I’ve had a long, hard think concerning Sherwood, his transfers, the matches we have played and his tactics. It’s been an unpleasant few months for Aston Villa and it hurts to see our club tumbling down the table. What hurts more is the fact that Aston Villa fans are losing hope before we are even ten games in to the new season. In my mind, this is complete madness.
I understand that Aston Villa and Tom Fox brought in a manager who had an average spell at Tottenham Hotspur. Despite some good games with Spurs, he also had traumatic days with them. After losing heavily to Chelsea and failing to achieve Champions League football again, officials at White Hart Lane made what they felt was the right decision. Perhaps Sherwood’s only reward for his time at Spurs was his win ratio, which people still refer to.
Due to this, and his character, Tim Sherwood was given the job of helping Aston Villa Football Club fight relegation last season. Even though it was close, we made it. If I were to ask any Villa fan if they would rather have Lambert or Sherwood in charge for a relegation fight, those who have any sense would choose Sherwood. Not only has Sherwood stopped us being relegated, he got us to the 2015 FA Cup final, which is no mean feat. Of course, the final didn’t go to plan but virtually everyone would agree that Premier League survival was more important than winning the FA Cup win. Last season, I don’t think Sherwood did much wrong at Aston Villa Football Club.
This season things have not gone to plan. The Delph and Benteke transfers affected Villa’s transfers and, in a way, distracted most of us from the preparations for the new season. Sherwood lost Delph, Benteke, Vlaar and Given, Villa’s spine in the last few seasons. Losing the spine of the team has had a massive impact on the other players and the tactics. Not only did Sherwood have to buy the spine of the team again but he had to try to imprint his ideas in the minds of new players. Sherwood has brought in a lot of foreign players, like Ayew, Gueye, Veretout, Amavi and Traore. Most of these players don’t speak English as their first language and none have played in the English league before. There, you can see that we have a problem but we can all see the potential that these players have. For example, Amavi is a very young player still but is smashing the records in the Premier League with all kinds of statistics for his defending. At his age, and with this in mind, you can’t fault Sherwood. The rest of the players he has brought in all have ability on the ball and they can all become great players but it’s a case of finding that greatness in them. Sherwood would have been scouting many players throughout his time out of work, going to watch matches abroad, and now with his new right hand man, Ray Wilkins, who also knows the business very well, so you have to feel confident that Sherwood and the club have brought in the right players.
At this moment in time, things are bad. I have to admit, I find it a struggle to watch ‘Match of the Day’ nowadays if the Villans lose. Nobody likes to see his or her team lose a game but we have to understand why they lost it in the first place. Was it the starting XI, the tactics or the substitutes? I will be honest: I don’t agree with everything that Sherwood has done at the club. For example, the substitutes that he has brought on could have been better and his choice to start certain players can be questioned but I would like someone to tell me about a manager who has never made a mistake. When Sherwood makes mistakes, we have to accept that he is a human and that he will do this from time to time. Even when the Villans are at a low ebb, he might make mistakes but will learn from mistakes, even if it takes several tries to do so.
I listened to ‘TalkSport’ on Monday night with Stan Collymore and the subject he was talking about was ‘How long should a manager get to prove himself?’ It all depends on the club and its situation. For example, Brendan Rogers, who was sacked earlier this week, was given three years to prove his worth at Liverpool, spending over £300 million. In this case, it didn’t work out, but the Liverpool board members were willing to give him a try and in his second season it almost worked out for him, as he guided Liverpool to second in the table. I think we should give Sherwood the same amount of time. He has been given money to spend this season, nearly £55 million, and the board would have to have confidence in him and the players he has bought if they feel he can do the job well. Sherwood needs three years to prove his signings are worthy of getting out of relegation battles and into the top half of the table. I think he has much more work to do, especially in defence, but I’m more than confident that these players can do the job. My opinion is that this season will be a struggle but only because the players need the time to gel and understand Sherwood’s thinking.
If Sherwood is sacked for some odd reason then who would we want in as his replacement? All the good managers are not available and the ones who are available are not men I see fitting the Villa way. Some say that Sam Allardyce would be good fit but Sherwood bought many of the players in the current squad and knows them better than anyone else. If Big Sam were to come in and try and sort us out, he would have to have time to see who his best players are. The players have confidence in Sherwood – and so should the fans. To change manager now is not a risk I think the board should take nor does it make sense.
Aston Villa fans are not thinking straight. Why would we sack Sherwood? Give him a chance. We haven’t even completed ten matches yet. Support him so we get out of this mess, not dragged further into it. People are just panicking because we might get relegated. We won’t if we support our team and manager. Sherwood is learning from mistakes, as are the players. Sometimes it comes down to luck. Aston Villa is a big club with great supporters. Don’t be scared. Face up to the challenge the club faces. This way, things will turn, we will get points, and the Holte End will be bouncing again.