A Buddhist goes into a cafe. The sandwich shop guy asks him what he wants. ‘Make me one with everything.’ He’s handed the sandwich and in return gives the sandwich shop guy a large note. There’s an uncomfortable pause. The Buddhist enquires after his change and the vendor tells him, ‘true change can only come from within.’
Another day another anti AVB tale in the press. This one from The Independent revolving around the Spurs boss’ failed application to manage Burnley prior to Roman Abramovich employing him at Second Hand Fridge.
From the lips of ex-Burnley chief executive Paul Fletcher:
“The most surprising name put forward was Andre Villas-Boas. Mickey Walsh, an old playing colleague of mine got in touch to describe Andre as a hot prospect.
“He sent a very detailed application. His CV and power-point presentation was amazing. Even by today’s standards there was some complicated stuff. Tommy Docherty used to say he never said anything to his players that his milkman wouldn’t understand. I don’t think any milkman would fathom the meaning of a lot of Andre’s presentation.
Would Burnley players have understood what he wanted if he told them to ‘solidificate’?”
I don’t know about you but I have fabulous social skills. There’s barely a sector of society I can’t communicate effectively with. Well, apart from policemen. The secret is to tailor what you say to the individual. I used the word ‘fabulous’ but in truth it’s something we all do everyday to greater and lesser extents. In fact it’s easy to spot those that can’t. They tend talk at people. They aren’t listening, they cannot empathise.
And the issue here is the presumption that Villas-Boas would talk to footballers as if they were CEO’s. The problem I would imagine with Villas-Boas’ presentation to Burnley Football Club was that he presumed that he would be interviewed by people capable of making the mental leap that Boas had the ability to speak to footballers differently than he spoke to CEO’s.
Footballers don’t tend to be very bright people. Some stick out as being brighter than the bunch. Gary Lineker is articulate and thoughtful. He works as a TV presenter. Trevor Brooking got an O level at school and went on to become Director of Football Development for the FA.
On the other side of the coin we have Wayne Rooney who allegedly gave a hooker £200 to get him a packet of cigarettes on a night out and Paul Gascoigne who attempted to deliver lager and fried chicken to the armed psycho killer Raul Moat.
I am not so familiar with foreign footballer exploits. They certainly dress better and have better looking birds, but I’d be amazed to discover they were any more educated than their British counterparts.
My point is, did Porto succeed under AVB, or despite him? Did he really stand in the dressing room discussing solidificating the enormity of the opposition’s dimensions? I suggest he did not.
The British press in the main, aren’t very nice. Almost completely untrustworthy is another phrase one could use. There are a million and one examples of how shoddily they have behaved in the world of football. So why would an intelligent person behave like a performing dog in press conferences?
Roy Hodgson wasn’t supposed to get the England job and so despite having been nothing but cordial with the media his entire career, when his appointment was announced the biggest selling tabloid in the country ran an extraordinary lead article mocking his mild speech inflection, including a list of words that ‘Woy’ wouldn’t be able to pronounce properly.
So what do we do? Well, there’s a good poem by a bloke called Kipling called ‘If’. But in more practical terms I think we need to take a more pragmatic stance and when AVB is attacked for no good reason adopt a dismissive stance to what is in the main made up stuff designed to prevent dead air on talkSPORT. I don’t advocate a siege mentality. That path lies to the arrogance of most Manchester United fans. I advocate reason.
Shouting as many have done in the last 24 hours, ‘AVB couldn’t land the job at Burnley, that’s how rubbish he is!!!’ isn’t reasoned. It’s trite and ought be treated as such.
After three games I don’t see disaster. I must also add I cannot foresee anything either – because I don’t have superpowers.
Our boss is an intelligent guy. I warm to intelligent people. Now, there are different kinds of smart of course and in time we will see just how football smart he is, at Spurs, with our squad of players.Ideally we’ll wait longer than a handful of games.
You wouldn’t eat a sandwich without asking what was in it, so why would you swallow a football article without asking the same question?