Life is like a box of chocolates' said Forests Gump's mum, 'you never know what you're going to get'. She might just as well have been talking about Spurs.
Not many of us travelled to St Mary's yesterday with optimism. Wednesday's fresh humiliation at the hands of West Ham offered no sign that Tim Sherwood's new model Tottenham would get anything at Southampton and the team sheet had the look of a resignation letter, devoid as it was of any defensive midfielders. But a combination of luck, a below par Saints performance and an enterprising second half, in which the rejuvenated Emmanuel Adebayor was outstanding, brought an unlikely and richly enjoyable victory.
After Jingle Belling joyously out of St Mary's, the faithful’s thoughts quickly turned to the vacant managers job. The win secured Sherwood’s position as bookies’ favourite but his post match interview gave his rivals some reasons for optimism. ‘I'd have to consider what's right for Tim Sherwood’ he said, setting off the alarm bells that come when a man talks about himself in the third person and he boldly added that he would only do the job with a long term contract, not on a trial basis. This is a gamble because, with no experience and none of the required coaching badges, he is by far the least qualified of the candidates. By publicly demanding a long term commitment of Chairman Levy, particularly when Glenn Hoddle reiterated yesterday that he would be prepared to look after the team for the rest of the season, he might rule himself out altogether.
Meanwhile, eyebrows were raised at Levy’s absence from the game - was he off interviewing someone else for the job? The latest odds to shorten dramatically yesterday were those of managerial big beast Louis Van Gaal, currently in charge of the Dutch national team. His sudden prominence came after he failed to say he wasn’t interested, but he added that doing two jobs for the rest of the season did not appeal so, unless he’d jump ship ahead of the World Cup, he isn’t any more available than
and the rest.
Another international boss fluttering his eyelashes in Levy’s direction is former Real Madrid head coach Carlos Queiros who is in charge of Iran. He might be ready to jump now but there is no indication that Levy’s arms would be open.
So Sherwood’s audition is ongoing. His next task, following talks with the chairman today, is to get the team’s home performances up to the standard of its away form - the best in the Premier League - which would make the next two games with West Brom and Stoke at White Hart Lane look very winnable. Come New Year, if Levy is frustrated in his attempts to prize away a big name and decides he doesn’t fancy Hoddle, Sherwood might just force that contract out of him.
And those of us who are alarmed at the prospect will seek solace in the memory of the last novice from the back room who got the job - Bill Nicholson, the greatest manager of them all.