Following feverish speculation from Sky Sports that Spurs head coach Tim Sherwood would be replaced in the summer, a rejuvenated Emmanuel Adebayor expressed his gratitude to the 45-year-old by guiding Tottenham Hotspur to their biggest win of the season on Monday night against Sunderland.
After the match, the striker told Sky Sports, “When everyone forgot about me he gave me my life back. I am very grateful and owe a big thanks to him.”
Upon AVB’s dismissal, it became abundantly clear that the north Londoners had no feasible contingency plan.
If Daniel Levy and the Board of Directors knew AVB’s Spurs career had run its course, it is unthinkable that the relative Portuguese pup would have been replaced by an even more inexperienced manager. Sherwood, despite his coaching ambitions, had not gained the necessary UEFA Pro qualification, as reported by Matt Barlow of the Mail Online.
Back then, Spurs’ well-documented pursuit of Dutchmen Louis van Gaal and Frank de Boer for an immediate appointment proved unsuccessful. The former, whose illustrious coaching career includes the legendary Champions League-winning Ajax side of the 1990s plus Barcelona and Bayern Munich, has no commitments after this summer’s World Cup, where he will lead the Netherlands.
Whether van Gaal will become the fourth Spurs manager in two years remains to be seen, but what should be apparent is that regardless of how well the reminder of the season goes, Spurs fans should not shed any tears when Sherwood departs.
During the early winter period of uncertainty, Sky Sports reported that one of Spurs’ favourite sons, Glenn Hoddle, threw his hat into the ring, offering to help the club in any way possible—even if this meant being a caretaker for the rest of the season.
Tottenham Hotspur, you know I supported them when I was eight years of age. I went there at 12, left there at 28. Went back and managed. It’s in my blood. It’s in my bones. If I was offered the job, yes I would want to go back. If they felt they wanted me to go in until the end of the season even, I would be prepared to do that because I love the club.
In contrast, Sherwood decided that looking straight into the gift horse's mouth was a viable option, with The Guardian's Paul Doyle noting Sherwood's demands despite having minimal collateral to fall back on.
With hindsight, Levy and Co. were wrong to ignore Hoddle.
Amazingly, in Sherwood, they possibly saw a Pep Guardiola experiment. Could he do at Spurs what the Catalan did with Barca? Evidently not, and if the board thought this was even a remote possibility, they should seriously begin to question their own judgement.
During Monday night’s post-match interview, Sherwood proudly boasted that he has the highest win percentage of any Spurs manager in the Premier League, as per Sky Sports. This may be true, but considering he has only managed 17 Premier League matches, during which Spurs have suffered three humiliations (5-1 vs. Manchester City, 4-0 vs. Chelsea and 4-0 vs. Liverpool), this is a token, sugar-coated statistic.
Throw in lacklustre cup exits in the League Cup and the FA Cup by respective bitter-rivals West Ham and Arsenal, plus being dominated by Benfica in the first leg of the Europa League, and Sherwood's Spurs tenure doesn't look so rosy.
His tactical knowledge appears to be nonexistent, and his touchline temperament has been called into question.
Furthermore, his team selection has been dubious at best. Bringing through a youngster such as Nabil Bentaleb has definitely been a positive, but giving the Algerian 90 minutes week in, week out (in 10 out of 11 EPL fixtures, according to Transfermarkt) to the detriment of far more influential players has backfired on a) Spurs’ performances and b) the youngster’s own development.
Adding insult to injury, Sherwood’s cavalier attitude, particularly with the media, to bemoan his players (after the heavy defeats) cannot bode well for the same group of players who were fiercely protected by AVB.
When the club released their most recent financial statements, Levy indicated that a summer of upheaval among the playing roster would be unlikely and that the bulk of the squad would remain intact.
Therefore Spurs’ best case for progression would be to appoint an experienced head coach such as van Gaal to work with a spine, including the likes of Adebayor, Hugo Lloris, Jan Vertonghen and Moussa Dembele. His undeniable and invaluable experience and insight could prove to give the club the proficiency it has been lacking the past two years.