Tim Sherwood is the acting head coach of Aston Villa, an overemotional fan-manager who bears the same touchline persona as many other managers’ across the country, in the Sunday League. He preaches nonsensically during his press conferences, like a man desperate to make an impact.
Sherwood once said: “If you have a supply teacher who comes into your school, sometimes they’re not treated with the respect that a headmaster is.”
Sherwood was referring to his spell with Tottenham Hotspur as interim manager. This is true, although footballers aren’t that stupid, they can spot a pretender when they see one. Furthermore anyone who brags of a 59% win ratio as being second to none, as Sherwood did, needs a reality check. If a supply teacher inherited a class and inspired that class to a 59% grade average, then that supply teacher would be rightly relieved of his or her duties.
Despite this Sherwood does have time on his side, he is very young in managerial terms. Although do Aston Villa have enough time to allow Sherwood to find his feet? The law of averages indicate not. Since Gerard Houllier’s departure in 2011 the Villa have found themselves in a constant battle with relegation. The so-called glory days under Martin O’Neill seem like a distant memory.
Unlike O’Neill, Sherwood does not have a strong squad to compete for European places, although the appointment of Sherwood in the first place indicates that Villa’s priority is Premier League survival.
In that case Sherwood is probably the perfect appointment, he has enough drive and passion to inspire short-term survival, although he lacks the authority to lead a genuinely big club for the years to come. If Aston Villa want to be in the top 10, then they need an experienced manager who can overachieve, with an underachieving squad like Villa’s.
There was a very simple reason why Sherwood wasn’t given the permanent manager’s job at Tottenham; he was too much of an amateur. Player’s like Christian Eriksen are used to a standard of management beyond the befuddled lectures of a Spurs fan boy. A manager is more than a coach; he is the figurehead of an entire club.
Many Villa fans, in defense of Sherwood, will remind me of Villa’s remarkable FA Cup run last season. Sherwood piggybacked on a cup run that had already gained momentum thanks to his predecessor Paul Lambert, and the final against Arsenal was lacking any sort of discernible game plan. A 4-0 defeat was the least Villa deserved.
The FA Cup run was Sherwood’s interim moment, he did the best he could with the squad he had, Villa should not have even reached the final and for that he should be applauded. Unfortunately reality has set in again for Sherwood and Villa, so it’s time for the Claret & Blue to cut their losses and hire a new man to represent Aston Villa.
However, Villa must take great care with their next appointment, and avoid making the same mistake Newcastle have, by replacing their own Mr Interim with a manager who is even more of a running joke than Sherwood. Frank de Boer or Walter Mazzarri would be a good place to start.
So come on Villa, show some ambition.