Tottenham comment: Spurs were right to sack Tim Sherwood
James Mariner argues the right decision was made
James Mariner is a journalist who has been boring The Independent sports desk with mindless statistics since June 2007. Helping with various, wide-ranging desk duties (I made the tea once), supervising workies and the endless researching of panels, James has an unnatural love of all things football, and in particular the Europa League, being a Tottenham Hotspur supporter. He cites Brian Sears and Ledley King among his heroes and can even find something interesting in Burnley v Hull City. On a good day.
Wednesday 14 May 2014
Standing in the away end at Upton Park earlier this month, with the Spurs support directing what became sadly familiar abuse at Tim Sherwood, it was baffling to think we were on course to equal our points record in the Premier League. Such was the ill feeling towards him that it appeared only a matter of time before we were again left looking for a new manager.
You can't possibly hope to be a success at a club when the majority of fans have turned against you like that within months of taking over. The feeling among the support that afternoon was poisonous, leading to chants of "We want our Tottenham back".
Upon his appointment, Sherwood immediately earned praise for reintegrating Emmanuel Adebayor into the first team after his banishment by Andre Villas-Boas. He was also widely lauded for giving youth a chance – rightly so – although there is a limit and Sherwood was too stubborn in his faith in youngsters. I have no doubt Nabil Bentaleb will mature into a fine player, but plunging him straight in – the Algerian featured in 13 of Sherwood's first 15 matches – was always going to be a risk.
Sandro made barely disguised disparaging remarks about Sherwood after being left out last month, and turning your key performers against you – the Brazilian is something of a crowd favourite at White Hart Lane – is never a good move, with a number of other players appearing disaffected and disinterested as the season meandered to a close.
Villas-Boas left after six- and five-goal thrashings against the top two, but that abysmal record against leading sides hardly improved under Sherwood. He also often appeared too keen to follow in the guise of Harry Redknapp – the cheeky cockney, one of the fans, eager to speak his own mind when sometimes it is best to keep your counsel. As with Redknapp, many outsiders are surprised at the move to sack him, citing his win percentage. Yet those within the club and its fanbase would barely have raised an eyebrow at the news.
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