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Thursday, 21st May 2009
In Sports,

Marines fans want Bobby V to stay

Chiba Lotte Marines fans are using silence and huge signs to show their support for their team's manager.

Baseball legend Bobby Valentine was told that because of financial reasons, his contract would not be renewed, the New York Times reports.

Valentine, who has been with the club since 2003, is paid around $3.9 million (£2.5 million) per season, the paper claims.

However, for the last three matches, around 150 supporters staged a silent protest with 70-foot signs raised above their heads to show they want Valentine to stay.

"Bobby stands behind us. We stand behind Bobby," fans declared on one banner.

A petition with over 50,000 signatures is also calling on the club's president Ryuzo Setyama and other officials to do what they can to keep the manager who led the Marines to Japan Series victory four years ago.

In a documentary called The Zen of Bobby V, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival last year, Valentine urged players in Japan to remain in the country, Kyodo reported.

Instead of taking their game to the USA or elsewhere, players should "try to stay in Japan to make this league as good as it could possibly be", the manager was quoted as saying.