A young, charismatic football manager is about to join a top premier league side after an outstanding season with Porto, sounds familiar? That must be the only comparison that is made with Andre Villas-Boas and the ‘special one’, Jose Mourinho.
There’s no doubt to Chelsea fans, Mourinho was the most successful manager ever to have graced Stamford Bridge and his legacy is somewhat still part of the team now. However, a new chapter is upon Chelsea Football Club and there is more than a few reason to be excited, not sceptical, about a manager who is only a year older than Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard.
Most managers form a career out of playing the game, whether it’s at the highest level or being involved with a lower league club; yet Andre Villas-Boas began his career with a letter to the late Sir Bobby Robson.
In the letter Villas-Boas criticised that striker Domingos Paciencia was left out of the team too much, Sir Bobby replied with a message that asked Andre if he had any data that would back this opinion up. Only to receive a well documented report that impressed Robson that much, he offered him a position within the Porto youth set-up at the early age of 16.
Robson nurtured Villas-Boas. He sent him to Lilleshall Academy in England at the age of 17 where he studied for his coaching badges and was by far the youngest student in his class. Further experience was gained working in Scotland and then at Ipswich under George Burley at the request of Sir Bobby Robson.
Villas-Boas grandmother, who is English, taught him to become very fluent from an early age and when the opportunity came to manage the British Virgin Isles, he couldn’t say no.
His short 18- months in charge was ended after two defeats in two games, but for Villas-Boas it was invaluable experience of taking the helm of a football national side at such a young age.
After moving away from Portugal for several years, Villas-Boas decided it was time to return to pursue his passion of coaching at Porto, alongside the new man in charge; Jose Mourinho. He was given the role of coach for the under-19 side, where he flourished. Jose was so impressed with the attention to detail by Villas-Boas and later repaid all his hard work; promoting him to the role of opposition scout.
Villas-Boas then followed Jose to Chelsea, where he spent 3 years alongside him, learning about various aspects of the English game, as well as how to be very successful; which then followed on to his time at Inter Milan.
Being ambitious, enthusiastic yet humble; a management career is what Villas-Boas craved. He started he career back in Portugal in the Primeira Liga with Academica de Coimbra. At the time of his appointment, Academica were bottom of the league and still without a win. Yet when a new training structure was introduced, the clubs fortunes were turned around. He led them to a safe 11th place, ten points clear of the relegation zone. It was the performances in the Portuguese League Cup that was most eye-catching, only losing to a late Mariano Gonzalez goal in the Semi-Finals against his future club, Porto.
Before the 2010/2011 season, Andre Villas-Boas was announced as the new manager of Porto where he won his first trophy against Benfica in a 2-0 victory in the Portuguese Super Cup. After a breath-taking season which included the Portuguese Primeira title and cup double, as well as winning the UEFA Europa League, the whole of Europe became aware of a young manager who broke many records in Portugal, some held previously by one of his mentors, Jose Mourinho.
He became the youngest manager ever the win a European Trophy, previously held by Ex-Chelsea manager Gainluca Vialli, and also only the second side in Portuguese history to complete a full league season without defeat. This included 16 consecutive wins.
To most people in football, Roman Abramovich doesn’t understand the game but is desperate for Europe’s elite title. However, in the past six seasons, Chelsea Football Club has won ten domestic trophies. It may be argued that the amount of money thrown at new managers and players is responsible for this, but guidance is also required to make a club successful.
Now with an ambitious manager, who clearly understands the game and is touted as playing his football more like a Pep Guardiola then a Jose Mourinho. Chelsea fans will be optimistic they have a manager who will not only play the style of football the owner craves; but will also have the knowledge and attention to detail that has made everything Andre-Villas Boas touch, turn to gold.