When Chelsea selected ex-Porto manager Andre Villas-Boas to be their new leader last summer, many fans were scratching their heads to figure out who he was, and why he was chosen, but people in the game however, had no reservations about his ability to lead the London club back to it’s trophy winning ways, as he had led Porto to a treble winning season in 2011 with Portuguese League, Cup and Europa League triumphs. He was previously an assistant under former Chelsea manager and current Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho so his credentials are impeccable, and if you choose to look further into his past, he lived in the same condo block as legendary ex-England, Barcelona and Porto manager Sir Bobby Robson. Apparently they used to talk for hours together about the finer points of the game and as a 16 yr old boy, Villas Boas soaked it all up like sponge. As a result, Robson gave him his first step up on the coaching ladder so it was with some surprise last week, that I read that Villas-Boas’s job might be under pressure from notorious coach-killer and Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich.
We have to look a little deeper into Abramovich’s mind to understand if what is being said is true. The Russian oligarch has gone through managers just about as fast as you and I change socks. Claudio Ranieri, Jose Mourinho, Luis Scolari, Avram Grant, Guus Hiddink (not fired), and Carlos Ancelotti. Ancelotti, Grant and Mourinho had excellent records while in charge but in Abramovich’s world, only one trophy matters and that is the Champions League trophy, so they were summarily disposed of. I’m sure that the man would literally give his right arm to win that title but Chelsea have always fallen at the last hurdle either in the semi-final, or in the Final itself.
Therefore, I doubt that Villas-Boas’s position is in jeopardy at the moment, even though Abramovich’s favorite choice, Guus Hiddink, who wasn’t available after he fired Ancelotti, has now ended his contract with the Turkish national team after they failed to qualify for Euro2012. I had even suggested in a previous post that if Abramovich didn’t achieve his obsessive personal goal very soon, that he would take his hat and coat and move on, leaving the club in pretty dire circumstances financially. Villas-Boas’s job remains safe right up to the point where Chelsea fail to progress in the Champions League, and with the club nicely poised to push through to the knockout stages, the Portuguese coach can sleep soundly knowing that his office chair won’t suddenly go missing tomorrow, unless of course, they lose to Bayer Leverkusen today and then fail to get through.
I almost hope to a degree that he does get fired, because if I was running the English FA, I’d be keeping a close eye on this guy with a possibility to have him succeed Fabio Capello as England boss when the Italian’s contract runs out at the end of the Euro2012 Championships. He would be a perfect choice for the hot seat for England as he is polished, tactically proficient, speaks English fluently, and understands the English mentality probably more than most foreign coaches as his grandmother was English and lived in Cheadle, Manchester until her family bought a vineyard and moved to Portugal.
The next few weeks will be interesting at Stamford Bridge, that’s for sure.