Apologizing to Tim Sherwood

I have been rude when writing about Tim Sherwood. He doesn't deserve my ridicule.

Tim Sherwood probably doesn't know or care who I am. I'd be very surprised if he's ever read a fan blog in his life. But I've written about him in an impolite tone, something he doesn't deserve, and I want to apologize for it.

Not necessarily because he's the manager of the club I support, or because I think that being rude to anyone is always bad. Some people deserve to be written about in viciously derisory tones, but Sherwood is not one of those people. He's just a bad football manager.

When Sherwood was appointed manager of Tottenham Hotspur, I wrote a piece entitled 'Tim Sherwood terrifies me'. It turns out that I was right to be terrified, but for all the wrong reasons. I was concerned that he was an ideologue -- a much more extreme version of Harry Redknapp -- but that's not the case. He adjusts his formation and personnel regularly and has used a traditional 4-4-2, a narrow 4-4-2, a 4-1-4-1 and 4-2-3-1 as his starting formations. But 'formation' is not a synonym for 'tactics', and tactically, Sherwood has not put in an astute tactical performance as manager.

Ultimately, he's a professional football coach and former Premier League-winning footballer who wanted this job, so his failures fall on him. But they also fall on Daniel Levy and any of his advisors who ever suggested that Sherwood was a great candidate for the job. It's become increasingly obvious that he's out of his depth, and it's unfortunate that the people who run Spurs were unable to recognize that before appointing him. This doesn't mean that Levy and his associates are incompetent, but they made a poor decision and now have to wait another two-to-three months before they're able to rectify their mistake.

Because of that poor decision, Spurs fans have to watch two months of football that is entirely about preparing for the summer transfer window and next season, and has little to nothing to do with the current season, which is effectively over. Sherwood is going to be the manager of the team until May unless he does something incomprehensibly stupid, but it'll be surprising if he's retained for next season. He's probably a lame duck, he probably knows it, and that's a crappy spot to be in.

Sherwood never should have been put into that spot because he was never ready for the job. The only reasons we had to believe he'd be a competent manager were some nice Under-21 results and the word of the Tottenham PR staff. For the most part, we went along with it because we wanted to believe that the next great young English manager was managing Tottenham Hotspur. But he needed to learn on the job, hasn't learned quickly enough to save Tottenham's season and, in the judgment of most, hasn't learned quickly enough to remain manager for another year. None of that is his fault.

If Sherwood ever reads this, he'll probably insist that he doesn't need or want anyone's pity, so I'm not going to pity him. But he wasn't anywhere near ready to be Tottenham manager. He has never been an assistant manager or manager of a professional club and he doesn't have his UEFA Pro License. I could stay mad at an experienced, qualified manager and maybe even continue to find reasons to ridicule them, but Sherwood doesn't deserve that. He's never deserved that. I've repeatedly had a go at a guy who was thrown into the highest level of his profession without the requisite qualifications and gotten very upset with him even though things are not that bad.

I'm not going to be rude to Sherwood anymore. I'm going to treat the rest of the season as a means to evaluate our players individually, and to just enjoy some games. I'm not going to get mad about bad performances, bad substitutions or bad tactics. I'm done being mad, and I hope you can feel the same way.

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