In what will most likely go down as the most costly managerial appointment in the history of professional football, highly touted Andres Villas Boas was fired from Chelsea yesterday after just 8 months of service.
Chelsea had produced their worst record since Roman Abramovich took over the club back in 2003, sitting 3 points outside of the top 4 and an astonishing 20 points off first place with under 10 games remaining.
Their seven losses thus far this season is their worst total since before Jose Mourinho, and their three home losses is largely to blame. Stamford Bridge has become the most formidable fortress in English football with Chelsea at one time going over four and a half years without losing at home. . Jose Mourinho never lost a home game with the club.
Andres Villas Boas was supposed to lead this ageing Chelsea team into a new era. The highly touted Portugese was a product of the Mourinho coaching tree and, like Mourinho, garnered great respect from winning the Portugese Leage with Porto. Villas Boas did so in just his first season in charge.
Chelsea made the decision to buy him out of his contract at a record fee reported to be around 12.5 million pounds. They believed he was worth every penny of it.
Villas Boas, as I expected, failed to take control of Chelsea’s hugely egotistical locker room and as a result, lost his job.
It was unfair for Chelsea to do what they did with Villas Boas. They took him from a team he had managed just one full season and threw him into the harshest environment in football. He had pressure to spend, a team full of declining stars who don’t know it and an owner that constantly enforces too much of his power onto the team. The situation is hugely unhealthy and he never stood a chance.
The best thing for Chelsea to do would have been to bring in Villas Boas under a more senior manager for a significant period of time and allowed him to adjust not only to British football, but to the way the club ran. Yes he was a scout for Chelsea before he left for Portugal, but he had nothing of a serious role in the club and would not have seen the true workings of it.
However, I will be the first to admit I did not like the way Villas Boas composed himself, and as such, I can see why the players didn’t like him. Villas Boas never took responsibility. As a player, you want to see the manager take responsibility when it is appropriate to, rather than offering excuse after excuse. Only once in the tumultuous stint AVB had at the club did I hear him take responsibility for a poor performance. That came several days ago. Clearly too late.
Villas Boas would begin his media conferences blaming referees, sideline officials, weather, pitches, scheduling and basically anything else he could concoct to avoid taking blame. The Chelsea playing group is strong and if you show them any sign of weakness they will destroy you before you know it. AVB clearly didn’t have the personality to control the club and succeed in this league. Perhaps the unbelievable pressured situation he was thrown into is to blame, but I just don’t think he is cut out for the Premier League.
Either way, Chelsea Football Club is in a truly terrible position. It is three points outside the Top 4 and fading. Whilst their direct rivals are beginning to peak, they continue to decline. Their roster is truly past their prime and the youth system in place is very much secondary compared to the other big clubs of Europe. There is no foreseeable light at the end of the tunnel for the West Londoners.
Nonetheless they have reconfirmed their position as the EPL’s walking punchline. If 50 million pounds wasted on the misfiring, shadow of what he once was Fernando Torres wasn’t bad enough, close to 30 million pounds on a vastly inexperienced coward in Villas Boas will do the trick.