Story by Ben Steele
A few weeks ago I wrote an article about the vacant manager’s job at Tottenham Hotspur. Well it is no longer a vacant job and here I am writing about Spurs again. Seriously, I’m in danger of becoming 11’s resident Spurs reporter and as an Arsenal fan there is only so much schadenfreude I can indulge in. After a few weeks of uncertainty, which culminated in left back Benoit Assou-Ekotto tweeting “Who is the manager pls? LOL”, Daniel Levy and the board at White Hart Lane have appointed Andre Villas-Boas.
Of the 3 candidates I wrote about Villas-Boas was the one I saw as the least likely option, but that was simply because I thought his disastrous reign at Chelsea would put off any English clubs from offering him a job in the near future. I am expecting the media reaction to this appointment to be lukewarm at best, which seems unfair. To be honest Villas-Boas at Chelsea he was the right man for the wrong job. His meteoric rise as a manager has not come by accident, it has happened because he is a fantastically ambitious man who twins that ambition with a style of play that works assuming he can get the players to accept his ideas. Chelsea’s aging squad are set in their ways and seemed unwilling to adapt to a different style so late in their careers. It would be very surprising if the Spurs players were similarly set to a style, especially considering the managerial revolving door at the Lane, and assuming that Villas-Boas can learn from his mistakes and find a way to get star players like Gareth Bale, Luka Modric and Rafael Van Der Vaart on board I don’t see why he can’t succeed.
It’s not like AVB lacks confidence; he’s taken a job in a country, and a city, where large sections of the media attacked him on an almost daily basis claiming he had lost the dressing room, arguably making the task of fixing any problems even harder. He’s also taken a job that had been vacated by the media’s favourite man; Harry Redknapp. England boss Roy Hodgson has spent a large portion of his 2 month reign having his every move second guessed by the media with journalists asking “What would Harry have done?” and this is simply because the Fleet Street sect like Redknapp because he made their jobs easier by continually providing soundbites. For his defiance of the media AVB has to be commended. It should also be noted that, to my knowledge, his dog doesn’t have Monaco bank account full of unscrupulous looking payments, unlike someone…
Aged just 34, Villas-Boas has room for improvement and his 4 year contract would imply that both sides are willing to give it some time, something that Abramovich was not willing to offer the Portuguese. The difference in expectations between Chelsea and Tottenham will also be in AVB’s favour. Roman Abramovich wants Chelsea to be competing and winning every competition so the margins for error are a lot smaller than at Tottenham. In his first year at Spurs AVB will be asked to build on the foundations set by Redknapp and begin to implement his style. With a relatively young squad and now a young manager as well, the powers that be at White Hart Lane certainly have time on their side and may well be the team to gain the most from AVB’s Chelsea debacle.