I am all for giving a new manager some time when he first comes into the club, but over the festive period especially I have begun to wonder, when do you then call time on a manager? Is it when the results are consistently bad, or when the team misses out on trophies or is relegated? Is it when they lose the dressing room, fans and media or even their behaviour making them seem like a thoroughly unpleasant character.
I began to write this article mainly with Chelsea in mind. The club I have the softest spot for in England is also the club who goes through managers like the real Ronaldo goes through pies. It has become a familiar sight since the departure of the Special One, and you can argue even dating back to the tinkerman himself, to see the club in disarray and questions over the future of a manager.
AVB has come under such pressure since day one, with the defence in disarray, players banned from the first team and pundits sacked from Chelsea TV at his request all making things even harder for the young manager, aptly nicknamed Bambi.
Comparisons with Mourinho stopped a while back, with the Tesco value version failing to keep anywhere near the defence Mourinho did, and being downright inept when it comes to dealing with the British media.
For their part Chelsea are said to be giving AVB time to rebuild and restructure an aging side, and I fully agree that the Chelsea manager – who ever that is – has to be given this at least for the next couple of years.
Yet I do not feel that the manager should be AVB. Results aside – and they have hardly been good – he has shown a total lack of class in the way he deals with people who differ in his opinion and has been – rightly in my opinion – called petty, narcissistic and vindictive. Baring a departing Anelka from any club do over Christmas says it all.
Do Chelsea want a man like this at the helm – more importantly can a man with such a chip on his shoulder keep on Abramovich’s good side for an extended period? I doubt he could bar the billionaire owner from the first team car park!
Likewise another under fire manager who has been given time and seemingly the backing of the owners is Steve Kean, who may have pulled a couple of shock results out of the bag but promptly set his team up to lose at home to Stoke and make Peter Crouch look on a level with Leo Messi. Cue the fans dissenting again.
Yes, I have my doubts over Kean’s tactical and managerial ability, I feel he is more like a Steve Clarke – suited to being a coach and a fantastic one at that. Yet all that aside, a man who is under greater pressure than AVB – especially from fans who have vilified him in a cruel and persistent manner has dealt with it about as differently as you can get. Say what you like about Kean as a manager but as a person he comes across as thoroughly likeable and kind. If I was a Blackburn fan I may feel differently, I know my brother does, he wants Kean’s head on a platter, yet the support from fellow managers for Kean (let’s overlook the fact they are all Scottish) is overwhelming – no one has said much for AVB.
It is not just results that will determine how long a manager can stay, and even if results were good, yet his attitude the same, I would still have doubts over AVB’s character and suitability to rebuild the Chelsea team. In reality the only losers here are the Chelsea fans, who give their support, time and money to the club despite all of this, and if my inkling is right, the boos in the latest home defeat won’t be the last we hear this season at the Bridge.