It is truly a time of change in Valencia these days. After surviving a possibly existence-threatening financial situation and complex and politicized sales process, we can now finally look ahead. The biggest change though, I would argue, happened when former club president Manuel Llorente was replaced by Amadeo Salvo. Immediately after the life-long Valencia fan and experienced business man took office, the work with professionalizing the club started.
We have seen the club’s staff advance from skillful amateurs to through and through professionals. We have seen Mestalla’s exterior pass from it’s old rather grim cement look to a true landmark in orange and black, crowned by the new giant bat. Recently also the club’s Megastore opened in the centre of the city. Marketing is a key competence in a modern club. I have been among those nagging about such changes for a decade and it is encouraging to see it finally happen. We now really aim to be among the elite.
Much can be discussed over the prospect of foreign owners taking over, but the fact is that there was not really a choice. Now we will see a predominantly Asian board of directors, consisting of some of South East Asia’s foremost business men. To balance, Amadeo Salvo will stay on and Manuel Peris, an expert in urban law will do so to. The plans that have been revealed for the club talks about all the right things; Investment in players, investment in youth development, branding, finishing Nou Mestalla and last but certainly nowhere near least; building the club up to be self-sufficient financially.
Since Rufete joined as the new Sporting Director, the team has seen an abundance of change. 40 players have left and joined. You might think that is a bad thing, and it could be, but change was also needed. The focus has gone from finding players that are cheap and (sometimes) good football players to only selecting those not only having the ability but also the desire and focus to succeed. Not all transfers have succeeded, which honestly is to be expected, even though I think the demands to Rufete will now only increase.
The future for Valencia looks very bright, but as we all know, life with a foreign investor is rarely all roses and rainbows. The expectations are sky high and the belief is strong. The question is what happens if there is no success? Another key area is to keep the Valencia culture. A brand represents a culture, but can never be the culture – so it is important to maintain what is truly Valencia and keep a certain number of local players. That is also why the inclusion of so many ex-players from the city and from the most successful times is so important. They are Valencia. For us fans it is important that we too are Valencia. Remember who we are, where we came from and what it means to be Valencianista.