I will forever be biased against Tim Sherwood. It’s understandable considering the circus Tottenham Hotspur became last season under his watch. His claims of greatness despite his winning percentage were unfounded, and Spurs felt like they were at their lowest ebb in years. Moreover, Sherwood struggled to put his Spurs tenure in the past and move on with his current duties. Sherwood himself came out as a media favorite, which almost ensured that he would be employed somewhere soon. His short dances with West Brom, QPR and Crystal Palace made many wonder how soon was soon.
Turns out that Aston Villa came out on top, and the fine folk of that half of Birmingham are now celebrating that fact. With their FA Cup semifinal upset over Liverpool, Sherwood and company are one win away from their first trophy since 2001 and their first domestic trophy since 1996, and more importantly, steered away from the Premier League’s trap door.
He has a revitalized a squad that looked dead on its feet from day 1; a squad that looked directionless, lifeless and worst of all out of its depth. But once Sherwood arrived at Villa Park, suddenly everything had changed. Christian Benteke suddenly looked like the man linked with so many clubs two years ago; their defense is organized and has direction, and their midfield is playing with more energy than ever.
Sherwood deserves every bit of credit for keeping Villa focused on avoiding the drop, while also motivating them to new heights in the FA Cup. They will certainly be underdogs against Arsenal in the final, but with the way they are playing right now, it wouldn’t be a shock if they pulled off another upset.
Sherwood’s shtick clearly did not work with the highly paid pros and the board at Tottenham Hotspur. But at a club like Villa, he has been able to push through with his motivation and tactics (or lack thereof depending on your view), and the raw simplicity might well have been the tonic that Villa had lacked for so long. Whether it can take them higher up the table or have them succeed in Europe remains to be seen, but what it has done is saved a moribund and meandering club from a disastrous fate in the Championship, a fate which few wanted to see Villa succumb to.
And, even though it pains this scribe to say it – Tim Sherwood is the reason why Villa are where they are now. His victory over Spurs in his first game back at the Lane, while cause of much anguish and anger for Spurs fans, is another example of how Sherwood has completely changed the course of Villa’s destiny in such a short amount of time. The players have his backing 100%; here’s more evidence from Tom Cleverley that emphasises the unified team that Villa are at the minute.