Not even seven points from the last three games, putting Tottenham Hotspur a point ahead of where they were at this time last season, will be enough to save Andre Villas-Boas' job, according to Duncan Castles. The writer for The Sunday Times, Sports Illustrated, and several other publications is reporting that relations between AVB and Spurs' chairman Daniel Levy are so strained that the Portuguese coach will not be retained through the summer.
According to a close friend, the Portuguese coach believes he would already have been sacked by Levy had his contract not included a prohibitive penalty clause.
The scale of the pay-off, which commits Tottenham to ensuring Villas-Boas earns an annual salary of at least €3million net until the summer of 2014, will have reduced by the end of the season however. With that in mind, Tottenham's hierarchy are already considering successors to the Portuguese coach.
At least Castles is pretending to have a source. He cites a "close friend". The problem is, he doesn't really say who that person is a close friend of. A close friend of Mr. Castles? I have a friend -- his name is Edward F. -- who thinks AVB should be fired. Maybe I should write that up. If this person is a close friend of AVB, why doesn't Castles say that? Now, obviously, that's how we're supposed to read it (hurray for context clues!), but this is the sort of trickery and sensationalism that the British media are so often lampooned for; so, who really knows what Castles meant by that?
At this point, we all get it. Fans don't like the way that AVB's teams play football. Journalists don't like him because he's standoffish. Now, the chairman doesn't like him because he has Tottenham set up to better their points total record for a second straight season. Wait, what?
Look, whether you like Villas-Boas or not, there are a couple things we all know. First, the players seem to love him. Every interview, every photo, every match seem to indicate that the players like AVB and enjoy playing for them. He certainly hasn't lost the dressing room or anything like that. Second, Daniel Levy is about money. Firing an expensive coach to hire a (probably) more expensive coach doesn't seem to fit his modus operandi. Finally, AVB is winning football matches. Hell, Spurs might win a trophy this year. We're not Chelsea; we don't sack managers the season that they win a trophy (Editor's note: Proof that 4th place is not as good as a trophy).
I'm resigned to the fact that we'll be reading these sorts of "reports" until the last day of the season when Tottenham Hotspur lock up a place in the Champions League. It's going to become a reality, much like being linked with buying Leandro Damiao used to be. Firing AVB is our new white whale. Everyone better batten down the hatches.
Edit: 'fired' has been replaced by 'depart' in the headline to reflect Castles' ass-covering measures.
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