Time For Tim To Actually Back Up His Touch Talk

Posted: October 28, 2015 in Football
Tags: , ,

tim-sherwood-aston-villa-premier-league_3265211

Some people are just born leaders. They exude that aura around them that really makes others take notice and feel compelled to follow them.

Other people simply believe they should be leaders, talking the talk in the hope that somebody, anybody, will buy into the message and follow them down a road that has yet to be decided as yet.

People like Sir Alex Ferguson fit into the former, a man who just commanded respect from his peers and peons alike. Some may have questioned some of his decision making in the latter part of his career, but there was never any question as to whether people would follow him to the end of the earth, such was his character.

For the latter, read Tim Sherwood. A man who has managed to carve out a career in management based on little else than bluster, constantly talking up his own ability without ever doing anything to back up his credentials.

Sherwood is not a man who dropped down the divisions to hone his skills as a leader like so many before him, instead believing that his ‘experience’ working with the youth teams at Tottenham Hotspur made him ready to take the top job.

His self-confidence got him a crack at the top job at Spurs, taking over from Andre Villas-Boas and spending six months as a caretaker before being informed he had not done an adequate enough job to be given any longer.

Sherwood’s record at White Hart Lane was not bad, as he will constantly inform you, with talk about win percentages. But this was a Spurs side that, while shorn of the talents of Gareth Bale, was still packed with talent and should have been a match for any side in the division.

Sherwood will point to victories that continued to be narrow over the lesser lights of the Premier League, but when it came to pitting himself against the best sides in the division, the sides Spurs were trying to catch, his record was pitiful; losing games against top three Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea by an accumulated scoreline of 13-1.

Adebayor salutes Sherwood

Getting performances out of Adebayor has been Sherwood’s biggest success as a manager

He will claim to have resurrected Emmanuel Adebayor from the recycling bin at Spurs, but in truth, Sherwood is potentially as much to blame for the failings of many of Spurs’ ‘Magnificent Seven’ signed in the wake of Bale’s world record transfer to Real Madrid.

Eril Lamela was cast off with an injury that was never described as anything more than a ‘back injury’ for six months, whilst Nacer Chadli was another player made an outcast, with his performances the following season making a mockery of Sherwood’s treatment of him.

Paulinho, Etienne Capoue, Vlad Chiriches and Roberto Soldado have all now left the club and they fared little better under Sherwood, whose love of honest, hard-working English players can only have belittled their confidence further, with Soldado’s failure to emerge as a success the biggest craw in the throat of any Spurs fan.

With talk claiming Spurs players had given their verdict on Sherwood to Levy, the Spurs chairman offered no continuation to Sherwood in his current role and offered him another back in the backroom staff in North London, which was never to be of interest to man who had developed such a high opinion of himself like the former Blackburn captain.

Not only that, but the offer of taking the West Bromwich Albion job also proved of little interest to Sherwood, with Sherwood feeling that was too much of a step down for a man already eyeing the England job in the back of his own mind.

So nine months went by before Sherwood was convinced to end a sabbatical that lasted longer than his time in the game, with Aston Villa finally losing patience with the turgid ‘entertainment’ Paul Lambert was offering and giving Mr Personality an opportunity to cache those cheques his mouth was writing.

Sherwood Villa

It seems a long time ago that it all started so positively for Sherwood at Villa

There can be no doubt Sherwood had an initial revitalising tonic effect on a Villa side that were struggling to so much as score goals or launch meaningful attacks under the previous manager, but the wheels had already appeared to be coming off at the back end of last season.

Having secured survival, Villa went on a run of defeats to ensure they finished in 17th come the conclusion of proceedings, before being soundly thrashed by Arsenal in the FA Cup final, with the Midlands side barely posing even the faintest threat to the Gunners.

A summer in which we watched to see how Sherwood would handle his first proper transfer window (he was technically in charge throughout one at Spurs) was of great intrigue, and one that left us on the outside a little puzzled.

Sherwood called for Premier League ‘experience’, something he confused with has-been footballers, and doubled that up with a host of untested players mainly plying their trade in France, with few really exciting the imaginations of the fans.

With Swansea snatching up Andre Ayew on a free transfer, Villa opted to sign his less-talented younger brother Jordan for a figure reportedly close to the £10million mark, while people much more learned than me in regards to Ligue Un affairs were somewhat puzzled that either Idrissa Gueye or Jordan Veretout had attracted the attentions of the Villains.

Rudy Gestede was signed by Sherwood as ‘the best header of the ball’ in the league, but then either sat on the bench or played in a system that included no wingers, showing him up for the limited striker he is, able to dovetail well with Jordan Rhodes at Blackburn, but ineffective as a lone striker, especially when lacking any service.

Only £10m left-back Jordan Amavi could potentially be described as a success from the summer acquisitions, but Sherwood even found room to drop him to the bench, with Kieran Richardson once again shoe-horned into a defensive role, with the emphasis taken away from being defensively resolute, but needing an extra attacker.

Jordan Amavi

Amavi has probably been the only success of Sherwood’s first proper transfer window

One can sympathise that Sherwood was shorn of the spine of the Villa side over the summer, with Christian Benteke, Fabian Delph and Ron Vlaar all leaving the club, but just one success from the raft of players he did coax into joining is a pitiful response to losing your three top talents.

In addition to that, the final part of that spine Brad Guzan appears to have lost an awful lot of confidence since the arrival of Sherwood, having once been one of the finest goalkeepers outside of the elite six in the division.

But having won their opener in perhaps fortunate circumstances against newly promoted Bournemouth, Villa have picked up just one point since, a home draw against an equally hapless Sunderland side, losing eight fixtures, including a home derby defeat to West Brom.

Sherwood always spoke voraciously about his belief in himself to turn things around, but this was so frequently contradicted by other statements, such as being bored by his side, seemingly ignoring that it was his duty as manager to make his side entertaining to watch, if not to actually win games of football.

And so the axe has fallen on Sherwood, with the club languishing at the bottom of the table, with just one victory and four points on the board, with little sign of life within a luck-lustre squad.

His initial effect to keep Villa up last season has quickly dwindled, and it was perhaps telling that the statement from the club on releasing the news to the media only thanked him for his efforts last season, not quite as willing to offer any gratitude for his start to yet another torrid start to the season at Villa Park.

For a man so enamoured with win percentages after his dismissal from Tottenham, it would be remiss not to bring up a 26% win rate during his time with Villa, emerging victorious in just six of the 23 Premier League games he took charge of.

Sherwood Villa Stats

Sherwood’s stats with Villa don’t make for pretty reading

So what next for Sherwood? Rumours have linked him with the vacant managerial post at Swindon Town, and that might actually be a wise move for him, giving him a chance to actually hone his abilities as a manager away from the spotlight of the Premier League and build his way back up.

His reputation among the elite his damaged and now is the time for Sherwood to develop some humility and earn his credentials, instead of relying on the worry over a lack of British managers among the press to force him into the reckoning of any top flight job, knowing his gift of the gab may well talk himself into another high-profile failure.

Sherwood’s management career so far has focused on being all heart and very little head. It’s now time for him to take some time away from the high-pressured world of the Premier League and actually learn the skill of management before he makes any sort of return.

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