Chelsea's gain is Porto's pain
I used to love Barry Fry. For six wonderful months in 1993, I was hooked on his tactical risk-taking, compulsive wheeler-dealing and look-at-me celebrations. He might have made his name at Barnet but he was Southend United's then, our cheeky chappie, and we were going places.
And then he left, taking coaches and players with him to Birmingham City. The swine.
This tale is hardly unique, and it is older than football (Judas's big-money move to FC Pharisee being an early example), but it is still catching people by surprise.
The latest group to suffer are FC Porto supporters. In Andre Villas-Boas, they had a fellow fan in the hot seat, the "chair of his dreams", and they were going to take on Europe's finest together.
Now, on the morning of the city's biggest annual street party, the Festa de Sao Joao, most Porto fans are in a dark, heart-broken mood. They will be drinking to forget tonight.
Villas-Boas, of course, is not the first coaching talent these fans have lost to the pull of Roman Abramovich's wallet: Jose Mourinho made the same journey seven years ago. But these are very different departures.
The Special One went to Chelsea with the blessing of "the Dragoes", having given them two and a half wonderful seasons and Champions League glory. A former Benfica manager from the southern city of Setubal, Mourinho had also never pledged his heart to Porto. It was professional, not personal.
And nobody seemed to mind he was taking a youth coach with him to do his scouting. After all, that coach was only 26 and nobody had heard of him anyway.
They have now, though, and they call him Villa$-Boa$ or Libras-Boas, "Good Pounds".
Villas-Boas' rise has been well documented - the note pushed under his neighbour Sir Bobby Robson's door, the Englishman's patronage, the stint in charge of the British Virgin Islands' team aged only 22 and his work for Mourinho at Porto, Chelsea and Inter - but there is one part of his story that is worth retelling here.
Villas-Boas was not supposed to be a football manager. From the poshest part of Porto, Chelsea's new manager counts a count amongst his ancestors (as well as the now famous grandmother from Cheshire) and the private school he went to is Portugal's best.
But a future in business, law or medicine held no allure. For him, there was only FC Porto and on Mondays a 12-year-old Villas-Boas would bring in reports from the weekend's game for his classmates. It was not long before his PE teacher Jose Eiro was also getting these reports, with added analysis that may or may not be worth thinking about for Colegio do Rosario's next match.
Eiro remembers Villas-Boas as a quiet sort, not a great student but popular, who would come alive when matters turned to football. He is the school's only big sporting success.
That he has fulfilled his dreams of becoming a leading coach is no surprise to Joaquim Magalhaes, the last man to coach Villas-Boas as a player at the local amateur team Ramaldense.
Magalhaes told me Villas-Boas was a better player than legend would have it, which is that he was even worse than Mourinho.
An attacking midfielder who could play either side, Villas-Boas was promoted by Magalhaes to the struggling senior side at the tender age of 18. Pretty soon the "introverted, humble" lad from a posh school was bossing around team-mates 20 years his senior. And the most surprising thing about it was that they did not seem to mind.
By this time, Villas-Boas had already started to climb the coaching ladder. Magalhaes recalls him bringing an FC Porto youth team to play Ramaldense's and being quite the disciplinarian with his young charges.
This contrast between the quiet and unassuming, and the assertive and commanding, is something journalist Fernando Eurico acknowledged when we met high above the Rio Douro shortly after Villas-Boas was confirmed as Chelsea boss.
For Eurico, sports editor for national radio station Antena 1, Villas-Boas is a more complicated character than the man he will inevitably be compared with in London, Mourinho. Charming but not showy, modest but ambitious, open but not entirely honest.
It was that last comment that I picked up on as it seemed to be central to the main point Eurico was making - Porto fans were furious with Villas-Boas because he had "created an illusion" that he was staying, that he was building a team here capable of beating Barcelona, that he had eyes for no other.
Eurico said this was patently not true to the Porto press pack, who knew about Chelsea's advances, but still the kiss-the-badge antics continued. Players were persuaded to extend their contracts, plans were made for this season's Champions League campaign and scouting dossiers on Barcelona were handed out for summer reading by the poolside.
Those players come back for pre-season next week and the talk in the dressing room will not be about beating Barca in the European Super Cup but about who else is leaving and if those coming in will have what it takes to hold off the suddenly revived challenge from the two Lisbon clubs.
Slightly reluctant to take another journalist's word for it, I did what any reporter would do in a strange city, I asked a taxi-driver and as luck would have it Portuguese taxis are still driven by ex-footballers.
Manuel Monteiro, who assured me he had enjoyed a 16-year career as a player for Portalegre and others, was succinct in his assessment of Villas-Boas. "Compared to Mourinho, he is a child," he said. "Who had heard of him a year ago? Nobody. And I can't see the likes Didier Drogba or John Terry being told what to do by a child!"
Only time will tell is the only possible response to that, and time is a more precious commodity at Chelsea than any amount of Abramovich's money.
But one thing is certain, Porto fans wish Villas-Boas had given them a little bit more time. And for that he is Barry Fry to them now.