Tim Sherwood: A man in a maze of confusion

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

Tim Sherwood started his footballing career with Watford, followed by Norwich and then to Blackburn Rovers, which was the pinnacle of his career, and where he won a PL medal. He was at that club for 7 years. After leaving the Rovers it was downhill all the way. Four year spell with Spurs, followed by Portsmouth and then Coventry where he saw out his career. He also played for England U21, England B and ending with three appearances for England.

He left Spurs because of a major argument with the then manager Glenn Hoddle. Hoddle allegedly said that he would never play for the club again. One can presume that it was over tactics.

He came back to Spurs under Harry Redknapp’s tutelage as a coach. Five years later he was promoted to Head Coach of the first team after the sacking of AVB. His first match in charge at Spurs was against struggling West Ham; who knocked us out of the Capital One Cup. Spurs then had a good run under his guidance. Three wins and a draw before being knocked out and humiliated by Arsenal in the FA Cup 3rd Rd by 2 goals and no returns. This was followed by a 2-0 victory over Palace at White Hart Lane, then an away win over Swansea (3-1) before a humiliation on his own territory at the hands of Man City (1-5).

In February there was a mixed bag from Sherwood’s Spurs. We won 3, lost 1 and drawn two. March was a disastrous month for greenhorn Tim.  Spurs lost 4, drew 1 and only managed two wins. With the two heaviest defeats coming from Chelsea (4-0) and Liverpool by the same score line.

When AVB was sacked we were still in all competitions. From day taking over Sherwood’s Spurs were knocked out of all competitions gradually, methodically and in a spectacular way. Capital One Cup by Struggling West Ham (1-2), FA Cup by Arsenal in the 3rd Rd proper and then humiliation at home by Benfica in the Europa Cup  by 1-3 (on agg 3-5).

Whatever you throw at AVB one thing is for sure, he was replaced by somebody who couldn’t or wasn’t capable of improving on his record. As I have previously said we should have waited until the end of the season before doing an assessment on AVB. If you are going to sack a manager mid-season then it would be logical to replace that manager with somebody who was an improvement and experienced rather than replacing him with an inexperienced wannabee. That is totally nonsensical and bad business. But it did happen and we can’t undo the stupid.

Let us look at Sherwood’s coaching abilities on the big stage. He has been criticised for not being down on the touch line where all the action is. His argument was that he can see better from high up. The critics (professional footballers and managers alike) say that he should be down on the touch line. Maybe the first half in the director’s box, but he should be at a shouting distance to his players; encouraging or bollocking them where necessary.

He has unprofessionally criticised his players in public. There have been rumours that he was in fisticuffs with one of his players (denied). He also – reportedly – held his players back half an hour after the Liverpool game to give them a dressing down. It is believed that the players were confused with his tactics. In the game against Liverpool, before the match, they looked confused and disorientated; lambs being led to the slaughter. Why wasn’t Sherwood there building them up into fighting lions?

On tactics he, or I should say the team, seems to be all over the place; with different formations and odd substitutions and here and there.

All the games I saw live at White Hart Lane (under Sherwood) I thought they played terrible, but won with luck, rather than anything spectacular and encouraging. The only two exceptions were the Arsenal and Sunderland games: the Arsenal game I thought we were the better team, but still lost. As for Sunderland; yes we thrashed them and played better, but against a team that was at the bottom of the PL, with a poor defence. And probably will be relegated at the end of the season.

Another problem AVB and his predecessor Tim Sherwood had was whether to have one or two strikers up front. Both managers tried different possibilities but failed to achieve anything constructive, worthwhile, consistent or coherent.

To be fair on Sherwood he was thrown in the deep end. Nevertheless, like AVB he had to embed 8 new players in, quickly and probably with players not of his liking. Which goes back to what I originally said; why replace one manager with another only to create a backwards step with no visible solutions? Both managers ended up with the same teething troubles.

What does the future hold for Sherwood and Spurs? I think it is inconceivable that Sherwood will still be here next year (even though he has another year on his contract to go). As for Spurs next manager? Every Tom, Dick and Harry has been hypothesised by the papers, critics and fans alike and it will probably keep changing from here until the world cup is over. Sherwood will no doubt go away and lick his wounds and probably will be picked to manage a lower league team (he has stated that he would not stay at Spurs if he was sacked). If for some strange thinking Sherwood is still here next season then all eyes will focus on the Tottenham board and their capabilities in running a prestige’s club like Tottenham Hotspur FC. Apart from that Spurs could be turned into a global laughing stock, if they haven’t already.

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In the 90's, I was a writer for many of the top Spurs Fanzines (The Spurs, Spur of the Moment, MEHSTG and many others). A Spurs loyalist since the 60/61 season and now a season ticket holder (Premium). I run a Spurs Facebook page (“Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ voice” and co-run another one with Don Scully called “Tottenham Hotspur FC: Inside Track”). There is also a Spurs Twitter account (@HotspurVoice). I travel with Spurs to away games (including Europe). I have my a Blog (My blogging travels with Tottenham Hotspur Premium). The articles that appear on the blog also appear on SpursWeb and other applications.


  1. No way will Sherwood be there next season. He was probably given 18 months so that when he's fired he'll be given a small contractual sweetener.

    I believe that if AVB played Emanuel Ade.. he'd still be there now. Defensively in the main we were solid. It's the speed of thought that both the A*se and Liverpool had that did us proper. With the A*se game, Capoue et all were blown away by the passing and then Capoue was injured. The rest is history.

    I couldn't stand Sherwood at the beginning regarding Capoue vs Bentaleb but was encouraged by his humility in picking the man in the end. Tim has tried all the formations under the sun and reverted back to AVB's 433. It's been too confusing for our squad and too easy for others. I haven't been convinced by a single victory this season.

    We need to build a legacy of trust. I hope we don't get a UEFA league place, I hope Levy sticks to his contractual guns and doesn't let anyone go that LVG wants. Then TRUST the man. We'll get blown away by the bigger teams next year, but that's life. We will be successful but it doesn't come over night. Look at the 'Pool with Rogers, a while ago they weren't looking that great, and now….

    Move Sherwood on,Trust in the coach, whoever he will be. Come On You Spurs

  2. Spot on analysis. Surely there's no way Sherwood will still be here next season. Whatever the problems he inherited I don't like his aggressive attitude and public slating of players. I want a manager I can respect, and the players can too. We need an experienced manager who can set up a proper system of play and get the best out of a mixed bag of players. We desperately need a strong captain on the pitch, we seem to have no soul in the team and no leadership on the field. Oh for a Dave Mackay…


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