With every day that has passed since it became inevitable (and then official) that Tim Sherwood would take over Aston Villa, I've found that I want him to succeed more and more. Sure, I want him to do well because if he does, so too do Aston Villa. But there's more to it than that. I want him to succeed to shut people up. I want him to succeed so that Aston Villa are no longer some sort of charity case. I want him to succeed because I'm tired of cheering for a team that instantly evokes sympathy from all but the most dead of hearts (looking at you, West Brom fans).
We have a chatroom service for all of the SB Nation football writers. It's fantastic. Some of the very best minds who write about the sport in a setting where you can drop in and get a conversation started at whim. It's how the Q&A on Tim Sherwood with Cartilage Free Captain came about. I was just looking for background from someone who was 1) intelligent and 2) knew about Spurs to tell me why there was so much hatred for a man who had gotten pretty decent results. It turned out that they had so much to say that we made it into an article. It's sort of like having a pub at your fingertips 24/7, but you have to supply your own beer.
In the past week, though, well-meaning people have very often been saying a variation on a theme: "I don't really mind Villa, and I kind of sort of like them. Really sorry that you're getting Tim Sherwood." It's coming from a good place, but the patronizing tone is infuriating. Is there a chance that Sherwood is terrible? Absolutely! In fact, if I'm rational, it's probably likely.
But those sentiments show a misunderstanding of two things. The first is that, though I liked Paul Lambert a lot, he was clearly not the man for Aston Villa. In fact, it would be very hard at this particular point for Villa to get much worse than they have been. If they do somehow manage that, the results would be exactly what we've been seeing. So even if Tactics Tim is terrible, he's a change. At least there's entertainment value there. As things were, this club were probably going down, and doing so in a dreadfully boring manner. At least if they drop now we'll see a catastrophic failure in which everything goes up in flames. That's an improvement!
The second thing that so many seem to be forgetting is that Sherwood has a chance at being good. He managed for four months. Yes, his tactics were atrocious, but that was four months. Maybe he's learned something. Maybe he has changed. Maybe the change in scenery will inspire something new in him. On the Aston Villa Review this week, one of the hosts (I think it was Chris) said that if Sherwood succeeds it'll be a massive stroke of luck. And he's right! But so much of sport is about luck. If the luck finally hits for Villa (and we haven't had a lot since before this decade began), it wouldn't change the fact that Villa would be doing well.
I want Villa to succeed so damn much. I want them to stomp the opposition. I want them to be a club so dangerous that no one can say "Aw, I actually kind of like them." I want foaming at the mouth hatred for us because we're so successful. It probably won't happen under Tim Sherwood, but it could. And every time I get another well-meaning and yet patronizing comment I want it more. My brain understands that those comments are probably right, but I'm slowly shutting it out. Villa could win this season out. They could beat the big boys. They could win the FA Cup.
And then? Then I'll enjoy laughing at everyone who doubted us and soak in the hatred from all corners. It's time for Aston Villa to remind the world that we've won a European title. We're one of the biggest clubs in England. And we ought to be feared. And why the hell shouldn't it be Tim Sherwood who leads us there?