Sherwood an Aptly Mediocre Appointment for Fading Spurs – by Rob Atkinson


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Hmm, I’ve got the job, then. Now what?

The news of Tim Sherwood‘s appointment as Tottenham manager, some say until the end of next season, will come as a surprise to many, a shock to some and confirmation of Spurs’ continuing decline to the knowledgeable few.  To say that the response of the White Hart Lane faithful is unenthusiastic is to be extremely charitable.  The Spurs fans are trying to put a brave face on the whole matter, trying to understand what is going on behind Daniel Levy‘s petulantly dissatisfied expression – but you can tell that deep down inside, they’re glumly watching the big clubs disappearing over a distant horizon which, not so long ago, represented the tantalisingly attainable Promised Land for North London’s second club.

As I’ve previously written, the failure of Spurs to pip Arsenal to Champions League qualification was the death-knell to their immediate ambitions of being a truly big club themselves.  It wasn’t an easy opportunity to miss; Spurs had been in a great position – seemingly almost home and dry.  And yet, against the odds, they managed to achieve failure from out of the very jaws of success.  They contrived somehow to squander their best chance of dining at the top table, and thereby put the tin lid on any chance of Gareth Bale (or “Spurs” as he was widely known last season) wasting any more of his meteoric career yearning for a team to suit his talent.  So it’s likely to be a diet of crumbs for Spurs from now on, especially if they manage to miss out on Europe altogether next season – a distinct possibility for the envious mid-table outfit.  It’s this kind of losing habit that has seen an allegedly major club fail to win a League Title for over half a century.

There is, it appears, a subtext behind the appointment of Sherwood, and the gist of what’s to be read between the lines is: “Louis van Gaal (nod, wink) … after the World Cup, of course … keep it under your hat, old fellow.”  Quite why a coach with the reputation of van Gaal would want to move from a post with one of Europe’s better national sides, to take up the reins of a London club in the perpetual shadow of giants Arsenal, is not explained.  The additional niggle that Spurs will probably be Champions League onlookers again, with all the top players studiously avoiding eye contact when a move to N17 is mooted, is hardly likely to help turn fanciful ambition into blessed reality.  World-class coaches are hard to recruit for urchin clubs who have their noses permanently pressed up against the sweet-shop window, whilst the rich kids gorge inside.

Spurs may after all find themselves having to grant Tim Sherwood his desired longer-term contract, something that is currently causing Daniel Levy to wear an expression even more pained and long-suffering than usual.  Levy’s desire for a cheap stop-gap appointment, prior to a high-profile swoop after the summer’s shenanigans in Brazil, may well be thwarted by circumstances beyond even his control.  How ironic it would be if it turned out that AVB had been made to walk the plank, only for it to transpire that the newly-promoted 3rd mate can’t even navigate, causing the ship to founder for want of an experienced presence on the bridge.  3rd Mate Sherwood’s total lack of impressive top-level qualifications, or indeed any real experience, is worrying more than a few with the club’s best interests at heart – and I find it rather puzzling, too.

What seems certain is that Sherwood, for all his fighting talk of wanting to be at the helm for ten years, is in Levy’s confused mind very much of a short-term, dodgy quality option for the here and now – with the indistinct future more a subject for wishful thinking.  After all, a slightly scratchy win at Southampton seems an odd basis for what is a crucial appointment; there is an air of the knee-jerk about it, a feeling of sticking plasters being applied to an arterial gusher that threatens to bleed Tottenham’s season dry.  Arsenal’s current minor stumble is but cold comfort to any Spurs fan with clear vision and a nose for stormy weather approaching.   The Gunners still seem set fair for a continuation of their top four habit at the very least, whilst there is no sign of any significant improvement in Spurs’ own more modest possibilities.  Sherwood as boss is no more and no less than a chilling confirmation of those uncomfortable, unpalatable facts.  It’s not going to be a very Happy New Year for the fans of North London’s also-rans.

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33 responses to “Sherwood an Aptly Mediocre Appointment for Fading Spurs – by Rob Atkinson

  1. Not sure how a Leeds supporter can be quite that condescending when your “one man team” is Ross McCormack & your club appears in pretty much every dictionary on Earth next to the phrase “financial mismanagement.”

    That said, as a Spurs fan of old-ish I’m quite interested to see how this pans out now, it has to be more interesting than watching AVB’s Spurs & is just about more interesting than watching Leeds die on their arse for the last 10 years or so, which admittedly was pretty fucking funny…;)

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    • I don’t see that my support of Leeds United is relevant, except insofar as it afforded me the chance to see how easy to beat Spurs WITH Bale were in last season’s FA Cup. Perhaps you feel I’m intruding on private grief?

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      • Oh so you found your cup final!! Bit of a long time coming well done, and you’ve achieved what since??. Spurs are trying to build success not just buy it for one season before declining in to financial meltdown never to be seen in top flight football again!!! This article is somewhat pointless and cringe worthy and to a degree childish but there again thats what bitterness does to,you after so long!!!

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      • There is bitterness in this thread, but it’s to be found in the responses 🙂

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  2. Clearly a totally unbiased, thoughtful analysis……Clueless Git

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    • Thanks, Clueless. Or do you prefer Mr Git? Whatever, it’s good of you to include your real name AND your pseudonym – that’s diligent responding. I’d say good luck – but we both know that isn’t going to be enough…

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  3. Leeds United are where now? Oh yes, 5th in the Championship, only recently escaped from the dizzy heights of League 2! Managed by whom exactly? Oh yes, that stellar footballing and managerial icon Brian McDermott! A club universally reviled in their brief ’70’s heyday for gamesmanship and foul play, now the very definition of mediocrity and insignificance, humiliatingly surpassed as Yorkshire’s number 1 club by, wait for it, Hull City! Spurs in the shadow of Arsenal? Maybe in recent history yes, albeit by just a point the last couple of years, but that’s not quite the same as being in the shadow of Hull City is it?!

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  4. Daniel J Permutt

    Did Spurs steal your lunch money when you were younger? Get over it – you’re some kind of an adult now.

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  5. Well, wow! Just wow, Bob… This reminds me of going home to visit my friends who still live in my hometown, a small town outside Oslo. They can’t stand that others do well, because they regret not having the balls to go out of town to try their luck. Why don’t you try to support your team and be proud, instead of making up wishful thinking about one of the more decent clubs in the EPL? You’re right about one thing, Sherwood is probably a stop-gap appointment, and whether you understand it or not, Spurs-fans are not nearly as worried as you want to make us believe. The rest is so full of fiction, exaggeration and wishful thinking that I’m not even going to correct you. Except for one thing: If you don’t know that Guus Hiddink is taking over the dutch nationalteam after the WC, you should just not write about it. Have a nice day, and I really do hope Leeds will become what it once was. I would like to see Spurs playing Leeds at the great Elland Road again, but I’m going to cheer for Spurs, and I really do hope you will spend more of your time cheering for Leeds instead of writing stuff like this, which in all honesty is beneath Leeds United or any other current or former great club.

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  6. What a cute little blog. Well done on spelling the words correctly.

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  7. Graeme Bradley

    Nice write up. Reality is this appointment makes that of Moyes appear genius. May Levy continue to reap what he sows!

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  8. Pep comes to mind. With no experience Pep won everything in the game. The amount of experienced managers Leeds have had over the years and where has it got you.

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  9. I like this article, simply becos it shoots from the hip, and that it voices my fears for my beloved Spurs. I cringed when I realise that DL was gonna appoint Tim in the HC job. Its a stop-gap, and not a very good one at that. It smacks of kamakaze, hari-kiri tactics to get the board andf fans on his side in the short term. Its simple really Tim, AVB was cautious….lets go the other extreme. See how the dice rolls, cos seriously Spursworld, THATS exactly what it was. A huge gamble. Ade is a disgrace and I would not ever play him in my team!! EVER! As good as he is, for now, he does not have the work ethic of a pro-footballer. So, my nerves are shot. I hate DL, and I see us ending up as a mid-table side. My concern is for the players who are vying for World Cup spots. DL and TS might just contrive to get them un-selected for their teams based on club performance. GOD KNOWS I WOULD LOVE TO BE WRONG!!!!! COYS

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    • Keep the faith. You never know – I’ve no love for Spurs but I’ve had enough reasoned and intelligent responses from downright pleasant Spurs fans to make me almost hope I’m wrong about this. At the very least, I hope you finish above you-know-who over Salford way.

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  10. Disillusioned spurs fan

    What really makes me sick as a parrot is how we are 6 points off the top with two home games coming up…….I mean how very dare they have what most consider a bad patch and leave us in such dire straights……it’s not even as if we have a big squad to pull us through or a well connected director of football to buy more players………and quite frankly I’ve just about had it with a chairman who keeps us in the black when any right minded supported wants us swimming in debt……..

    When will this agony end?

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  11. John Woods

    Au contraire Mr Atkinson, I believe in his somewhat forced appointment of Mr Sherwood, Mr Levy has inadvertently given a Premier League opportunity to a talented young English coach, and not just to cut his teeth in the hand to hand combat of a relegation scrap, but to mount a serious challenge on 4th spot, with a more than capable squad. I understand your well thought through and written analysis, however it is a tad glass half empty, unless of course you were intentionally looking to raise the heckles of the N17 faithful! I jest of course, for there is every reason for said faithful to be optimistic. The promotion of a bright and determined employee from within? One that has overseen the rapid rise of a great development squad, to one of whom-Bentaleb, he has already successfully turned? What now for the ambitions of the others? I would have to conclude that in the appointment of this straight talking serious English coach, with his attacking intent and seriously talented squad, Mr Levy has somehow got himself off the hook. I will of course return here at seasons end to fall on my sword should I be mistaken.

    Kind Regards

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    • Wonderful comment. Spurs are not my favourite team – as some have sussed I have a fondness for Arsenal, so that tends to polarise the two wings of my opinion – however, I almost find myself hoping you have no need to fall on your sword. Best wishes.

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  12. Very well written. It was an entertaining read which certainly casts light on some funny truths but as a Spurs fan I can’t see us failling with Tim Sherwood. The game against Southamptom showed promise and that is enough for me to consider we’re back in business and that every other team better watch out!

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  13. worst christmas present ever..
    mid – table here we come.
    at least we don’t have to feel the excitement and frustration of fighting for a top spot
    we can just lean back knowing we won’t be relegated, and wait for a decent chance.
    the win against southamton seemed a bit lucky, how long will it least
    i`m betting that the shit hits the fan when we play united

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  14. In fact, most Spurs fans (and being a life-long fan myself, not to mention a semi-frequent visitor to the Lane, I know one or two) seem to be cautiously optimistic about the appointment. Certainly the talk over the last couple of years has been about how highly-regarded Sherwood is by Levy and by many others in the club hierarchy, and most people I’ve spoken to seem willing to give him a chance.

    We’re still within reach of that holiest of grails, and it seems disingenuous to write us off just yet – anything can happen between now and the end of the season!

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  15. Kosher Cowboy

    I am not sure why you are writing about Spurs for. There are plenty of top class bloggers already doing it. Perhaps it might be because your faded team doesn’t give you enough material to write about. If your team gets back into the premiership then you could write a piece which would be relevant to both clubs, but seeing you are currently stuck in the championship perhaps a piece about your local rivals Barnsley would be more fitting

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  16. Bloody hell give the man a chance before you condemn him to the scrap heap. After so many managers with experience at the very top have gone to clubs and totally under achieved. At least Sherwood knows the club,youth players,1st string players and most of all the SPURS WAY!!! which ain’t sticking 3 holding mids in and playing slow boring side to side football that couldn’t get a kid on Ritalin excited!!!
    His 1st game in charge against W Ham shud av been all over by the time Adebayor put us ahead,bar some poor finishing(which ain’t his fault). And the Southampton game was another example of poor finishing not killing games off. Soldado cud of had a hat trick once we went 2-3 up but cudnt convert 1 of em which wud av all but killed the game.
    Hes takin over a group of players not a team and tryin to turn them into a team by getting the players confidence back which AVB completely destroyed by playing a style of football that hardly any of the players felt comfurtable with and also scraping through games by picking up the points when all the players knew that they were playing poor! We had more goal mouth action and proper chances at goal in his 2 games so far than we have all season under AVB,and yes It’s by no means the finished article yet but at least It’s starting to get back to the exciting Spurs way of playing! Which I for one am all for and always will be!
    Also I don’t really understand where your comin from with this Spurs are in total crisis and basically in complete meltdown as a mid table team? At present we sit 7th a completely unatainable 6 pts off top!!! When have we in ur memory ever been top of the table 6 pts clear and smashing all comers 4s and 5 nils??? The best I recall us doin was 2 seasons ago wen we were in the title race until we ran out of steam cus good ‘ol ‘Arry cudnt rotate to save his life! and we threw a 10 pt lead away to Arsenal and got pipped for 3rd missed out on CL cus Chesea fluked their way to winning it under an inexperienced Di Mateo! Oh and if i recall that team had Van Der Vaart ,Modric and a certain “Worlds most expensive player” in it!
    AVB went and completely overhauled the whole squad in 18 months then makes 8 changes to every game and wonders why none of his players are gelling??? Playing players like Lennon on the left and Naughton at LB,not once sees it don’t work but game after game??? Then loans out Benny wen we ain’t got no LB cover and exiles Adebayor wen we ain’t got no Strikers???
    All because he doesn’t like them personally??? It’s professional football not picking ur mates to play on ur team at school!
    I also thought AVB was brought in because he was the tactical geneus ‘Arry wasn’t yet he cudnt except his stupid high line didn’t work at Chelsea,nor wen he came to Spurs,yet never changed it??? Brings in Soldado who thrives on crosses and width yet continued leaving him feeding on scraps with his inverted wingers but never changed??? Most of his subs were just like for like,ie.Defoe for Soldado,Paulinho for dembele,Holtby for Eriksen??? What a way to change a match up u technical genius you!!!
    At least Tim has come in and seen we’ve struggled for goals so he goes with 2 strikers to try and change it up,but also goes and sticks attack minded players in mid field. I can guarentee that if AVB went 4/4/2 he wud of had 2 holders in mid,Sandro and Paulinho/Capoue.
    Bottom line is AVB had a Porto side that had an outside chance of winning the CL wen he went undefeated in a weak league and won their weak cup and then the Europa league treble. The players he had Falcao,Moutinho,Hulk,Rodrigues to name but a few,where are they now? All gone in big money moves.
    And he never got Spurs maximum points in the epl,Bale did. Without Bale he wud of got sacked last season!
    Also cus of his tactics we never got a 2 goal margin where the players cud relax play football without anxiety and go on and batter teams like liverpool and man city and arsenal have this season,that’s why we hav such a good away form,best in the league,cus the players ain’t playing infront of a anxious pact stadium!
    If we win our last 2 games of the 1st half of the season we will be on 36 pts halfway,emulate that in the 2nd half and we finish on 72 pts same as last yr that can only be positive as the more games we play the better the team shud gel,so the following season wud be very interesting. Just look at Liverpool,let their players gel and the fancy football follows!
    When everyone is back fit and Sherwood goes 3/4/1/2 –
    Lloris
    Chiriches,Dawson,Vertonghen
    Walker,Paulinho,Eriksen,Townsend
    Sigurrdson
    Adebayor,Soldado

    And plays them every league game till they know each other inside out,they will be beating the so called lesser teams and they won’t be gettin no 5s and 6s put past them without scoring at least 3 or 4 themselves!!! Come on TIM TIM and COYS

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  17. Clearly, you have something of a bee in your bonnet about Spurs. Or maybe it’s just that Arsenal are your second team……your Premier League team?

    It seems to have escaped your notice that, without having yet hit their stride, Spurs are a mere six points off top of the table Liverpool. Too early to write off the season, I’d say.

    Sherwood is very well regarded within the game (by people who know a lot more than you or me). And not just at Spurs. Whether or not he does well enough to keep the job, time will tell. But it’s not the baffling appointment that you seem to think it is.

    As to who might replace him if it doesn’t work out, you pour scorn on the notion that Van Gaal would take the job, should it be available in the summer. Yet he has all but admitted that he would be interested. Maybe not such an “urchin” club after all?

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  18. Stuart Haggarty

    Rob – many thanks for an interesting read, more so in terms of being unable to understand your logic really? A fair few of us Spurs fans voiced our displeasure that AVB was removed as early as he was. He goes with many a high regard i would imagine. However despite this i still do not see what your article is really about. I have really enjoyed the last 5 years or so as a spurs fan when compared to previous disappointments – then your analysis would have been hard to argue…we were mediocre i agree and we hugely underachieved. I love my team, and i can not deny that at times Levy makes me nervous, but he is Tottenham through and through and he has invested more than any other of our top 5 competitors – thus in Levy i must trust. Ultimately if he gets it wrong…i still love Spurs, my team, my pride in the clubs philosophy of attacking entertaining football. Ultimately you do not see the clubs success in recent years, thats your view and your welcome to it. I personally enjoy seeing us at the top and of the Premier (dont forget that this ‘bad period’ sees us 6 points adrift of the top spot) and competing in Europe, both the Champions League and Europa most recently. I instead see over recent seasons the pleasure of getting to the quarters of the CL, beating Man City to the CL at their home ground!!!! at last winning at Old Trafford, our highest points finishes consecutively, amazing talent in the squad for years now. So are we in decline? not if your use empirical thinking and logic? tell me how we have not been ever more successful in the last 5 years? Thats not rose tinted glasses – there just facts!!! Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year to you Rob!!!

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    • Whatever my views or preferences in terms of clubs I like/dislike – it’s good to see passionate support manifesting itself in a reasoned and heartfelt response. All the best to you too, and have a great Christmas season!

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  19. How bitter some people can be that they have to bring up other people’s misfortunes to comfort themselves. Fact is even without his coaching badges we still have a better man in charge than Leeds. The fact that Spurs are only 7 points off the top and people consider our form as a ‘crisis’ completely kills your arguement as people clearly see Spurs in a higher position. Also, I bet your site has had more visits today due to name dropping ‘small club’ Tottenham. lol

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