Supporting Valencia football club in the last few years has just been like being stuck in “Groundhog Day”.

The repetitive scenario:

A new manager is appointed amidst a mood of anticipation and excitement. A promising start by the incoming coach on the field is eventually curtailed and the fans become frustrated and impatient. The owners or coach soon reach breaking point and go their separate ways. “Voro” is asked to repair the damage and get the club back on an even keel.

This situation has happened eight times in the last fifteen years. After the sackings or resignations of Ronald Koeman, Mauricio Pellegrino, Nuno, Pako Ayerstarán, Cesare Prandelli, Albert Celades, Javi Gracia and Gennaro Gattuso… it has been a local coach that has been called upon to step into the breach, appease the baying fans and stabilize a club in free-fall that is struggling to capture the hearts and imagination of the Valencia faithful.

As the club continue to go round and round in circles the one constant positive has been Salvador González Marco, affectionately known by his nickname “Voro”. The Valencian native was aptly born on October 9th (Valencia Day) in 1963 in La Alcudia some 35 kilometres from the Mestalla.

He had a decent playing career and represented the Valencia first team for nine seasons after coming through the youth system. He later had a lengthy spell at  Real Club Deportivo La Coruña, that was sandwiched in between appearances for Tenerife and Leganes.

Voro also gained nine caps for his country and he was part of the 1994 World Cup squad that reached the quarter finals before being knocked out by Italy in the Foxborough stadium in Massachusetts… that is now the ‘Gillette stadium.’

Many people credit “Voro” with saving Valencia from relegation in the 2007/08 season after the sacking of Koeman. In the five remaining matches, he won four of them to finally lift the club up to tenth in La Liga and nine points clear of the drop.

In the Lim era “Voro” has always been called upon to avert a crisis and he seems to be one of only a few options that would be able to satisfy both the Singapore owner and the “Curva Nord” at the same time.

Given the job until the end of the season, his first task was not an easy one. Real Madrid away on “Groundhog Day”. Heavy favourites with the bookmakers they have not been beaten at home all season in the league.

Valencia did make it to half time on level terms but it took a VAR reversal to ensure that scoreline. In added minutes in the first half Antonio Rüdiger planted a header from a corner past an unsighted Giorgi Mamardashvili.

A review showed Benzama had fended off Yunus Musah with his hand to chalk off the goal and get the Real Madrid striker a booking in the process.

Valencia’s hope of taking anything from the Bernabéu for the first time in years were extinguished just after the second half restart.

First Marcos Asensio hit an unstoppable shot past Mamardashvili. Then, two minutes later, the pace of Vinicius Junior outstripped the Valencia defence to give him the opportunity to ease the ball past the Georgian goalkeeper to make the score 2-0.

Valencia never looked like clawing their way back into the match. Their situation was compounded when Paulista was rightly given a straight red card for a disgraceful challenge on Vinicius Junior.

Another lacklustre performance for most of the 90 minutes and “Voro” has arguably the most difficult of tasks out of all his previous efforts as the interim coach of Valencia CF.

Gattuso was not the only coach to depart from Valencia in January. Andrea Esteban and her assistant Carlos Durá were sacked from their posts in charge of the Women’s team after a run of five consecutive defeats. Jesús Oliva (the club’s sporting director) has taken over in an interim capacity.

They started well with victories over Real Sociedad, Villarreal and Levante Las Planas but their match up with the unbeaten league leaders Barcelona (who have won all their 17 games to date) ended with a predictable score line. In front of a sold out crowd at the Antonio Puchades stadium Barcelona won 4-0.

Valencia’s commitment to women’s football was further highlighted when they appointed one of their former players Maria Marti “Trueno” as a club ambassador recently. She was part of the eleven to play in the first ever game in the premier division for Valencia when they played Levante UD Feminino in September 2009.

Like Voro, she was born in the Comunitat Valenciana and she played over 150 games for the club. She will occupy a similar role to that of Vicente Rodriguez, another local hero, who also joined the club in the same capacity as “Trueno” at the turn of the New Year.

Meanwhile, Levante UD continue to flirt with the top spot in Spain’s second division. Since January 1st they have played four games in the league and not lost any of them.

Their venture into the business end of the Copa del Rey included a victory over the La Liga outfit Getafe, before being knocked out by Diego Simone’s Atlético Madrid in the last sixteen phase of the competition.

Levante’s next cluster of matches all look very winnable on paper, whilst their promotion rivals all look to have tougher matches. If the squad can stay free of any injuries to key players, then they are in a strong position to achieve their goal of returning to La Liga at the first time of asking.

Levante women are also having a great season and lie in third position behind the untouchable Barcelona and Real Madrid. However, they were eliminated from the Copa del Reina earlier this month by Alhama CF from the Murcia region, who had knocked out Valencia in the previous round.

This defeat may be a blessing in disguise as the top three clubs in Liga F qualify for the UEFA Women’s Champions League. They are thirteen points ahead of Atlético Madrid at the time of writing with thirteen games to play. A total focus on one competition should ensure a major slip up does not occur and the Levante ladies get the reward at the end of the season that their football so richly deserves.


Report by John Howden

Article copyright ‘24/7 Valencia’



Valencia CF

Girona v Valencia CF, 5th Feb 16.15

Valencia CF v Athletic Bilbao, 11th Feb 21.00

Getafe v Valencia CF, 20th Feb 21.00

Valencia CF v Real Sociedad, weekend 25/26th tbc


Levante UD

Cartagena v Levante UD, 5th Feb 18.30

Levante UD v FC Andorra, 11th Feb 18.30

Ponferradina v Levante UD, 18th Feb 18.30

Levante v CD Lugo, weekend 25/26th tbc.

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