Tim Sherwood is a silly man. Between the touchline celebrations and outerwear throwing, the self-aggrandizing talk of win ratios, keeping Harry Kane at Spurs and trying to sign Raheem Sterling at 14, the guy mockingly referred to as “Tactics Tim” seems to revel in making people notice him — even if it’s as the butt of a joke. But a curious thing is happening while everyone is making fun him: he’s getting results.
Sherwood outmatched Brendan Rodgers to put Aston Villa past Liverpool in the FA Cup semifinals and he’s edging the club towards safety from relegation in the Premier League after taking over in February. Villa were on pace for the worst scoring record in Premier League history when he joined, but in just two months he’s already avoided that fate. Last season at Spurs, he helped a club that sacked their manager in December finish sixth with a spot in Europe.
Whatever the outsiders think of him, at least one of his players thinks very highly of him. After the success at Wembley, Villa midfielder Fabian Delph gave his boss high praise.
“The gaffer [Sherwood] is brilliant. He’s positive with everybody. He doesn’t panic. He’s got a game plan and we stuck to it and there were a lot of young lads in the team,” he said.
Could Tim Sherwood actually be brilliant? Sometimes the guy wearing a bowling shirt covered in drawings of scantily clad women on television is an astrophysicist who landed a spacecraft on a comet. People are complex and unpredictable creatures.
Before anointing Sherwood a strange genius, it’s important to remember that he’s only manager two clubs for less than a full season each. Though he’s touted his transfer market intelligence with Kane and Sterling, it remains to be seen what he can do in even one summer window. And what happens when his rah-rah, Al Pacino in Any Given Sunday act gets stale with his players? Can he adjust and adapt? We simply don’t know yet.
But all joking aside, there remains a distinct possibility that Tim Sherwood will have the last laugh. And if Arsene Wenger isn’t careful in the FA Cup final, he might be Sherwood’s next mark.