’s management in recent weeks. What is your view of the pressure Nuno is enduring at the moment?

nuno q
Nuno (second left) has fielded a few awkward questions of late

 It always happens with Valencia. If managers stay long enough they unfortunately lose support, some coaches sooner than later. With Nuno, I think it’s too soon to dislike him, especially for the results. We are still doing okay, although not as great as many fans expected. We can’t really judge as to where we are at in terms of overall performance and strength.

The coach (Nuno) is mostly disliked because of his situation with Jorge Mendes (he was, and remains, Mendes’ first ever client). I think most people blame him for the departures of some of the staff in VCF and some of the transfers that seem to be inspired by profits rather than sporting decisions.

Personally, I’m not liking some of the playing aspects this season. I think the coach has issues. But we are not fighting relegation! We are actually doing fairly well. But I can see how all of the above mentioned things combined together contribute to fans having a negative reaction to him.

Bearing in mind Valencia have had 10 coaches in the last decade, do you believe Nuno deserves more time?

I’ve never believed sacking managers at the first sign of trouble. I’ve historically supported keeping managers for as long as possible and if the results are terrible and we are in serious danger of finishing somewhere in the middle of the table then fire them. So it’s the same for Nuno.

Three seasons, and successive third place finishes later, Unai Emery was gone

It would be a mistake to fire him now. I think we need to wait and see how things shape out. We are not even in December yet and we’ve already had the calls to remove him going on for at least a month now.

If things get worse in the future and it’s clear we are regressing, then yes he should be fired as should any manager. But right now it would be a mistake to sack him.

In terms of the club’s management, do you share many of the fans antipathy towards Peter Lim and Jorge Mendes?

Peter Lim is the owner. He has all the influence and so he should. He paid huge sums of money to acquire the club (reported to total almost £480million), and he is by far the largest shareholder. As an owner of Valencia his goal is to have a successful club. He didn’t spend hundreds of millions of euros towards have a losing team with bad economy.

Jorge Mendes on the other hand is different. He is friends with both Nuno and Peter Lim and so it’s only natural for them to try and do business with him first. But I really doubt Jorge’s pure intentions to help the club, rather than line his own pockets.

Mendes (right, as if you hadn’t guessed) has friends in high places. Few, however, reside at the Mestalla.

I feel for him, its business first and friendship later. Ultimately, he has some good clients, he represents a lot of great players (including current Los Che first teamers Danilo and Andre Gomes), but the price we paid for some of them is too much.

So I wonder if there is some naivety in Peter Lim. He has little experience in running a football club so maybe he is relying too much on his friend to bring in good players. He should try and diversify who he does business with.

Last season Valencia returned to the Champions League while beating both Real and Atletico in the league. So how disappointing is it to begin the new campaign in such a stuttering style?


I’m a bit disappointed. I thought we’d actually do the same, or even mildly better, than last season. But we are doing worse, although the league also seems tougher this season. The teams are more clumped together and the difference in performance has reduced. I feel each mid-table team is probably about 10% stronger than last season and they are starting to get better results against the top six.

Real Madrid and Barcelona are also not as dominant. They’ve shown quite a few weaknesses and lost some important games. It’s going to be a tough season for every team.

Valencia seemed to be approaching last season’s form with that stunning 5-1 win at Celta Vigo on the last matchday. Has this gone some way to changing the outlook of the fans?

No it hasn’t. I think it would be hard to change the fans’ opinions, since their concerns are based less on the sporting side and more on a ‘political’ front.

valencia celta
One win does’t right the cumulative wrongs at Valencia

They don’t want Mendes having a big influence. They don’t like the fact that (former player turned sporting director) Rufete and (executive president) Amadeo Salvo were fired. Since this appeared to be a result of the club’s signings, the fans believe it was Nuno who essentially forced Rufete and Salvo out.

How much of this is true, how it all went down, is actually completely unknown. But the point is the fans opinions are unlikely to easily change even with good results.

Hear more from Todor and his fellow Los Che enthusiasts at; http://clubvalenciacf.blogspot.co.uk/

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