Tim Sherwood: Was Aston Villa sacking deserved?

By Phil McNultyChief football writer
Sherwood's highs & lows at Villa

It was only six months ago that Tim Sherwood's bristling positivity and heart-on-his-sleeve approach saw him portrayed as the manager who revitalised Aston Villa.

Sherwood himself claimed Liverpool had been "bamboozled" by Villa's tactics in their 2-1 FA Cup semi-final win over the firm favourites at Wembley in April - this was to prove the high point of his short reign as he was sacked on Sunday after only 28 games.

His dismissal proved the biggest story of the weekend, although Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp and Chelsea's Jose Mourinho also had their share of trouble.

Did Sherwood get enough time?

The 46-year-old was appointed on 14 February as successor to sacked Paul Lambert - accompanied by glowing references from the men who brought him in.

Aston Villa chief executive Tom Fox said: "We strongly believe Tim has the qualities to get the best out of our current squad and help us build for the future."

Owner Randy Lerner spoke about a new "fresh, positive approach" - it was an approach that did not last.

It was certainly a rapid-fire decision - but Sherwood might feel justified in claiming his approach was not given the time, or the circumstances, to work.

He achieved his prime objective last season, which was to keep Villa in the Premier League, while providing the added bonus of an FA Cup final, although they were thrashed 4-0 by Arsenal at Wembley in May.

It was not enough to buy Sherwood time when things went wrong.

'Who would want Aston Villa job?'

Sherwood lost his two most influential players - captain Fabian Delph and main striker Christian Benteke - in the summer and was allowed to reinvest £55m - but mainly in young, unproven talent.

There have been questions about Sherwood's working relationship with Villa's sporting director and transfer strategist Hendrik Almstadt and director of scouting and recruitment Paddy Reilly.

Sherwood is believed to have wanted more experience in the shape of Aaron Lennon and Tom Cleverley, who both went to Everton, as well as Victor Moses and Esteban Cambiasso, the Argentine veteran who was such a revelation at Leicester City and ended up at Olympiakos.

Net spend was only £7m and players such as £8m Jordan Veretout, a 22-year-old brought in from Nantes, have not looked fit for Premier League purpose, while big money was spent on £9m Idrissa Gueye from Lille and £10m Jordan Ayew from Lorient.

Experience came with free transfers Micah Richards and Joleon Lescott.

Young Villa midfield man Jack Grealish responded to news of Sherwood's sacking by tweeting: "Gutted. Thank you for everything."

Sadly for Sherwood, six straight league defeats left Villa 19th - they had sunk to bottom by the end of Sunday - and made him a hostage to the impatience of Premier League owners, where futures are now becoming uncertain within weeks rather than years.

Sherwood's PL managerial record
Aston Villa16/02/20125/10/2015236215284026.09
Tottenham Hotspur16/12/201326/05/2014221336403059.09

The fear of missing out on the Premier League's rewards and riches means any hint of relegation can dramatically cut short a managerial lifespan - with Sherwood the latest victim.

Touted as one of the bright breed of young British managers, with a brash, attacking approach that seemed to be quickly sucked out him by life at Villa, he now has a scar on his managerial career that was not entirely self-inflicted.

He must rebuild his reputation after his brief and painful stay at Villa Park. He will hope for longer next time.

The years three or more managers have left by October 25
2008Harry Redknapp (Portsmouth), Kevin Keegan (Newcastle United), Alan Curbishley (West Ham United), Juande Ramos (Tottenham)
2004Paul Sturrock (Southampton), Bobby Robson (Newcastle United), Graeme Souness (Blackburn Rovers),
2001Peter Taylor (Leicester), Jim Smith (Derby County), Stuart Gray (Southampton)
1998Kenny Dalglish (Newcastle United), Christian Gross (Tottenham), George Graham (Leeds United),
1996Bruce Rioch (Arsenal), Howard Wilkinson (Leeds United), Ray Harford (Blackburn Rovers)

Can Mourinho turn it around?

Jose Mourinho's Chelsea woes continued with defeat at West Ham - their fifth loss of the season - compounded by chaos with the manager shown a red card for comments made to referee Jon Moss during the interval and assistant first-team coach Silvino Louro as well as midfield man Nemanja Matic also sent off.

Results and this sort of indiscipline give off the air of a club in meltdown - with Mourinho refusing to speak to the media at Upton Park.

It is hard to believe this is a manager and team that sailed smoothly to the title in May. Mourinho is now in the alien territory of the lower reaches of the league and for the first time in his career having to prove he can turn a serious slide around.

Worst ever PL title defences after 10 games

Mourinho cuts a troubled, tormented figure but there is still no suggestion owner Roman Abramovich is starting to display the impatience and discontent that has seen off previous managers, including 'The Special One' himself in 2007.

He has never before faced this sort of crisis and is confronted with a completely different test of the managerial skills that have brought him so much success.

Klopp's reality check

Liverpool 1-1 Southampton: Football is not a fairytale - Jurgen Klopp

The near-hysteria that greeted Jurgen Klopp's arrival at Liverpool has now been tempered by the reality of results, namely three draws in eight days.

It looked like the German was on course for his first win against Southampton but Sadio Mane's late equaliser kept him waiting.

In Klopp's defence, he has been realistic from the start. This was never going to be a quick fix and the 48-year-old was never going to imprint his methods instantly.

Klopp's record at Borussia Dortmund proved his outstanding ability - what was on offer at Anfield on Sunday was only further evidence of what brought him to the club in the first place. Time for the expectation levels to be turned down to realistic.

Not so Super Sunday

The Manchester derby, the Wear-Tyne derby, Klopp's first Premier League game at Anfield - storylines that seemed sure to produce drama.

Instead the meeting between Manchester United and Manchester City was a dismal, goalless anti-climax and Klopp's big day ended in the disappointment of conceding that late goal against Southampton.

The derby at the Stadium of Light did serve up the controversy of Fabricio Coloccini being sent off for Newcastle as Sunderland won 3-0 - but in terms of action the big day was something of a let-down.


Join the conversation

These comments are now closed.


Top Stories