AVB for AVFC....Why Not?
Disclaimer: This article is based solely on personal opinion.
As the speculation wheel turns (hopefully for its first, last and only fortnight this time round) the current favourite is Paul Lambert. Understandable, he`s had a great season with Norwich, his team plays good attacking football and (something which tipped the scales for me in his favour) he went to the Emirates and came away with a point at the least after scoring 3 goals. Not a solid enough basis to go on but it impressed me, as I`m sure it did you.
My question is, why is Paul Lambert the favourite when there is a manager with a slightly higher-calibre CV?
Andre Villas-Boas has been out of work since he was dismissed from Chelsea. The general feeling there is that the senior players held too much sway over the dressing room and he was unable to implement his own style, much like trying to convince James Collins to go to the Carling Academy when he clearly loves a rave. However, Roman Abramovich thought enough of him to whip him out of his contract at Porto and bring him to the Premier League. Even with Abramovich`s trigger-happy nature, something impressed him enough to give him a chance. A fantastic win record and a title in his first season at Porto. Former student of Sir Bobby Robson and assistant to Jose Mourinho, the man who turns most things to gold when he touches them.
Sadly, because Chelsea didn`t win every game by 5 clear goals and everyone in the dressing room kept falling over the toys, AVB was given his marching orders. An expectation too high at this stage in his career as a manager. He was clearly the wrong man for Chelsea. But what about Aston Villa?
Paul Faulkner`s statement highlighted that the board are looking to appoint a young, vibrant manager to reinvigorate Aston Villa. Forget panicking about the Mick McCarthy rumours, that`s all they are, and if everyone believes the hype then you might as well paint your bedsheets now. Common sense dictates that we go for a manager without a club and that we won`t have to pay compensation for. AVB is a free agent. While Lambert has achieved Premier League status with Norwich, it is still too early to say whether they will sustain it next season. Lambert could well jump ship if the right offer came in, but I sincerely hope not. Roberto Martinez is linked again and would be likely to enjoy a frugal financial relationship with our chairman, but in all honesty I believe we can aim much higher in terms of managerial candidates. Brendan Rodgers is doing a job at Swansea. Let him continue to do so.
Aside from the obvious name connection indicating that he`s the right choice (that was a joke), I believe AVB would be the appropriate choice for us. If he was given time by the fans, as long as we weren`t relegated in the first season and playing attractive football, he could bring success back to Aston Villa. Trying to get John Terry to do something different is like teaching an old dog tricks he already knows with a new master. We have a young enthusiastic squad with players willing to learn. This process began under Houllier briefly, when Marc Albrighton`s confidence was flying and more of the academy guys started coming through. I believe AVB could work with this and harness the potential of the younger lads, setting the foundations for an exciting new team. I also believe that, should we get AVB, it would show that the board matches the ambition of the fans as opposed to if we got the ex-Norwich/Wigan manager. However, after this season`s failings and the fact that most people seem to be favouring the appointment of a manager from a smaller club it could be a sign that expectations are finally becoming more realistic around B6, something which I am equally in favour of.
Personally, I`d like to see Villas-Boas as Villa`s Boss, but I`m sure whoever comes in will be welcomed with open arms and be expected to deliver a top 4 finish in his first season. Otherwise, the protests, web pages and newspaper messages may rise from the ashes again......