Gary Neville
Gary Neville has been named as Valencia's head coach until the end of the season Getty

Gary Neville won two Champions League titles and dominated some of the best wingers in Europe during his long and trophy-laden spell at Manchester United. Yet the former Old Trafford captain has taken on undoubtedly the toughest challenge in his football career to date, after being appointed the manager of La Liga's Valencia.

Los Che are nowhere near as successful as Real Madrid and Barcelona, and are probably behind Atletico Madrid when it comes to Spanish football's history and trophies. They've won six league titles, three Uefa Cups/Europa Leagues and seven Copa del Rey crowns.

However, Valencia's fans are hungry ones, and the demands of supporters at the Mestalla may dwarf even those of the Santiago Bernabeu faithful.

Euro 2008-winning coach Luis Aragones, Jorge Valdano (who guided Real Madrid to the 1995 La Liga crown), the current Premier League managerial trio of Claudio Ranieri, Ronald Koeman and Quique Sánchez Flores, and Hector Cuper all failed to capture hearts and minds at the Mestalla, even with the latter leading them to consecutive Champions League finals in 2000 and 2001.

Rafa Benitez eventually became an exception to this rule during his three seasons at the club – 2001 to 2004 – but even his early life in Valencia was plagued with questions over his lack of experience with major teams. He eventually won fans over with two La Liga titles and a Uefa Cup, but he moved to Liverpool after falling out with the then board.

Ever since then Valencia fans have been praying for a new Benitez to lead them to the position of champions again. However, the reality has been much crueller, 13 different managers struggling to cope with both expectations and a series of economic restrictions.

Koeman won the Copa del Rey in 2007-2008 while Unai Emery managed to stay in the hot seat for four seasons despite an uncertain financial situation. However the former walked out after a spat with key squad members while the later left with no love from supporters - but would go on to win the Europa League in successive seasons with Sevilla.

Ernesto Valverde, appointed in 2012 following the sacking of Mauricio Pellegrino, won over the fans instantly. However, he left the club after mere months due to the economic crisis that was swallowing up Valencia's very future.

The arrival of multi-billionaire Peter Lim in 2014 promised a cure to the club's ills both on and off the pitch. He brought in money, contacts with 'superagent' Jorge Mendes and the chance for fans to dream of a story similar to the one written by Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan at Manchester City and Roman Abramovich at Chelsea.

It got off to a promising start. Nuno, a former Porto goalkeeper who was Jorge Mendes's first-ever client, managed a squad full of young talent to a Champions League berth last season, playing exciting football and scoring wins over the likes of Real Madrid.

But the shine started to come off in the summer when both sporting director Rufete and president Amadeo Salvo quit their positions after feeling crowded out by the huge power of Nuno – and, perhaps more importantly, the presence of Mendes in the shadows.

Nuno won that battle but lost the war, with the squad and fans turning against him from that moment. He was forced out last weekend following defeat to Sevilla, following months of Mestalla crowds chanting "go home" at him.
Twitter / Valencia

Neville walks into a situation where he has to deal with not just these wars but also with doubts around social networks regarding both his lack of experience and his decision to continue his position with the England national team.

Valencia's new president Chan Lay Hoon had promised fans a coach "who understands the fans and the community". Neville is certainly a man who has a great football knowledge, but his total lack of familiarity with Spanish culture and language do not seem to back the promises made by Chan – especially in the aftermath of David Moyes' failure at Real Sociedad.

Being a close pal of the owner and facing a first match against Lyon that could mean Champions League elimination do not set the stage for an early winning over of fans. However, the United legend would do well to remember that Benitez was also mocked for his lack of experience before he won over the Mestalla...