Since being sacked by Tottenham, Tim Sherwood has been linked with every available job the Premier League could offer. He was apparently a front runner for the West Brom job, bookies favourite for the QPR post, before the media got it spot on and he was appointed as Paul Lambert’s replacement at Aston Villa. The outspoken coach has been eager to return to the pressure cooker of the Premier League and prove his credentials as a top English manager and Aston Villa are the side that have awarded him that chance. What need’s to be discussed is whether or not Tim Sherwood was the obvious choice to replace Lambert and take Villa forward, or is it one of the most uninspired managerial appointments in recent Premier League history?
Tim Sherwood received strong backing from the English media when he took the reins at Tottenham. It was a big deal for a young English manager to hold one of the League’s most prestigious managerial positions. With a lot of the English managers getting on the old side obviously Sherwood was a welcome sight to the media as young, English coach they’d hope could become one of the top in the game. With European managers taking the majority of the top managerial jobs and even Scottish managers in recent times showing a pedigree than any upstart Englishman there’s been an almost silent panic from those involved with English football that they were losing their standing in the game. It was clear after Capello’s tenure as England boss that the fans much prefer it when there is an Englishman at the helm of their national team and for that national team to achieve anything on the global stage they need a coach who can lock heads with the world’s finest tactically.
With Sherwood however, his outspoken nature regarding his own ability has been detrimental to his image and popularity amongst football fans. This is why I struggle to see his appointment giving Aston Villa the lift they need to propel themselves up the table to safety. At this juncture in the season, if you are a side in relegation trouble there is certain moves you can make to change the sides fortune. When deciding to appoint a new manager you are looking for someone who can lift the players without even doing anything yet. The appointments of Alan Pardew and Tony Pulis are case and point. If you are team who are struggling to pick up points and languishing at the bottom end of the table with minimal confidence and the club decides to appoint a new manager you are going to react to that in some way. The hope is that someone is appointed that automatically gives you the belief that they can guide you through this troubled time and save your Premier League status. There isn’t a lot of change available to coaches appointed mid-season, the squad will remain pretty much the same so you need to get something out of what is available. Tony Pulis and Alan Pardew have walked into their two new clubs and you can see the rise in confidence in the two squads instantly, because before either had any tactical influence on the squad the players were behind them believing that whatever they came up with it would save them. I don’t believe that the appointment of Tim Sherwood had that effect on the Aston Villa squad.
Sherwood’s CV as a Manager is limited. He boasts about his win/loss record with Tottenham, but is currently 0 from 2 with Villa. If I was a player in that dressing room I don’t see Sherwood coming in to take charge of the team giving me the confidence that we can escape this relegation battle still a Premier League side. The way he talks with the media and handles himself would make it hard for him to command the respect of the dressing room. It is down to the players to pull their weight and fight for the club because it’s not fair on the club, fans or even manager if they don’t. But, Sherwood gives the impression it would be very hard to go out and fight and scarp for every point with him leading the charge.
The target for the abuse from the terraces is owner Randy Lerner. “Too Little Too Late” the sign read from the Villa fans against Newcastle on Saturday. I don’t think its even a case of ‘Too Little Too Late’ and that it’s more an admission of defeat than attempt to keep the club up. It was lazy appointment from an owner who has lost interest in running a football club. He put the club up for sale and has obviously been ready to wash his hands of it for some time. Appointing Sherwood as manager for the Villa fans should be the final nail in the coffin, because it was lazy and uninspired. All Lerner had to do was read the back page the day after he sacked Lambert, see that the bookies had made Sherwood the favourite and offered him the job. Sherwood would of course take it, he just wanted an opportunity to get back to the dance it didn’t matter where it was. Randy Lerner supposedly held talks with Solskjaer before he hired Sherwood but ‘talks broke down’, it would not surprise me if the ‘talks broke down’ because Solskjaer requested something from Lerner probably money to sign players etc. Sherwood would’ve said ‘ill take it’ with little negotiation and Lerner’s mind would’ve been made up.
From Villa were only a few years ago under Martin O’Neill, challenging for a Champions League place it is sad to see the state they are. Randy Lerner was previously held up as the measuring stick for what a foreign owner of a Premier League club can be. If he hadn’t already lost that reputation I believe this managerial appointment should do the job. Come end of the season I could be sat with egg on my face, as Sherwood has managed Villa out of the bottom 3 in impressive fashion. I highly doubt that this will be the case though and instead Villa fans will be left in the Championship with an owner who isn’t interested anymore and a manager who would jump ship as soon any other Premier League job became available. Sherwood wasn’t the obvious choice for Villa, he was the uninspired choice.