A friend that also works in the football industry has a saying that I firmly agree with: If a marble at a club is clean and in good condition, the green will be the same. The marble is the simile that he uses to the management area where the plan to achieve the goals is carried out. I believe that we all know what we mean by the green.
Valencia´s president Anil Murphy, with owner Peter Lim consent, signed coach Javi Gracia under the goal that they would battle for the top spots on the table. This forced the club to strengthen a roster that couldn´t even qualify to Europe last season.
Javi is a reputed coach with a solid trajectory that guarantees every club that signs him tough work aimed to achieve the agreed goals. This is what he has done everywhere he has been. I guess that the negotiation took place before ending last season. Nobody except for the board of directors knows when their expectations turned into a way more austere thought, if it was before or after signing him.
The thing is that Javi Gracia saw since the start that the potential of an already limited roster was being damaged, which made the goal the goal to be different. Instead of signing players who would improve the level, players would leave and so decrease it. Complaints by him came up and he even thought about quitting, but this posture ended when Javi realize that he would not fix anything with that attitude and so he just focused on dong his job. I believe that he has pulled it off.
Javi focused on being the leader that every player expects from his coach while the marble showed an improper weakness for a club like Valencia, which also made their fans to be mad. From the distance we can see that Valencia may not win most of their games, but the players´ lacks make a team that try to represent upon the green what the coach asks them to. And they give it all for the institution, despite the board of directors held them back from battling from something that a club like this should always aim for their history. This has strengthen Gracia as a coach.
Javi was sacked last Sunday after falling to Barcelona on an exciting and short game. They fought until the end, and this has happened four games before the end of la liga, right before securing their spot for next year. I think that mister Lim acts like the typical capricious rich and treacherous that betrays someone who relies on him and has achieved a meritorious outcome beforehand so everyone believes that he is not the right guy to be the leader in the future.
I think that Voro will save the team, and this fact will not wipe out Gracia´s job during all these nine months. Maybe Lim had reasons to sack him before, but I believe that making this decision with four games left is unnecessary and even dangerous. If they lost every game and catastrophe would happen with them going down and breaking a marble that is already too deteriorated and dirty.
On the other hand, Jagoba Arrasate lives in paradise. The marble at Osasuna maybe is not as high quality, but shines way more. Everyone in the club nows his role and Arrasate leads the project. He just focus on being the leader that every player expects from his coach, just as Javi Gracia has been at Valencia.
Now they have to enjoy after securing their spot in the first division for next season. They will not relax, as Jagoba will be the first to demand the best from him, also adding to the great performing the satisfaction from a work well done both by the workers at the marble and the green. I am sure that the owners have transmitted confidence to the players before Osasuna left relegation after beating Granada in the 20th fixture. A quiet that Valencia´s board of directors has not showed in the last few seasons.
Translated by Guillermo Bermejo.