The shadow of van Gaal continues to haunt Tim Sherwood at Tottenham

Loius van gaal

After a disappointing and dispiriting defeat to Norwich City at the weekend, Spurs’ manager Tim Sherwood will not be comforted by the returning rumours linking Holland national coach Louis van Gaal with the manger’s seat at White Hart Lane.

Loius van gaal


The 62 year old Dutch coach was approached by the club after the dismissal of Andre Villas-Boas, but was committed to taking Holland to Brazil in the summer and therefore unavailable at the time. It’s not known what kind of response van Gaal offered to Tottenham about possible options after the summer, but he has not been shy about stating a desire to manage in the Premier League before he retires, and has also mentioned Tottenham as a potential home for him.

Sherwood’s brief tenure at the helm of Spurs has been impressive, with his decision to return Adebayor to the first team fold being rewarded by the Togo striker with a number of impressive performances and match-winning goals. The manager’s stock has fairly risen fairly consistently until the reverse at Carrow Road over the weekend, but a run of cascading performances is not the true test of am anger. Turning round two successive defeats will more surely test Sherwood’s mettle.

It’s difficult to discern whether Spurs fans see Sherwood as a long term option, or merely the sort of di Matteo appointment that served Chelsea so wonderfully well when their ex-player stepped up to follow Villas-Boas and won both the FA Cup and Champions’ League. Like di Matteo, Sherwood will be seen very much as a club man, and speaks of Spurs with a passion born of a long association with White Hart Lane as both a player and then member of the backroom staff. Whilst success under such a manager would be even more enjoyable – just ask Chelsea fans – is Sherwood more likely to achieve it than someone of the stature of van Gaal? It’s a difficult conundrum.

A lot will depend on just how Chairman Daniel Levy perceives Sherwood’s tenure. With van Gaal unavailable, and Frank Boer of Ajax not quite fitting the bill after another Villas-Boas project was consigned to the bin, Sherwood was unprepared to accept any kind of interim position of caretaker-manager until the end of the season. Recognising his opportunity, he stood out for an 18 month contract and the opportunity to prove himself worthy of the position, and to save Spurs a lot of money into the process should he prove successful. Was this, for Levy, however, just the price he was compelled to pay until his chosen candidate, van Gaal became available?

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