Tim Sherwood sacked: Daniel Levy plans for Tottenham still no clearer as yet another manager is dismissed

Does the chairman want a lucrative sale or to build a side that can challenge?

chief football correspondent

Daniel Levy could hardly say that he did not know what kind of personality he was taking on in Tim Sherwood, who, for the second time in his career, has left the club after a final frank exchange of views with the Tottenham Hotspur chairman.

It was the same 11 years ago when Sherwood, having fallen out of favour with Glenn Hoddle, was eager to leave for Portsmouth and angry that Levy was standing in his way. The Spurs chairman did not bear grudges, however, and was happy for Sherwood to come back under Harry Redknapp, first as one of the then-Spurs manager's assistants and latterly as the club's technical coordinator, overseeing player development.

That relationship came to an end for a second time today when Sherwood was told by Levy that he was no longer the club's manager and a break clause in the 18-month deal he signed in December, after taking over from Andre Villas-Boas, was to be activated. This time Sherwood was informed that he had been too outspoken and too critical of the club in recent weeks, although he has done so in the knowledge that he has been a dead man walking for some time now.

Sherwood will still be paid up on the last 12 months of his contract and becomes just the latest coach to leave White Hart Lane wondering exactly what it is that his chairman wants in a manager.

 

When he took over from Villas-Boas, Sherwood asked expressly whether he was simply regarded as a stopgap until the end of the season or whether he would indeed be able to see out the 18 months of his contract, including a summer transfer window. He had clear ideas about the players he wanted to bring in, including Gareth Barry, who he felt would help to develop the younger players in which he has such faith.

Then, Sherwood was told that the 18-month contract was no fiction and he would be given time. There have been some bad defeats along the way, to Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool, but his win rate, as he has pointed out of late, stands at 59 per cent which is better than any of his predecessors in the Premier League era.

There is no denying that Sherwood is outspoken. The club got to a stage where they worried what would come next from his Friday press briefings. But that only started when Sherwood began to sense that there was no appetite to plan for the future with him. He commented in March that the "silence was deafening" from boardroom level.

The Ajax head coach Frank de Boer is a candidate for the manager’s job at White Hart Lane (Getty) The Ajax head coach Frank de Boer is a candidate for the manager’s job at White Hart Lane (Getty)
Since his return to the club almost six years ago he has never been reluctant to tell Levy the truth about the direction, or lack of it, that Spurs have been taking. Everyone else, right up to Franco Baldini, the technical director, has to be more diplomatic. Sherwood has the luxury of being able to pick and choose if he works and as a consequence has never lived in fear of losing his job.

In addition to that he has been unafraid to tell big players in the dressing room such as Jan Vertonghen and Sandro when he feels that they have slipped below the standards expected. That criticism has not always been welcomed.

As for Levy, it is not as if he has been unprepared to listen – otherwise he would not have brought Sherwood back in the first place and then promoted him to manager. What is less clear is what exactly the chairman wants from the club? What is the long-term vision that he and the club's ultimate controlling power, the billionaire Joe Lewis, have for Spurs? Is it a lucrative sale? Or is it a team that can qualify for the Champions League and challenge for the league title, and if so, why do they keep selling their best players?

Michael Carrick, Dimitar Berbatov, Luka Modric and Gareth Bale have all been sold over the last eight years. While Spurs have bought shrewdly at times, that could not be said for last summer. When the club played a friendly in the Bahamas this time last year, Levy and Baldini told Lewis that if he allowed them to reinvest the Bale fee in players they could win the league. They did so and have finished sixth, their lowest league position in five seasons.

Sherwood was less keen on spending money. He believed that the likes of Harry Kane, Nabil Bentaleb, Danny Rose and Tom Carroll, currently on loan at Queen's Park Rangers, could eventually become first-team regulars, if they were given the opportunity. In January he resisted Levy's attempts to trade, including a putative bid to bring back Berbatov.

When Sherwood pushed the club on pursuing his transfer targets he was eventually told, on 7 April, that they wanted a more experienced manager. A lack of backing from the supporters has meant that Levy has not had to fear public opinion. Sherwood has been unafraid to tell Spurs fans that he sees their desire for new signings as an obstacle to allowing the club's academy players to flourish.

Who next? Frank de Boer may have damaged his chances by being too open about Spurs' approach to him. Levy will want someone who is prepared to be on-message. Whoever it is there is a good chance that the best players will continue to be sold, while the long-term ambitions of the club remain vague.

Five Games that cost sherwood his job

4 January 2014

Arsenal 2-0 Tottenham

Sherwood was unbeaten in his first six league games but Spurs fans were angry at the tactical naivety that led to a meek FA Cup defeat at the hands of their local rivals.

29 January

Tottenham 1-5 Manchester City

Danny Rose's later-rescinded red card skewed this result, but Sherwood's side were humiliated at home by one of their rivals for a top-four place.

23 February

Norwich 1-0 Tottenham

Spurs' Champions League ambitions all but died when they were defeated at struggling Norwich. They barely registered a shot on target until late on.

8 March

Chelsea 4-0 Tottenham

Another big game, another heavy defeat. Catastrophic defensive errors after half-time gifted Chelsea the points at Stamford Bridge.

30 March

Liverpool 4-0 Tottenham

Defensive calamities again cost Spurs. Younes Kaboul's own goal in the second minute set the tone for another embarrassing defeat.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003