Remarkably Tim Sherwood’s name has been mentioned as the next manager most likely to face the axe. The last time Aston Villa started a season so poorly they were relegated so it could be said the pressure on Sherwood should come as no surprise.
However, Chairman Randy Lerner said Sherwood’s appointment was part of a long term strategy. Has the former Tottenham boss accelerated the hands of time by overseeing such a fast decline?
At first glance it would appear so. The first sign a manager’s job is at genuine risk is when other names get linked with the post. Underlining the severity of Sherwood’s safety are the people being touted as replacements. There’s no talk of Carlo Ancelotti or former league winners, the likely candidates so far have been the much derided Brendan Rodgers and The Chosen One David Moyes.
It would be adding insult to injury if he is replaced with either of these. Brendan Rodgers now has a chequered CV. By releasing him Liverpool have declared to the world he lacks experience and cannot rebuild a side. Currently Aston Villa require a man that has the former and can do the latter.
In David Moyes they’d have an exiled Premier League flop. His Real Sociedad side currently sit sixteenth in La Liga, hardly a sign he’s back to form. What Moyes does have on his side is a solid, if uninspiring, record from his time at Everton. At least he’s been at a same sized club before working under similar budget constraints.
It comes down to whether or not the board believe Sherwood deserves more time or if a suitable replacement exists and is available. There is a strong case to give him longer at the helm. His win ratio at Tottenham was impressive and he guided them to a sixth place finish. This shows when he has a team operating under a system correctly he’ll collect points.
What he’s currently under is a reshaping phase. His tactics have come under scrutiny in recent times but that is natural when the form is so bad. Until he finds the winning formula he has to experiment. He can’t be held accountable for the summer transfer spend either. It’s unclear how much of the £52m of incoming talent he wanted. He’s been given pieces of an awkward puzzle without the instructions.
The Villa board can’t expect a manager to build for the future when he doesn’t have a loud voice with the personnel being brought in. If last season they saw him as the man to lead a new team forward they should stick by him for now. There aren’t many managers, like Sam Allardyce, that almost guarantee survival so any change presents a new risk.
The Villa fans that are getting twitchy bums should sit tight a little longer. Tim Sherwood exuberates enough confidence to suggest he can turn things around. Give him until Christmas before calling for the chop.