#360view: Valencia can make Gary Neville

Andy West 2/12/2015
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A striking aspect of Gary Neville’s contract with Valencia is the fact that it only runs until the end of the season, prompting speculation that he wants to leave open the possibility of succeeding Roy Hodgson as England manager next summer,

If that really is Neville’s intention, he should think again right now because managing Valencia has the potential to become one of the best jobs in football.

Make no mistake, Valencia is a big club – a really big club.

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Just over ten years ago, they reached consecutive Champions League finals and won two La Liga titles and, although they have been haunted by financial problems in recent years, Los Che still regularly attract crowds in excess of 50,000 to their headily atmospheric Mestalla stadium.

Furthermore, there is plenty of reason for optimism following last year’s arrival of new owner Peter Lim, who has the financial wherewithal – if he spends wisely – to turn the club into a genuine European superpower.

Neville clearly has Lim’s confidence following their business partnership at Salford City, and the job he has just been given would be most managers’ dream: the backing of a wealthy owner at a major club which can have realistic ambitions of challenging for Champions League football and domestic trophies every season.

Why leave all that behind to manage a second-rate nation which has little chance of winning anything but is still burdened by relentlessly unrealistic expectations?

Valencia fans will be asking the same question because, after going through seven managers in the last three and a half years, the last thing they need is someone in charge who only intends to stay for six months.

After a turbulent period, what Valencia desperately require now is stability: both financially, which can be achieved through Lim’s investment, and in leadership, which Neville should look to supply by settling in for a long stint as manager.

As an example, Neville could look to Atletico Madrid, a similarly sized club which has blossomed under the outstanding management of Diego Simeone to become regular trophy winners.

With the right kind of management, Valencia could achieve similar things – and if Neville has the ability to become as good a coach as many think, that would do a lot more for his long-term career than inevitable failure and ridicule with England.

So forget the stresses and strains of international football, Gary. Embrace life at Valencia, and it could be the making of you.

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Russia's sports minister says 2018 infrastructure is on track

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Mutko (l) and the 2018 logo.

Russia’s sports minister says preparations for the 2018 World Cup are on track but admits to delays in the construction of hotels in host cities.

“Overall work done in the framework of the federal programme for infrastructure preparation is on schedule,” sports minister Vitaly Mutko told R-Sport news agency on Wednesday.

Mutko added that Russia’s “complicated economic situation” — in part linked to Western sanctions and low oil prices — had not affected its investment budget for World Cup preparations.

– EXCLUSIVE: Jerome Boateng full of Pep at Bayern
– BALL: Marking Neymar and Barcelona’s brilliance

– SHARE, RATE, WIN: With Sport360 ValoraFutbol
– Follow: Live footballs scores around the world

The sports minister however deplored that economic woes had slowed the construction of hotels in some of the 11 tournament host cities.

“There are problems with delays in the construction of hotels in a number of regions because most of them are investment projects,” Mutko said.

“The crisis could not but affect investors,” he said, adding that the cities of Kaliningrad, Volgograd and Rostov-on-Don had experienced issues.

Mutko said he was confident the problems would be resolved in the “near future”.

Russia in June slashed its World Cup budget by nearly 30 billion rubles ($448 million), sparking fears that the country’s ambitious project would be marred with delays.

Mutko at the time said that the new budget, which was cut from 660.6 billion rubles to 631.5 billion rubles, would not impact the construction and renovation of stadiums.

The Interior Ministry on Wednesday said it was concerned that Russia was still lacking the 12,000 stadium stewards required to ensure security at its 12 World Cup venues.

But Russian sports authorities have remained upbeat, with Mutko saying he hoped the tournament would appease global tensions after Moscow’s relations with the West plunged to their post Cold-War nadir over the Ukraine crisis.

Relations between Russia and the West soured over Moscow’s the annexation of Crimea in March 2014 year and its subsequent support of a pro-Russian insurgency in eastern Ukraine.

There is also bitterness amongst other 2018 candidates over allegations Russia was awarded the World Cup by a backroom deal made with FIFA prior to voting for the host country.

Mutko has maintained Russia was not aware of any behind-the-scenes deals and that the country’s bid for the tournament had been fair.

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Gary Neville named new Valencia manager

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Neville joins up with some familiar faces in Valencia.

Gary Neville will take his first steps in management at Valencia after being named head coach for the remainder of the season.

Since the former Manchester United and England defender retired during the 2010/11 season, the 40-year-old has become an acclaimed pundit with Sky Sports and worked as a coach under national team manager Roy Hodgson.

Now Neville will try his hand at management in Spain, having been given the reins at Primera Division outfit Valencia until the end of the season.

– EXCLUSIVE: Jerome Boateng full of Pep at Bayern
– BALL: Marking Neymar and Barcelona’s brilliance

– SHARE, RATE, WIN: With Sport360 ValoraFutbol
– Follow: Live footballs scores around the world

“Valencia have reached an agreement with English coach Gary Neville for him to be coach of the first team until June 30, 2016,” the club said in a statement.

“Neville will officially begin his work on Sunday, December 6 ahead of the Champions League match against Lyon which will take place at Mestalla on Wednesday, December 9.”

Neville’s brother Phil has been at the club since the start of the season, working as an assistant to Nuno Espirito Santo before he left the club after a poor run of results on Sunday.

“I am very excited and feel very proud to have received this great opportunity with Valencia,” Neville told the club’s website.

“It is a huge club of immense prestige and I remember well from my time as a player the great passion and loyalty of their fans.”

Los Che have been without a coach since Nuno quit following Sunday’s 1-0 loss to Sevilla – a decision the Portuguese informed owner Peter Lim of prior to kick-off.

The Singaporean businessman also owns a 50 per cent stake in Salford City, with the rest split between Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes and the Neville brothers.

Neville will continue in his role as England coach, with Hodgson saying: “I’m delighted that Gary has decided to take this excellent opportunity.”

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