Spanish Football News
Juan Soler has stepped down as President of Valencia following a board meeting at the Mestalla yesterday. Soler, a 51 year old Spanish property developer (would he be anything else?) handed control of the football club over to former vice-president Agustin Morera. Juan Soler claimed that he was resigning from his role as President due to poor health, but failed to clarify whether he was talking about his own or the football club's…
Soler, who took over as president of Valencia Football Club in 2004, will remain the club's majority shareholder. He said "My decision is irreversible and due to health reasons. I can no longer dedicate the time the Valencia project requires. But as majority shareholder my desire is to guarantee that the new project and stadium go ahead peacefully."
Peaceful is hardly the word most would use to describe Soler's turbulent tenure at Valencia.
It has been one of the worst kept secrets in Spanish football that Soler was looking to end his time in charge at the club after he stopped attending home matches back in December 2007. Soler cited health reasons for his absence at the Mestalla but it was obvious that the mass protestations that his presence in the stadium provoked was hardly conducive toward a harmonious atmosphere.
If supporters weren't waving their hankies at the Presidential box inside the Mestalla, they were forming mass protests outside it in protest at ludicrously inflated ticket prices.
Soler said yesterday "I would like to thank the fans for how they have treated me during these past four years."
If his relationship with the customers was bad, then it was hardly any better with his staff. The whole spat between Quique Sánchez Flores and sporting director Amadeo Carboni resembled some lurid catfight from one of those cheap Mexican soap operas that brighten up Spanish afternoon television. It has all culminated in the recent high profile court battle with David Albelda, not to mention the treatment meted out to local heroes Canizares and Angulo, that is emblematic of a period of internal division that has ultimately been reflected in poor sporting performance. Three years without the realistic hope of any silverware is a long time for a club of Valencia's stature.
Soler was Valencia's fourth President in a decade and since taking over in 2004 he had to live up to his two predecessors who oversaw what many fans consider to be a golden age in the club's history: Under Pedro Cortes and Jaime Ortí Valencia won the Copa de Rey, the Spanish Super Cup, appeared in two Champions League finals, won the UEFA cup and two La Liga titles.
Soler conceded yesterday that "I'm human and as such must recognize my mistakes. They were never intentional, but rather ideas I believed at the time to be in the best interests of the club. All the coaching staff, without exception, have shown they are great professionals. I thank all the coaches and the press for their behaviour towards me and I ask you to support the new president."
That new President has a very difficult task on his hands. Soler hands over a Valencia side in 10th place in La Liga, just seven points above the relegation zone and with the worst home record in the Spanish top flight outside of the bottom two.
The club's star players David Villa and David Silva are reported to be ready to abandon the sinking ship and, perhaps worse still, the football club is a financial mess.
Without getting in to particulars, the situation is best summed up by the Daily Telegraph's description of certain Premier League outfits: " Some football clubs have become Great Gatsby parodies: decadent, profligate and well on the way to going skint."