Three years for Sherwood! Hip, hip, hooray! Three more years! Three more years!
Former Tottenham Hotspur manager Tim Sherwood has been given a three-year contract to manage Aston Villa. That’s both good and bad.
The good news is obvious: Tim Sherwood is once again employed, which is good for his family and self-esteem. We shouldn’t begrudge people jobs.
But the bad news is three-fold: 1) Paul Lambert is now unemployed. Unemployment is never a good thing unless the severance package is great and includes back rubs. 2) Now that Sherwood has a job, people need to find a new person to randomly tie to every job in England. 3) Sherwood is now fully embracing his downward spiral, which is an inevitable reality when Spurs chairman Daniel Levy decides to throw you out on the street before you’ve had a chance to put down roots. Levy knows how to finish people.
Of all that bad news, the Spurs-induced downward spiral is the most heartbreaking. Managers show up at the Lane, typically on the back of impressive runs with teams theoretically not as good as Spurs, and put people in high spirits. Often, good times follow.
But inevitably it all goes wrong. People start calling for heads to roll, and roll they do. Since Levy took over at Tottenham in 2001, he’s gone through 14 managerial changes. That’s 14 managers (including caretakers) in 14 years. The Spurs job always ends in broken dreams.
Whether Sherwood likes it or not, he’s now part of that legacy. Let’s take a look back at Spurs managers over the last decade to see where they are post-Spurs and see what will eventually happen to Timmy. Let’s make this science.
1. Martin Jol
Rugby-looking dude Martin Jol came to Spurs from RKC Waalwijk in the Dutch Eredivisie, but his ascent to manager happened by accident, having initially joined Jacque Santini’s staff as an assistant. Santini then met the same fate as all Spurs managers under Levy, so maybe Jol’s move wasn’t such an accident. Maybe Jol is just a keenly observant man.
Big Mart put together a solid run at White Hart Lane, until Levy decided he wasn’t good enough. The Spurs hatchet man wanted more style, and Jol dresses like a gym teacher going through hard times. Never mind that Jol’s teams weren’t mundane, long-ball chucking teams. They played with skill, pace, and were often plenty entertaining. But Levy wanted to go the next level so he moved on while Spurs were playing Getafe. Jol says he found out he’d been replaced when his nephew told him in the tunnel after the game. That tunnel might as well have been a metaphor for what was to come.
His next stops: A move to the Bundesliga with Hamburg lasted one season, before he moved back home to take over at Ajax. That doesn’t sounds particularly sad. Ajax is a “big” job, but Premier League managers don’t dream of managing Ajax. Not after Spurs. But good times rarely follow once Levy punts you out of a moving car. Jol’s last known stop was a season and a half stint at Fulham, where he lasted until December 2013. Since then, he hasn’t managed a team. He’s probably playing amateur rugby somewhere.
2. Juande Ramos
Don’t look so glum, Juande.
Juande had that Sevilla pedigree. After back-to-back UEFA Cup victories, he was a wanted man, and after some flirting, Juande eventually moved to White Hart Lane in 2007.
Spurs were terrible when Ramos arrived, as in relegation zone terrible. But they didn’t get relegated. In fact, Ramos led Spurs to an actual trophy: a League Cup win over Chelsea. Jonathan Woodgate even scored a goal. North London now had an extra team with some promise, and at least someone was winning trophies.
But the good times didn’t last for the Spanianrd, obviously. Ramos made it three months into his second season before getting Levy’d. Granted, by the time Ramos was shown the door, Spurs were faring worse than when he initially joined the team almost a year prior, but he still slid into Levy’s larger bloodlust. This was the beginning of Ramos’s slow descent into nothingness.
After his sacking, Ramos miraculously got the job at Real Madrid, but he would only last six months. His next two stops: CSKA Moscow and Ukraine’s Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk. Ramos left Dnipro for “family reasons” and “things are getting crazy in Ukraine and gotta go, guys” feels. He is no more.
3. Harry Redknapp
“I know your pain, ‘Arry. It’s Daniel, isn’t it.”
We all know this story. Passionate, free-wheeling, tactics-free ‘Arry came to town ready for the bright lights and non-Portsmouth-like expectations. He definitely had his moments. He oversaw (managed during) Gareth Bale’s transformation from skinny Theo Walcott contemporary to Cristiano Ronaldo counterweight. ‘Arry even got Spurs into the Champions League before enough was enough. Eventually Redknapp and Levy couldn’t agree on a new contract and suddenly ‘Arry was gone. Ironically, ‘Arry tried to out wheel-n-deal Levy and got wheeled out of town. The one-time participant in the “next England manager” sweepstakes was now on the one-way road to never having it this good again.
His next two stops: Unconvincing Queens Park Rangers, followed by complaints about his knees and stepping down as QPR manager. Will he ever manage again? According to the Levy curse: on a scale of nope to nope, nope. ‘Arry is finished because Levy’s juju made sure that he’d be finished.
4. André Villas-Boas
This smile didn’t last long.
AVB came to town with that José Mourinho air and a bag of confidence tied to a stick in a little red handkerchief. He was previously an understudy to Mourinho, but by the age of 33, Young AVB had won the Europa League, the Portuguese Cup and went through the entire Portuguese season without a loss — all in his first season at Porto.
Guess who came calling? If you said Mr. Levy, you’d be wrong. It was Chelsea’s Mr. Roman Abrahamovich, but that quickly fell apart. Soon enough, AVB was available, and it was a match made in hell.
The relationship started out quite well, with AVB engineering a fifth place finish in his first season, tied on points with fourth place specialists Arsenal. Then AVB made the mistake of sticking around for his second season. Come December 2013, he was out of a job. The Levy curse is unforgiving; it always sounds promising at first, but cold, wintery death is always around the corner.
His next stop: Russia. AVB is now at Zenit St. Petersburg acting as if he didn’t have it all before. He’s in Russia, smiling through gritted teeth because his pride won’t allow him to cry. No one survives the Levy.
* * * * *
And that brings us back to Tim Sherwood, the man who replaced AVB at White Hart Lane in 2013. Sherwood was initially an assistant under Redknapp and stuck around long enough to get the first team job after AVB’s departure. His managerial tenure only lasted five months.
Yet somehow, he’s been selected to take over at Aston Villa. How will he fare? Who knows, but if the history of ex-Spurs managers is a reasonable guide, we can look forward to a troubled, rocky run of results at Villa, and then drawn out sacking rumors followed by a trip to “the continent” (Europe), either to take on a new challenge or disappear from public life. Villa is just the first chapter in the now inevitable post-Spurs demise of Tim Sherwood.
Today’s lesson: When Spurs come calling, RUN. Don’t wait for the cops to show up with a sketch of the grim reaper, because I’m telling you it looks like Daniel Levy. We’re watching Tim Sherwood’s demise while celebrating. We should all be ashamed of ourselves.
Anyway, congrats, Villa!