Singapore tycoon Peter Lim is not having the best time with football fans after his Spanish football club Valencia suffered a miserable 4-1 defeat against Celta Vigo in the Copa del Rey earlier on Tuesday. Many fans who were high in hopes when Lim took over the club in 2014 with the intention to turn it around, are now left in limbo with its deteriorating results and internal drama.
Upset fans took to the streets this week outside Mestalla stadium protesting against the Singapore club owner. Many were chanting “Peter go now!” reported several local and global media outlets.
This comes amidst several other issues that the club faces. Currently it is also seeking a new head coach after Cesare Prandelli’s shock resignation last week. His departure leaves Valencia with even more uncertainty, without a permanent boss for the fourth time in just over a year.
While wins and loses are a part and parcel of any sporting event, or business venture, this instance has no doubt shed some negative publicity on the well known local businessman.
“Soccer is an incredibly emotive platform, and much like managing a brand which essentially is a complex bag of emotions and expectations, the running of a club needs to go beyond dollars and cents,” said Marcus Loh, vice president of marketing and corporate communication of PSB Academy.
Loh added while Lim was expediently hailed a hero for rescuing Valencia from its financial difficulties, warm emotions can also quickly freeze over when sentiments go awry.
I believe that it is equally important for new club owners like Lim, to demonstrate strong personal involvement in Valencia’s affairs.
He added, instead Lim remains buffered from fans and stakeholders by club president Chan Lay Hoon.
“As an experienced investor, Lim must have anticipated this turn of events. He knows that the success of any commercial acquisition rests on demonstrated commitment from the very top – and even more so with the takeover of a football club which was brimming with so much promise,” he said.
He added that Lim needs to take charge of the situation by “demonstrating that he breathes, sleeps, and sings “Paso Doble” in the shower.
Lars Voedisch, principal consultant and managing director of PRecious Communications, shared Loh’s sentiment that Lim needs to show more commitment, and not only to the club but its fans as well.
“Lim should meet the representatives of Valencia’s fans, and really try to understand their underlying concerns. It’s also important that he shows a strong interest to come up with solutions,” he said.
For some fans, Voedisch said, Lim may come up as a “distant mastermind” and therefore it’s important for him to show the more approachable side of him. This can be done by talking more to people on the ground, be it the ones in the club or the fans.
Most importantly, said Voedisch, it’s about aligning his vision for the club and the fans’ expectations.
It cannot be seen just as a rich man hobby, so showing a full commitment in turning-around the club is needed.
(Photo courtesy: Peter Lim VFC Facebook Page)