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Villarreal Gala: no big surprises, but good news for the fans

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President Roig, we like Borja too!!
President Roig, we like Borja too!!

    (Note:I've amended this from the earlier post to include links to some of the videos and still photos)

As Javi Mata tweeted after the fact, the Villarreal gala is a bit like Villarreal.  Real Madrid and Barcelona, anyway, would probably spend their money on slick video presentations and big-name stars (I hope Shakira would give Barca a discount, at least).

     Villarreal takes a different approach, with local stars (the Coral San Jaume, winner of the choral contest on Canal Nou), videos produced in-house, and press officer Hernan Sanz as one of the MC's.   The event was held at the local auditorium (held about 700, I think).  

    Full credit to the club for streaming the event worldwide, even though the execution fell short at times.  The livestream feed faced capacity constraints right away (they really do need to think bigger!), and the ustream feed had a couple of glitches too.  Nonetheless, I was able to watch most of it, and what I saw was certainly enjoyable.

    The first part of the show included a number of videos, some previously available on Villarreal TV, some not.  It began with wonderful goals from La Liga and the Copa del Rey matches, then the Europa League was featured.  Santi and Borja were among those interviewed along with the highlights, then there was a reminder of some of the previous CL campaigns.

     There were a couple of cool videos I hadn't seen before.  One was a blooper clip which included some of the outtakes from the Christmas video (those I had seen) as well as Nilmar, Bruno, Cani and others.  It was fun, and for those of you with better Spanish than I, you'll certainly enjoy it.

    The other neat video was a new one the club put together for the season ticket campaign.  It features a number of players, including Santi Cazorla, Marchena, Bruno, and Capdevila, along with Coach Garrido and fans carrying a large flag and singing.  The theme is "Jugamos todos" ("Let's All Play") and that was a key theme of the gala.

    Which brings us to our keynote speaker! 

Sr. Roig was greeted by loud cheers,  welcomed all the afición around the world to the gala, and noted the fan support via the web, twitter, and facebook (well, actually he said "tweetbook"(!)). 

   It was soon clear he wasn't going to be announcing any surprise signing during the gala, but emphasized that last year was a "transition year" leading to a great year to come.  In that vein, he announced several initiatives relating to next year in El Madrigal.

     Villarreal is keeping ticket prices unchanged from last year (absorbing the increased VAT tax to do so) and is also continuing their free or discounted tickets for unemployed groguets. And season ticket holders can get a free BP discount card, too, nothing to sneeze at given Spanish petrol prices.

     One new initiative seems to have grown out of the outstanding support for the team during the European campaign--the club is creating a 'Grada Animacion', an area some of the livelier support of the team can call its own (and some of these guys were in evidence during the gala, which was great fun!) Sr. Roig spoke of the importance of the cantera (another big theme of the night), working with the smaller provincial clubs, etc.  He was upbeat, while maintaining the theme that Villarreal would 'keep its head' and continue to do things in an intelligent way.  (Speaking of which, Sr. Llaneza was not there; he was in Sevilla, negotiating with Betis to get the money they owe us from the Jonathan Pereira deal).

    Between the stream cutting out and a phone call, I missed the last few minutes.  I gather César was introduced as a new signing, and the evening ended with the Coral San Jaume singing the official himno del Villarreal as well as the Champions' League anthem.

   Afterward, Javi Mata tweeted what I assume were notes from a press conference Sr. Roig gave:

     On Senna: He believes a deal is still possible

    On Manzano's interest in bringing Borja Valero to Sevilla (in the news today): "it's great that you (Manzano) like him,  but I like him too, and I have an advantage, a four-year contract". (!!!)

    On Malaga: No offers for anyone, but it's fine to talk and "Manuel (Pellegrini) knows anyone would be expensive"

    Transfers out in general: We haven't received anything.  Lots of interest, but no offers.

I hope the full show will be up on the official club website soon, and I'm sure you'll pick up on other nice moments when you see it.  We groguets support quite an amazing club, and this gala was proof of that!!