Busking epidemic hits Valencia

Despite the shocking news from commie daily Valencia Morning Star concerning the 895 percent increase in windscreen-cleaning squeegee merchants in the downtown area - all looking suspiciously like members of Valencia’s first team squad - the city’s football club has turned down the offer of cold, hard cash from a friendly neighbour.

In a move that will lead to yet more greengrocer-pilfering by Oliver-esque attackers, Valencia’s board met on Monday to reject a bid of 62 million euro to buy part of the up-for-sale land that the current Mestalla stadium is plonked on.

The punter looking to make a swift killing was Enrique Ortiz, who ticks all the dodgy boxes of being a property developer, president of a football club and based in Alicante.

Ortiz is the owner of second division club Hércules and was looking to buy a patch of the Mestalla land and build a big old tower on it.

However, the offer was turned down by the men from Mestalla because there were “more trustworthy and suitable alternatives” and all the cash would have gone straight to the bank to help clear the 240m euro debt without a single cent left to pay the players.

Coming soon: tower block

El Pais note that had the club accepted an offer for the whole of the Mestalla land at the same rate, Valencia would only have received 197m euro, far from the 300m originally expected.

It was “a sticking plaster on a gore wound from a bull,” noted AS, who have gone through the club’s accounts to find something even more terrifying than a busking David Albelda.

The paper writes that the club’s immediate debt is a good 500m euro. 70m euro is needed before the end of June to clear outstanding payments to players, staff, paella firms, construction companies, taxmen, etc.

The cost of their new Death Star stadium where work was suspended in February is thought to be 390m, although 100m euro has been poured into the project already.

This leaves the club some 210m short of being a groovy 1 billion euro in debt, say AS – a fine performance even by Spanish football’s standards.

Meanwhile, Espanyol manager Mauricio Pochettino has taken up the challenge of saving his club’s skin in fine, traditional response - by taking a long walk.

Over the years, club coaches who have found themselves in a spot of bother have often promised to undertake great pilgrimages if God takes a fancy to their side and spares it from the hellmouth of second division football.

The latest Perico leader took advantage of a free morning last week to stumble 12 kilometres up the very steep hill to the Montserrat monastery in Barcelona - with wife and backroom team in tow - to pray for salvation for Espanyol. And world peace, perhaps.

"I'm going for a walk. I may be some time" 

With the cold weather having returned to Spain, and yet another bank holiday still a good 10 days away, Víctor Valdés’ agent has chosen to lift everyone's spirits and raise a chuckle by claiming that his client is worth just as much as Iker Casillas.

The Barcelona goalkeeper is wheedling to get an extension to his current deal which expires at the end of 2010, and his main man, Gines Carvajal, is arguing that the fumbling footballer is one of the best in the business.

“He has demonstrated over the years that he’s at the same level as Casillas and Buffon,” claimed Carvajal, with a perfectly straight face. “There are three, four, or five top level clubs interested in his services.”

La Liga Loca had no idea Juventus were in the market for a children’s entertainer.

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