After five months in charge and only 10 wins, Valenica have sacked English manager Gary Neville.
Neville was appointed as manager in December last year by club chairman Peter Lim – a surprising choice given he had no club managerial experience under his belt.
Lim and Neville have a close relationship, with Lim being a primary shareholder of Salford City Football Club, a club that is also owned in part by Gary and Phil Neville, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Nicky Butt.
The Spanish side struggled under Neville, winning only 10 out of 28 fixtures across all competitions; he also oversaw exits from the Copa Del Rey and the Europa League.
Since arriving at the club, Neville struggled to win the support of fans, and as his debauched season continued, he fell further out of favour. This ultimately ended with fans chanting, “Gary leave now”, at their 2-0 home defeat to Celta Vigo during the international break.
A statement released on the club’s official website read:
“Valencia Football Club have parted company with Gary Neville as head Coach.
“After careful consideration, the club has decided to make a change with the best interests of the Valencia CF moving forward this season. We thank Gary for his work at Valencia and wish him the best in the future.
“The club have, today, appointed Pako Ayestaran as head coach until the end of the season.”
This comes just weeks after Neville made his intentions clear to stick out his time with the Spanish side.
“The situation is not good, the results have not been sufficiently good and we are all frustrated,” the embattled Neville said.
“I was signed for five months and I accepted this enormous challenge.
“I understand that the results are far from what was expected. Now I have to focus on the work needed to be done in the next two months to save ourselves and at the end of the season, the club will evaluate the situation.”
Neville conveyed his disappointment with the club in a statement he released after being fired.
“I would like to thank Valencia Football club, the fans, staff and the players,” he said.
“I would have liked to have continued the work I started but understand that we are in a results business and the 28 games they have not been to my standards or to those which are required by this club.”
Valencia has kept integral members of Neville’s coaching staff on the payroll.
His younger brother, Phil, has survived the chop and is a possibility of taking over as Manager next season.
The younger Neville had previously been employed as a coach before Gary’s appointment in December. He had experience working with the previous manager, Nuno Espiritio Santo, and during his time as interim assistant coach he helped caretaker boss Voro secure a 1-1 draw against Barcelona.
The man most likely to take over at the Mestalla is the current interim manager, Pako Ayestaran. The 53-year-old was assistant to Rafa Benitz during Valencia’s title-winning season in 2001-02.
Ayestaran was previously a fitness coach but proved his chops as a head coach when he lead Maccabi Tel Aviv to a first-ever treble in the Israeli football sphere, winning the Premier League, the State Cup and the Toto Cup in 2014-15.
He will have a tough task in front of him for the remainder of the season as Valencia sits in 15th in La Liga and are only six points away from the relegation zone.