Valencia CF stars from past and present where on hand to sign autographs at the XXII assembly of penye associations on Saturday.
Children queued up to meet present players Joao Cancelo, Jaume Domenech, Nani, Medrán and Montoya who were at the event along with VCF chairwoman, Lay Hoon Chan, director Kim Koh, sports director Jesús García Pitarch and coach Pako Ayestarán.
Juan Sol, Ricardo Arias, Manolo Botubot and Ángel Castellanos where among those from the VCF association of footballers and from the VCF Foundation were Salvador Belda, José Luis Zaragosí and Salvador Martínez.
There was particular attention on Claudio López, guest of honour at the Trofeo Naranja Estrella Damm and legendary VCF kitman Bernardo España Españeta who recently announced his retirement.
Both received an ovation when they entered the room and took to the stage.
“I feel grateful, with feeling and love, that is what I want to say in front of ex-players and people who deserve more affection than me,” said ‘Piojo’.
“I am overcome, it makes me very happy to be here and able to express my gratitude and honour.”
Jaume Domenech then spoke: “it is an honour to share the stage with such legends. I am grateful on behalf of the team because last season was not good and you didn’t stop supporting us and believing in us.
"We are all 100 percent convinced that we will now have a good campaign and we ask that you continue to support us as we will turn the corner and have a good season.”
Similarly, Ayestarán added: “from the heart and being sincere, I arrived here 15 years ago and we knew that we were coming to a great club, they were three magnificent years, we enjoyed being part of a great club with its fan base.
"Between us all we have to be capable of maintaining the greatness of the club and the responsibility is for all of us, the owner, the coaches, the players and the fans who are a very important part. Last year was a difficult year for all, fans, coaches, players who also suffered because they want to have success.
"We have to optimistic, forget the criticisms, help to get the most from the players with an optimistic approach. We want to give work, respect, ambition and professionalism. If we offer you that then with your support, which is very important, the fans can win points for us, I am convinced.”
The speeches where the climax of an event that started at 11am in a large marquee in the Sala Rex de Alzira. Club members then enjoyed lunch and afterwards directors of the assembly along with a large group of members met with the official party from Valencia.
Finally there was a gathering of the protagonists for an official photo where they were again met by a vociferous ovation, especially Españeta and Claudio López.
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