Gary Neville was given a glorious opportunity to create serious waves in the world of management back in 2015 when he was appointed head coach of Valencia.
It was a sink or swim situation to turn the club’s fortunes around – and it probably couldn’t have gone any worse.
He suffered a run of nine winless games, the fans didn’t really understand why he was even hired due to his lack of experience at that level, along with the inability to speak Spanish meant his run as manager was bound to be a disaster.
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In fact, his experience as the coach was so negative that it put him off management for life, and quickly found himself back in the Sky Sports studios.
Despite suffering a similar fate to Neville, Pako Ayestaran isn’t put off by the idea of management again and is keen on finding a job in England after spending several seasons in Merseyside as assistant to Rafa Benitez at Liverpool.
Ayestaran was also Neville’s assistant, and has now revealed why his four-month run at Valencia was a complete disaster; he thinks it wasn’t the best environment for him despite having the credentials to succeed as a coach.
According to the Mirror, he said: “I think he arrived at the wrong place in the wrong moment. This is crucial.
“His first opportunity to coach was abroad and I don’t think it was the best environment. Your first experience, it’s crucial to be able to manage and to have the best knowledge about the environment.
“If you remember the movie Damned United about Brian Clough, they arrive in Brighton, he is talking with his assistant Peter Taylor and they were discussing the opportunity.
“Clough said: ‘Look where we are. We’re nearly in France! We are northerners.’ He was meaning that if you don’t understand your own people then you can’t coach them.
“To not be able to work there and understand the people is so difficult. Gary has everything – the knowledge, the coaching and yet it was probably not the right environment for his first job.
“I remember I had three years at Valencia with Rafa, we won the UEFA Cup and still we had some criticism because Valencia is always a difficult place.
“It’s important to understand when you arrive in a different country that you know the way people are thinking, their approach and every different experience has made me a better coach and manager.”
It was perhaps a tall order for him to dive in at the deep end, but after that nightmare-like stint, it’s doubtful that he’ll get similar offers from the top clubs in England either.
What do you make of Pako Ayestaran’s reasoning for Gary Neville’s failure at Valencia? Have YOUR say in the comments section below.
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