Supporting Aston Villa now feels like it did in the mid-to-late 1980’s when expectations were muted and there was a growing indifference to how the club was being run (how could European Champions fall so fast?). But an appointment of a new manager can always re-energise any situation and help move a club forward. Graham Taylor and Ron Atkinson both were fine examples of that in my time supporting Villa.
The news of Tim Sherwood taking over at the Villa doesn’t give you the same feeling. The cloud over Villa is currently too thick for a bit of cockney breeze to blow away. There’s currently more of a Graham Turner feeling to the appointment. While Turner could do no wrong at his previous Shrewsbury, there was a ‘jury’s out’ feeling to him being able to manage a club of Villa’s status. It’s the same with Sherwood.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against Sherwood and I do like him as a character and his heart is in the right place, but considering his lack of experience and ‘name’ value, the appointment is, if I’m honest, is a bit ‘whatever’.
Still, perhaps an upcoming manager who is in it for the long-term is perhaps better than someone who’s glory days and hunger are behind him, that is just picking up a pay-check based on his reputation. You could have said the same thing about Lambert though, but lets not go there…
The first thing Sherwood has going for him that Villans will appreciate is a more open and honest personality than Paul Lambert. Judging from his time at Spurs, Sherwood communicates his feelings directly. This can be a good and bad trait, but after we’ve put up with Lambert’s coma-inducing post-match ‘hogwash’, Sherwood’s words will be a welcome addition to the Villa matchday ritual for fans.
I think after you watch the following video, you kind of warm to Sherwood (apart from wondering about why he needed to court this media attention). Here’s not afraid to point the finger at players who let the club down (“They had to be outed”), which is something perhaps Villa fans will welcome at Villa Park, as a few butts certainly need to be kicked in B6.
Sherwood also brings with him an open sense of humour which should help him with both supporters and players. Plus, one big bonus about having Tim Sherwood on board is there’s a chance that supporters might have a chance of actually managing Villa…if they sit close to the dugouts, as we can see in the next video.
Funnily enough, this moment where he invited a fan to take his seat during a game was against Aston Villa.
In a game that increasingly wants to separate fans from the players (i.e. Jores Okore being booked for celebrating with the Villa fans after he scored against Chelsea), fair play to Sherwood for this action.
We hear a lot about Sherwood’s ego, but I think that’s more a matter of him being open and honest. He’s not totally like Alan Pardew. So, what’s he like to play for as a player? (Keep you eyes open for the speech bubbles)
(Sorry, that clip was thrown in just for a laugh)
What Sherwood Brings to Villa
Tim Sherwood is seen as the classic English coach. While Villa probably won’t win the Premier League under him, as no English manager as managed it yet (shocking when you think about it), the ex-Spurs man may help Villa express themselves better with his more cavalier nature.
He’s been called the ‘New ‘Arry’ after Harry Rednapp. A comparison made by the tactical blog The Whitehouse Address:
‘Levy appointed from within and chose a man who would help them express, enjoy and play with a freedom not seen since…Redknapp. In Sherwood Spurs have their younger model of the man who many Spurs fans still pine for.’
In the case of Spurs, in recent times they have tried both sides of the coaching approach – the more carefree and expressive English methods of Rednapp and Sherwood, against the methodical and calculated European approach ala Andre Villas-Boas and now Mauricio Pochettino.
At the moment, after a dour last three seasons and a half, most Villa supporters would prefer Villa to cut lose a little and take a more maverick approach to entertain and get results.
On Sherwood’s approach, the White House Address writes:
‘Sherwood is evidently one who wants his sides to attack as his team selections point to. His work with Adebayor has been impressive and he has been rewarded with great performances. In fact many of those players under AVB look very different, more like what Spurs bought. Sherwood’s style is bringing results and he is proving that sometimes less is more.’
Spurs always struggled against the big teams under Sherwood, something that Lambert surprisingly had decent success with. The White House Address analysis puts it down to Sherwood being ‘tactically naive’ in his ‘ambitious and positive’ attacking 4-4-2 formations. With the emphasis being on freedom to create and attack than defensive discipline and counter attack (the Villa way in recent seasons).
Whether such an approach is likely to bare fruit in a relegation battle remains to be seen, although half the battle there will be firing up the players. In that respect, you could compare Sherwood’s personality to John Gregory, who came in to manage a flagging Villa team and reboot them to nine wins in the final 11 games of the season. From a relegation battle to Europe. I’m sure we’d all be very happy if history repeats itself.
In the final analysis, it may be in the long-term that Sherwood becomes a cropper.
‘Sherwood is more of the Redknapp cavalier way yet the game is more technical and tactical than ever before and cavalier attitudes will be punished not rewarded over the long term.’
Still, there will be no long-term, if the club remains in the bottom three, and Sherwood could be just the tonic for the here and now. Villa’s problem in recent seasons has been not being attacking or ‘cavalier’ enough to beat teams that they should be favourites against. Playing with more expression and personality may actually be just what the football doctor ordered.
For long periods of this season the team have criminally failed to score goals despite having talented enough players in their ranks to do so. We also have a world class striker, which most of the teams at the bottom don’t boost. The tools are all there for the new Villa boss.
Sherwood doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel just yet, but he may just be the spark plug that gets the club’s engine up and running again. UTV