The tenure of Tottenham Hotspur’s manager Tim Sherwood has from its inception been an unnecessarily tenuous affair, to objective observers at least.
Taking over from former boss Andre Villas-Boas, Sherwood had no previous managerial experience whatsoever but, on the face of it appears to have steadied the ship, acquitting himself well in his new and unfamiliar role.
Yet it would appear grumblings of discontent are emerging from the stands at White Hart Lane, with many supporters feeling that their former midfielder’s reign in charge would be best confined to the history books at the end of the season, a view that has sparked gossip-mongering over who could be next in line to take the job.
Here, we examine whether Sherwood should stay on or undertake a new challenge come May.
It was a surprise to many in the world of football when experienced Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy handed Sherwood an 18-month contract as head coach.
Having been working as technical-director, he undertook the role of interim boss following the sacking of Villas-Boas, guiding his side to a 3-2 victory over Southampton at St. Mary’s. It appeared then that Levy had seen enough, with the announcement that his role would be permanent, coming the following day.
Things started off well, with the seemingly rejuvenated Spurs losing just one of their next six matches, with doubts that had been expressed regarding Sherwood’s appointment appearing unjustified.
These were brought racing back to the surface, however, following a 5-1 home defeat to Manchester City, which has sparked a period of uncertainty, with the side losing three of the subsequent five games.
Focus will similarly not have been aided by the speculation that former Barcelona, Bayern and current Netherlands manager Louis Van Gaal is being lined up to take charge of the North Londoners.
The Duthcman made clear that he would not be in charge of his national side come Euro 2016, stating “maybe there will come a new challenge, I have said before that a challenge should be a club in the Premier League.”
Sherwood though has remained dignified throughout, to a point that it is not unreasonable to expect his services to be in demand if he is released from his current role.
Whether or not that would be fair though, is up for debate, as his record thus far must be assessed in its right and proper context.
For one thing, the former Blackburn midfielder is working with a side that is entirely of his predecessors making, having made no additions in January and losing experienced striker Jermain Defoe in the process.
Indeed, the only ‘signing’ that he has been able to make has been the reinstating of Emmanuel Adebayor to the side, who to his credit has notched up eight goals for his new boss.
Furthermore, it has to be said that the influx of players that occurred during the summer has included some questionable acquisitions, with Erik Lamela, Nacer Chadli and Roberto Soldado all putting in performances of dubious quality.
It is a testimony to his impact then, that his current record has seen his side picking 23 of the available 33 league points since he took charge, compared to 17 under Villas-Boas when he took over, and 15 in the 11 league games prior to his sacking. It would seem then, that based on his results so far, which is of course all he can be judged upon, Sherwood is doing better than the former incumbent.
But Spurs fans appear, dare I say it, to have a rather lofty opinion of their club whose record since the Premier League began in 1992 has been pretty ordinary. In 20 seasons they’ve only finished in the top 4 twice, won the League cup twice and got to the quarter finals of European competition twice. The majority of this, granted has been achieved within the last 5 years, however, if the Premier League has proven anything it is that nouveau success among clubs outside of the big 5 can be fleeting.
This is not to say that the supporters are unjustified in their thirst for success, more that it should be moderated by an element of realism regarding the facts of their club. Are they a big club? Well that depends how you would define that rather broad statement, in terms of fanbase, yes, but in terms of performance and trophies the answer would at best be a weak ‘kind of’ at worst, a pretty resounding no.
In summary then, Sherwood, if given the time to formulate the side into something of his own, with tactful signings and little more experience, could well prove to be the man for Spurs, a side who’s season appears to have been largely undone by the sale of star-man Gareth Bale. If though, the club opts not to persevere with him, one can only hope they do so for his replacement, after all, in building a enduringly successful team, stability can often prove to be nine tenths of the law.