chopped down

Tim Sherwood was removed from his post as Head Coach following a spell in charge in which he proved (statistically) that he was the best Spurs manager ever>
So, why was he sacked ?
Sid Maul looks at some of the reasons why it might have come about.



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 chance.

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 wounds.

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 the Lane.

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.

Ted Maul

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