Gary Neville’s Salford City co-owner Peter Lim has come under fierce protest from fans of his other club, Valencia, who left the stadium deserted for their season finale.
Striking images showed a near-empty Mestalla surrounded by thousands of angry supporters who abandoned their home ground during a 2-0 win over Celta Vigo.
Despite the victory, the former Champions League regulars will be without European football for the third consecutive season, finishing ninth this campaign.
The protest was one of many against the Singaporean tycoon’s ownership, which began in 2014, and has seen the six-time LaLiga winners make a gradual decline to mediocrity.
Valencian sports daily Super Deporte compared the scenes to the European Super League protests, and explained why silence spoke louder than words.
“The most important sounds of all were missing,” the report said. “And while Mestalla remained silent, Valencia fans spoke loud and clear.”
Lim and his family have even taken to walking around the city with bodyguards amid the sight of ‘LIM GO HOME’ banners increasing.
In the same year that Lim became a majority owner of Valencia, he also purchased a 40 per cent stake in League Two team Salford alongside former Manchester United players such as Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and David Beckham.
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One of those players, Sky Sports presenter Gary Neville, even managed the team in 2015 despite not having any head coaching experience. Neville was sacked having recorded just three wins in 16 league games.
Valencia had a high in 2019 when they won the Copa del Rey and finished fourth under manager Marcelino, but both he and football director Mateu Alemany were sacked in the aftermath.
Following those bizarre decisions, things turned sour, and in July 2020 Lim’s socialite daughter posted a message on Instagram, saying: “The club is ours, and we can do anything we want with it.”
Since then, Valencia have sold an estimated £ 81million worth of players, and spent just £ 14m.
Valencia have also shifted managers at a Watford-esque rate, but coaches have been departing of their own accord rather than being sacked, claiming broken promises.
Even former midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia hit out on Instagram when he was sold to Atletico Madrid.
“First destroyed an ambitious project, then betrayed my coach and now me too. Thank you, [club chairman] Anil Murthy, ”the France international wrote in 2020.
Despite the gradual decline, Lim and holding company Meriton have consistently expressed that they have no desire to sell the club, but the most recent events may well have changed that.