Anil Murthy speech at the Valencia CF General Ordinary Assembly of shareholders
“I’m honoured to be appointed President by Peter Lim. Honoured to represent Meriton at the Annual General Meeting.
We will protect this Club so that it can grow big again. We will protect our players so that they can focus on football.
We will protect the majority of the fans who want to support their team.
We will protect the families that want to attend games in a safe Mestalla.
When we found out that 60% of the tickets for the Levante derby were pre-reserved for two groups and fans were queuing for 3 hours in the hot sun for the remaining seats, we acted in the interest of the fans.
We acted to stop reselling and put sales online with equal preference for all season ticket holders.
We acted to remove priviledges and give all equal treatment.
When the majority of fans asked for a direct relationship with the Club, we opened a Fan Area whose only objective is to build a strong and direct relationship with each individual fan.
We have acted to remove the violence from Mestalla so that families and other fans feel safe.
Today we are acting to stop “fake fans” whose intention is only to damage the Club and sell fake news to our real fans. We know who the real fans are. Not the types who claim to protect the Club and yet stone the team bus and threaten the players.
Take a look at the screens. And tell us whether real fans will do this to our players who have fought for the Club and its fans. Our players are like soldiers fighting for the Club. You don’t kill your soldiers who have fought the war and lost. We should encourage them and support them to fight again. They are doing what we can’t for the Club. Many of the players on the bus on that shameful day last December are still in the team and are doing very well.
I am a father of 3 boys. They enjoy watching Valencia play and are proud to wear the jersey. Many parents want to bring their children to Mestalla and teach them the right values. These violent types are robbing Valencianistas of this fundamental right.
How do I explain to my young boys why Valencia fans are enraged and violent against their own Club and team? How do I explain to them that people have advised me that this is part of football in Valencia?
I have told them clearly that these are fake fans. All violent people in football are fake fans. Football not only does not need them, but should eradicate them forever.
We will never tolerate attacks against the Club, its players, its reputation by these “fake fans”.
Which brings me back to three seasons ago when Meriton saved VCF from collapse. Peter Lim has invested more than 200 million € of his own money into this Club. Never in the history of this Club or in Spanish football has an individual invested anything close to this.
Since the purchase of the Club and especially in the last two seasons, some fans, shareholders, the press and others have hurled racist remarks, insults and abuse at Peter Lim and Meriton. That the Singapore group should leave and has done damage to Valencia CF’s image and history. That Meriton does not have the Valencian “sentimiento” to make this Club succeed.
“Sentimiento” did not save this Club. It was cold hard cash that stopped the Club from disappearing. Nobody in Valencia came forward to save its own Club.
In 2009, many of you good Valencianistas came forward to save this Club during the capital increase exercise. You and your family renew your season ticket passes over generations supporting your Club.
But, this Club had been taken advantage of by some Valencians, often for personal gratification, often for money, but without a doubt with the intention to benefit a very closed circle of people. As a famous journalist said, they did not come here to help but to help themselves. Most people, especially the fans, suffered. Valencia CF nearly died.
There is no need to examine with a clear mind where this Club was before Meriton and who has actually done damage. It is very clear and one example is being played out in the open today. I won’t mention names.
First, the Club had accumulated massive debts and was sinking. Could not even pay salaries. This had been building up for a number of years and accelerated after the economic crash in 2008. Second, due to the ego of one President and all those associated, a new stadium project was started. This was one of the main reasons why this Club nearly went bankrupt. It has been stuck for so many years. A big thorn in the city of Valencia. The Porxinos project was another big real estate commitment from the Club that is causing massive problems now. Third, a number of legal cases against the Club –stemming from prior managements – had accumulated. Fourth, proper operating licences had not been obtained by the Club to function legally.
All this has been thrust upon Meriton. A result of past mismanagements and gross misdeeds. For decades. Some of the same people responsible for this mismanagement spoke against Meriton and were claiming to protect the Club.
We will deal with the legacy issues. We will defend this Club against unjust claims whose sole objective is to weaken the Club and seek own benefit. We are very clear that we are the only ones who will do it. We cannot allow these issues to dampen our sporting performance and potentially derail it.
On the sports side, we identified Mateu Alemany and subsequently Marcelino, two great Spanish football professionals, to make big changes in the sporting side.
After the summer market, 14 players were taken out of the team. And we brought in solid reinforcements. Peter Lim was actively involved in the market and secured the move of Guedes from PSG.
We will make the Academy stronger to ensure that young talent is not stolen from the first team. We know that every year the market is going to be more difficult. This year, we took calculated financial risks to change the squad. And it is working.
Another important area that the Club has been working hard on is its relationship with its fans. We know that there is a much larger base of real fans. They may be the silent majority. We need to build a renewed and better relationship between Club and this large fan base. The Club will speak directly to each of these fans and will know them well. We will fight against fake fans selling their lies.
This is why we are cutting the intermediaries. No more middle men trying to control the relationship between fans and the Club. The majority of fans want a direct relationship and we are doing it.
For the new stadium project, we have started negotiating the licences with the local authorities. Many fans have commented that they rather stay at Mestalla. It’s true that Mestalla is a great stadium with a lot of history. The current capacity is sufficient and the experience for the fans is great. It is a real challenge to replace Mestalla.
But the Club has obligations and we have started the negotiations with the objective of meeting the stipulated deadlines. These obligations are taken seriously by Meriton although this project has been around for more than 10 years. We sense the anxiety of the fans who wonder whether after more than 10 years the Club will make a decision and move. They have been through so many different proposals and promises. And disappointed.
Today Valencia CF is 2nd after 11 games. Never in its history has Valencia CF scored so many goals and earned so many points after 11 games.
Valencia is happy because the team is doing well. Mateu, Marcelino and his team have done an amazing job making this team a serious team. The players, a number of whom have been with the team for some years, are committed and want to fight for this Club. We salute Mateu, Marcelino and the players for what they have done.
We will never forget our friends who have supported us. They know that Meriton saved this Club and appreciate that this Club has been run honestly for a change. We will always remember those that turned against us thinking that they could weaken us. On the contrary, the attacks on Meriton have made us stronger and better prepared.
To conclude, I would like to remind you all that Peter Lim owns Meriton and Meriton controls Valencia CF. We know what we are doing. Meriton’s focus is to make sure that the Club and its real fans are united. And together we stand behind the coach and his team”.
Source: Valencia Club de Futbol