If you are a football romantic, then Andre Villas Boas to Tottenham could end up being one of the potential feel good stories of the new season. If you are a skeptic, then every single sign says Villas Boas will crumble more than an England player during a penalty shoot out.

The former Chelsea and Porto manager certainly has a point to prove on his return to the Premier League. His failure at Chelsea leaves many unanswered questions about his overall ability to manage a team at that level. Many would argue winning the treble with Porto is easier than winning the Premier League with Chelsea. Either way, there is an evident gulf between the two leagues but surely people can respect winning the treble at any level is quite an achievement.

The biggest question about Villas Boas returning to the Premier League will be whether or not he has learned from his serial mistakes at Stamford Bridge. Can he man manage veteran players at a high level of the game? Does he have the ability to park his ego aside both tactically and with the UK media? Ego and arrogance can hurt anyone in life, but in sports, it can destroy an individual or team if it’s not projected in the right way.

What do I mean by that? Jose Mourinho is probably one of the most arrogant people in all of sports. But his arrogance also has a twist of tongue n’ cheek. It has a comedic value and element that makes him likable. Plus when you can back-up your arrogance with winning in every country you’ve ever managed, it makes it all the more acceptable doesn’t it?

Andre Villas Boas arrogance made him an immediate hate figure with the UK media. He didn’t endear himself to them. He wasn’t as smart as Mourinho in terms of winning them over. He came across as bitter, snobby, superior and bitchy most of the time. He believed he was above everyone and eventually, he paid the ultimate price for his immaturity and naivety during his brief spell in England.

Had Andre Villas Boas been winning on the pitch at Chelsea, nobody would have complained about his ego, arrogance, brash style or tactics. He probably would have been labeled as a no nonsense boss who takes a tough stance on players and doesn’t care who he enrages in the pursuit of winning. So was it more about the Chelsea players not responding to his style of football or his personality? Clearly the Porto team he led to a treble responded well to both. Just ask Hulk and Falcao about their experience at Porto and in particular, Falcao, who enjoyed an emphatic record-breaking season in front of goal playing for Villas Boas.

The Chelsea players didn’t see him the same way as people did at Porto. Relationships broke down early, results were poor and the team was inconsistent. Granted the 5-3 loss to Arsenal at Stamford Bridge was more about woeful defensive tactics than players not putting in the effort. However, the manner in which the Chelsea players performed away to West Brom last season was completely unprofessional. By then, the relationship between manager and players was toast and the players showed how they felt about Villas Boas on the pitch. It was without question one of the most unsavoury and deliberately negative performances of any top team during the 20 year history of the Premier League and Andre Villas Boas did nothing but help the players cause. He even put the final nail in his own coffin after the Champions League debacle in Napoli. Leaving veterans like Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard out gave the players more ammunition that this guy had no clue or idea what he was doing. There was no turning back.

Despite Villas Boas unsuccessful time at Chelsea he has been given the opportunity for redemption and he will have to earn it. The sports universe does love a comeback and if he leads Tottenham to glory, it will be an incredible story. If Villas Boas can learn from his rookie errors, he has the talent and belief to make a team successful. Like every other manager (other than Carlo Ancelotti), Villas Boas had to live in the shadow of Mourinho. He suffered more than any other manager from “Mourinho Syndrome” because he was Mourinho’s boy during the Special One’s time at Chelsea. Despite returning to the club as a man, people still saw him as whatever he was before. A bit like the Secretary who makes it as an Executive but many people still see her as a secretary. It’s hardly fair is it?

The good news for Spurs fans is that the White Hart Lane dressing room is not like the Stamford Bridge dressing room. Regardless, Andre Villas Boas does bring a stigma with him and he will still have to win over players like Gareth Bale, Rafael van der Vaart and future superstar Kyle Walker. Players talk. Players from opposing teams are mates. Tottenham players have read and heard a lot about what happened at Chelsea. Hopefully they will focus on Villas Boas success at Porto and not the tidal wave of disasters at Chelsea.

If there is one man whose neck is on the line even more so than Villas Boas if things don’t go well it’s Daniel Levy. The Tottenham Chairman has taken a huge risk with this appointment. Bringing in a younger manager with a tarnished reputation to follow in the footsteps of a hugely popular man like Harry Redknapp who changed Tottenham’s fortunes is more risky than investing in today’s stock market. Levy is willing to take his chances with Villas Boas in order to build Tottenham into a global brand. He will definitely have more patience than Roman Abramovich and perhaps he sees this as a very similar situation to when Chelsea initially drafted the Special One as their man.

It will be a fascinating situation to watch. Who isn’t already excited about Tottenham v Chelsea next season? Something tells me Andre Villas Boas will have success down the Lane and that this time around, lightning won’t strike twice…

Comments

5 Responses to “Lightning won’t strike twice…”

  1. Tiger on July 8th, 2012 4:56 pm

    Chelsea players rule that club. Villas Boas had no chance from the beginning. But to be fair to the players, he came in like a big bully trying to get respect by throwing his weight around. You can’t do that at any level in any sport as a coach.

    I’m not a Tottenham fan but I do hope that we see a different Villas Boas next season. Would make the Premier League really interesting. Some exciting young managers like Brendan Rodgers taking on a big club like Liverpool too and it will be good to see them go at it with the vets like Sir Alex and Wenger.

    Villas Boas has a huge mountain to climb. It might be even bigger than his ego. Let’s hope as you say he parks that to one side! If he doesn’t, he’ll be fired and fired quickly :)

  2. Soccer Diva on July 8th, 2012 6:39 pm

    Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool will be a fascinating watch. Plus Villa, West Brom, Norwich, Swansea, all have new coaches too.

    But will it be Mancini and Ferguson who will dominate again? Watch out for DiMatteo. Needs to do much better with results in the Premier League. Was brilliant with tactics in Champions League but failed to impress against big teams in Premier League. Will have to start off very well if he is to keep his job.

  3. Jonesy on July 11th, 2012 6:15 am

    AVB could be an amazing signing, could be.

    He was fighting a losing battle from day one at Chelsea and i don’t want to discuss that too much as we all know what happened.

    I would rather talk about what we expect to see, from AVB’s Tottenham. The buzz around the training ground from the players who are currently at training is positive, that he has spoken with everyone and have said training is different too, we know AVB is more tactical.

    AVB has made signings and looking to sign more, he will try make it his team as quick as possible, a new centre back in Vertonghen, who i’m excited to see and a new midfielder in Gylfi, links to goalkeepers and midfielders and strikers, he is being active early on this transfer window, which is something we haven’t seen for a few years now at White Hart Lane.

    I for one think he has learnt a lot in his short spell at Chelsea and i don’t think he will make the same mistake twice, he really can’t afford to.

    I believe it will be an exciting season, new Management, New Kit manufacturer Under Armour, New training ground and new faces. Rumours of investment have surfaced too, not a takeover but investment from the same qatari that own PSG, they will own 25% for £200m and Levy will still be chairman and ENIC will still have majority shares.

    Its exciting times again at White Hart Lane.

    AVB is a young talented manager and I’m glad there are doubters and people still questioning him, but I for one believe he can show everyone why Chelsea spent the money to get the Treble winner out of Porto.

  4. Lady Yid on July 12th, 2012 6:52 am

    I believe all this excitement when I see it. Tottenham have a way of breaking my heart every season.

    I think it’s time for the hype to be a reality, I think its’s time AVB shows what he learned from ‘the special one,’ I think it’s time Levy shows us all his decisions led to big things, I think its time to shut everyone up, It’s time….

    COYS!

  5. Soccer Diva on July 12th, 2012 9:17 am

    Jonesy it sounds like we are of the same opinion when it comes to AVB. He will have to win and win early though as the media will jump all over him if he gets off to a slow start. I think the media in the UK are waiting to stick the knife in this guy. As I said in my post, they think he’s beyond arrogant. That will be the toughest part for him…how he handles the media.

    As for the club, Tottenham could be so much bigger but they need to win significant trophies. They were close and challenging last season so you have to think with the new additions they will be challenging again. AVB needs to bring that mental strength to this team so they don’t collapse come February/March! Adding Freund into the set-up and keeping Sherwood is important as they are players connected with the club and they get the culture. But AVB will want to create a new culture down the Lane. A continental culture and a winning culture.

    I would like to see young managers like him, Pardew, Di Matteo and Rodgers give the veteran coaches like SAF, Wenger and Mancini a challenge. Should be a fascinating season.

    Vertonghen is a player I’ve liked for a while and enjoyed watching him at Ajax. Was hoping the Gunners would acquire him to play left back! He will make a difference to the defense but you need more. Ekotto is a liability sometimes. Kyle Walker a future stud. If I were you I’d go out and get Lloris in goal!

    Lady Yid – years of heartache…it’s understandable why you want to wait!

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