Tim Sherwood Sacked
Well, well, well, here we are again. Another weekend, another deflating loss and potentially another nail in Aston Villa’s Premier League coffin. Luckily for the club the board has not wasted any time in dismissing underachieving boss Tim Sherwood and it is definitely the right time, and the right decision.
Credit Where Credit is Due?
It wasn’t all bad on Saturday. The performance for the most part was one of our better ones this season. Ayew for example is finally looking dangerous and notched his first league goal. Gana is proving a capable presence in the middle. Unfortunately those positives can only fall into the no longer valued ‘moral victory’ category as we again failed to close out a game.
Villa are in an unforgiving Premier League dog fight and only points can help us. Most of us questioned whether Sherwood picked the team out of a hat on Saturday, and despite some good play the question is still valid as he admitted that he was simply chopping and changing until he stumbled across a winning formula.
It would be unfair to put the blame for Villa’s woes purely at the manager’s feet. As Stan Collymore so correctly highlighted in his statement earlier this week the club has been grossly mismanaged from the top down for too long now, and the once great Villa are becoming a train wreck and a laughing stock. While I agree with Collymore’s call for heads at a boardroom level, I couldn’t defend his calls to back Tim Sherwood and I’ll lay out the reasons that the former Spurs man had to go, sooner rather than later.
Contradictions and Promises
While Sherwood’s task was not made any easier by club owners, he did himself no favours in terms of pressure and expectation. His reign has been swamped with false promises and contradictions. Let’s take a look at his track record of statements.
Sherwood promised Villa would not be in a relegation fight this season. Ten games in that one has proved false.
Grealish, Veretout, and Gil often sat on the bench as the former manager lamented a lack of creativity in his team.
When asked where the players could find inspiration, he said that they should look to him to find confidence and motivation. The very same week he then claimed that their play bored him, that many of the players weren’t his recruits, and also that the blame was not on him but on the players. Hardly inspiring fare.
The kamikaze quote machine hit overdrive ahead of the Swansea game, Sherwood insisted that the game was as big as last terms FA Cup final (remember how that went?) and that Villa WOULD win. Another needless promise went astray. Simply put, there is no point churning out chirpy soundbites if they aren’t backed up, as they simply become suicidal and self-defeating. That has been a symbol of Sherwood’s tenure and it was a large part of his downfall.
His claim that “It is out of my hands whether I will remain, I will be fine but the club is in a hole” does highlight the lack of support from above for the ex-manager, but it also screamed of a man defeated, and who was firmly in this for himself and not for the good of Aston Villa. That is not something that could be allowed to continue.
Play the cards you’re dealt
Again, let me state that I know that the actions of the board have not always been ideal, but that does not excuse the way that Sherwood has played the cards he has been dealt. His constant public admissions that he doesn’t know his best team have only brought added derision from the Villa faithful and do not sound like the words of a man who knew what he was doing.
Perhaps some of the transfers were out of his hands, and it would have been great to have the experience of someone like Cambiasso in the squad, but there have been decent players brought into the club. It’s not unheard of that managers have to work with players brought in by the board.
Take Brendan Rodgers for example. Rodgers did not want Daniel Sturridge, but he didn’t have a public strop, he instead worked with the talent he had and make Sturridge a better player, and a fantastic investment for Liverpool. A manager has to manage his players, whoever they may be. New recruits won’t adapt to the league if they don’t play.
The most telling of Sherwood’s words since his arrival may have been the observation that Villa have been the ‘Architects of our own downfall.’ That includes the players and the board, but believe it or not Tim, it includes you too.
Ray Wilkins, Sherwood’s right hand man, added fuel to the fire with calls for the fans to calm down and him seeming to have a great old day with his old boys at Chelsea while his team were in crisis.
Wilkins is not Sherwood. He was however a part of his flailing, failing, regime. The dismissal of Sherwood’s backroom team is equally important. While Sherwood make countless wrong decisions on the pitch he seems to have had little or no constructive advice from his team either.
A word on ‘the fickle’ – Cold Hard Facts
As always there will be claims from some that calling for the manager’s head and his dismissal are simply Villa being ‘fickle’ again. Let me highlight several reasons that this is not the case.
For those few who say that Villa fans always turn on the manager, I ask in hindsight was ditching Lambert, McLeish, and Houllier, ‘fickle’ or the right decision? Giving Sherwood the chop will prove to be the right move too. Everyone is of course entitled to their opinion but I would challenge people to argue with the following facts:
-The last few manager fired have not been the right men to lead us forward.
-Sherwood’s record so far this year is worse than Lambert’s at this stage last year. (WLLDLLLLLL = shocking)
-Since securing safety last season, Villa’s results have been atrocious
-Sherwood was not experienced enough to save us long-term.
Lambert was sacked after ten games without a win. Sherwood has gone nine without a league win now and rightly paid the price.
We can’t afford blind optimism. We need to get behind a manager and that’s all that we want, but that doesn’t mean just settling for whoever is here. If we are going to build something it needs to be someone who knows how, and has the experience. I stuck by Lambert for the first few waves of abuse before seeing sense. I liked him as a player and wanted him to be the man but that hope and desire clouded my judgement.
As touched on above, for years we have suffered from a lack of interest from our owner and a short-term view of things and the departing manager was in parts a victim of that. Sherwood’s enthusiastic approach made some short-term sense on paper, but was he really experienced enough to rebuild and stir the club in the long-term?
Hopefully the next appointment will be someone who can give the team a lift, survive, and then build, not simply fight a fire.
Any Villa progress in the future needs to be in the Premier League. Sometimes a stint in the Championship helps a club restructure itself and improve, but the sad fact is that the way Villa has been run we’re more likely to slip down the divisions like Portsmouth and being in the lower divisions is hardly going to attract ambitious buyers.
The time has come to search for a new boss. Kevin MacDonald will be a trusted hand in the short-term, and one that knows and loves this club. Careful consideration will need to be made on the next boss that can meet the needs of this season and beyond.
Sherwood came in a blaze of enthusiasm and promises. Unfortunately, when it comes down to results, behaviour, experience, and all tangible evidence, Tim had to go. Well done keeping us up last year and the cup run, Tim. Shame everything went to pot from there. Adios.
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