Having looked around a few of the Villa forums, it seems to me that there are quite a few Villa fans who are still a bit dubious and even doubtful about what exactly Tim Sherwood has to offer the Villa.
No doubt this question was already asked upon his appointment, but I feel the Albion game has put a slightly different slant on things.
Sherwood quite rightly, in my opinion, said that our performances have improved game on game in all of the three that he’s managed and there’s no doubt that the Albion game was one of our best home performances for at least as long as I can remember in recent history.
Which just goes to show how poor we were under Lambert’s way of playing the game and his lack of enthusiasm that seemed to course through the veins of the club. Absolutely good riddance there then in my opinion, but that’s me and I’m digressing.
The question that now has to be asked is; can Sherwood sustain the seeming new enthusiasm amongst the players?
We can all speculate about how Sherwood works, but it really does seem he’s Marmite, as he apparently made a few enemies at Spurs and some of the playing staff quite simply detested him, while others liked him.
No problems there, as that’s what managers are supposed to do: ie, get rid of the rubbish and encourage the willing. It’s not a manager’s job to be liked.
But when you’re in a role as high-profile as that, you have to be totally ruthless, in that you can’t be friends with the people below you. Well, you can to an extent, but it’s an incredibly tricky line to walk when you want them to be 100% all the time.
It’s hard to be mates, if they haven’t performed at their best, is my point.
There’s a good example here, where Christian Benteke talks about Sherwood and note the specific comment “He speaks with a lot of confidence”.
But then, in the next breath, “He’s a very cool guy”.
And that’s the part that concerns me; a manager just shouldn’t be cool.
It might work at the likes of Google, where there’s little pressure and the money just flows in.
But in a high pressure situation, where you’re fighting for survival and the difference is a serious percentage of your turnover?
I have my doubts, because I’ve seen it before, where a gaffer comes in nice as pie, gees the lads up, but then has to get nasty, when things start going wrong.
Then he becomes the biggest (insert your own swear word here) and the attitude changes, where he’s almost the enemy.
Don’t get me wrong, Sherwood’s appointment was exactly what was needed and perhaps I’m reading it wrong, but Benteke’s further comments said a lot for me;
“The new manager understands my situation, that I have to be given more chances and then maybe I will start scoring more goals,” he said.
And then followed it up with;
“But I am grateful to Paul Lambert for what he did for me. He brought me over here from Belgium and I had a successful time under him”.
While the first sentence says exactly what we were all thinking, the second sentence is the minimum you’d expect him to say about Lambert.
If that’s not an indictment of what Benteke really thought, I don’t know what is.
I suspect many of the other players are probably glad to be rid of him too.
Back to Sherwood then and it seems like he’s a brilliant appointment at first glance, certainly one that I was glad about, given the choices.
And while I don’t want to put a dampener on what’s been a decent start to Sherwood’s reign, where the team seem re-invigorated, I do have a nagging doubt about if he’ll be able to keep it up for the rest of the season.
Hopefully, he will and he’ll prove the doubters wrong. But if not and we were to go down, I think he’d be just the man to bring us back up.