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Valencia CF Overview

Please note this item is taken from Wikipedia

Valencia Club de Fútbol is one of the most successful and biggest clubs in Spain. Valencia have won six La Liga titles, seven Copa del Rey trophies, two Fairs Cups which was the predecessor to the UEFA Cup, one UEFA Cup, one UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup and two UEFA Super Cups. They also reached two UEFA Champions League finals in a row, losing to La Liga rivals Real Madrid C.F. in 2000 and then to German club Bayern Munich on penalties after a 1–1 in 2001. Valencia were also members of the G-14 group of leading European football clubs. In total, Valencia have reached seven major European finals, winning four of them.

In the all-time La Liga table, Valencia is in 3rd position behind Real Madrid C.F.and FC Barcelona. In terms of continental titles, Valencia is again the 3rd-most successful behind Real Madrid and Barcelona, with these three being the only Spanish clubs to have won five or more continental trophies.

Valencia were founded in 1919 and have played their home games at the 55,000-seater [[Estadio Mestalla]] since 1923. They are due to move into the new 75,000-seater Nou Mestalla in the north-west of the city in 2013. Valencia have a long-standing rivalry with Levante UD, also located in Valencia, and with two others club in the region, Hercules CF from Alicante and Villarreal CF.

Valencia are the third most supported club in Spain, behind only Real Madrid and FC Barcelona. It is also one of the biggest clubs in the world in terms of number of “socios” associates (registered paying supporters), with more than 50,000 season ticket holders and another 20,000+ season ticket holders on the waiting list, who can be accommodated in the new 75,000-seater stadium.

History

The club was established in 1919 with Octavio Augusto Milego Díaz as its first president. The club played its first competitive match away from home on 21 May 1919 against Valencia Gimnástico, and lost the match 1–0.

Valencia CF moved into the Mestalla stadium in 1923, having played its home matches at the Algirós ground since 7 December 1919. The first match at Mestalla pitted the home side against Castellón Castalia and ended a 0–0 draw. In another match the day after, Valencia won against the same opposition 1–0. Valencia CF won the Regional Championship in 1923 and was eligible to play in the domestic Copa del Rey cup competition for the first time in its history.

Emergence as a Giant in Spanish Football

The Spanish Civil War halted the progress of the Valencia team until 1941, when it won the Copa del Rey, beating RCD Espanyol in the final. In the 1941–42 season, the club won its first Spanish championship title, although winning the Copa del Rey was more reputable than the championship at that time. The club maintained its consistency to capture the league title again in the 1943–44 season, as well as the 1946–47 league edition.

In the 1950s, the club failed to emulate the success of the 1940s, even though it grew as a club. A restructuring of Mestalla resulted in an increase in spectator capacity to 45,000, while the club had a number of Spanish and foreign stars. Players such as Antonio Puchades and Dutch forward Faas Wilkes graced the pitch at Mestalla. In the 1952–53 season, the club finished as runners-up in the La Liga, and in the following season, the club won the Copa del Rey, then known as the Copa del Generalísimo.

European successes

While managing indifferent league form in the early 1960s, the club had its first European success in the form of the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup. In the 1961-62 season, Valencia beat Spanish club FC Barcelona in the final. The 1962-63 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup final, pitted Valencia CF against Croatian club Dinamo Zagreb, which the Valencians also won. Valencia CF was again present in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup final in the 1963–64 season, but were defeated 2–1 by Real Zaragoza from Spain.

Former two-time European Footballer of the Year award winner Alfredo Di Stéfano was hired as coach in 1970, and immediately inspired his new club to their fourth La Liga championship. This secured Valencia its first qualification for the European Cup, contested by the various European domestic champions. Valencia reached the third round of the European Cup 1971–72 competition, before losing to Hungarian champions Újpest FC. The most notable players of the 1970s era include Kurt Jara, forward Johnny Rep of the Netherlands and Argentinianforward Mario Kempes, who became the Pichichi|La Liga topscorer for two consecutive seasons in the 1976–77 and 1977–78 season. Valencia would go on to win the Copa del Rey again in the 1978–79 season, and also capture the European Cup Winners’ Cup the next season, after beating English club Arsenal FC in the final, with Kempes spearheading Valencia’s success in Europe.

Stagnation

In 1982, the club appointed Miljan Miljanic as coach. After a disappointing season, Valencia was in 17th place and faced relegation with seven games left to play. Koldo Aguirre replaced Miljanic as coach, and Valencia barely avoided relegation that year, relying on favorable results from other teams to ensure their own survival. In the 1983–84 and 1984–85 seasons, the club was heavily in debt under the presidency of Vicente Tormo. The club finally hit rock bottom when it was relegated at the end of the 1985–86 season, and riven with internal problems such as unpaid player and staff wages, as well as poor morale. The club was relegated for the first time after 55 years in Spanish top-flight football.

Arturo Tuzón was named the new club president, and he helped steer Valencia CF back to La Liga. Alfredo Di Stéfano returned as coach in 1986, and Valencia won promotion again following the 1986–87 season. Di Stéfano stayed on as coach until the 1987–88 season, when the team finished in 14th position in La Liga. Bulgarian forward Luboslav Penev joined the club in 1989, as Valencia aimed to consolidate their place in La Liga. Guus Hiddink was appointed as head coach in the 1991–92 season, and the club finished fourth in the League and reached the quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey. In 1992, Valencia CF officially became a Sporting Limited Company, and retained Hiddink as their coach until 1993.

Brazilian coach Carlos Alberto Parreira, fresh from winning the 1994 FIFA World Cup with the Brazilian national team, became manager at Mestalla in 1994. Parreira immediately signed the Spanish goalkeeper Andoni Zubizarreta and the Russian forward Oleg Salenko, as well as Predrag Mijatovic, but failed to produce results expected of him. He was replaced by new coach José Manuel Rielo. The club’s earlier successes continued to elude it, although it was not short of top coaching staff like Luis Aragonés and Jorge Valdano, as well as foreign star forwards like Brazilian Romário, and Claudio López and Ariel Ortega from Argentina.

The 2000s: Valencia returns to the top of Spanish and European football

Valencia started the 1999–00 season by winning another title, the Spanish Super Cup, beating FC Barcelona. Valencia finished third in the league, behind the champions Deportivo de La Coruña and level on points with second placed Barça. But the biggest success was in the UEFA Champions League; for the first time in its history, Valencia reached the European Cup final. However, in the Real Madrid beat Valencia 3–0.

It was also Claudio López’s farewell, as he had agreed to sign for the Italian side S.S. Lazio, also leaving was Farinós for Internazionale and Gerard for Barcelona. The notable signings of that summer were, the Norwegian John Carew and Rubén Baraja from Atlético Madrid, Roberto Ayala and the Brazilian left back Fábio Aurélio. Baraja and Ayala would soon become a staple of Valencia’s dominance of early 2000s in La Liga.

Valencia started the championship on the right foot and were top after 10 games, after the Christmas break Valencia started to pay for the top demand that such an absorbing competition like the Champions League requires. After passing the two mini-league phases, Cúper’s team eliminated Arsenal in the quarter finals and Leeds United in the semi-finals and got ready to face FC Bayern Munich|Bayern Munich in the final. Valencia had now reached two European Cup finals in a row. Gaizka Mendieta gave Valencia the lead by scoring from the penalty spot right at the start of the match, Cañizares then stopped a penalty from Mehmet Scholl, but Stefan Effenberg drew level after the break thanks to another penalty. After extra time, it was a penalty shoot-out to decide who would be European champions, Valencia, or Bayern Munich. Mauricio Pellegrino was the man who missed to give Bayern European glory and give Valencia heartbreak for the second season running in the biggest game in club football. For Valencia, it was difficult to recover from the blow in Milan, it culminated in Valencia finishing 5th in La Liga and out of the Champions League for the 2001–02 season. The final game of the season meant Valencia only needed a draw at the Nou Camp against Barcelona to seal Champions League qualification, unfortunately for Los Che they lost to Barcelona 3–2, with a last minute goal from Rivaldo resulting in Barcelona qualifying for the Champions League and Valencia missing out, in a head-to-head tie.

The president, D. Pedro Cortés, resigned due to personal reasons and left the club in July, with the satisfaction of having won the King’s Cup, one Spanish Super Cup and having been runners up in two Champions League finals in a row. D. Jaime Ortí replaced him as president and expressed his intention on maintaining the good form that had made the club so admired on the European circuit. There were also some changes in the team and staff, Rafael Benítez, after helping Tenerife to promotion, replaced Héctor Cúper after the latter became the new coach at Internazionale. Among the footballers, Mendieta, Deschamps, Milla, Zahović and Gerard left, and Marchena, Mista, Curro Torres, Rufete, de los Santos, and Salva arrived.

From 1999 up until the end of the 2004 season, Valencia had one of the their most successful periods in the club’s history. With a total of two La Liga titles, one UEFA Cup, one Copa del Rey and one UEFA Super Cup, in those six years, no less than five first class titles and two UEFA Champions League finals had been achieved.

The 2001–02 season brought Valencia a La Liga title, 31 years after the last title crown. There were new incorporations to the team, manager Rafael Benítez and the new players of Marchena, Mista, Curro Torres, Rufete, de los Santos and Salva.

That first game against fellow title rivals Real Madrid C.F.|Real Madrid, produced a significant and important victory. This was followed by a record of eleven games won consecutively, breaking the existing one set in the 1970–71 season, the season they had last won the La Liga title under Alfredo di Stéfano.

After a defeat in La Coruña against Deportivo on 9 December 2001, the team had to win against Espanyol to prevent falling further behind the league leaders. Valencia were 2–0 down at half time, but a comeback in the second half saw Valencia win 3–2.

In the second part of the season, Benítez’s team suffered a small setback after losing 1–0 in the Santiago Bernabéu to Real Madrid, but they recovered from this setback and achieved four victories and two draws in the following six games.

In one of those crucial games that they would come up against Espanyol, Valencia were trailing 1–0 half-time and a man down too with the dismissal of Carboni, but after two goals from Rubén Baraja, Valencia achieved a 2–1 victory. Furthermore, Real Madrid’s defeat to Real Sociedad left Valencia with a three-point lead at the top of the table.

The final game of the season was at Málaga CF, on 5 May 2002, a date that has gone down in Valencia’s history. The team shut itself away in Benalmádena, close to the scene of the game, in order to gain focus. An early goal from Ayala and another close to half-time from Fábio Aurélio, assured them their fifth La Liga title, 31 years after their last title win.

The 2002–03 season was a disappointing one for Valencia, as they failed in their attempt to retain the La Liga title and ended up outside of the Champions League spots in fifth, behind Celta de Vigo. They were also knocked out in the quarter-finals of the Champions League by Intern on away goals. The 2003–04 season saw Valencia trailing the long time leaders Real Madrid. In February, after 26 games played, Real Madrid were eight points clear. However, their form declined in the late season and they lost their last five games of the campaign, allowing Valencia to overtake them and win the title. The club added the UEFA Cup to this success. Valencia had now been La Liga champions twice in three seasons.

In the summer of 2004, coach Rafa Benítez decided to leave the club stating he had had problems with the club president, he would soon become manager of Liverpool F.C. He was replaced by former Valencia coach Claudio Ranieri, who had recently been sacked by Chelsea F.C.|Chelsea. However, his second reign at the club was a disappointment as Valencia harboured realistic hopes of retaining their La Liga crown but, by February, found themselves in 7th place. Valencia had also been knocked out of the Champions League group phase, with Ranieri being sacked promptly in February. The 2004–2005 season ended with Valencia outside of the UEFA Cup spots.

In the summer of 2005, Quique Sánchez Flores was appointed as the new manager of Valencia and ended the season in third place, which in turn gained Valencia a place in the Champions League after a season away from the competition. The 2006–07 season was a season with many difficulties, a season which started with realistic hopes of challenging for La Liga was disrupted with a huge list of injuries to key players and internal arguments between Flores and new Sporting Director Amedeo Carboni. Valencia ended the season in fourth place and were knocked out of the Champions League at the quarter-finals stage by Chelsea 3–2 on aggregate, after knocking out Italian champions Inter in the second round. In the summer of 2007, the internal fight between Flores and Carboni was settled with Carboni being replaced by Ángel Ruiz as the new Sporting Director of Valencia.

On 29 October 2007, the Valencia board of directors fired Flores after a string of disappointing performances and caretaker manager Óscar Rubén Fernández took over on a temporary basis until a full-time manager was found, rumoured to be either Marcello Lippi or José Mourinho. A day later, Dutch manager Ronald Koeman announced he would be leaving PSV to sign for Valencia. But there was still no improvement; in fact, Valencia even went on to drop to the 15th position in the league, just two points above the relegation zone. Although on 16 April 2008, Valencia lifted the Copa del Rey with a 3–1 victory over Getafe at the Vicente Calderón. This was the club’s 7th Copa title. Five days later, one day after a devastating 5–1 league defeat in Bilbao, Valencia fired Ronald Koeman and replaced him with Voro, who would guide Valencia as Caretaker Manager for the rest of the season. Voro would eventually drag Valencia from the relegation battle to a safe mid-table finish of 10th place, finally ending a disastrous league campaign for ”Los Che”.

Highly-rated Unai Emery was announced as the new manager of Valencia on 22 May 2008. The start of the young manager’s career looked to be promising, with the club winning four out of its first five games, a surge that saw the team rise to the top position of the La Liga table. Despite looking impressive in Europe, ”Los Che” then hit a poor run of form in the league that saw them dip as low as seventh in the standings. Amid the slump emerged reports of a massive internal debt at the club exceeding 400 million Euros, as well as that the players had been unpaid in weeks. The team’s problems were compounded when they were knocked out of the UEFA Cup by FC Dynamo Kyiv on away goals. After a run where Valencia took only five points from a possible ten games in La Liga, an announcement was made that the club had secured a loan that would cover the players’ expenses until the end of the year. This announcement coincided with an upturn in form, and the club won six of its next eight games to surge back into the critical fourth place Champions’ League spot. However, ”Los Che” were then defeated by 4th place rivals Atlético Madrid and Villarreal in two of the last three games of the campaign, and finished sixth in the table, which meant they failed to qualify for a second successive year for the Champions League. No solution had yet been found to address the massive the debt Valencia were faced with, and rumours persisted that top talents such as David Villa, Juan Mata, and David Silva could leave the club to help balance the books. In the summer of 2010, David Villa and David Silva were sold to Barcelona and Manchester City, respectively, to reduce the club’s massive debt.

Current stadium

Valencia played its first years at the Algirós stadium but moved to the Mestalla in 1923. In the 1950s, Mestalla was restructured, which resulted in a capacity increase to 45,000 spectators. Today it holds 55,000 seats. Valencia was scheduled to move to a Nou Mestall (=New Mestalla) in the north-west of the city in 2010. Construction of the 75,000-seat Nou Mestalla was halted by financial constraints, however, and the future status of the project remains indefinite.

The current Mestalla is the fifth largest stadium in Spain. It is also renowned for its steep terracing and for being one of the most intimidating atmospheres in all of Europe to play.

On 20 May 1923, the Mestalla pitch was inaugurated with a friendly match that brought Valencia CF and Levante UD face to face. It was the beginning of a new era that meant farewell to the old place, Algirós, which will always remain in the memories of the Valencians as first home of the club. A long history has taken place on the Mestalla field since its very beginning, when the Valencia team was not yet in the La Liga|Primera División. Back then, this stadium could hold 17,000 spectators, and in that time the club started to show its potential in regional championships, which led the managers of that time to carry out the first alterations of Mestalla in 1927. The stadium’s total capacity increased to 25,000 before it became severely damaged during the Civil War.

Mestalla was used as concentration camp and junk warehouse. It would only keep its structure, since the rest was a lonely plot of land with no terraces and a stand broken during the war. Once the pitch was renovated, Mestalla saw how the team managed to bring home their first title, the 1941 Cup. An overwhelming team was playing on the grass of the redesigned Valencian stadium in that decade, team that conquered three League titles and two Cups with the legendary ‘electric forwards’ of Epi, Amadeo, Mundo, Asensi and Guillermo Gorostiza. Those years of sporting success also served as support to recover little by little the Mestalla ground.

During the decade of the fifties, the Valencia ground experienced the deepest change in its whole history. That project resulted in a stadium with a capacity of 45,500 spectators. It was a dream that was destroyed by the flood that flooded Valencia in October 1957 after the overflowing of the Turia River. Nevertheless, Mestalla not only returned to normality, but also some more improvements were added, like artificial light, which was inaugurated during the 1959 Fallas festivities. This was the beginning of a new change for the Mestalla.

During the sixties, the stadium kept the same appearance, whilst the urban view around it was quickly being transformed. Moreover, the Valencian domain became from that moment on, the setting of big European feats. Nottingham Forest was the first foreign team that played an official match in Mestalla with the “Che” club. They played on 15 September 1961 and it was the first clash of a golden age full of continental successes, reinforced with the Fairs Cup wins in 1962 and 1963. Mestalla had just entered the European competitions as a stadium where the most important events were taking place.

From 1969, the expression “Anem a Mestalla” (Let’s go to Mestalla), so common among the supporters, started to fall into oblivion. The reason was the change of name that meant a big tribute that the club paid to his most symbolic president that lasted for a quarter of a century. Luis Casanova Giner admitted that he was completely overwhelmed by such honour, and the president himself requested in 1994 that his name was again replaced by the name of Mestalla, as it happened. At the beginning of the seventies, the local bench of the back-then-called Luis Casanova stadium was occupied by Alfredo Di Stéfano, whose results were the winning of one League competition, one second place in the League and two Cup finals lost by the minimum difference. Moreover, Valencia participated for the first time in the European Champion Clubs’ Cup and made their debut in the UEFA Cup. It all was a series of events that made that every match in the stadium located in Suecia Avenue turned into a big party.

In 1972, the head office of the club, located in the back of the numbered terraces, was inaugurated. In the summer of 1973 there was another new thing, the goal seats, which meant the elimination of fourteen rows of standing terraces providing more comfort and an adjustment to the new times. Valencia’s management started to consider the possibility of moving Mestalla from its present location to some land in the outskirts of the town, but finally the project was turned down and some years later.

At that time, Mario Kempes, subsequently considered one of the greatest footballers in the world by Pele was playing for Valencia. With the Matador in its team, Valencia won the Copa del Rey, the Cup Winners Cup and European Super Cup in consecutive years. The “Che” team became continental superchampion in the last European final played in Mestalla. It was in 1980 against Nottingham Forest, which oddly enough was the first foreign team that had played an official match in the Valencian stadium.

Mestalla, which in 1925 had held the first match of the Spain national football team in Valencia, was chosen as the setting for the debut of Spain in the 1982 World Cup, although the performance of the combined national team was not finally what was expected. Ten years later, the Olympic team would look for support in the Valencian stadium, this time with a very different result, since the selected young footballers finally got the gold medal in the 1992 Summer Olympics held in Barcelona.

Mestalla has been the setting for important international matches, has held several Cup finals, has been seat for Levante UD, home of the Spanish national team and exile for CD Castellón and Real Madrid C.F. in the European Cup.

Kit and colours

Originally the kit was composed of white shirts, black shorts and socks of the same color. Although through the years these two have gone from alternating between white and black. Currently Valencia’s main shirt sponsor is Swedish betting company Unibet

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