If it wasn’t for the Manchester Derby on Sunday, Tim Sherwood’s return to White Hart Lane would be getting even more play than it already has. Sherwood’s Aston Villa are in a relegation dogfight, where Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs feel resigned to another season without Champions League soccer. But for Tim Sherwood, it’s time to focus completely on Villa and leave Tottenham Hotspur in the past.
“I knew it would be a tough job at Tottenham and it proved that,” Sherwood said. “But I was very successful, both as a development coach and as a manager.” Much has been made of his 59% winning percentage at Spurs, even if it was only over 22 games. Sherwood’s teams were repeatedly outclassed tactically even by relegation fodder let alone Arsenal (who he lost to twice), and the top three from last season, who he lost to by a combined 13-1 score. Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs sides have beaten Arsenal and Chelsea, and he has a 52% winning percentage over 31 games in the Premier League.
“Tottenham denied they made any contact with managers, but the managers were publicly coming out saying they were being contacted. Someone was telling (lies).” Whether or not there were lies told, it was understood by practically everyone that Sherwood was given an 18-month contract with an out clause after six, which in essence made him a glorified interim boss. Sherwood could feel a little hard-done by, but even if he was he had to have had an inkling that he wasn’t going to be boss beyond the end of last season.
“It’s great I resisted the temptation to get rid of (Harry Kane) last January because perhaps he wouldn’t be the star he is for Tottenham. I would never have allowed him to be sold when I was there.” Dealing in hypotheticals is one of Tim Sherwood’s favorite ways to work the press, and he did it again here with Harry Kane. “If they had brought in somebody last January and his name ended in an ‘I’ or an ‘O’ the fans would have been very excited, but I’m not sure he would have given the same output as Harry Kane has given”, even though Spurs and Daniel Levy don’t usually buy extravagant players in the January transfer window.
Les Ferdinand, now QPR’s director of football said of Sherwood, ““Without a shadow of a doubt, Tim’s outspokenness came after the realisation that we weren’t going to be there [beyond the end of the season]. Tim felt that he had to protect his own corner. Sometimes, if people are not banging the drum for you, you have to bang it yourself. And you have to bang the tambourine. And play the harmonica as well.” Sherwood certainly did that, and maybe it was this and not necessarily the win percentage as Spurs boss that allowed him to be a top contender for the jobs at West Brom, Crystal Palace, and eventually Aston Villa. It certainly was his outspoken and brash nature when speaking to press that did him in at White Hart Lane, even more than him looking out of his depths as manager many a time.
But for Sherwood, it’s time to move on – pre-match comments about Tottenham doing him a favor for sacking him isn’t wise. He has an Aston Villa club desperately scratching and clawing to avoid the trap door, and they don’t have many opportunities left. He has an FA Cup semifinal in nine days too. Even as he has left a strong legacy of academy players who are now fixtures in the Spurs team of today, he most focus on his task at hand. The Tottenham experience was a jarring one not only for him, but for the supporters and Daniel Levy almost as much. It seems certain Daniel Levy will not make similar mistakes when hiring and firing managers at the drop of a pin again.
Will Sherwood learn from his mistakes and keep his new club afloat? Based on this week in the press, it doesn’t seem so. Spurs moved on a long time ago. It’s time for Sherwood to do the same.
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