Our columnist and professional pundit is here to feed your pub chat. This week: why every manager should come to Dubai
If Robert Louis Stevenson was writing this column, he’d headline it ‘The Strange Case of Chelsea Manager Andre Villas Boas’. Although, by the time this issue is published, it may well become ‘The Strange Case of Former Chelsea Manager Andre Villas Boas’.
The current situation shows just how stupid modern football is, and also illustrates how difficult it is to be a modern-day boss. Young Villas has been paid a king’s ransom to oversee the overhaul of an ageing Chelsea team, only to find out the players, some of whom are actually older than their boss, just won’t accept him. Player power has steamrollered his ambitions and made him look at times weak and inexperienced, and at other times completely out of his depth.
Sure, he doesn’t help himself wearing that stupid rain mac that makes him look like Inch High, Private Eye, and living in the shadow of his mentor José Mourinho. From rocking up with a blossoming reputation, it looks as though he’ll now leave with a battered ego – though, thankfully for him, a multi-million pay off.
I don’t think we should feel too sorry for Villas Boas, because the managerial merry-go-round is such that he’ll soon jump back on. Neil Warnock, previously sacked by QPR, is now the Leeds boss. Simon Grayson, previously sacked by Leeds, is now the Huddersfield boss. Keith Curle has become the Notts County boss, and with John Coleman going to Rochdale, Paul Cook has jumped into Accrington.
Personally, I think they should all come to Dubai: I’ve already thrown in Mick McCarthy’s name if any of our pro teams are interested. The bottom line is: you’re going to get sacked at some stage, so why not soak up some sun and enjoy the delights of Dubai? It sure beats Oldham on a cold Tuesday night.
The Esports U9s football team were playing Al Wasl the other night. As the boys got stuck in, the dads on the line cast a glance further afield to see if the great Diego Maradona was anywhere to be seen. In case you’ve been holidaying on another planet recently, the greatest footballer ever to have lived has been coaching Al Wasl, and although we were watching our boys, we also had one eye on the possibility of a glimpse of the legend.
Typically, I’d parked my car in the wrong place and, at the end of the game, had to trudge miles – until we stumbled upon Diego conducting a training session on the main pitch. Suddenly the whole troupe began walking towards us. I’m not the type to ask for autographs, but my son Joe walked towards Maradona as if transfixed. The great man hugged him, ruffled his hair and began chatting, and in the blink of an eye I snapped a picture and said a grateful ‘thank you’. An all-time great, and yet a man of the people. An absolutely brilliant moment: only in Dubai.