Andre Villas-Boas Takes Managerial Role at Chelsea, But Who’s in Charge?

Photo by Gilyo

Andre Villas-Boas has become Chelsea’s seventh manager in eight years, after the club triggered the £13.2million release clause in his contract to Porto. It only took Villas-Boas one season to achieve fantastic success at the Portuguese club, which was obviously enough to convince Chelsea that he is Carlo Ancelotti’s successor. However, the 33-year-old now has the enormous task of bringing success back to Stamford Bridge and there may be a few obstacles en route.

First, one challenge that may arise could be with the owner Roman Abramovich. The owner has shown faith in Villas-Boas by paying the extraordinary release fee, but, looking at Chelsea’s history of owner-manager relationships, one could be forgiven in thinking that Villas-Boas won’t last his proposed three-year tenure. Bookies have already started to take bets on how long the young manager will remain at the helm.

Roman Abramovich has often become too involved in the general running of Chelsea. Hence, Chelsea managers have been replaced like batteries in a remote. The billionaire owner even managed to drive out Jose Mourinho, Chelsea’s most successful manager in history. Decisions made by Abramovich (e.g. £30million signing of Andriy Shevchenko) caused a feud with the ‘Special One’, which was too big to quell.

Moreover, Abramovich craves success, especially romanticising over Champions League glory. Without it, as seen with the latest casualty Carlo Ancelotti, the manager is unceremoniously dumped. Therefore, there is already a lot of pressure on the young shoulders of Villas-Boas. Overall, the question is, will Andre Villas-Boas, the ‘novice’ manager, become a puppet on a string?

In addition, another challenge may come from the squad, especially the senior players. The Chelsea dressing room is known to be too small for the players’ big egos, and ‘player power’ has been put into practice before at the club.

Luiz Felipe Scolari blamed the dressing room politics for his demise as Chelsea manager. Scolari argued with striker Didier Drogba and even saw players quarrel with each other (Deco and Michael Ballack). In fact, these experiences were so depressing for ‘Big Phil’ that the World Cup-winning manager confessed that he couldn’t think about football for two months after his sacking.

Now, many ex-footballers have expressed their concern over the appointment of Andre Villas-Boas. Ian Wright believes that the manager’s success in Portugal won’t warrant respect from the Chelsea senior players. Plus, many of them will remember Villas-Boas as a scout under Mourinho. Has he got the badges to earn respect from the players?

Furthermore, Graeme Souness claims that the appointment is a “huge gamble” and adds that the manager’s age might be a sticking point with some of Chelsea’s veterans. In addition, former Chelsea player, Micky Hazard warns that Chelsea players are “superstars and sometimes very difficult to handle.” Andre Villas-Boas must break this ‘player power’.

However, in his first TV interview as Chelsea manager, Andre Villas-Boas said (in fluent English), “Don’t expect something from one man.” He believes that it is important to create a group dynamic involving the club, the squad and the fans. Therefore, the point stressed is that there is no one leader; it is very much a team effort.

Chelsea fans should be excited about the appointment of Villas-Boas. The sceptics argue that he’s too young or has come from an ‘easy’ league. Nevertheless, the ‘novice’ manager orchestrated an unbeaten season for Porto in the Primeira Liga breaking several records along the way (some formerly belonging to the ‘Special One’). Moreover, he saw European success in the Europa League with the club. Overall, I think this will help reassure Chelsea fans that the team is in good hands.

Furthermore, even though he has no football playing experience, this is a man who gained the attention and guidance from the late great Sir Bobby Robson at the (even more tender) age of 16. Moreover, at 17 years old, he earned his stripes with a UEFA C coaching licence. If Sir Bobby had respect for him, so should everyone involved with Chelsea.

Another reason that Chelsea should be excited with the appointment is that Villas-Boas could go back to raid Porto for the exceptional talent of Radamel Falcao, Joao Moutinho or the comically named Hulk. Additionally, Chelsea are reported to be closing in on Santos wonderkid Neymar. However, this seems to be Roman Abramovich’s player of choice as transfer speculation started before Villas-Boas was even appointed.

If Andre Villas-Boas is allowed freedom in the transfer market, it will allow him to make the necessary changes to rejuvenate the squad. As a result, it could make Chelsea, once again, a force to be reckoned with in Europe.

Therefore, I am curious to see how the 2011-12 season pans out for Chelsea. Will it be a calamity, or is there going to be a congested victory bus in West London at the end of next season?

Andre Villas-Boas: The next ‘Special One’ or the next one gone?

4 thoughts on “Andre Villas-Boas Takes Managerial Role at Chelsea, But Who’s in Charge?”

  1. You ask: Andre Villas-Boas: The next ‘Special One’ or the next one gone?

    when of course the recent history is that the answer can be both. Jose in his first 2 or 3 seasons and Ancelotti in his first were all pretty special . . . .and all gone a year later. I can see the new players and the new boss creating a special year or 2 and then we’ll have to see if Roman has changed his way when the inevitable ‘more difficult moment’ arrives.

  2. I think AVB will be an excellent appointment.

    Ian Wright is an idiot. Graeme Souness should not talk about being a proper manager b/c as his time in England has shown, he’s not a good one.

  3. This whole Roman Abramovich is a spoiled child line is getting old. Yes, Carlo Ancelotti did do amazing and did win a double but Abramovich isn’t an idiot. Clearly there was something lacking whether it be solely the lack of success in UEFA or the fact that Chelsea had no image, no identity since Mourinho. I like Abramovich realized that all elite teams have an identity and he wanted someone who would do more than “manage” a game but shape the identity of the club. I don’t think anyone can defend Ancelotti on that charge.

    Now will it be weird for a 33 year old to take instructions from a 33 year old? Maybe. But these are professionals. Terry and Lampard have a stellar record (in terms of football) on and off the pitch and love Chelsea. If they think AVB will take them to the promised land they’ll listen. For all the crap Drogba takes he normally does eventually toe the line. This is a job for these players. If they want to stay on a team that can possibly win UEFA and the EPL and not be shipped off to Turkey or Malaga or PSG then they’ll get in line.

    Chelsea need a new identity. They’ve turned to a guy who 1.5 years went from never coaching anything bigger than the British Virgin Islands to winning the Europa title all while going 27-3-0 at home. Porto’s combined record last year was a staggering 47 wins, 4 ties, and 3 losses (27-3-0 in regular season + 6-0-1 in Portuguese Cup + 2-0-0 in Europa playoff round wins + 5-1-0 in Europa group stage + 7-0-2 in Europa knockout phase) which is a staggering 87.04% win percentage.

    Yes, this was at Porto and the Portuguese league isn’t equal to the Big Four but it’s probably close to the Eredivisie and much better than the SPL. And no the Europa League isn’t the Champions League like Mourinho but does anyone doubt that Porto would have been in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League this year? They were certainly better than Schalke and Shakhtar. They might have even been better than Bayern, Inter, Chelsea, Arsenal or Tottenham too. Also, at Porto Mourinho’s win percentage was 70.73% and his win percentage at Chelsea was 70.81% and at Madrid it is 74.58%. So maybe we can agree that a good coach in a smaller league can be a good coach in a bigger league. In both cases he’s taking a team that has built in advantages over 3/4 of that league and both expect to be near the top in terms of payroll, talent and wins.

  4. Everyone knows that Abramovich is in charge. He has a certain fondness for players like Terry and Lampard and is easily influenced by them. Just ask Mourinho. Unless the old guard of Terry, Lampard, Drogba and company are replaced no manager will be able to do it his way. And as long as Abramovich is owner no manager will be in charge.

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