Tim Sherwood is returning to White Hart Lane this Saturday as manager of Aston Villa, but it seems that some of the issues that emerged during his tenure as Tottenham Hotspur manager just won't go away. Or he won't let them go away. In comments in the media ahead of this weekend's match, Sherwood accused Tottenham officials of lying about contacting managerial candidates while he was still head coach at Spurs.
It is not protocol. It is not what is done. But it is not up to the manager to make that decision, it is up to the club.
Tottenham denied they made any contact with managers, but the managers were publicly coming out saying they were being contacted. Someone was telling porkies.†
† – Cockney rhyming slang. Porkies = pork pies = lies
So, let's get one thing out of the way first: Tim Sherwood is 100% correct. I have absolutely no doubt that Tottenham officials were making inquiries as to the availability and interest of other managers while Tim was head coach at Tottenham Hotspur. The two managers mentioned in the article were Louis Van Gaal and Frank de Boer, but it's possible that the club were also putting feelers out for Mauricio Pochettino at that time as well.
But here's the thing: Tim Sherwood also had to know from the beginning that this was going to happen. Daniel Levy didn't hang an interim manager tag on Sherwood when he took the job, probably to lend an air of stability and to make sure that he was able to right the ship after Andre Villas-Boas' departure. But as we found out later, Sherwood had a clause in his contract that allowed Spurs to terminate his employment at the end of the season. Tim absolutely knew about this clause, which means that he also knew that his tenure as long-term Tottenham manager was both tenuous and probably unlikely.
Therefore, these quotes from Sherwood accusing the club of underhandedness feel disingenuous. Could, or even should Tottenham have been more upfront about its search for a long-term manager? Absolutely, and if I were in Tim's position I might even feel a little hard-done by. However, Tim assumed control of the team in weird circumstances, and even if there's an unspoken code about how and when to feel out managerial options there's no way that I can believe that Sherwood didn't know that the club would be looking for long-term alternatives. That's football. The club didn't owe him anything outside of what was in his contract. To suggest otherwise is to obfuscate the reality of the situation.
One thing we know about Tim Sherwood from his time at Spurs is that he's not afraid to open his mouth and speak his mind, and that he's also willing to say just about anything to the media in order to make himself out as the hero. He's no longer Tottenham manager; now that he's safely ensconced at Villa Park, there's really no reason to dredge this up except to purposefully stir up crap.
In short, shut up, Tim.