Tottenham fans had mixed views on the appointment of Andre Villas-Boas to replace Harry Redknapp last July. Many were unhappy with Redknapp but were uncertain of what to think about Villas-Boas having been fed a diet of his failings and inadequacies during his unfortunate time with Chelsea. The manager faced many challenges on taking over at White Hart Lane but now six months, Villas-Boas has taken Spurs to third in the Premier League and into the knock-out stages of the Europa League. Having won 8 of the last eleven games, what do Spurs fans think of AVB, six months on?
I posted that question on a Spurs fans message-board, Fromthelane and had a resounding response that they are pleased with how things have worked out at White Hart Lane under their new Head Coach. The responses all come from life-long Spurs fans, some whom attend every match, home and away, others who go to home games regularly and those who support from a distance living around the globe and so have only limited opportunities to attend games but watch avidly on television.
The Tottenham supporters have been impressed with many aspects of life under Villas-Boas over the past six months – the way he has conducted himself, the changes he has brought to the team and the developing style of play that has been seen in recent weeks.
AVB – the Man
noodles: “dignified sporting and potentially a Legend”
grafinoz: “Finally we have a manager who has the interest of the club at heart, not his own. A man of integrity, intelligence and immense human dimensions. His coaching has taken the likes of Lennon and Defoe up a notch. If Levy backs him then we could seriously challenge in the next couple of seasons.”
maresy: “From what I can see he gets on with it without mouthing off, blaming others for any failings etc and seems to praise the players when they deserve it.”
GoodKingAlf: “Harry irritated me so AVB has been a breath of fresh air.”
RossH: “He’s modest and he’s honest about where blame lies for a poor result. If a manager has these qualities you can rest assured that they do a much better self assessment of performance and will work harder to improve next time round. “
Criminal IQ: I have to admit. When he was at Chelsea I disliked him immensely. Found him arrogant and did not appreciate his role in the public tapping up of Modric. Was a bit gutted when he came to us as I had wanted Moyes. Now I find him to be a pleasant, gentle, hard working chap. I am beginning to suspect some genius there.
El Matador: “Seems like a decent fella and the players seem to be responding to him.”
Villas-Boas – the Manager
I have been impressed with the way Villas-Boas has handled himself at Tottenham, dealing with everything in a very dignified way, even the hassle from sections of the media who were waiting for him to fail. It was the following post by GazzaD at the end of December which started me thinking about other fans’ views.
GazzaD: “I’ve been watching Spurs for 26 years now. In all those years, I have to say this is the first manager I’ve really had proper faith in. We have spoken in the past about the need to not lose this player or that. But they have all gone and we have always come back. And when they’ve gone I’ve never been as gutted as I thought I would be. But this man, Andre Villas-Boas, we HAVE to keep at all costs. This is not knee jerk on the back of today. We may lose our next 3 I’d still be saying this. This man has it. The first true, proper manager we’ve had in my life time. Class act. Class manager. Makes me really believe. If he was to go, I think it would be more damaging for THFC than any player that has ever left including Bale this summer or whoever.”
JTS: “Impressive. His mark is on the team 6 months in and I like what I see. Potential is there for this to go very well but he needs Levy to help him. The players run through walls for him which is one of the things I had doubts about. I also doubted his ability to be pragmatic but he has done that very well. Genuinely excited about the 2nd half of the season and beyond but come on Levy give us s couple more quality players.”
maresy: “Getting results in what’s been a difficult start. At this stage doing better than expected and the players now seem clear on their roles. The appointment Levy has been trying for for many years.”
Some fans were disappointed to see Harry Redknapp leave the club, others were delighted but they appear now to be united behind AVB.
Schack: “He has proved me right. I was sure he was what we needed after a wobbling few years with Harry.”
BathYid: “As someone who did not want to see Harry sacked, I have been very impressed with AVB. Not for the reasons that many are impressed with him, but because he appears to have a good relationship with the players and his man-management appears to be good. Many are going overboard in their praise, but I think the start can be described as encouraging. In the end you can only judge a manager after a full season in charge, but I think the future is looking good.”
Some have been behind ‘AVB’s Blue and White Army’ from the very beginning, others are coming onside now. Ben who was very much against the appointment of Villas-Boas posted a new thread entitled, “AVB I am sorry” and continued,
Ben: “I doubted your personal skills far too early, that was my worry. Players seem to love him. Hands up on that I was wrong.”
Skagen: “Personally I wanted him from before he became Chelsea manager and even he didn’t succeed at Chelsea I would love him at Spurs and I was so pleased when we got him.”
The Ghost: “I like him he has made me eat my early season words. He has class and speaks well, the team is organised and there seems to be a meritocracy, we are playing well despite having a very different team to last season.”
EnfieldYid: “The thing that gives me the best feeling about him is that his attention to detail is superb, you can feel that no stone is left unturned, which is driven by a immense work ethic and desire to succeed. It has not just been evident tactically and when managing individual players, but right across the board, even down to spending hours at the junior members Christmas party, ensuring he spends time speaking to the youth who are the future of our club. This is a man who wants to build something.
Everything seems to have fallen into place, new training ground, immensely talented young team, and an intelligent, forward thinking and potentially special manager who I think we can all trust to shape our future.”
Neil82: “I think one thing that will really help is that he is extremely well thought of in Europe (despite the Chelsea debacle last year) and provided we have Champions League football then top players will want to come and play for him. Jol and Redknapp never had the potential to attract the top top players, not that I had a problem with either as managers, they just didn’t have the draw that AVB does. Obviously wages will still be an issue, but at least now we can at least open negotiations with players rather than being laughed off at the thought of playing for Spurs and our previous managers.”
It is clear that Andre Villas-Boas has the backing of the fans which is a big turn around from 1st September, following a draw with Norwich City when his Tottenham team were booed off the White Hart Lane pitch. Sections of the supporters showed their displeasure at the performance of the team who had conceded a late goal for the third successive game. The media were full of it as they prepared to recycle their thoughts on the failings of Tottenham’s new manager.
**My thanks to everyone who responded on the thread on Fromthelane, I greatly appreciate your input to this article and such was the response that the second part, AVB – the Team will be published in a day or so.**