Peter Lim: Valencia will be formidable in 2-3 years
Billionaire calls for patience as he continues to rebuild club
Singapore billionaire and Valencia CF majority shareholder Peter Lim is confident that his Spanish side will soon become a force to be reckoned with, not just in La Liga but also in Europe.
As the 62-year-old wished fans Merry Christmas, he also reviewed his first year in charge of the club in a 10-minute video posted on the club's website yesterday evening, and said: "In two to three years, we will have a very formidable team."
Lim considers the management's biggest achievement has been "to be able financially to put the club in the position to compete at a high level".
He added: "In the first year, I think what made me happiest is that the financial stability of the club is very, very clear.
"The system is there. I think we are still on the way, but I think definitely this is our biggest achievement.
"We have stabilised the situation with the banks and with all the creditors, and the cash-flow position of the club.
"Of course, my long-term goal for this club is to put ourselves in a position where we can compete at a very high level every year, without stressing the system.
"I think the key is sustainability; it is not spending a lot of money one year and the next having to sell our best players to support the financial part of the company".
Los Che are currently ninth in La Liga with 22 points, 13 behind leaders Barcelona and nine behind fourth-placed Celta Vigo.
They were also knocked out of the Champions League but will play in the Europa League.
After eight defeats in 20 matches in all competitions, Nuno Espirito Santo resigned as Valencia coach on Nov 29 and Lim gave a managerial debut to former Manchester United skipper Gary Neville three days later.
The 40-year-old has begun his stint in Spain with one win, two draws and one defeat as the jury is still out on whether Neville has the coaching ability to succeed in one of Europe's best leagues.
But Lim has no doubts that he has appointed the right man to take his club forward, although the shrewd businessman may have hinted that if results don't improve, the club may consider their options in the summer.
He said: "I picked Gary not because he is a good friend; Gary is a good coach who happens to be a friend.
"I look at him, he has got the potential in him. I knew him for a while and his football knowledge is tremendous. He is also a top pundit in the UK.
"I chose him because of his knowledge of football and everything that is around football.
"So as interim manager for the rest of the season, I think that it suits me and I think it will suit the club very well to have him see through the period, and we'll take it from there.
"That is how I look at it. I am very confident about him... the only shortfall is maybe the language.
"But I believe he can overcome it, because he is a very determined person.
"More important is his experience, not only as a manager but also having been a player.
"I think he can hold this team together. I know a lot of people say, 'Oh no, he has never been a coach', but I do believe that he has got the ability to become a good coach.
"He has been an assistant coach with England, and also when he was at Manchester United, he was always playing a very important role as a captain.
"It's common knowledge that Sir Alex Ferguson passed him a lot of training in managing players."
It had become clear towards the end of Santo's reign that he had lost the backing of the fans, and Lim urged the Valencia faithful to practise patience as he continues to rebuild the club.
"We have a very passionate group of fans. Because they love the club so much, they just want to do well all the time," he said, even as he conceded that making mistakes is part of the job.
"But I think currently La Liga is at a very high level. Even the bottom team can beat you.
"My message to the fans is you have to be patient with players sometimes.
"It's just that everybody makes mistakes. If we have an off-day, we have to encourage them, because we must remember that we have a very young team.
"The fans are very important to them and affect the mood of the players very much.
"Sometimes, once you get them down, it is difficult to get it back quickly, and then we lose two or three games and that would be nine points.
"My message is: Please help the club, help the young players and be a bit more patient.
"We're all on the same side. We want to do well for the club.
"We put in so much money, we came all the way and we try our best.
"Sometimes we make mistakes, because we are still learning, but we hope the fans understand that.
"At the end of the day, all of us want Valencia to be a great club. Here we are all on the same side."
Peter Lim on...
HIS BEST MOMENT
Of course, the unforgettable moment is the welcome by the fans.
I think it was a great gesture on the part of the people of Valencia Football Club. I really felt very welcome when I arrived for my first game.
I think that would be a very key moment. And I want to thank the fans for that.
THE VALENCIA EXPERIENCE IN SINGAPORE
We are not here all the time. I live in Singapore and the time difference, depending on the time of the year, is six or seven hours ahead.
If you play the games at 10pm, we watch it at 3 or 4am in the morning.
So it is extremely difficult, but I don't think it is suffering, because we enjoy it, we wake up, we follow it.
And our feelings are exactly like any fans of the club.
When we win, we are very happy and, when we do not win, we feel a little low and we wait for the next game. But I think they are all great moments for me.
THE LONG-TERM GOALS FOR THE CLUB
I think the first thing I need to do is bring stability to the club. Stability both financially and on the pitch. Today, these are inter-linked, because today, football involves a lot of money.
Players are paid very highly, so the club need to be managed financially well to be sustainable.
Like I say, we are not there yet, but that will be something I'll have to work on extremely hard, because I think that once we're financially stable, we can do everything else.
Of course, my long-term goal for this club is to put ourselves in a position where we can compete at a very high level every year, without stressing the system.
I think the key is sustainability; it is not spending a lot of money one year and the next having to sell our best players to support the financial part of the company.
When I go into the dressing room, they are all like my children.
They are young, playful, and I see a love and warmth for them. But, because of the immense pressure they are taking, it is not easy when you're 18, 19 or 20 to take that kind of pressure.
I understand that very much, and also I want the players to know that I understand this very well.
I'm not coming here because I paid a lot of money and pushing them like "if you do not win, you are out".
My message to them is just to keep trying. Do not be afraid that if you've had a bad game, you'll go down.
No. If you have a bad game, you'll come back to fight again.
The potential is there, all they need is to just play together for a few years. They need to have patience.
Also, if they are doing well, they need to be level-headed: "OK, I'm doing well, but there is still a long way to go."
My message to them is to be patient, work hard and I believe that with this team, we will have a very formidable team in two or three years' time.
We have a few important games to come and we hope that we will win all of them.
To all the families of Valencia CF, I would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year.
Bon Nadal i Amunt Valencia!