it’s not easy being blue

andre villas-boas

You have to laugh at Chelsea. It would be easy to say their managerial office has a revolving door, but it’s more like a revolving cashpoint. It reminds me of the Crystal Maze, that bit at the end where you are in that air cupboard and have a minute to grab as many bits of rapidly flying silvery paper as possible before your time is up. Actually it’s not like that in the slightest but I like the image. Longer serving managers like Ferguson, Wenger, Moyes (that’s it, by the way) must look at Chelsea in the same way that oak trees look at human beings, with their fleeting brief lifespans, but still strong enough to cut them down from time to time. The fabulous wealth that their Russian owner brought them means that instant success is an absolute (which basically means winning every trophy in your first couple of weeks or you’re fired). Even Ancelotti, who won them their second double, was booted out less than a year later. The double used to be really really hard to win, and double-winning managers were revered for decades later (Nicholson, Mee, Dalglish). Now it’s like, well you couldn’t even win the Champion’s League too? You’re useless! All of which hiring and firing becomes very expensive for Chelsea. This is Andres Villas-Boas, who lasted about two thirds of a season. He’s only 34, look at him. He was a manager for one year before coming to Chelsea, winning a load of stuff at Porto before shifting to the Bridge for a ton of Siberian cash. Now he’s out the door also with a ton of cash, and while part of me feels bad for the guy – he’s young, still learning, and needed to be given time to change that aging cliquey team around – but really I think he’s not been harmed too much by this whole affair, he has full pockets now, and when even top-drawer managers with very successful careers can get axed at Chelsea (Ancelotti, Mourinho, Scolari) it doesn’t hurt his reputation as much as you’d think. Andre, I hope you to either a smaller club, or even back to Portugal, and spend a few years really working on a project, making it successful, building up a bank of respect and a catalogue of trophies, and then when Chelsea, many more managers and revolving doors and millions of pounds and failed players down the line, will look back up at you and shout “save us!” you will whisper, “no…”