Tim Sherwood: His dream, our nightmare.

Eye-patch wearing singer Gabrielle coined the phrase “dreams, can come true” in her 1993 hit single “Dreams”, a song that must be the background track to Tim Sherwood’s life since becoming Spurs manager. Unfortunately for everyone else connected to Spurs, Tim’s dream has become a nightmare. 

Nightmare status was confirmed as Sherwood’s boys were given a 4-0 drubbing by Brendan Rogers’ men at Anfield last weekend, condemning Spurs’ faint Champions League hopes to death, and with it, any realistic chance of ‘Tim’s list’ becoming reality during the summer…thankfully. 

Sherwood’s ineffectiveness as a manager was optimised by a group of players that looked beaten in the tunnel before kick-off at Anfield; Tim’s passion-fuelled pre-match team talk did little to inspire and there would be only one outcome. The result took the players and fans to rock bottom, I was left scratching my head wishing we were still in the Europa League. 

As my thoughts turned from unsurprising disappointment back to Sherwood’s shortcomings as a manager, the jukebox in my head threw me a Gabrielle lyric: “I can’t believe you’re here, but I know that you’re real…”

This sums up exactly how I feel about Tim. 

I can’t believe that a manager with around four jobs less experience than Andre Villas-Boas was given the reigns at a club that was supposed to be vying for a top-four finish. Any human being, in any job they haven’t done before, will make mistakes.

Football management is no different as AVB proved. The only way to become a top manager is make the mistakes and learn from them – this is usually done in the lower leagues when less is at stake or under the wing of an experienced manager. 

Credit to Tim here, he did stop ranting and raving on the touchline, instead choosing to go and do it behind Daniel Levy in the stands…but then again, he only did that after a call from touchline tyrant Alan Pardew.

Maybe it is apt Tim Sherwood sits in the stands because he manages in the style of a fan plucked from them – minimal tactics, maximum emotion. Ask any successful business leader and they will tell you business and emotion rarely mix well. Emotions need to be controlled and only shown as part of a calculated game plan. 

The game plan under Tim has always been lacking – the home match against Benfica was a perfect example: one manager with a game plan that his players executed perfectly and another with no plan that got rattled and ultimately schooled both tactically and on the touchline. Tim’s weaknesses have been exploited for all to see.  

One of my personal favourite Sherwood moments this season was away to Norwich; we managed just one shot (which was off-target) in 66 minutes of football against the Canaries and he failed to bring on Andros Townsend, who has the highest shots-per-game ratio in the squad and would also have bought some much needed creativity and width.

It’s not all bad. There are some endearing qualities about Tim, it’s a pity most are weak points. His heart on his sleeve attitude was great to see; it showed a spirit and desire that both the Spurs team and us as fans have been lacking. Also Tim was right, players need to be able to air their opinions in the dressing room with each other and not be nicey nicey because nice guys finish last. 

Having read this, it feels like I have been a bit hard on Tim. It’s not like I was expecting much after his appointment; especially after hearing that one of Tim’s own family members described him as “not the sharpest tool in the box” when asked what he thought Tim’s ability to manage Spurs would be. 

A job managing a Premier League side was and is Tim Sherwood’s dream, a dream that despite no experience, and against all odds, came true. Tim may deflect criticism aimed at him to his players, but Daniel Levy is the real villain in this piece. Levy has done a lot for Spurs, but he got this one nightmarishly wrong. 

 

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