Nothing encapsulated a farcical few months for Tottenham any better than last night’s festivities under the lights at White Hart Lane. It had been such a drama filled day for those in and around the club that it was perhaps easy to forget that there was a Premier League game last night at all.
Off-field uncertainty and the brutal undermining of his position on a near daily basis has dominated Tim Sherwood’s tenure. The news that the Englishman would likely be leaving his position in the summer hardly came as a huge surprise, but the manner of it left a bitter taste in the mouths of many. Whatever you think of a Sherwood as a manager, his treatment whilst in charge of the club has been pretty disgraceful.
As much as he tried to bat away the sympathisers it was difficult not to feel sorry for a man that looked broken even after leading his side to a romping 5-1 victory over relegation threatened Sunderland:
“I can’t comment about my employment – you’ll have to ask my employers,’” he said.
“I don’t know whether it (speculation) does anyone any favours. We’ve just got to get on with it. There has been an opportunity to manage this great club and I’ve done well. I think my win percentage is higher than any Tottenham manager.”
“I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me and it’s been a great opportunity.”
Even after what appeared to be a despondent farewell speech it was still uncertainty that dominated the mood last night. The club were quick to write off the stories as ‘speculation’ and there doesn’t seem to be any definitive decision on Sherwood’s future as yet. He continues to be a man precariously placed on the edge of the footballing precipice.
The off field antics aside, it was actually the 90 minutes at White Hart Lane last night that truly summed up everything about Sherwood’s reign at Spurs.
We had it all. There was remonstrating with the fourth official, fans and basically anyone else that would listen to Sherwood’s bursts of fiery passion. He may be tactically misguided but the drive and determination was still there for all to see last night.
The performance was typically Spurs-like; a farcically gifted opener for Sunderland followed by 50 odd minutes of drab monotony, alarm bells ringing once more. This wasn’t a game for the purist by any means, but Spurs certainly did offer fans a bit of respite from week after week of disappointment in the second half. Christian Eriksen again showing why he was the coup of the summer’s transfer window and why Spurs should be building their side around him for years to come.
It wouldn’t have been a Sherwood victory without a couple of goals from his adoptive son Emmanuel Adebayor, complete with the usual salute.
5-1 seems emphatic, but some were left unconvinced by a performance that at times lacked a certain degree of conviction. Both Paulinho and Chadli looked abject, Lennon largely anonymous and both wing backs well out of their depth at this level.
Even in victory Sherwood’s sides struggle to win everyone over.
You can lump me in with the rest that have supposedly conspired against Sherwood, but last night was not just symptomatic of his tenure, more so Spurs over the course of the whole season.
There has yet to be a game where the whole side has clicked, two or three players maximum at a time have carried Spurs over the line and this has got to be a worry going forward.
An evening dominated by passion and drama; even Sherwood’s staunchest critics would have left the game last night having at least seen the man go out with a bang.
Nothing more than a folly for some greater grand design at Spurs, it is difficult not to be sympathetic towards the departing Englishman after last night.