Marseille is a special football club, regardless of who you support. The only French team to win the UEFA Champions League, they have a proud and unique history. They also have comfortably the best fans in the country and are well-respected across Europe for their size and their significance to the European game. However, for most of the 2010s, the club was in the doldrums. Poor ownership decisions and then a failure to make smart decisions at the beginning of the Frank McCourt era has left the club hamstrung with a huge wage bill that it simply cannot afford. The arrival of Andre Villas-Boas, though, changed things.
The Portuguese genius made a habit of coming up with incredible tactical plans to get the most out of a limited and actually rather poor Marseille side. Having clashed with the club ever since previous Director of Football, Andoni Zubizarreta, was sacked, he stayed on in a rather uneasy relationship in the summer. Under new Director of Football Pablo Longoria, AVB has been quite outspoken about transfer decisions being made. The latest outburst, though, has cost him his job.
He went off on a tirade regarding two transfer moves; one, the signing of Glasgow Celtic midfielder Olivier Ntcham; two, the exit of Serbian winger Nemanja Radonjic. It was seen by the tactician as a betrayal, replacing one player with a wholly unsuitable replacement. The manager, though, built up a pretty strong bond with the fanbase and the wider city. With that in mind, he was clear that he loved his time at Marseille.
Upon leaving the training ground, though, he was asked by a passionate OM fan about the decision he has taken to leave the club.
What did AVB have to say about leaving OM?
According to a tweet sent out by Mercat’OM, a passionate supporter of the club, he recorded AVB talking about the decision to move on from the club. Known to be quite different to your average coach, the manager took the time to stop and speak clearly and eloquently about his decision to move on from the club in such shocking ways.
Still donning his OM tracksuit, AVB spoke clearly when asked by the fan about why he was leaving, saying: “I want to thank all of the supporters for their support. It was a magical year and a half, I am taking a lot of wonderful memories. It is a shame that things are ending in this way, but it is like that.”
In his time in France, the manager constantly fought back with the press regarding the treatment of Marseille and how achievements were viewed at the club. Speaking clearly about this, he said of the fans: I really liked it here, you have a very special love for your club, I have learned to love the club in the same way as you and I have always defended it.”
For Marseille fans, the exit of the only coach to restore genuine pride to a European giant will be a hard one to take.