Only three seasons ago Valencia CF was unanimously viewed as being the third foremost powerhouse in Spanish football. Unfortunately the combination of an absence of romanticism at the Mestella, coupled with serious financial woes, resulted in La Liga’s “big two” expanding irrevocably. Furthermore sides such as Atletico Madrid, Bilbao and Sevilla have all overtaken Valencia domestically and in European competition thus stripping Los Che of its prestige.
Whilst Real Madrid and Barcelona can boast of having had truly great players and teams, as well as significant financial backing throughout their respective histories, Valencia cannot. Accordingly it was never really a level playing field for Los Che. Real Madrid’s early dominance of the European cup ensured that the club would never be forgotten; Puskas, Di Stefano and Amaro all enjoyed cult statuses long after retiring owing to their unique accomplishments.
Rightly, the club became immortalised just like the New York Yankees were and as the LA Lakers became too.
FC Barcelona has a special place in the hearts of spectators worldwide. Catalan culture is a proud one and the Spanish Civil War is a constant source of jubilation for Republicans who relate their political authenticity with their football franchise.
The motto “more than a club” references the contribution Catalans made against Franco and fascism.
The fact it has such a strong political message guarantees FC Barcelona will never lose relevance. The number one goal of the Catalan giants is to conquer Spain in the only way it can, by beating the foremost powerful club, the richest club or better put, by beating the “king’s club.” I guess my point is, Valencia will never be able to compete with Barcelona in the long term for reasons out of their control.
Dominance in sport has long term consequences, not only for the franchise concerned but for others in the same league. For Valencia, the triumphs of Los Blancos made it infinitely harder to compete in the merchandising, advertising and player departments. Only Barcelona could ever play the adversarial role to Real Madrid due to the events of the Civil War. The two brands feed each other whilst leaving the rest out in the cold.
The number of people wishing to have a tour around the Mestella pales in comparison to that of the Bernabeu, the lack of defining nights for Valencia in La Liga and in European competitions has ultimately cost them more than we can ever truly appreciate. Given the weight of these factors it’s of no surprise that eventually Valencia’s position as the third biggest club in Spain vanished recently.
Just last season the side could only manage eighth place whilst Atletico Madrid cemented its place in history. Not since the days of Rafael Benitez’s stewardship has a side outside of the top two achieved the feat. It’s highly unlikely Simeone’s achievement can be emulated any time soon due to the aggressive spending of Los Bloncos and the premier Catalan franchise this summer.
Having said that Valencia CF now have a direction. Moreover and most integrally, this gigantic football outfit now has ambition thanks to new owner Peter Lim, who happens to be a billionaire. Not only does he have vast reserves of money but he’s already committed himself into making Los Che an on field force once more.
Fans have tasted Lim’s ambition by witnessing the arrivals of forward Rodrigo who was heavily linked with Liverpool and Mustafi who at twenty two has been described as one of the best young defenders in the world today. Whilst this is merely a start in Lim’s determined quest to kill the pessimism which ensued following last season’s devastating campaign, the signs are that loyal fans of Los Che can dare to dream of challenging the two thorns its side