January 6, 2013
We’re just over halfway through the Premier League season, so it seems a good time to make a general assessment of life under André Villas-Boas. I’ll try to keep it brief.
It is no secret that I grew to despise Redknapp – the way he treated us (fans), the club, and actually the way he was managing the team for the final six months of his reign too. I wrote this at the end of April detailing some of my thoughts on Redknapp – things went further downhill from there.
When Villas-Boas was appointed, I was happy; a young, hungry manager keen to prove his doubters wrong, an analyst, a “student of the game”.
I already like most of what AVB is about – his analytical approach, his even-handedness with the media, his pleasantries when mentioning our fans, his apparent respect for the fact that he is a cog (albeit an important one) in a greater machine, something Redknapp never seemed to appreciate.
Of course not everything is totally rosy, and there have been some teething problems – initially AVB was criticised for his use of substitutions, and in recent games his persistence with Adebayor and Defoe as a duo has frustrated. However, the results have largely been impressive, particularly considering the well-documented injury issues, as well as having to cope without King, Modric and van der Vaart. We are improving in crucial areas -for example, looking far more threatening from set pieces (indeed, scoring from another two yesterday), which presumably reflects the fact that we are practising them in training.
It also seems that people behind the scenes are pulling in the same direction, which I think is hugely important. This was never the case with Redknapp, who refused to toe the party line, and frequently seemed at odds with Daniel Levy.
Crucially, I am finally starting to feel like I, as a fan, am a part of the club again (whereas Redknapp seemed to see us – “them” – as more of an annoyance). Long may this continue.