he city of Valencia celebrates the Las Fallas festival every year from 15th to 19th March in commemoration of Saint Joseph, the patron Saint of carpenters. During the Fallas fiesta, the locals celebrate the end of darkness by burning
Gary Neville was appointed as the manager of Valencia on 2nd
The Valencia job was always going to be a tough one for Neville. As pointed out by Iain Macintosh, since the departure of Unai Emery in 2012, only Nuno Espírito Santo had survived more than 31 games in charge of the football club. The managerial merry-go-round at the Mestalla saw Mauricio Pellegrino, Ernesto Valverde, Miroslav Dukic, Juan Antonio Pizzi, Salvador González and finally Gary Neville depart from the club within a few months of taking over.
The Mestalla faithful are notoriously unforgiving when it comes to their team’s abysmal home displays. It took 70 days and 10 matches for Valencia to win their first league match under the stewardship of Neville. A nervy 2-1 home win over Espanyol bought some temporary respite for the embattled manager and his stuttering Valencia. But that win came a week after Valencia were crushed 7-0 by Luis Enrique’s rampant Barcelona side in the
The squad inherited by Neville upon his arrival at the club was inexperienced, low on confidence and fractured. Crippling injuries to major players such as Sofiane Feghouli, Javi Fuego, Shkodran Mustafi and Rodrigo among others further inhibited the ambitions of the club under the managerial reign of the former Manchester United
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Valencia’s lackluster displays under Neville also drew the ire of former club legends. “Being a good analyst is not the same as being a good coach. Valencia is not a team for experiments, it’s not a place for a coach to get his apprenticeship,” warned club legend Santiago Cañizares upon Neville’s appointment at the club. In the aftermath of Valencia’s humiliating defeat to Barcelona, Canizares urged Neville to apologize to the Mestalla faithful and
It now appears that Neville had lost the dressing room as well. Three days after going down 1-0 to Athletic Bilbao in the first leg of their Round of 16
A 2-0 home defeat to Celta Vigo on 20th March proved to be the final straw for the Mestalla faithful as they openly turned against the Valencia manager, like many before him, after the
The end of Neville’s ill-
So what next for Gary Neville? Despite being sacked by Valencia last week, Neville will continue to stay in Spain with his family for the time being and consider all his options before joining up with the England squad in the summer. Neville, who is a part of Roy Hodgson’s senior coaching staff, will be hoping to guide the Three Lions to their maiden European Championship in France this summer.
A swift return to management is another possibility for Neville. The former England International will be desperate to repair his broken managerial reputation after a damaging spell as the manager of Valencia. Taking over the managerial reins at a Premier League club, maybe even Manchester
Neville also has the option of re-joining Sky Sports, where he used to work as a pundit alongside former Liverpool captain Jamie Carragher. Sky have reportedly asked Neville to return to their ranks and revive his career as a football pundit. But with his managerial reputation in tatters, it will be interesting to see if Neville is able to rescale those heady heights that saw him establish his status as one of the
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