Villas-Boas lasts just eight months with Chelsea

It was a short, and not exactly sweet for Andre Villas-Boas, who was fired on Sunday by Chelsea after just eight months as manager for the Premier League supersquad. The firing leaves owner Roman Abramovich looking for his eighth manager in just nine seasons running the club.

Ambramovich, a powerful oligarch from Russia with no patience for anything less than excellence, decided Villas-Boas had been given enough time to mould his club into a football powerhouse. Having played 27 games, Chelsea sits a full 20 points out of first behind Manchester City, and a loss Saturday to West Bromwich Albion — the first in 33 years — was all she wrote for Villas-Boas.

The club released a terse statement describing its reasons for handing Villas-Boas his walking papers: “Andre Villas-Boas has parted company with Chelsea. The board would like to record our gratitude for his work and express our disappointment that the relationship has ended so early. Unfortunately the results and performances of the team have not been good enough and were showing no signs of improving at a key time in the season.”

The club has decided to promote assistant manager Roberto Di Matteo, himself a former player for Chelsea and perhaps ironically also a former manger of West Bromwich Albion, for the remainder of the season. A full scale search for the next boss will take place in the offseason should Di Matteo fail to give his squad a needed boost in the standings in order to qualify for lucrative postseason play.

“The club is still competing in the latter stages of the UEFA Champions League and the FA Cup, as well as challenging for a top-four spot in the Premier League, and we aim to remain as competitive as possible on all fronts. With that in mind, we felt our only option was to make a change at this time,” the club explained further in its statement.

The Chelsea job is one of the most demanding in all of the sport, and even success at the highest levels has not been enough to earn a manager much of a grace period in the past. The previous manager before Villas-Boas, Carlo Ancelotti, lost his job after going without a championship just one year removed from a league title and FA Cup trophy in the same season. The costs of bringing in a new manager nearly annually isn’t cheap, either. Villas-Boas was slated to earn $8 million per season, and the man he replaced is still owed millions. With many more millions at his disposal, $50 million here or there for a championship or two — or three, or four, etc. — doesn’t seem to deter Abramovich. Only time will tell if his impatience will pay off, however.