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Villas-Boas interest too late for Burnley job
ANDRE Villas-Boas was never in the running to be manager of Burnley, according to his close friend Mickey Walsh.
At the time Villas-Boas was an unknown on the management circuit, having no previous experience in professional football.
He was, however, invited to send his CV to the club, which also included a detailed PowerPoint presentation.
But Walsh, the former agent of long-serving Burnley goalkeeper Brian Jensen, revealed the Clarets were well into neg-otiations with eventual boss Brian Laws at the time, and the Portuguese was never inter-viewed.
“He wasn’t offered the job, I just proposed him and spoke to the club,” said Walsh, who first met Fletcher at Blackpool during their playing days.
“They told me to send his CV and they would see what they thought.
“It was me that suggested it because he is a mate of mine and he was doing a good job at Academica and people were starting to speculate about him.
“I also know Fletch really well and looked after Brian Jensen so had a good relationship with the club. He sent a comprehensive and impressive CV in.
“But I think by then they were quite far down the line with Brian. It wasn’t a case of him (Andre) not wanting the job or being turned down.
“It was just the timing. It was just a little bit too late, they had made their mind up.”
He added: “I think he was always destined to come to England, and he has, but in a different way.
“Probably Burnley missed out, but it was no-one’s fault.”
Fletcher has outlined details of Villas-Boas’ link to Burnley in his soon-to-be published book ‘Magical: A Life in Football’.
Speaking to the Lancashire Telegraph he explained how a man who went on to become the youngest manager to win a European title, manage Chelsea and now Tottenham, slipped through the net.
“His agent, Mickey Walsh, is an old team-mate of mine,” he explained. “He contacted us to say Andre was interested in the job, and sent us some details.
“He was a name among a lot of people – his name came in a little bit late but he went on the list and he was considered.
“He seemed to be a bit of a whizzkid and there are probably about 50 or 60 of those types around now. As it turned out from there he went on to Porto and enjoyed huge success.”
Fletcher added: “Because there are only 20 Premier League managers, when a job like that becomes available you get endless interest – from spoof people who are applying for the fun of it, to ex-England managers who are out of work, to current managers on long contracts who are still in a job but fancy yours.
“Hindsight is a wonderful thing.
“But Andre may have come here and not succeeded.
“He would have been a similar gamble to Owen Coyle, although maybe coming from Scottish football is an easier transition, and he had previously played in England.”
Villas-Boas had just embarked on his first season in management with Academica – a club that Burnley were aiming to establish links with through then director of youth Martin Dobson.
“Andre was managing abroad and was a lot younger than the other applicants,” Fletcher continued.
“Sven-Goran Eriksson’s name was put in front of us as well.
“We had agents ringing up, but Andre just didn’t seem to be the one for us. It’s a game of opinions, and sometimes you go for it.
“Bringing Owen Coyle here was a massive gamble that had massive success. Would it have worked out again? Would lightning have struck twice?”