The soap opera continues at Chelsea as Andre Villas-Boas exits stage left.
Is there ever a dull season at Stamford Bridge? Even when the performances are drab and guileless the intrigue and subterfuge in the dressing room and corridors of power ensure that drama is at the heart of operations in SW6.
The thousand yard stare that AVB has developed over recent weeks has been the product of poor results coupled with the the insurrection of his players and the deafening silence from the man upstairs. He resembled a zombie from a George A Romero film and, like Claudio Ranieri and Carlo Ancelotti before him, he had become the latest ‘dead man walking’.
In fairness to the Portuguese, he was given a thankless task by Roman Abramovich. Offered a post at one of the biggest clubs in European football with a salary to match, it was one that nobody with any ambition could turn down but the job ahead of him was more than just the winning of matches.
He was required to maintain serious challenges for the Premier League and Champions League, as well as the domestic cup competitions, while simultaneously phasing out the older players and replacing them with his own men. That would be difficult at the best of times but when you have just a year and a half’s worth of managerial experience behind you and are faced with a dressing room in possession of power and influence unparalleled at any other club, the chances of success are all but impossible.
However, AVB did not make life easy for himself. He seemed desperate to put Frank Lampard in his place at any opportunity despite the lack of a viable alternative in midfield. He also decided to ship out the likes of Josh McEachran and January signing Kevin De Bruyne on loan despite the clear lack of creativity in first team squad. The persistence with Jose Bosingwa and Raul Meireles was also testing in the extreme.
His brutal honesty in interviews and press conferences can be commended when assessing his integrity but when you look at how figures such as Sir Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho conduct themselves in similar situations, it is their blind loyalty and refusal to accept alternatives to their own beliefs that characterises them, however unpalatable it can sometimes appear.
So it’s bye-bye to AVB and the very best of luck to the next sucker set for the Stamford Bridge hot seat.
Read more of my views at blogs.soccernet.com/chelsea