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As Villarreal prepare for Valencia match, our derby rivals avoid disaster

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Manager Javi Gracia chooses to stay at the club.

Valencia CF v Levante UD - La Liga Santander Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images

Bring me a Valencia fan that doesn’t make excuses for Meriton Holdings, who sees what that ownership group and their puppet president Anil Murthy are doing to the club, and doesn’t make excuses for it, and that’s a person I have a lot of empathy for. These sorts of genuine football fans don’t go around insulting Parejo or Coquelin or Ferran Torres or any of the other departures in this past summer’s fire sale, they realize that the players were just as much victims as the fans of a regime that does not care about them. Javi Gracia was promised signings this summer and they never came, and because of that he reasonably questioned his future at the club. Unfortunately for him, he has been trapped there by a financial clause in his contract so he will still be there to face Villarreal whether team leader Kondogbia is still there or not.

From a strictly sporting perspective, some folks have a sense of nobility about matches where they want to face the strongest possible version of their opponents week in and week out. While I never want to see players get hurt and I feel bad for opposing fans when their clubs are falling apart, I’m a bit more pragmatic. In twenty years no one will remember who you beat, they’ll just remember if you won or if you didn’t, and as a club Villarreal have places to go, so if Kondogbia were to get bought out by Atletico and Javi Gracia had to walked away, more’s the better for our own club as we prepare for a derby match.

I’ll tell you what, though, even though I’ll root against the side he manages I have nothing but respect for Javi Gracia for as long as he’s willing to stay at that club. He has handled a full on betrayal by club management with class and dignity, supporting his players every stem along the way, and even getting better than expected results while he’s at it. The former Villarreal player and B team manager is someone that to this day I’d be happy for our club to be associated with.

Over the next several days we’ll do a lot of things to prepare for the derby, and I’m sure there will be plenty of banter and jabs back and forth between the two fanbases, but let the record reflect that Valencia have an honorable man in the dugout who deserves far more respect than the club has given him, and I hope his players and his fanbase continue to see that.