Whatever your feelings about Tim Sherwood are, it's undeniable that if he keeps Aston Villa on their current trajectory he will be gone sooner rather than later. The #SherwoodOut movement has begun, and while it has nowhere near as much vitriol as did the #LambertOut cries, it's starting to gain steam. And with Brendan Rodgers and Dick Advocaat leaving Liverpool and Sunderland, respectively, it seems as if it's "switch managers week" in the Premier League.
And you could convince me right now that sacking Tim Sherwood is the right decision. I'm not sure I'm there yet, but I'm certainly to the point where it happening wouldn't make me mad. But is this right time to do it? Should Villa take advantage of the international break to get rid of Sherwood, or does he deserve more time? Let's try and figure this out, wth the obvious caveat that if Sherwood manages to turn things around before any of these dates he probably shouldn't be sacked.
Option 1: Sack him now
Ah, the emotionally cathartic option. In the league, Villa haven't won since an opening-day trip to Bournemouth on August 8, and they haven't even gotten a point since a 2-2 home draw to Sunderland on August 29. There have been the two League Cup wins, but those were against lower-level opposition at home, so it's hard to say those are much in Sherwood's favor; anyone should win those matches.
So if you were like me and enraged at yet another pathetic performance yesterday, this would be a great release. But look at what happens then. Before their next break in mid-November, Villa have matches against Chelsea, Swansea, Southampton, Spurs, and Manchester City. Even with a manager doing great work, there is a very real chance that all of those are losses. Sacking Sherwood now almost guarantees that a new manager will start with five losses in a row. Even a best-case scenario probably sees a 1-1-3 start. That's not going to make the fans happy, and it's certainly not going to help player morale. They'd be getting booed in the midst of a sea change in their team.
And since that stretch is so rough (and again, very likely to give Villa zero points in the league) maybe it'll make a nice proving ground for Sherwood. Pull this team together and get 4 points and you can keep your job. Get the zero that we're expecting, and it's hard to argue he should be kept.
Option 2: Sack him in November
Alright, you've given Sherwood a month to get his stuff together and it didn't work. Villa are still mired at or near the relegation zone and things don't look much better. Villa have another break between their visit from Manchester City and their trip to Goodison Park to face Everton. Sack Sherwood now and you get a new manager in time for him to get situated just before the schedule takes another turn for the easy.
Maybe there is a loss at Everton, but then you have a chance at a morale-boosting win against Watford. Two tough matches against Southampton and Arsenal are then followed up by a holiday stretch of Newcastle, West Ham, Norwich, and Sunderland. A little Christmas miracle could see the team turn around and everyone rally around a new manager.
At this point, I'm leaning towards giving Sherwood until November for all of the reasons outlined above in options 1 and 2. If you want to sack Sherwood, mid-November looks like the best possible time to do so.
Option 3: Sack him in December
Yes, that stretch around the holidays is easy, but there are a lot of matches right in there. If you get rid of Sherwood after the Arsenal match, a new guy has five matches in three weeks (with the FA Cup opening for Villa around January 9). That's tough, and it would make it nearly impossible to impose much of a philosophy on the club. Worse still is that if Villa somehow advance to the League Cup semifinal, that would happen between the January 2 match and the Villa's FA Cup opener.
But still, this would let a new manager get a few matches under his belt before the opening of the January transfer window, in which he could impose his will and start shaping a team for a 2016 revival.
Option 4: Sack him in January or later
Disaster. If we need to sack Sherwood, it means the club are still in or near the relegation zone. And if you do that after letting Tim play around in the transfer window and make someone new come in to pick up the pieces of a club he didn't build, you've messed up. Let's avoid this.
Option 5: None of the above
There is no reason Villa would have to wait until a break to sack Sherwood if they were to do that, but in a year with so many breaks, it would seem silly to not do so. But hey, this club is very rarely logical. This option isn't my favorite, but if I were a gambling man, I'd bet on it.
Alright, I'm pretty clearly in the option 2 camp. Where do you stand? Let us know below!