LONDON (AFP) - Tim Sherwood has been sacked as manager of Tottenham Hotspur, the English Premier League club announced on Tuesday.
The 45-year-old former England international replaced the axed Andre Villas-Boas on an 18-month deal in December but the short-term nature of his contract meant his position was subject to constant speculation.
Sherwood, whose final game in charge was a 3-0 league win at home to Aston Villa on Sunday, guided Spurs to a sixth-placed finish in the Premier League, ensuring the north London club’s qualification for next season’s Europa League.
But that wasn’t enough to convince the Spurs’ hierarchy their former midfielder was the right man to take the team into the top four of the Premier League.
“We appointed Tim mid-season as someone who knew both the players and the club,” said Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy in a statement.
“We agreed an 18-month contract with a break clause at the end of the season and we have now exercised that option.
“Since appointing Tim as assistant first-team coach in 2008 and then as technical co-ordinator in 2010 and head of football development in 2012, we have been supportive of him during football management changes throughout that period.
“On behalf of the club, I should like to state our thanks for all his efforts during his years with us. We wish him great success in his managerial career.” Levy added: “Moving forward, now the season is over, we shall embark on the process of finding a new head coach. We have a talented squad and exciting young players coming through.
“We need to build on this season, develop our potential and inspire the kind of performances that we associate with our great club.”
Several hours after Levy’s announcement, a disappointed Sherwood – the 12th Premier League manager to lose his job since the start of the season – told Sky Sports: “It is obviously a massive wrench to leave a club of the stature of Tottenham Hotspur, a club very close to my heart.”
However, Sherwood was well aware of the precarious hold he had on his job.
As if acknowledging the point, he let one of the fans who sit behind the manager’s dug-out at White Hart Lane offering ‘advice’, briefly take his seat on the bench during Sunday’s match against Villa.
The supporter was even wearing the same type of club-branded body-warmer favoured by Sherwood, who said afterwards: “This guy sits up there every week, shouting ‘Get him off Tim, get him on Tim’. He is the proper manager, so it was his chance to have a go.
“He’s nicked my gilet too! Football is all about the fans. It’s only friendly banter and we should have more in the game.”
Asked if the fan was in the running to become Tottenham manager, Sherwood replied: “No chance, he’s English.”
In the programme for the Villa match, Levy criticised Tottenham’s style of play by saying: “Even in games where we gained maximum points, our football was not always what we have come to expect and associate with our club.”
However, Sherwood, talking to reporters after the game, defended his record.
“I’ve got a 59 per cent win ratio in the Premier League and I think if I had started the season in charge we’d be in the Champions League,” Sherwood said.
“It’ll be interesting to see how I’ve been judged and what I’ve been judged on. It can’t be on results, can it? If I’m to leave it can’t be on results.”
Frank de Boer, the manager of Dutch giants Ajax and Mauricio Pochettino, the Argentinian boss of Spurs’ Premier League rivals Southampton, have both been touted as Sherwood’s Spurs’ successor.