Why do AVB rumours persist even when Spurs are winning?

Posted by Dan Fitch

Following Arsenal’s draw with Everton, Tottenham Hotspur are just eight points behind their rivals. That’s a decent-sized gap, but not that big when you consider that Arsenal are playing as well as they have for years, while Spurs have been struggling.

Second place is just three points away and Tottenham lead the reigning Premier League champions by five points.

Yet there are still stories circulating Monday that Andre Villas-Boas is under pressure and that the club are considering replacing him. Glenn Hoddle has even been named as a potential replacement.

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Are these stories the result of a media witch hunt or could there be something to them?

Normally, I don’t pay much attention to such jibber-jabber, but I’m beginning to think that there might be some truth bubbling under the surface. It’s not particularly the stories themselves that are convincing me of this but AVB himself.

Villas-Boas' behaviour in the news conference after the Manchester United match suggested that either he is very sensitive to criticism or is feeling the pressure.

Managers have their abilities discussed in the press all of the time -- it’s part of the job description -- so it was strange to see AVB react as if the articles in the Daily Mail were a personal attack against him.

Yes, some Spurs supporters have turned against him, but again, that comes with the job. I’d say that he has the majority of fans' backing, so he’s hardly under real pressure from that direction.

Perhaps then the screw is being turned from within. Lots of stories from different journalists are suggesting this. Of course. there are no quotes to verify such claims, but then there never are when hacks pick up "insider" knowledge.

There were plenty of Tottenham fans claiming that the Gareth Bale transfer stories had no substance due to the lack of quotes. I don’t need to remind you how that one turned out.

We won’t hear anything official from within the club, either. When a chairman comes out in support of a supposedly under-pressure manager, it’s accepted fact he is indeed on borrowed time.

We do know that since taking over the club, ENIC have gone through managers so fast that the revolving door at White Hart Lane has yet to stop spinning. Since taking over the club in February 2001, they have gone through seven managers (not including the numerous, and in the case of David Pleat, lengthy caretaker appointments). These managers have averaged just 22 months in the job.

Daniel Levy has sacked managers such as Martin Jol and Harry Redknapp who were successful. Villas-Boas deserves time after claiming a record points total last season -- but then, you could argue Jol’s and Redknapp’s achievements were just as impressive.

Levy seems to be able to keep on good terms with the men he sacks -- hence the Hoddle rumours -- but he’s proved to be a smiling assassin.

So I wouldn’t be in the least surprised if these rumours intensified if the team hit another sticky patch of form. Yet, AVB’s future at least remains in his own hands. If he keeps picking up decent results, as he has in the past three games, then he'll keep his job.

The players look to still be firmly behind him, and it’s when you lose them that the end is in sight. Villas-Boas’ spiky demeanour may indicate that he’s under pressure, but it also suggests that he’s prepared to fight.


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