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Fishing Around: It’s RIP for Blues’ AVB
I SPEAK from great experience when I say that the name Andre Villas-Boas is not exactly a headline writer’s dream. It is too long and that hyphen gets in the way.
The poor chap even gets the blame for that.
However, Fleet Street, never to be beaten, has created a new era of abbreviation.
So in keeping with the current vernacular: It’s RIP for AVB.
And on the QT the SP is on RB to succeed him at Stamford Bridge (RB = Rafael Benitez).
Confused? You will be.
Mind you, any club owned by the reclusive RA (Roman Abramovich) has that effect on you. The word “shambles” best describes current events in South West London.
My old newspaper pal Brian Woolnough once thought he had cracked it on the marble steps of UEFA HQ in Geneva and venue for a Champions League draw.
There he spotted the Russian oligarch in splendid isolation. Brian couldn’t believe his eyes – or luck – and so thinking “world exclusive interview” he approached Abramovich and politely asked him for five minutes of his time.
Abramovich looked him up and down briefly then snarled: “NIET”. And within moments a small army of personal bodyguards had whisked him back into the anonymity he so desperately craves.
So it doesn’t look too hopeful when AVB calls upon Abramovich to give him public support. He won’t get it in a month of Sundays. AVB is a dead man walking.
Indeed the only time Abramovich seems to go public is when he does a Sir Alan Sugar and barks “you’re fired” which he has done to seven managers in eight years.
It is a shameful statistic but it is what we have come to expect from this parody of Citizen Kane and The Man Who Would Be King.
But that Holy Grail of the Champions League continually eludes him and proves that money can’t buy you everything. Ha ha.
It is abundantly clear that AVB has lost the dressing room, which is like writing a suicide note. There are more rifts at Chelsea than in the coalition government.
But you have to seriously question the sanity of Abramovich in appointing this 34-year-old “unknown” in the first place. A UEFA Cup success with Porto is hardly the ideal CV for a club the size of Chelsea and the aspirations of its ruthless owner. AVB is hopelessly out of his depth.
And it’s certainly a game of two halves for Chelsea at The 99p Store in Weymouth.
On the till at the St Mary Street exit is “Chelsea”. Yes, that’s her name. “My dad is a Chelsea fanatic and named me after the club. He is not happy with AVB,” she said.
At the St Thomas Street exit stands another Blues’ fan Meriel, who puts the blame squarely on the shoulders of Fernando Torres.
“He is the problem,” she says. “£50 million? He has made us a laughing-stock. Three goals? If he was scoring then I don’t think the club would be in the position it is.”
The irony, of course, is that Liverpool, the club Torres left behind in such acrimonious circumstances, contest the season’s first showpiece event against Cardiff at Wembley on Sunday.
“Eat your heart out,” chorus Liverpool fans as one.
And who can blame them?