Only Chelsea Football Club can make a manager’s appointment, which is a routine event in club football, look like a summer blockbuster! For the last two days, the manner in which the story has unfolded has left the fans, media, and rivals gasping for more, in equal measure.
Here’s an attempt to describe the sequence of events in the last two days, while capturing the emotions of the most important stake-holders – the fans.
Event #1: Portuguese media starts reporting that Chelsea are in talks with Porto over their manager.
Reaction: There’s some degree of skepticism as there is a 13.2m GBP release clause in his contract. Also, wasn’t Hiddink a front runner for the job? However, deep down one knows that if Roman wants his man, a few millions, here and there, would not dissuade him. Actually, a price-tag on his head may give Roman a better kick!
Event #2: The non-reliable English sources start publishing their breaking-news in trademark sensational fashion.
Reaction: Well, okay.
Event #3: The reports are confirmed. Porto President Pinto Da Costa says “Villas Boas has a contract and a clause of €15million. If someone deposits €15million into our account and he wants to go, we can not do anything because it is something that is contractually specified.”
Reaction: Wow! So all this while the media was busy writing about Guus Hiddink, Roman was busy planning to shock the living hell out of everyone. Nice; sly work there by Chelsea. Let’s wait and watch.
Event #4: Betting on the new Chelsea manager is suspended.
Reaction: It’s funny how much such non-football things reveal about an impending event. Nobody risks his money on a dead bet. The anxiety grows.
Event #5: #AndresVillasBoas starts trending on Twitter.
Reaction: There’s palpable excitement everywhere. Chelsea fans start contemplating on whether the appointment would be a good one for Chelsea, considering the fact that the manager would be as old, or should we say as young, as few of the players, especially knowing the kind of player-power that exists in the dressing room. However, there’s no doubt about the talent of the man in question – as good as they come. While rivals condescendingly dismiss everything by saying that the Portuguese would be fired even before the euphoria settles down. The majority of fans still believe that Hiddink would be needed as Director of football, initially, to ease him in.
Event #6: Porto releases a statement, confirming that no club has yet hit the release clause.
Reaction: This serves as a killjoy for some, while the statement is dismissed outrightly by others, as a tactic by Porto to placate their fans and shareholders. So what if the clause is not yet triggered? It will be soon. Porto, wait for it. We are coming!
Event #7: Some sources claim that the offer from Chelsea was too low, and was rejected by Porto.
Reaction: Oh, dear. The anxiety level increases. However, only Chelsea can take the hiring of a manager, turn it on its head, and make it look like an high-profile signing of a superstar, that too on the last day of the transfer window!
Event #8: After 12 hours of the last event, a Portuguese source claims that Villas-Boas has faxed in his resignation and is ready to buyout his contract.
Reaction: Phew, finally! However, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. Fingers crossed.
Event #9: It’s confirmed: Villas-Boas resigns as Porto boss, and buys out his contract
Reaction: Awesome! Now, it should just be a matter of time. Of course, the money has indirectly been pumped in by Chelsea. Fans start considering various Porto players such as Hulk, Falcao, Guarin – should the club sign any one of them?
Event #10: Porto releases a statement on their official website, confirming that they have received the money and announce the appointment of Vitor Pereira, who was the assistant under Boas, as the new manager.
Reaction: Come on, Chelsea, say something for the love of god and end the suspense!
Event #11: After close to 36 hours of drama, Chelsea Football Club finally breaks silence. “We note that the release clause of Andre Villas-Boas has been activated. We can at this time confirm our interest in him and hope to reach agreement with him on personal terms and make a further announcement in the near future.”
Reaction: One word describes it all – happiness! The disinterested manner in which the club “notes” that the release clause has been activated brings a wry smile on the faces of the fans.
Event #12: VILLAS-BOAS APPOINTED: Chelsea Football Club is delighted to announce that Andre Villas-Boas will be the club’s new manager.
Reaction: Welcome home, André.
You couldn’t have written a better script, could you? The story had everything – surprise, shock, joy, despair, disappointment, retrospection, thrill, excitement, intrigue, and happiness.
Chelsea Football Club and Roman Abramovich have recruited the most talented young manager in world football today for the Stamford Bridge job.
He is back, and back with a bang!
Who is André Villas-Boas?
– A man, who has learnt his trade from the late Sir Bobby Robson, and then spent 7 years honing his skills under the perfectionist, Jose Mourinho.
– A non-conformist, who has never bothered to play by the rules. At the age of 17, he acquired the UEFA C licence, after Robson had played a defining role in getting him in. At 21, he kept his age hidden and took over the national team of British Virgin Islands. He is never reluctant to take a risk, never holds back from speaking his mind, and never afraid to make a mistake.
– For seven years, he was a crucial cog in the Mourinho regime – from Porto to Inter, including a 3-year assignment at Chelsea, where he famously was in-charge of the Opponent Observation Department, and his role was to study the opponents before a match and prepare reports which were unbelievably detailed, both analytically and tactically. He used to secretly observe the opposition before a match, and prepare a report on their offensive organisation, offensive transition after winning the possession of the ball, defensive organisation, defensive transition after losing the possession of the ball, team set-up for set-plays, both for and against. Mourinho prefers to leave very little to chance and prepares his team so that there are no surprises in the game. The work of Villas-Boas was crucial to make this possible. Each and every player in the team was given an individual report, in addition to the collective analysis of the opposition.
– He has not had a playing career, so is hungrier as a coach. He is not someone who has already been a star and can afford to live off his reputation; he has to make his own reputation.
– Even though he has just managed a side for one and a half years, he has been preparing for the role for 10 years. In 2009, he decided to move on from Mourinho’s shadow, and took over Académica, a team which was the favorite to get relegated. But, it didn’t. In his only season as the manager of Porto, he won 4 trophies, including the league and the Europa League, becoming the youngest manager ever to win a European title. Along the way, Porto went 36 games unbeaten, managed 16 league wins in a row, and won the Portuguese league by a record 21 points.
– His forte lies in the tactical, analytical and communications aspect of the game. He is a tactical genius, who has diligently studied the game his entire life and then closely observed his mentor, a master tactician himself, for several years, seeing him execute his plans. His reports are a testament to his analytical skills and is known to be a brilliant communicator as well.
– At the age of 33, he is the new Chelsea manager – a job which is considered to be one of the toughest in the world, not just restricted to football. If one has closely followed his career, the decision is not even a surprise. It’s the biggest challenge in world football today and he has willingly accepted it. He has never managed a side in a Champions League game, and it’s no secret that the whole of Chelsea yearns for that very trophy.
Chelsea FC and André Villas-Boas
He is Carlo Ancelotti’s replacement. His predecessor was undeservingly and ungracefully shown the door after just one trophy-less season. The Villas-Boas appointment is a paradigm shift in the club’s approach – the focus has changed from experienced campaigners, who had nothing to prove, to a confident young man, just beginning his managerial journey . Considering his talent, potential, age and the money paid just to acquire his services, one hopes that this is a long term appointment. Roman is himself a young prodigy, being a self-made billionaire, and it’s understandable why he first backed Mourinho and now Villas-Boas.
However, you never know with Roman.
These are exciting times for the West London club, and one can’t wait for the new manager to start his work at Stamford Bridge. Welcome back to Chelsea Football Club, André Villas-Boas.