Tim Sherwood has only been a manager for four months, but in that time he has become one of the most entertaining and controversial characters in the Premier League.
He did not disappoint Monday as his Tottenham team responded to the news that he will lose his job in the summer with a thumping 5-1 victory over Sunderland at White Hart Lane.
On the touchline, Sherwood ranted, raved and saluted. When one supporter reminded him of the news he had been hearing all day - that he won’t be in charge next season - the 45-year-old clapped and nodded enthusiastically, a huge smile across his face.
Gallows humor was the order of the day, while Sherwood kept his dignity in his post-match interviews as he was grilled about Tottenham’s decision to make yet another managerial change despite only appointing him in December on an 18-month contract.
“It's an honor to manage this football club and if you have any questions about my future you'll have to ask my employers,” Sherwood said. "I don't want anyone to feel sorry for me, it's been a great opportunity and I'm very proud to manage here."
Sherwood has been much derided by the Spurs fans and, although he has made mistakes, his win percentage of 58.8 percent is better than any manager at the north London club in the Premier League era.
There are signs of a promising manager in Sherwood for all the bluster about passion and heart. He is honest, charismatic and is a strong judge of a player’s strengths and weaknesses.
Sherwood’s major problem has been that it felt as though he was on the brink of the sack almost from day one. He has always been swimming against the tide with the players, the board and the fans at White Hart Lane.
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Heavy defeats to Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool convinced Spurs chairman Daniel Levy that he cannot afford to wait for Sherwood to learn on the job. His chopping and changing between sitting passively in the stands and screaming on the touchline reflected a man who is still experimenting and has not found his comfort side.
His sensational post-match criticism of the players after the 4-0 defeat to Chelsea in March and other poorly chosen public statements have also exposed a naivety that has been brilliant for journalists, but not with the people who really matter - the fans and the players.
Sherwood will point to the fact that he was never given a pre-season to build his own squad having taken over mid-season from Andre Villas-Boas with players who were bought for the former manager, such as Paulinho and Roberto Soldado. He knows that some of the players are not playing for him.
Sherwood wanted to shake up the squad in the close season and bring in experienced Premier League players following the failure to integrate the seven signings from abroad last year.
He wanted players like Ashley Cole, James Milner, Adam Lallana and Romelu Lukaku but won’t have the opportunity to truly show the kind of side he’s capable of producing.
But he has made some decisions that leave the squad in healthier shape than when he arrived.
Adebayor has been in stunning form since being brought back from the cold, scoring 13 goals in 19 matches since the managerial change, Eriksen looks like the one great piece of business from last summer’s 100-million-euro-plus spending spree, while youth team players Nabil Bentaleb and Harry Kane have become part of the first-team squad.
Spurs still have an impressive squad and following the world record 100m-euro sale of Gareth Bale last summer, they know they have missed a huge opportunity to capitalize on uncertainty and transitional periods at other clubs.
The target at the start of the campaign was to finish in the top four and qualify for the Champions League. but the club may not even secure a place in next season’s Europa League.
The campaign has cost two managers their jobs and now Levy will look towards another summer of change in north London. Franco Baldini, the club’s technical director, is also expected to lose his job in the summer.
Louis van Gaal and Mauricio Pochettino are the two men who have been identified as potential replacements for Sherwood and both offer completely different profiles to each other.
For now, Sherwood will make sure to enjoy his final five games because if he’s going to go down, he’s going to do it his way.
- Sports & Recreation
- Premier League