Why Andre Villas-Boas' Appointment Will Be Great for Tottenham Hotspur
He was given his mandate. See out the "project" and deliver what fruits it may bear. Then, 256 days later, his chairman, the never satisfied Roman Abramovich, cut short his tenure as head coach of Chelsea football club.
It seems the old guard decided they weren't too happy at being denied guaranteed starting places, and swiftly had Andre Villas-Boas ousted. Such is the player power at Stamford Bridge, which is perhaps why I am not exactly welling-up with much sympathy at Frank Lampard and John Terry not being offered contract extensions. Roman's revenge, it seems, perhaps he's learning after all.
Fast-forward to today, and Villas-Boas (AVB) is head coach at Tottenham. He's doing a mighty fine job of it too. I don't particularly care for the continental import of "head coach" in place of the traditional title of manager, but it is what it is.
I think only Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger and David Moyes do actually deserve the title of manager, as they actually do manage the day-to-day minutiae of their respective clubs and have 100 percent control over transfers.
I suppose Harry Redknapp should also be included on that list as well, as he has been given a mandate to locate and recruit players in a short space of time at his array of clubs—cementing his status as the cockney "wheeler dealer." Abroad, Jose Mourinho made history by becoming the first coach to be given this power at Real Madrid, while Pep Guardiola earned this right at Barcelona, something sure to be carried with him to Bayern when he takes over in June.
It appears these powers of omnipotence must be earned through consistent success. It is also, therefore, something I believe will be gifted to AVB at Tottenham.
Do you think AVB can be a Tottenham great?
Harry Redknapp did an excellent job in his four years at the club, however the team went off the boil midway through the 2011-2012 season due in part to speculation surrounding Redknapp and whether he was going to get the England job, plus his trial for tax evasion.
That season was his last, and for whatever reason, he was sacked by chairman Daniel Levy and AVB was brought in, to mixed reaction from players, fans, and the media. AVB, cruelly and coldly put out to pasture by Chelsea, was chomping at the bit, he had a point to prove.
The Portuguese has been able to implement what he wasn't allowed to at Chelsea, playing a patient, possession-based, but attacking pressing game with a key emphasis on pace in attack. Something Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon posses in abundance.
Villas-Boas' faith in Jermain Defoe, another speedy attacker, as the spearhead of his often used 4-2-3-1 formation, has resulted in a great season for the diminutive striker and a boost in confidence that has resulted in some excellent displays.
Due to the backing of Daniel Levy, the players were never in a position to question his ideas or, indeed, his relative youth, in the way the Chelsea players thought they could, and did. I think that as long as there are no huge blips, AVB could be at Tottenham for many years, possibly even 10. Maybe more. I can see him bringing players through, as he did at Porto, and like he was asked to do by Abramovich but not given nearly enough time to do.
The 35-year-old's man-management has been criticised, but I think he's done OK in the short time he's been in charge and will only improve the longer he is established. Furthermore, his own players have praised his man-management, so that is really all that matters.
The Michael Dawson captaincy drama was misrepresented and sensationalised by the media, and in retrospect really hasn't affected the season at all.
AVB also handled the Hugo Lloris/Brad Friedel situation rather well in my opinion, although he took a bit too long in establishing Lloris as the No. 1 choice. Although, it would have been stupid to hastily displace Friedel considering the defence had been so used to his presence the previous season. Lloris has also come out and said he's a better player since spending time on the bench.
All in all, Villas-Boas is doing a good job at Spurs. If he can secure a Champions League spot and do well in the competition next year then Spurs fans really can start getting excited about him. A third-place finish this year would be Spurs' best in recent memory, and if it's Chelsea who have to slip into fourth, I think we'll all see the irony in that.
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