|The booing of Tim Sherwood’s name, when it was
announced at Ledley King’s testimonial match was probably not the
straw that broke the manager’s back, but it indicated that Tim
Sherwood’s opinion of Tim Sherwood was not entirely shared by the
fans who watched his teams while he was in charge of Spurs.
Sherwood’s demise probably started before he had taken charge of a
game. Wanting a ten year contract and not just an 18 month one,
smacked of self-belief, but also of fantasy with a view to the last
eight permanent managers Tottenham Hotspur have had. What would make
him that special that he should be afforded the time to form a
coherent team, when so many before him had been deprived of that
It also was the first sign that Tim
Sherwood was Harry Redknapp lite.
Sherwood, like his mentor, liked to have some players on-side. Some
he appeared not to care about too much and because they were not his
players, he could not integrate them into a successful system at the
club. For all the comments about playing the Spurs way, there were
still big defeats by the top four clubs (as with Redknapp and AVB),
the team could still not keep many clean sheets (even against lowly
teams), his media friendly approach won him many friends for a
forthright approach to the post and he consistently banged on about
statistics (who can forget HR’s Two points from eight games mantra).
So Sherwood was the equal of Redknapp (and look what happened to
him) and matched AVB in terms of results this season, with a squad
having had more time to adjust to the Premier League than AVB had at
the start of the season.
While Sherwood’s comparison with Redknapp will have a number of
supporters fighting his corner as the man who should have led
Tottenham into the near future, it should not be forgotten that
Sherwood still does not have the relevant qualifications to be a
Premier League manager and that the almost suicidal insistence in
playing youngsters in the first team regardless of their form just
to show that he had brought players through the ranks to the first
team, perhaps counted against him in the long run.
There was probably an element of Sherwood saying, “Look. I can
manage with what I have got.” However, his assertion that Spurs
should have an English spine perhaps showed that he was willing to
spend Levy’s money, but without a positive return on it … either on
or off the pitch. What young England players was he talking about ?
There are not many in the Premier League who would either leave
their clubs or come to Spurs. There are not many in the Championship
or below who would assimilate to the top flight straight away. Or if
there were players in the Premier League already who Sherwood was
going to sign, they would be dropping down from clubs above us (Lescott
or Milner) or we would have to pay well over the odds in terms of a
transfer fee and wages.
Then there was the Redknapp-esque problem with working alongside a
Director Of Football. It is strange that Sherwood was supposedly
happy to work with Franco Baldini before he became Head Coach, but
appeared to indicate that he would not in the future. Such a
structure is the one that Levy favours, whether that is right or
wrong. Whoever is Head Coach will have to work within this structure
and are aware of this when they take the job. Levy set it aside when
Redknapp took over, but re-instated it before AVB came into the
club. Perhaps Sherwood thought that he could call the shots like his
former manager, but Levy wasn’t having any of that. Maybe Tim wants
full control of things when he is in the manager’s seat, but he
might find that other clubs also want to rein in the amount of sway
the team boss has over things that affect the whole club. West
Bromwich Albion are one club said to be interested in Sherwood's
services, but they have just appointed a Director of Football in the
shape of Terry Burton. An Englishman, but dropping into a post that
has run for a while, they might not be willing to change that if
Sherwood doesn’t like it.
The way that Sherwood acted during games was seen by some in the
media as passion, but in reality, there was a lot of histrionics
that were not entirely necessary if he wanted to show how much he
felt for the club, which he told everyone often enough. The gilet
throwing incident was straight out of the Paolo Di Canio/Jose
Mourinho handbook. The spat with Jesus Jorge - the Benfica boss -
unseemly and unnecessary and once more, a replica of a Mourinho
scenario we have all seen before. Picking a fan who had given him
stick throughout his tenure in home games to take charge on the
bench during a game against Aston Villa, both a replay of a Redknapp
moment in a pre-season friendly while with West Ham United; in 1994
asking a supporter to play in place of Lee Chapman, how he had been
giving stick to. The fan came on and got the ball in the net, but it
was ruled out for offside. Sherwood’s installing of Danny Grimsdale
on the bench in his place was also a little insulting to the
opposition, even though their own fans were giving their side and
manager enough abuse for it to be little less than salt in the
We have not seen Tottenham Hotspur managers act like this before.
Did Sherwood think this would be a winning formula ? It was never
really going to go down well with the Chairman and didn’t sit
comfortably with a number of Spurs fans either. He joked about the
gilet going missing after the guest fan manager took it with him.
Perhaps he should have realised he would soon be following it out of
There are many potential reasons why Sherwood was not kept on,
perhaps the strongest being that he did not qualify for Champions
League football. We weren’t going to be likely to get it anyway, so
maybe it was an unreal target, but then perhaps Levy believed that
Tim might surprise him. Unfortunately, he didn’t and Daniel sees the
better option to be to recruit someone who has more experience in
the top flight.
So, now that Harry is struggling to get QPR out of the Championship
after getting them relegated last season, what awaits Sherwood ? And
what will Levy do about appointing a new man to take over ? The one
thing he needs to do is act quickly. A new manager needs a full
pre-season with the players and to bring in those he needs early,
using Baldini’s contacts to do so, or be told that these are the
players he has to work with.
Who is it going to be ?
I don’t know.
And to some extent, I no longer care. He will be
there for 18 months and then be gone, with either a little success
under his belt and some failure that will lead to his removal. There
is not going to be a five year tenure, allowing the club to move
forward under a considered plan between manager/Head Coach, Director
of Football and owner. With a new ground to move into within the
next four or five years, such a plan should be the minimum criteria
for creating a team that will fill the new stadium. There were empty
seats at the Villa game and perhaps that shows the hierarchy that
fans are losing patience with the lack of progress on the field.
Many times people have asked “What is the point of having a big,
shiny stadium without a successful team attracting fans to fill it
Maybe the first step to doing that is to find someone who will fit
the bill as manager of Tottenham Hotspur.