Good grief! Andre Villas-Boas has been sacked by the autocratic Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich. It's sad that things have come to such a pretty pass in such a short time. The poor man couldn't hold his job for a little more than eight months. The news is saddening, though not surprising at all.
The signs were there when there was no public backing for the manager. Villas-Boas kept pleading Abramovich to support him in the public domain but the minted Russian remained tight-lipped. That gave away a lot but what kept us in the dark is that Villas-Boas was presumably brought to Stamford Bridge to write a new, more glorious chapter in Chelsea's history. That he was brought to take the club to the next level, a level from where the nadir can't be seen. A level where you find Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United and so on.
His sacking clearly indicates those were false assumptions. He was brought on for immediate success, with the majority of players no faster than a snail. It was a raw deal for him, indeed.
How do you expect a manager to give quick results with a bunch like that? Frank Lampard, who many believe was the ringleader of the mutiny against the manager, isn't the same player he used to be. The same can be said of John Terry, who has embarrassed the club both on and off the field. Fernando Torres, the 50-million-Pound signing, made matters worse for the Londoners. With the lack of resources, how do you expect a young and inexperienced manager to get into his stride straight away?
It wasn't Villas-Boas' team. It was predominantly Jose Mourinho's team and Villas-Boas wanted his own men for the job. Everyone wants their own men for the job. So if he ignored Lampard and Terry's past glories, he could not be blamed.
Villas-Boas is a no-nonsense man, and he remained so throughout his stint. It's not that he took the club by surprise with his forthright views. His bold reputation preceded his arrival at Stamford Bridge. The majority of Chelsea fans are baffled at this new development. Despite a string of poor results, they trusted in the guy's ability. Their hope was never lost.
Now the question is, who is responsible for Villas-Boas being given his marching orders? Clearly, there are a lot of groups involved but it seems that it's the players ganging up on him that expedited his departure. It's a shame. By acting on those anti-Villas-Boas suggestions from players, Abramovich has proved yet again that he might be a big football lover, but he little understands how to run a club, and the people who he has given the power to run the club are abusing their positions.
True, the west London club wasn't as bad as it has been this season since their renaissance in 2003 but Villas-Boas is not alone responsible for it. Everyone at the club, including Abramovich, is responsible for this helter-skelter. Villas-Boas' deputy Robert Di Matteo will be in charge on an interim basis and his job will be no easier either.
Now what can be the positive coming out of the present situation? It is that the culprit players know now that the time has come to produce their best game to make sure the club qualifies for the Champions League. They are currently lie in fifth place and are in a battle with Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal for the third and fourth spots, the last two places for Europe's top club competition.
Arsenal have gone from strength to strength in recent matches and Spurs are having a dream season. Chelsea are also in the hunt for the FA Cup but it's mainly the Champions League qualification at the heart of things.
Looking at the tough competition from Arsenal and Spurs, clearly, it's going to be a tall order for the Blues. But if they do what is needed of them, that is the Champions League qualification, they will save their season, for sure. All will be forgotten, everything from the bad season to Villas-Boas' axing. That’s the only way out.
As for Villas-Boas, he is young and the sky is the limit for him. All he has to do is move on from this embarrassing episode as soon as possible.