Last Saturday was exactly what was needed to lift the doom that had descended on the club and its fans over the last couple of difficult months. It had felt like something was about to give under the weight of poor performances, rifts with the manager, our worsening position in the league table and most heinous of all – links with Rafa Benitez!!
A Saturday 3pm kick off always lifts the spirits and the feel good factor was only increased when we saw that AVB had actually picked a decent team; the surprise at the inclusion of Lampard, Essien and Cole and more so the exclusion of Bosingwa and Malouda had us all hurrying to the ground with a spring in our step which had been absent for quite some time. The team looked more comfortable, the sun was shining, we were singing – our mojo was back and it felt good – it was a relief. Three goals, three points, Lampard breaking yet more records – it felt – well it felt like us again.
“It was only Bolton” I hear some of you say – and of course, we will have much sterner tests through the rest of the season, but it was the hope that AVB had finally seen the error of his ways that gave me renewed hope for a Champions League place
Much was made of the fans very public display of adulation for Frank Lampard at last Saturdays match – there are some that would try and convince us that this was a direct message to AVB – i.e. “if it was a straight choice between him and you – pack your bags”
I didn’t see it like that at all. I don’t think the majority of the fans necessarily see this as situation where sides need to be taken – I hope AVB doesn’t see it like that either – although I do have my doubts. This isn’t about sentiment either – not entirely anyway. I don’t need to tell anyone that Lampard is a crowd favourite – to a degree that is neither here nor there. Speaking for myself, I want to see him playing because I genuinely believe that he is a better midfield option than Malouda or Meireles. Some may say that Lampard should not be playing because he is not the future and I agree with that but neither is the favoured AVB midfield line up right now. And until we do have the personnel who will make up that midfield to take us into the next chapter then why not play an experienced proven model professional?
Half way through writing this I am distracted by quotes coming out of Portugal allegedly from an interview Villas Boas gave to a radio station. It sounds very much like a “back me or sack me” type of interview. He is not a stupid man – he will have known that this was going to get widely reported back in England. He seems to be orchestrating a situation where the owner has to show him absolute confidence publicly or equally – at best admonish him (through one of his advisors one would imagine) at worst (for who?) sack him. It’s all got a bit complicated truth be told.
Has AVB’s seemingly sudden grandiose confidence come from recent reports of interest from Inter and former club Porto? Does he really have the full backing of the owner and feels empowered to say what he likes? Or is it a case that he feels he is about to be sacked and is not going to go quietly? I know which one my money is on and as much as I have lost faith in AVB it gives me no pleasure to see another manager cast aside (should that be the outcome)
Whether he stays or goes, hopefully he will have learnt a very valuable managerial lesson. And that is that there are many facets to being a manger and the personnel skills are as important, if not more so, than the tactics and the training etc. As a manager, you are reliant on another group of people to bring your ideas to fruition. You do not do that by alienating them, arguing with them, and ostracising them.
I honestly believe that he could still make it at Chelsea – but I get the impression that he doesn’t want to. That he feels let down by the management. Did they promise him revolution and then play it safe by advocating evolution? Who knows?
As someone who studied under Robson and Mourinho it strikes me that he could have done himself a favour by not only availing himself of some of their professional teachings, but tried to develop the charisma that they both had (all be it very different kinds). He could have then perhaps have had a unified dressing room which would I’m sure have made a better fist of what his ethos was. I think it’s been a steep learning curve.
Could be a big week for Chelsea (again) – will the owner sack or stick? Come on Chelsea!”