Andre Villas Boas Is Sacked, But It's Chelsea's Players Who Deserve The Boot (PICTURES)

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The Huffington Post UK   First Posted: 5/03/2012 07:32 Updated: 14/03/2012 17:12

A dead man walking, when the phone call arrived for Andre Villas-Boas yesterday to confirm his execution, the grimness was complete. That Portuguese Barry White burgh hasn't got so much to give west London anymore.

The timing, after Chelsea’s defeat to West Brom, suggests Roman Abramovich is already looking beyond this campaign, when it is actually far from over.

Chelsea could win more than Manchester City or United this season. They have a two-goal deficit to claw back at Stamford Bridge against a porous Napoli side and are still in the FA Cup. But seven league losses – a figure registered under Jose Mourinho in 78 matches – illustrates the humiliating chasm the Blues are now reeling from.

But sacking the Portuguese wasn’t the solution. He is the seventh manager in less than nine years to depart during the Abramovich reign, but he is not the first to struggle to impress the egocentric prima donnas who continue to pollute the club.

Villas-Boas never got the chance to sell Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole, Didier Drogba and John Terry. The “Factionous Four”; whiny alpha males unaccustomed to being told what to do but accustomed to mollycoddling and pandering.

Andre Villas Boas' Chelsea career in pictures:

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  • Soccer - Andre Villas-Boas File Photo

    File photo dated 29/06/2011 of Andre Villas-Boas.

  • Soccer - Andre Villas-Boas File Photo

    File photo dated 29/06/2011 of Andre Villas-Boas.

  • Soccer - Andre Villas-Boas File Photo

    File photo dated 14/09/2011 of Andre Villas-Boas.

  • Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Group E - Chelsea v Genk - Chelsea Training Session and Press Conference - Cobham Training Ground

    Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas during the press conference at Cobham Training Ground, London.

  • Soccer - FA Cup - Fifth Round - Chelsea v Birmingham City - Stamford Bridge

    Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas (left) chats with oncoming substitute Frank Lampard on the touchline

  • Soccer - FA Cup - Fifth Round - Chelsea v Birmingham City - Stamford Bridge

    Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas (left) with Frank Lampard (right) on the touchline

  • Soccer - FA Cup - Fifth Round - Chelsea v Birmingham City - Stamford Bridge

    Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas on the touchline

  • Soccer - Barclays Premier League - West Bromwich Albion v Chelsea - The Hawthorns

    Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas (right) crouches in front of West Bromwich Albion manager Roy Hodgson on the touchline

  • FBL-ENG-PR-TOTTENHAM-CHELSEA

    Tottenham Hotspur's Portuguese manager Andre Villas-Boas (R) looks on as Chelsea's Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho (L) gestures from the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea at White Hart Lane in London on September 28, 2013. AFP PHOTO/ IAN KINGTON RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. NO USE WITH UNAUTHORIZED AUDIO, VIDEO, DATA, FIXTURE LISTS, CLUB/LEAGUE LOGOS OR LIVE SERVICES. ONLINE IN-MATCH USE LIMITED TO 45 IMAGES, NO VIDEO EMULATION. NO USE IN BETTING, GAMES OR SINGLE CLUB/LEAGUE/PLAYER PUBLICATIONS (Photo credit should read IAN KINGTON/AFP/Getty Images)

  • FC Anji Makhachkala v Tottenham Hotspur FC - UEFA Europa League

    RAMENSKOYE, RUSSIA - OCTOBER 3: Andre Villas-Boas, coach of Tottenham Hotspur FC during the UEFA Europa League group stage match between FC Anji Makhachkala and Tottenham Hotspur FC held on October 3, 2013 at the Saturn Stadium, in Ramenskoye, Russia. (Photo by Alexander Fedorov/EuroFootball/Getty Images)

  • Tottenham Hotspur v Hull City - Premier League

    LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 27: Manager Andre Villas Boas of Spurs shakes hands with Manager Steve Bruce of Hull City during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Hull City at White Hart Lane on October 27, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

  • Tottenham Hotspur FC v FC Sheriff - UEFA Europa League

    LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 07: Manager Andre Villas Boas of Spurs (R) gestures during the UEFA Europa League Group K match between Tottenham Hotspur FC and FC Sheriff at White Hart Lane on November 7, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

  • Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League

    MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 24: Andre Villas-Boas the manager of Tottenham Hotspur looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur at Etihad Stadium on November 24, 2013 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

  • Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United - Premier League

    LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 01: Andre Villas-Boas manager of Tottenham Hotspur adjusts his coat during the Barclays Premier League Match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United at White Hart Lane on December 1, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

  • Fulham v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League

    LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 04: Hugo Lloris the Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper is embraced by Andre Villas-Boas manager of Tottenham Hotspur following the Barclays Premier League match between Fulham and Tottenham Hotspur at Craven Cottage on December 4, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

  • Sunderland v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League

    SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 07: Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas-Boas gestures from the touchline during the Barclays Premier League match between Sunderland and Tottenham Hotspur at Stadium of Light on December 07, 2013 in Sunderland, England. (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images)

  • FBL-ENG-PR-TOTTENHAM-LIVERPOOL

    Tottenham Hotspur's Portugese manager Andre Villas-Boas gestures during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool at White Hart Lane in London, England, on December 15, 2013. Liverpool won 5-0. AFP PHOTO/IAN KINGTON - RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. NO USE WITH UNAUTHORIZED AUDIO, VIDEO, DATA, FIXTURE LISTS, CLUB/LEAGUE LOGOS OR LIVE SERVICES. ONLINE IN-MATCH USE LIMITED TO 45 IMAGES, NO VIDEO EMULATION. NO USE IN BETTING, GAMES OR SINGLE CLUB/LEAGUE/PLAYER PUBLICATIONS. (Photo credit should read IAN KINGTON/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Stoke City v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League

    STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - MAY 12: Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas congratulates Gareth Bale following their team's 2-1 victory during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Tottenham Hotspur at Britannia Stadium on May 12, 2013 in Stoke on Trent, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

  • Southampton v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League

    SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 28: Manager Andre Villas Boas of Tottenham hugs Gareth Bale at the final whistle during the Barclay's Premier League match between Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur at St Mary's Stadium on October 28, 2012 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

  • Tottenham Hotspur v Sunderland - Premier League

    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 19: Gareth Bale and Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas-Boas after the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Sunderland at White Hart Lane on May 19, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

He was undermined in front of Abramovich and yet it is his owner’s credibility that has plummeted again. Disharmony saw Scolari sacked and even Mourinho allegedly, so when will Abramovich protect the club and his reputation by backing a manager over players?

Countenancing Cole, who ostensibly had the nerve to tell Villas-Boas that Chelsea would never win anything with “your tactics”, is one problematic example.

Villas-Boas’ three-year deal was reportedly worth £14m, and Chelsea spent £28m paying off Ancelotti and FC Porto. That’s £42m to sack, appoint and sack two managers.

Lampard, a true blue, has emerged as a rotten apple. This is a 33-year-old midfielder who cannot accept he is a bit-part player at a big side, despite his potency flagging. If a squad role is good enough for Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes in Manchester, then it’s good enough for Lampard.

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Is it not a conflict of interest too that he has holidayed on Abramovich’s yacht? Information was snitched to Mourinho about Villas-Boas eulogising Barcelona during the recent Copa del Rey Clásico. The usual suspects come back to the aforementioned quartet.

And who replaces Villas-Boas? Roberto Di Matteo. A coach who certain squad members apparently lack respect for and who was sacked by the Baggies last season. Chelsea, purportedly a big club, are scraping the barrel.

To rub salt into the wounds, Rafael Benitez is a frontrunner to succeed Villas-Boas. He guided Liverpool to a fortunate Champions League victory, but his domestic performances were erratic on Merseyside. Furthermore, Chelsea supporters were one of the most vocal set to sardonically heckle the ‘fat Spanish waiter’.

Abramovich has installed Di Matteo as caretaker until the end of the season, purportedly hoping that he will snare Pep Guardiola. But would the Spaniard want to take charge of upstarts whilst inhibited by the Russian's shadow?

Simply put, Mourinho is the only man who could be accepted at all levels, and a spot of house-hunting in the capital last week will only heighten expectation of a return. Returning to Chelsea for an ego like him would be a step down however, even if the satisfaction of gaining success after his one-time protege's failure.

Juan Mata expressed his regret at the departure of the man who brought him to Stamford Bridge:


Juan Mata García
It hasn't been an easy day for those who, like me, are part of ...

Gary Cahill, who was signed for Villas-Boas rather than by him, and the impossible task of rejuvenating the squad in under a year, reaffirms the hastiness in sacking a manager in March. Villas-Boas made mistakes, mainly in defence and in his distant man-management, but personnel conspired against him and he was ultimately the erroneous appointment.

And who is held to account for that? Is Abramovich really a doyen of Portuguese football or, more likely, does an advisor brief him on a potential manager’s suitability? Managers are often painted as the fall guy, but Villas-Boas needn’t feel responsible for the side’s fading star.

He inherited a sinking ship and found that too many aboard had too much baggage to prevent the plunge. But to be jettisoned from this plank bears no shame. Although he failed, his reputation hasn’t diminished.

If Chelsea want to become a great club, then the manager needs to be trumpeted as the main man. Otherwise the hot seat will continue to be a lucrative meal ticket for the ambitious and the avaricious during the global recession.

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