The Dutchman’s suggestion that “maybe Tottenham are coming” brazenly ignores the fact that Tim Sherwood is in the midst of an 18-month contract with Spurs
In the last week, the notion of highly paid football managers showing any kind of reverence or respect to their fellow professionals has taken a nosedive. First there was the increasingly wearisome Jose Mourinho branding Arsene Wenger a ‘specialist in failure’, then today’s news of Netherlands coach Louis Van Gaal brazenly advertising himself to Tottenham Hotspur whilst current manager Tim Sherwood has barely had time to settle into his job.
It is irrelevant that Sherwood is officially a head coach, not a manager. It is irrelevant that Spurs announced that he would “assume first team coaching duties” when Andre Villas Boas was sacked. The fact of the matter is that on 23 December, Tottenham named Sherwood as their new head coach, handing him an 18-month contract until the end of the 2014–15 season. Those are the facts, as Rafael Benitez would say.
For Van Gaal to breeze that “maybe Tottenham will come” is to completely ignore the fact that there is already someone in charge at White Hart Lane and who is, incidentally, a breath of fresh air when it comes to honest, cliche-free assessments of his sides performance. Sherwood may prefer the tracksuit and gilet two-piece to the suited and booted look, but he deserves more from a fellow professional than to have his position spoken about as if it was completely vacant.
Van Gaal was speaking about the possibility of taking over at Spurs when his contract with the Netherlands ends at the completion of the World Cup in Rio de Janeiro, an occasion that will see Sherwood only 6 months into his contract as head coach. A cynic would see it as a cunning piece of PR by Van Gaal, who Spurs spoke to immediately following Villas Boas’s departure but opted for Sherwood after the Dutchman insisted on completing his contract with the Netherlands.
There is a certain arrogance and irony in the fact that Van Gaal turned Spurs down to honour his contract with the Dutch, yet now chooses to plant the seeds of instability under Sherwood’s chair when the latter is barely a third of the way through a contract of his own. It will not have gone unnoticed by the Spurs head coach, who was an understandably downbeat presence following his side’s flat effort against Norwich on the weekend.
Van Gaal’s credentials are not in doubt – he is clearly a man of vast experience and expertise with impressive roll of honour. Honour, though is not what was practised from this latest episode, and the fact of the matter is that Tim Sherwood deserves much better.