Tim Sherwood returns to Tottenham and a complex legacy

Manager’s dismissal at Spurs ‘inevitable’ long before confirmation in May

Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood celebrates after Christian Benteke scores his side’s second goal v QPR on April 7th. Photograph: Reuters/Darren Staples Livepic

Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood celebrates after Christian Benteke scores his side’s second goal v QPR on April 7th. Photograph: Reuters/Darren Staples Livepic

 

It is unclear precisely when Tim Sherwood went rogue during his managerial stint at Tottenham Hotspur in the second half of last season. But Les Ferdinand, one of his assistants at the time, is perfectly clear on the crucial aspect of the chicken-and-egg debate.

“Without a shadow of a doubt, Tim’s outspokenness came after the realisation that we weren’t going to be there [beyond the end of the season],” Ferdinand says. “Tim felt that he had to protect his own corner. Sometimes, if people are not banging the drum for you, you have to bang it yourself. And you have to bang the tambourine. And play the harmonica as well.”

Sherwood was not quite the one-man band, as he had the full support of Ferdinand and Chris Ramsey, the other assistant,who is now the manager at QPR. But he and his friends came to feel isolated and their dismissal by the chairman, Daniel Levy, was inevitable long before the club confirmed it on May 13th.

Famous gilet

“That guy’s an expert, seriously,” Sherwood said, after the 3-0 home win. “Every week he tells me what to do. So I have given him the opportunity to do the job.”

His comments invariably went down well with the press. But they went down rather less well at boardroom level and among plenty of supporters, who came to view Sherwood as a pantomime villain. In their eyes, he beat the teams the club ought to be beating and lost to the ones that they most wanted to beat. He also flunked in the cups.

Sherwood’s reception on his first return to White Hart Lane as the Villa manager is likely to be mixed and his Tottenham legacy is complicated.

Struggling team

There were good wins over Everton, Manchester United and Southampton, together with a heartening faith in the club’s academy players, with whom Sherwood had worked in his roles as youth technical co-ordinator and head of football development. Harry Kane and Nabil Bentaleb were the most obvious beneficiaries. Sherwood also got Emmanuel Adebayor to fire again.

Yet memories at the club remain fresh of Sherwood’s ability to put noses out of joint – he made it pretty clear how he felt about Jan Vertonghen, Paulinho and Erik Lamela, for example – and of what has come to be considered as his penchant for rewriting history. He was not solely responsible for the development of the club’s home-grown players.

Sherwood firmly believed when he signed his 18-month contract in December 2013 that he would get the full term to implement his ideas. Levy, though, would reveal the deal contained a break clause in the summer, which he chose to exercise. Guardian service

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