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Why I support Tim Sherwood's appointment despite Spurs fans predicting disaster

We have been given plenty of reasons to doubt Tim Sherwood, but I'm sticking with this as a positive move for Villa. Here's why.

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You know what Villa have become to everyone except Villa fans over the last 4 years? Incredibly dull. Not noticeable. There were perhaps a few months when Lambert brought the kids through and Benteke hit form when we weren't entirely pointless. Apart from that? We're seen as a drain on Premier League excitement.

If people even register our existence they generally want us to go down. Can you blame them? Nah. Even the Villa fans have been bored out of their minds. Where is the passion? Where is the ambition? If there is a club anywhere in the world that needs to jump to the "nuclear option" via Tim Sherwood, it's us.


Sherwood being plastered all over the newspapers might not be ideal for some clubs but for a club like Villa, who have become irrelevant, his media presence is perfect.

It ties in to Tom Fox's plan for Villa. His remit is to increase commercial revenue and develop new partnerships. Increase our global profile. Get us out of the red and into the black. The more we are in the news, the more we are talked about, the more sponsors are interested.

Sherwood might rub a few people the wrong way, but he doesn't seem the type to disgrace the club's image like a Paolo Di Canio. He will always have us in the limelight for good or bad, in a way that a more measured and calm manager wouldn't. We need that to keep people talking about us.


We have a squad that have got so caught up in trying to keep the ball that they have completely forgotten how to score a goal. A Champions League calibre striker that can't get a touch in the box. Energetic support players that should be stretching the pitch standing still in no mans land. 2 world cup defensive stars that have forgotten how to defend the simplest counter attack. Technically strong midfielders that can't pick out a pass or take a corner.

You think we need Marcelo Bielsa to sort this lot out? No! We're not going to challenge for Europe but we've got decent players. We want to go back to the basics of playing as a unit and getting the ball forward. I can't think of a man that screams back to basics more than Tim Sherwood.

On Saturday he came in at half time and voila. From meaningless intricate possession going nowhere to balls into the box with midfielders running beyond. Attacking risks taken, ball in back of net 4 times (2 counted). Release the shackles and we have the players to do significantly better without reinventing the football wheel.

Youth Policy

The one bit of credit Spurs fans tend to give to Sherwood is that he helped significantly improve their youth set up. He continued that good work by introducing Bentaleb and others to the first team during his short period as manager. Bentaleb now starts regularly alongside other members of Sherwood's youth teams like Harry Kane and Ryan Mason.

We have produced plenty of talented youngsters at youth level in the last few years but very few have gone on to succeed in the first team. Either they have been tied down to a defensive style that doesn't suit their inexperience, overplayed due to lack of other options, or just not given enough first team football to develop.

With low transfer and wage budgets likely, we need someone that can sort out that transition from U21 to first team. Someone with a good idea of how to nurture academy talent. I don't think Lambert was the worst at this but in the cold light of day none of our U21 team have become first team regulars under his management.

Limited field of candidates and a make or break situation for Sherwood

We've put a big black mark on the managerial records of Paul Lambert, Alex McLeish and Gerard Houllier. Whether that is their fault or not - how many proven managers do you think would want to risk their reputation here? The very best we can do for the next few years is a respectable league finish. And that's without considering that whoever took this job would face the real possibility of being the first man to relegate Villa from the Premier League.

Tim Sherwood is searching for a reputation rather than in possession of one he can ruin. Ignoring off field controversy his record at Spurs is about par, neither spectacular nor awful. Succeeding in a difficult job is exactly what he needs to do to prove he is not a comedy character but a manager to take seriously.

He might have been able to influence opinions with endless self-promotion at Spurs in a job where it was quite difficult to gauge performance. Not this time. The only way he will be able to build a reputation at Villa is by keeping us up and pushing us away from the relegation zone next season - something the 3 previous managers have failed to do. There has to be substance this time or he will be seen as a failure.

Transfer Policy

He doesn't have one to analyse yet. But I'm not as concerned about the manager's role in player recruitment as I was before. Tom Fox has spoken in interview about a completely revamped scouting network that has been appointed. Paddy Riley has come back as head of recruitment (he helped Fox and Lerner recruit Sherwood) and the academy recruitment process has also been reshuffled. By the summer it is expected a Director of Football will join to complete the puzzle.

You would expect Sherwood to have final say on which players come in, but the leg work and research on the main list of targets should be left to others. Any player that comes in will have already been vetted by the staff at the club who specialise in player recruitment.

It should also be noted that if we stay up the squad doesn't need a complete rework. We just need more quality in a few key positions. This is not quite the same rebuild job that Lambert signed on for.

Winning over the fans

This is obviously about results, but generally if you approach the Villa fans like you have nothing to hide they will be more receptive than if you are trying to cover your back.

Bellowing instructions from the touchline and going nuts when we score...maybe it's not the most stable way to manage but it makes it look like you care, like you are doing all you can during the match to help your team. Fans will respond to this better as well than someone who sits looking helpless. PASHUN, as I believe Tim would call it.

That he is the polar opposite to Lambert in terms of speaking his mind (whether it's a facade or not) and having a big presence on the touchline. That can only help his cause in the early days.

The class clown? Far from it

What seems to define you as a good forward thinking manager these days is that you drink Veuve Clicquot over London Pride. You have to be a suave, refined character that speaks 4 languages, played your best football as a trequartista and did your coaching badges in a Swiss hyperbaric chamber.

Who says a North London bloke whose cultural education extends no further than Dover can't be a great manager? He has spent 24 of the last 27 years playing or coaching in the English league system, almost all of it in the Premier League. He knows what is required. He played central midfield for Premier League champions. He probably worked out what it takes to win along the way. So don't patronize him. He's not Einstein but he knows football better than any of you ever will.

Bring on Stoke

For the first time in months I'm actually excited about us playing this weekend. We need an injection of energy, PASHUN, confidence and a change of mentality in a clearly deflated squad. Sherwood can bring that. From the small field of candidates willing to take on a huge potentially career damaging challenge late in the season, Sherwood is the choice that will give us an immediate change of direction. It's far from certain whether it will work but we needed to take a risk and we have done.

Over to you Tim...