By Alan Duffy
It all could have been so different for Andre Villas-Boas. Instead of walking a path which took in Euro-success with Porto, lack-of-success with Chelsea and not-sure-yet-if-he’ll-have-any-success with Tottenham, the Portuguese tactician could have been the main man at none other than Burnley FC.
In his new book, entitled “Magical: A Life In Football”, former Burnley chief executive Paul Fletcher describes how a young AVB, then in charge at Academica in Portugal, almost ended up in the Clarets’ hot-seat after Owen Coyle left for Bolton in January 2010.
“Mickey Walsh, an old playing colleague of mine, got in touch with me to describe Andre as being a real up and coming hot prospect.
“He sent a very detailed and lengthy application for the job. His CV and Powerpoint presentation were amazing. Even by today’s standards there was some complicated stuff in it, with some things that I didn’t understand.
“Tommy Docherty used to say he never said anything to his players his milkman wouldn’t understand. I don’t think any milkman would fathom the meaning of a lot of Andre’s presentation.
“The language and jargon of football gets worse by the day. Villas-Boas uses a lot of it. Would Burnley players have ever understood what he wanted if he’d told them to ‘solidificate’ or some of his other terms?
“It’s a fascinating thought, one of the many ‘ifs’ in football. If Andre Villas-Boas had been manager of Burnley’s Premiership team; would he have saved the season? With hindsight, we might have appointed him, but at the time it would just have been too big a risk.”
So there you have it, a few less ‘big words’ and a bit more milkman-based theory and it all could’ve been so different.
Oh, Burnley gave Brian Laws the job but he couldn’t stop the rot. Indeed, they were relegated after losing 15 of their remaining 18 games. While Laws was eventually sacked at the end of December the same year. Not a lot of ‘solidificating’ done there, then