Spurs Fans Can't Sleep Easy Until Sherwood's Demise Is Confirmed
In a season not over-brimming with good days, yesterday was an outstanding one for Tottenham Hotspur. Any five-one victory is a cause for celebration even if comes against a team as desperately poor as Sunderland, but the main source of the lightness of mood at White Hart Lane was the news that Tim Sherwood’s reign as head coach would definitely end in the summer. Few expected anything different of course, but to hear it confirmed induced many a sigh of relief among the long suffering Spurs faithful.
But nothing is ever quite that straightforward at Spurs and to say that Sherwood’s dismissal had been made official would be be an exaggeration. Sky Sports News reported his imminent demise at lunchtime but did not directly quote any sources. Nevertheless most of the mainstream media were running the story by mid-afternoon suggesting its provenance was at least reasonably sound. By last night, the Mirror was reporting that Sherwood had confided in friends that he was to be sacked and it was these friends who had leaked it to the media.
Sherwood himself sought to play down the rumours after the game saying ‘you’ll have to talk to my employees (sic) about that’. Such is his (somewhat clumsy) Machiavellian reputation, you couldn't help thinking that he had encouraged the leak himself, perhaps hoping to panic the Spurs board into some kind of public statement of support. It didn't come.
Whether Sherwood’s dark deeds stretch to getting opposition sides to roll over for him when he’s in need of a big win must be doubtful although watching the performance of Sunderland, managed by his old mates Gus Poyet and Mauricio Taricco, you could be forgiven for wondering. Just a week and a half before, Sunderland had given high flying Liverpool a real scare at Anfield with a spirited display that ended in narrow defeat. A few days later, Spurs were eviscerated by the same Liverpool team. Yet Sunderland, for whom three points could have meant real cause for optimism in their struggle against relegation, showed zero ambition even after Vlad Chiriches had gifted them a goal head start. They were truly abysmal, worse even than the Cardiff side that almost snatched a draw from lacklustre Spurs a month ago.
Sherwood had performed his usual trick of picking the midfield out of a hat and playmaker Christian Eriksen was again exiled on the left wing. But by the second half the Dane and Emmanuel Adebayor - the best players on the pitch and indeed Tottenham’s best outfield performers this season - simply took Sunderland’s uselessness as a cue to enjoy themselves and the five-one win was largely the consequence of their merriment.
Can Spurs fans sleep easier now that Sherwood’s fate appears to be sealed? Not until the club confirms it unequivocally and Levy and co don't seem inclined to do so just yet. But all in all Monday April 7th will go down as a rare and welcome high point in a campaign all too rich in lows.