x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Tottenham’s revolving door turns and out comes Tim Sherwood

Tim Sherwood joins George Graham, Glenn Hoddle, Jacques Santini, Martin Jol, Juande Ramos, Harry Redknapp and Andre Villas-Boas as men given their marching orders before the end of their contracts.

Tim Sherwood, centre, joins the likes of George Graham, Glenn Hoddle, Jacques Santini, Martin Jol, Juande Ramos, Harry Redknapp and Andre Villas-Boas as former Tottenham Hotspur managers over the past 13 years. Clive Rose / Getty Images
Tim Sherwood, centre, joins the likes of George Graham, Glenn Hoddle, Jacques Santini, Martin Jol, Juande Ramos, Harry Redknapp and Andre Villas-Boas as former Tottenham Hotspur managers over the past 13 years. Clive Rose / Getty Images

Well, that didn’t take long.

Two days, to be precise.

Just 48 hours after the end of the Premier League season, and months of endless speculation, the worst-kept secret in English football was confirmed on Tuesday when Daniel Levy did what he does best and sacked another manager. This time it was Tim Sherwood, the eighth coach in Levy’s 13-year reign as chairman of Tottenham Hotspur.

Sherwood joins George Graham, Glenn Hoddle, Jacques Santini, Martin Jol, Juande Ramos, Harry Redknapp and Andre Villas-Boas as men given their marching orders before the end of their contracts. Sherwood fell three days short of celebrating five months in charge.

But there is no room for sentiment in Levy’s world. Remember, this is a man who, seven years ago, during a Uefa Cup match against Getafe, sat in the stands with the smuggest of grins as news filtered around White Hart Lane that Jol was about to lose his job immediately following the 2-1 defeat to the Spanish club.

Classy.

It also makes Sherwood the 11th permanent manager that Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger has seen off during his 18 years as manager four miles up the Seven Sisters Road. If Arsenal pride themselves on stability, Spurs have a monopoly on variability. Worse, come Saturday, Spurs fans may no longer be able to taunt their North London rivals about their nine-season trophy drought if Arsenal beat Hull City in the FA Cup final.

And what of the names touted as Sherwood’s replacement?

Mauricio Pochettino, the Southampton manager, seems the early frontrunner, despite the fact that Sherwood did the double this season over the Argentine, and Tottenham finished above Southampton in the league table.

Frank de Boer? The Ajax manager has championed his cause much more than anyone at the club has. Whoever it is, it will be hard to contain my laughter when the new man is presented at a news conference having signed a “long-term contract”.

Good luck seeing that out.

Ok, full disclosure: Yes, I am a life-long (suffering) Tottenham fan. No, I am not president of the Tim Sherwood Fan Club.

I did not do cartwheels upon news of his appointment. I thought him average as a player and even less as a TV analyst. He was not my first choice to succeed Villas-Boas – he would not even have been my 10th choice.

However, Sherwood has been in the Spurs’ coaching system since 2008, mostly in charge of youth development. It is not unreasonable to think that, after six years, the club had designs on grooming him for the top job. That day arrived perhaps earlier than anyone expected on December 16 when Sherwood signed an 18-month deal, with a “break clause” at the end of the season, hardly a ringing endorsement of the club’s long-term commitment, an option Levy brutally exercised.

The 45-year-old former Tottenham and England midfielder won 13 of 22 league games in charge, a win ratio of 59 per cent that, statistically, makes him Tottenham’s most successful manager in the Premier League.

They finished in sixth place, thus guaranteeing Europa League football next season.

I am not angry because a young English manager has been given the boot less than six months into his first top-flight managerial job. I am angry because a young manager has been given the boot less than six months into his first top-flight managerial job. Having given him the job, why not stick with him? Yes, Sherwood made mistakes, his lack of tactical nous at times was horribly exposed and his post-match comments were often petulant and immature.

But Sherwood is not a Wenger or a Jose Mourinho, managers with decades of experience in top-level management. Sherwood should have been given time to earn his Spurs, pun totally intended.

sluckings@thenational.ae

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