I think the news of a permanent successor to AVB will come as a bit of light relief for Tottenham fans. A week of torture that culminated in defeat to local rivals West Ham and subsequently saw the North Londoners booted out of the League Cup. Whether you agree or disagree with the appointment, many would see this as a bit of closure on another painful chapter in the clubs recent history.
Many are willing to give Sherwood a chance, some even forget that the great Pep Guardiola was promoted from within, could Spurs be so lucky?
The jury may be out on Sherwood’s managerial abilities, but for me Levy hasn’t closed the door on the issue of succeeding AVB but instead left it worryingly ajar.
Sherwood has made it clear that he wasn’t going to ever be a Premier League caretaker, either give him the job permanently or not at all was the basic gist. This isn’t to say that Sherwood lacks loyalty to Spurs, more so that the job offer had to be right for him as well as the club, something that I think most can understand and accept. A contract to the end of the season would have seen the Englishman keeping the seat warm for someone else, whereas a long term contract would have been sure sign that the Spurs hierarchy have genuine faith in Sherwood.
What Levy did in reality was neither; an 18 month contract that to many just smacked of a Ricky Sbragia type rule at Sunderland. The kind of see how it goes, but we probably expect it to fall flat on itself eventually; some may call the offer prudent but for me it just shows a total lack of faith
Levy’s comments weren’t anymore reassuring either. The following was posted on the club’s website following the appointment:
“We were extremely reluctant to make a change mid-season, but felt we had to do so in the Club’s best interests. We have a great squad and we owe them a Head Coach who will bring out the best in them and allow them to flourish and enjoy a strong, exciting finish to the season.”
“We are in the fortunate position of having within our Club a talented coach in Tim Sherwood. We believe Tim has both the knowledge and the drive to take the squad forward.”
This was no more than a generic spiel, saying little more than he was obliged and hardly handing Sherwood the reigns with any real authority.
I think many naively think this 18 month contract ties Sherwood to working as Head Coach till next year, because in reality it doesn’t. All that it means is that if Levy chooses to dispense with his service in the summer he will be forced to give him a years salary as payoff. Considering the amount Spurs have spent in recent years getting rid of managers, this doesn’t seem like too much of a constraint going forward.
Levy is just buying time, he knows that no top manager will leave for Spurs mid-season and if he wants to make the right appointment he has to wait. Many of those linked to Spurs like van Gaal and Klinsmann have the World Cup to look forward to, regardless of the pull of the Premier League you would be a fool to give up the opportunity of managing in Brazil.
The situation is sad because there is a general feeling amongst Spurs fans that they want to pull together and get behind their new man, something which is admirable given the total lack of faith shown by the board in recent years. My feeling was that Sherwood should have been offered the short term, but with the contractual certainty of being abe to carry on given that he meets certain targets. Now of course this may be written into his contract already, but the general consensus is that this is simply a straight 18 month deal.
There is no reason why Spurs cant have a decent season yet. I think a 5th placed finish with the possibility of picking up some silverware is a realistic target this term, will it be enough to keep Sherwood in the job? I somehow doubt it.