When Gary Neville was being linked with the Fulham job earlier this morning, it's fair to say the only natural response was 'why would he bother giving up his cushy Sky job for that?'. With all due respect to Fulham, they're not exactly Valencia and when that kind of opportunity comes along, you have to grab it.
Neville's appointment as the new manager of La Liga side Valencia was met with a great deal of surprise by everyone with a passing interest in football. As tends to happen, many took to social media to have their say with the default position being to either take the piss out of Phil Neville or mourn for what we're all losing.
We've already seen how Carragher responded but quite a few football fans are taking the end of the MNF duo's reign rather more seriously. With this kind of opinion being shared widely.
That's one facet of this surprising appointment but what of Valencia? While the English position seems to be one of 'he'll do well there, great appointment' the reality of the situation on the ground in Spain is rather different. It seems quite a few have taken a cynical view to Neville's appointment, citing the former Man United defender's relationship with Valencia owner Peter Lim as the reason.
Lim is the majority share holder in Valencia while also owning the image rights to Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo. On top of that, Lim holds a 50% stake in Salford City, the same club that Neville, and other members of the so called class of 92', hold stakes in. Lim also owns a stake in Rowsley, a company who have a significant hand in the Neville fronted Hotel Football and Cafe Football in Manchester.
The growing relationship between Lim and Neville runs quite deep and it's for this reason that many have pointed to the fact that there may be some kind of puppet manager situation going on with Lim pulling the strings.
This is totally a Peter Lim hire. They're business partners in England. It's a shame. VCF is being thrown under the bus.
— NY Amunti (@amunti) December 2, 2015
Wow. Gaz and Phil in charge of Valencia. Looks like Lim (who owns 50% of Salford City) has chosen a close friend again. Same with Nuno.
— Ben Jarman (@benjarman__) December 2, 2015
Having said that, having friends in high places is not exactly a crime and there's no suggestion that there's anything particularly untoward at play. Things didn't work out for Lim's last managerial appointment, Nuno, but it could be different for Neville and he'll rightly get every accolade coming to him.
Should he succeed in Spain, who knows where it may lead him. *cough* Old Trafford *cough*.