Skip to main content

Advertisement

Advertisement

Valencia fans support sacking of club president, but say it does not address 'root cause of fan anger'

SINGAPORE/VALENCIA — Following the news on Monday (May 30) that Valencia CF have sacked president Anil Murthy over a leaked audio recording, die-hard fans of the Spanish football club said that they support the decision, but that it does not go far enough. 

Mr Anil Murthy (left) has been sacked as president of Spanish football club Valencia.

Mr Anil Murthy (left) has been sacked as president of Spanish football club Valencia.

  • Spanish football club Valencia have sacked president Anil Murthy over a leaked audio recording
  • The former Singapore diplomat had been president of the club since July 2017 
  • Valencia fans told TODAY that they supported the decision but feel that it does not address the root cause of supporters' anger 
  • They are calling for Valencia owner Peter Lim to sell the club

SINGAPORE/VALENCIA — Following the news on Monday (May 30) that Valencia CF have sacked president Anil Murthy over a leaked audio recording, die-hard fans of the Spanish football club said that they support the decision, but that it does not go far enough. 

Following the announcement, Valencia fans in Spain told TODAY that they have been unhappy with the club's management for a long time, and that they would prefer even more changes in leadership.  

Still, 37-year-old Spaniard Fernando Madrazo, who has been supporting Valencia since he was a teen, said: “I feel very pleased with this decision (to fire Mr Murthy), it was about time. His management has been awful, making our team and club weaker, and he has shown that he wasn't able to rise to the challenge."

Fellow Valencia fan Manuel Tadeo Morant, 29, echoed Mr Madrazo’s sentiments, saying: “I absolutely support the club's decision this time. Murthy should have been out a long time ago.” 

Mr Murthy's sacking came after Spanish newspaper Superdeporte published an audio recording of him in which he allegedly used crude language to describe the cities of Liverpool and Newcastle, and threatened to destroy the reputation of Valencia players if they forced an exit.

The football club was bought by Singapore billionaire Peter Lim's private investment company Meriton Holdings in 2014. Mr Murthy, a former Singapore diplomat, was appointed club president in 2017. 

The club initially released a statement on May 16, saying the audio recordings had been edited to “distort reality”.

But on May 30 it said it had decided to cut ties with Mr Murthy with immediate effect, as the recent events had "regrettably affected the club's relationship with fans, government authorities and the community".

Despite welcoming the move, some fans said they have been unhappy with the club's management for a long time and are longing for bigger change. 

They are deeply unhappy at how Mr Lim is managing the club and have criticised him and Mr Murthy for their lack of football knowledge, one commentator noted. 

Mr Lim was first heralded as a saviour after taking over the debt-ridden club in 2014. 

But his popularity waned as the team's form nosedived over the years, with fans especially frustrated by the sale of key players for low fees, including former captain Dani Parejo who left for rivals Villarreal on a free transfer.

The club also sacked former manager Marcelino Garcia Toral in September 2019, despite Mr Toral leading the team during a relative period of success, including clinching a Champions League place in 2018. Media reports stated the decision was made after Mr Toral had a falling out with Mr Lim. 

Fans have filed several petitions and protested with "#Limgohome' over the years, calling for Mr Lim to relinquish his ownership of the club, but the Singaporean has refused to back down.

“While the Murthy audio recordings were a catalyst for the protests and fan boycott we saw in the last home game, they are not the root cause of the fan anger, most of which is directed against Peter Lim,” said Mark Sochon, a writer for football news outlet LaLiga Expert.   

Mr Murthy's sacking is unlikely to appease fans much, Mr Sochon said.

“The Valencia supporters will not be happy until (Mr Lim) has sold the club; this alone changes nothing.” 

Indeed, 38-year-old Valencia fan David Exposito said that in his view, Mr Murthy's dismissal is not the real solution to fans' unhappiness and what they want is for Mr Lim to give decision-making authority to managers "who know football".

Mr Morant said: “It would probably be a good idea for Peter Lim to find an offer to try to sell the club... It is what the people want."

Mr Lim declined TODAY's request for comment.

Related topics

Valencia football Spain Sports Peter Lim

Read more of the latest in

Advertisement

Popular

Advertisement

Stay in the know. Anytime. Anywhere.

Subscribe to get daily news updates, insights and must reads delivered straight to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, I agree for my personal data to be used to send me TODAY newsletters, promotional offers and for research and analysis.