#360view: Valencia can make Gary Neville

Spanish football correspondent Andy West looks at the task ahead for Gary Neville and how he could make his mark on management at Mestalla if he were to stay on long-term.

Andy West
by Andy West
2nd December 2015

article:2nd December 2015

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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