AN ESTIMATED 17,000 Valencia supporters demonstrated yesterday against the club’s owner with banners and chants under the slogan “Lim, go home!“
Lifelong supporters, fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, whole families as well as politicians, took to the streets to try, yet again, to send home the message to Peter Lim, the Singaporean billionaire owner of the club, that he is not wanted, hoping that this time he’ll take the hint.
The relationship between the fans and the club’s owner, who became the majority shareholder in May 2014 (over 80%), have hit an all-time low. The club, which won the Spanish league in 2004, has always been one of the top teams in the country and a regular in European competitions. Last season, however, they didn’t even qualify for UEFA and were struggling not to be relegated.
Fans blame Lim for Valencia’s poor showing, for selling off the best players, not replacing them and drowning the club in debt. The work on the Nou Mestalla stadium has been stalled for years, and in response to protests from fans, Lim and his cronies show a constant lack of respect. The club even blocked commenting by fans on their social media networks, something akin to a child putting their fingers in their ears to avoid hearing a telling-off.
Hatred of Lim among the fans, along with the club’s president Anil Murthy, is so strong that even if the club wins matches the supporters still want him gone.
According to police estimates, 17,000 fans met at Alameda, and with the sound of drums and chanting walked the 500m to Mestalla stadium where a manifesto was read out in several languages.
The disgruntled fans, who are mostly lifelong supporters, have grown up with Valencia CF in their blood, have followed them through thick and thin, and are angry that an outsider has taken over THEIR club and is running it into the ground. “WE are Valencia CF!” they chanted.
Unfortunately for the fans there is no legal way of removing Lim and his management team, but today’s march will have shown him again the anger felt by the supporters and will have united the fans even more in their fight against Lim.
As for Lim, he hasn’t set foot in the city for several years and if he did he would be well-advised to keep looking over his shoulder. With around 98% of the fanbase despising him, he certainly would be persona non grata. Amunt!