Sunday afternoon saw a return to the right kind of on field drama for Spurs, but few could have prepared themselves for the vicious post-match attack launched by our very own AVB on the same press that had castigated him for much of the week.
AVB has always been the softly spoken sort; perhaps this is why the media have never fully taken to him. There are none of the Redknapp one-liners or jokey off the cuff comments, AVB is a meticulous professional that gives very little away.
You can understand fallout from the Etihad episode, but this last week has been somewhat unprecedented. There are very few managers that have achieved so much, that receive so much criticism. I’m not just talking about the Porto treble, but a man that has taken Spurs to their record points tally in the Premier League and who continues to oversee a revolution at the club.
Everyone is open to criticism; it is part and parcel of the game we love. But in the case of AVB I think the majority is largely unwarranted, and points towards a much more vicious and targeted campaign. AVB hit back in remarkable fashion last evening:
“A couple of people insult my integrity, my human values, my professionalism and one of these people is sitting over here. It insults the success that I have achieved in other clubs and I don’t think it’s fair. I think it’s a lack of respect and an attack on a person’s integrity.”
“I don’t want to undermine other managers. You can easily compare situations. We have sat above Man City before and above Man United before and we haven’t seen any kind of these personal attacks to somebody so I think that is unfair. It’s something that obviously comes with the 6-0 thrashing but more important is the team and the response and I think the players did that in great, great fashion.”
Some may like to see this as a press victory, a once restrained manager finally buckling under the weight of pressure. Having watched the whole episode, it is clear that AVB’s response is far from knee-jerk; he came across with the degree of integrity and respect that was so lacking from much of Neil Ashton’s and Martin Samuel’s weekday offerings.
They are entitled to think and say what they want as much as I am, but that doesn’t stop someone like AVB rightfully responding to his critics. This wasn’t the response of someone losing it, more someone wanting to call out those that seek to undermine him and the club.
I don’t want us to fall into the victim culture of other clubs, but there is clearly an agenda against AVB for one reason or another.
His handling of the situation has been justified; firmly putting those that have freely criticised him rightfully in their places.