Locked in the panic room, contemplating his decadent and traumatic present, while through the rear-view mirror he sees a better past go away, Valencianism reacted and took to the streets to sing a desperate song to freedom. Rebellious and furious at the management of Meriton Holdings, a wave of followers of the bat club protested against the management of the largest shareholder, Peter Lim. The demonstration, which brought together an approximate number of 5,000 followers in a march that surrounded Mestalla, was a demonstration of the sentimental muscle of Valencianism, which aims, showing its displeasure to the world, that Lim is inclined to sell the club after verifying the rejection that provokes in the city.
The position, as romantic as it is utopian, collides with the Singaporean’s refusal to part with Valencia, one more business within his conglomerate of companies. “This is pretty. I wake up, I own a soccer team and see what happens. There is no more, ”Lim said at the Financial times on Friday. “Peter Lim does not sell. Nothing has changed, ”President Anil Murthy said Wednesday from Paterna.
The fans’ march began at 6:30 p.m. from Aragón avenue, at the intersection with Zaragoza square, and traveled parallel to the odd numbers of said avenue, behind the Mestalla, to later turn left at the end on the Amadeo de Saboya street and enter Sweden Avenue, parade in front of the main façade of the stadium and finish in front, in Plaça de l’Afició. There, near the monument to the fans, two of the leaders of the organizers read a manifesto. “We have to democratize the club. Valencia has to return to its rightful owners ”, was part of the message. From the United States, the legend of the bat, Mario Kempes, had called “for revolution” so that the people of Meriton “step aside.”
The motto of the banner that led the demonstration was written in Valencian: “The future is us “ (the future is ours). A few meters behind, a message for the outside, another giant banner in English: “Your bussines, our feeling 50 + 1”N (your business, our feeling). “Owning Valencia has been incredibly good to be able to do networking”, The Singaporean had commented hours before. The organizers, the Peña Curva Nord and the opposition platform to Lim, Libertad VCF, led a march that went without fuss with all the attendees wearing masks. “We cannot make a single mistake because they will use it against us. The protest has to be peaceful, “said José Antonio Pérez, leader of the Libertad VCF platform. So it was. There were chants, shouts and banners against Peter Lim and Anil Murthy. Valencianism, civic and ironic, thundered against its maximum shareholder. After 8 pm, the demonstration broke up and people went home.
Lim’s statements in the English press added an extra can of gasoline to the protest of supporters. “They are trying to make sure that he does not sell the club to anyone other than them. These people argue that ‘as we are Valencians, we know the club’. But with Valencian at the helm, the club went bankrupt, right? “, Stressed Lim before firing a dart at the fans:” I have some compassion, but among us, among friends, we say that the smallest things give you the greatest pain. head”. His words sounded provocative.
The previous hours were peppered with the appearance of former president Amadeo Salvo, the great supporter of Lim’s arrival at Mestalla. Except, for the first time since leaving the club, he was tough on the Asian. “He lied to me, and to all Valencianism,” he loaded from his Twitter profile. “I have a doubt. In his unworthy statements in the Financial times, you talk about meeting with club owners who are kings, sheikhs, businessmen and gangsters, where do you fit in? how such a small owner can give us such a big headache ”.
Valencianism took to the streets loaded with motives. The club, except in the probably accidental stage in which Mateu Alemany and Marcelino had competitions, has been gradually declining since 2014. The bat shield has lost prestige in the world of football. Your brand has decreased in value in the sponsor market. In sports, Peter Lim has struck down eight coaches and six sports directors in seven years. He just turned to lifeguard Voro again after Gracia, sulking and feeling ripped off by Murthy, unplugged in October. The team has a final this Sunday for the permanence against Valladolid, a direct rival after the club’s drift.
The subsidiary, dragged by the inertia of mismanagement in the first team, has just dropped two categories at once and will play next season in the fifth division of national football. The disinterest in the women’s team is also evident since the departure of the previous president, Lay Hoon Chan. At the Academy, formerly the best in the Valencian Community, the coaches, with less and less resources to sign players, manage to combat the rise of the Villarreal CF and Levante UD quarries. Fernando Roig’s team, to which Valencia previously gave footballers, has surpassed him in structure, successes and in salary cost limit (140 compared to 93 million euros). With a particular operation, Valencia does not have a sports director – its president assumes that competence – nor a communication director.
The debt amounts to 458 million euros, according to the last shareholders’ meeting where the club approved the controversial reform in article 11 of the Statutes, which increases the number of shares necessary for the member to be present with voice and vote in the following meetings. The requirement until 2020 was nine shares, but as of this year the figure rises to 3,598 shares. The blow to small shareholders is obvious. Meriton wanted to silence critical voices on the board with this share rise.
Lim owns the federative rights of eight players in the squad as a guarantee to collect the two lines of credit he granted to the club; the first for an amount of 100 million euros, of which 38 are still pending, and the second for 16.5 million. The 38 million euros pending payment of the first credit line expired in various terms from December 2020 to September 2021 (15 million on June 30, 2021 and the rest before in September) and the 16.5 million of the The second will expire in September 2021. That is, on June 30, the club has to pay the maximum shareholder 15 million. And on the same dates, 12.9 million to Caixabanc, in addition to meeting the obligation to enter 26.4 million in asset sales. The horizon is bleak. A summer, again, of cost containment is expected, with all assets for sale to be taken by the highest bidder. Kang In Lee, the penultimate jewel of the quarry, with whom there is no agreement for its renewal, will leave the club for a ridiculous price. Meriton will put Cillessen, Maxi Gómez, Gonçalo Guedes or Mouctar Diakhaby on the market.
There is also no interest in finishing the stadium on Avenida de Cortes Valencianas, which has been standing for 11 years. Meriton must find a solution before September or it runs the risk that the Generalitat will not extend the ATE (Valencia Dinamiza Strategic Territorial Action), a circumstance that would cause the loss of one million euros in guarantee and the 39,000 meters of tertiary land, valued in 15 million euros, to build a commercial area on the plots where the old Mestalla is located. In his budget for this season, Meriton already contemplated 16’3 million, reducing the value of the plots from 111 million to 94’7, to correct that problem.
At the same time that the demonstration was going on in Valencia, in parallel, the Valencian club Lo Rat Penat in Barcelona organized a rally in the Plaza de España in the Catalan capital.