Javi Gracia has been relieved of his duties at Valencia after just ten months in the role. The decision to remove Gracia from his position comes after a six-game winless streak that leaves Valencia 14th in La Liga.
Los Murcielagos have been poor this campaign, never threatening to make waves in Spain’s top flight. They have often struggled to score goals and their back line hasn’t been very solid either.
Gracia himself was coming off an unsuccessful spell at Watford. He was sacked at the start of the 2019/20 campaign after amassing just one point from four games.
The current situation at Valencia is turbulent, with Peter Lim’s ownership coming under heavy scrutiny.
Gracia Valencia Tenure Comes to an End
Javi Gracia at Valencia This Season
Gracia’s reign began under a dark cloud at the Estadi de Mestalla. In the summer, Valencia made no signings, but the outgoings could be described as an exodus. They were the only club in La Liga to sign no players during the summer.
Captain Dani Parejo was let go for an undisclosed fee, along with Francis Coquelin to La Liga rivals Villareal. Worse still, Ferran Torres was sold to Manchester City for a fraction of his estimated cost. Alongside this, versatile midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia was also allowed to leave and join Atletico Madrid.
Despite this, Valencia opened their campaign with a 4-2 win against Levante. Their first four games resulted in two wins, one loss and one draw.
In October, things began to go downhill. Valencia suffered three straight losses, including a defeat against Villareal where Parejo scored the winner.
A shock 4-1 victory against a dismal Real Madrid side was a pleasant surprise, but the celebrations were brief. Valencia’s next league win came almost three months later, against relegation-threatened Elche.
A few late season wins against Granada, Villareal and Celta Vigo did little to appease the Valencia fans. After three draws and two losses in April, capped off with a loss to Barcelona at the start of May, Gracia was fired.
Distrust of Peter Lim
Javi Gracia will most likely not look back on his time at Valencia fondly. In truth, under Valencia’s current ownership, he was doomed from the start.
Peter Lim currently cuts a deeply unpopular figure at Valencia. The aforementioned transfers of Parejo, Coquelin and Ferran Torres are a result of his cost-cutting measures. However, since Lim’s takeover, the club has accumulated an estimated 323 million euro loss.
Lim has overseen several unpopular decisions at Valencia, one being the disastrous appointment of Gary Neville as Head Coach in 2015.
A fan protest was staged outside the ground in August 2020, after the mass departure of key playing staff. Approximately 500 Valencia fans were in attendance, calling for the Lim Family’s removal from their club.
This escalated in October 2020, when fans hired a Mariachi band to follow members of the club’s board in public.
Valencia’s supporters’ group, Libertad VCF, have called for another mass protest in the near future. Lim currently seems very disconnected from the fanbase and has a lot of work to do to repair this relationship.
Should Lim continue on as he is currently doing, the pride and integrity of Valencia could be in serious jeopardy. The fans do not want him in and it seems he has little interest in benefitting the club he owns.
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