Tim Sherwood, football management’s grand failure, says Arsenal are no good!

By Tony Attwood

I have regularly argued that the football media in this country regularly refuses to tackle certain issues, such as the oddity of the way refereeing is organised in the Premier League, and issues of corruption.

Instead the media use the “gaslighting” technique of turning the conversation to something else in order to stop discussion about the subject the media refuse to engage in – in this case corruption within football.

A typical example comes with the Daily Mirror’s piece today in which they say, “Tim Sherwood has slammed Mikel Arteta’s ‘clueless’ tactics after his Arsenal side played out a goalless stalemate with Brighton on Saturday.”

Sherwood says in his comments, “Arsenal have no clue when to go long, They need to be more flexible in how they play. They are hell-bent on playing out from the back – they (Brighton) mix it up. They know when to play through and they know when to go long.”

The immediate effect is to create an argument between those who support Mr Arteta and those who don’t, between those who feel Arsenal are on the right track and those who feel that another change of manager would help the club.

But such an argument is being heard regularly – having another voice re-run the same points doesn’t do anything for anyone’s understanding of football.  However it does ensure that we are distracted from such issues as the fact of world-famous agent Pini Zahavi  being accused of fraud and money laundering.  That story is being run across Europe, but not here, because, well, we don’t do fraud and corruption in football stories in the English media.

So not only is the big story banished from the English news, what we have is a report of the comments of a repeatedly failed manager who was associated with Arsenal’s biggest rivals.

Sherwood took over as first team Tottenham coach when manager Villas-Boas left in December 2013.  He was sacked after five months in charge.   He was then out of work until mid February 2015 when he became manager of Aston Villa.  Eight months later (or five months if you count actual competitive playing time) he was sacked by Villa.

In November 2016, Sherwood was appointed director of football at Swindon Town in League One.  The club was duly (one might say inevitably) relegated to League Two and in June he was sacked.

I don’t think Sherwood has worked in football beyond then, so what we have is three senior jobs in football which lasted, five months, eight months and five months, and in each case he was sacked – after which he has not worked in football.

Now that suggests to me he is not a helpful analyst.   And yet here he is being quoted in the Mirror as a man competent to give an opinion on Arsenal’s most recent performance!

Of course you might say, “well hang on, Tony Attwood hasn’t ever managed any club” and of course that is right.  And yes I give opinions on Arsenal.  But what I do, and I am not alone in this, is try to find statistics and work from there.   Statistics such as the number of times certain referees give yellow cards to Arsenal players, and how often the referees who give out lots of cards to Arsenal players get to referee Arsenal matches.

And I noted (alone among football writers I think) that Arsenal cut their yellow card figure almost in half between one season and the next, and looked to explain how they did that.  

So there’s me, and of course a lot of other people like me, who have no experience in football, but who look at statistics and start asking how come one club might get far more penalties than any other – and then watch the videos.   And there are people who seemingly wouldn’t be seen dead within 50 miles of a statistic and who have been utter failures as managers, who get to express their opinions freely as if they were experts!

Which is not to say I expect the media to quote me – not at all.  I am simply asking why would they quote a total management failure associated with Tottenham, on a question of how Arsenal play?  

And especially, why do it when there is yet another major corruption story breaking which the rest of Europe is focused on.

The answer, I think, is to deflect attention.  To avoid discussing one issue (corruption in football) and instead talk about something totally irrelevant (the opinion of a failed Tottenham manager.)

It is the trick that married couples who have fallen out of love with each other but haven’t got the guts to separate, often engage in.   And it is the fundamental of football journalism in England.  Talk about A to ensure we don’t talk about B.

It is a cover-up job, ensuring that we never get to ponder (for example) just how much corruption there is in the game.  It is called gaslighting.

14 Replies to “Tim Sherwood, football management’s grand failure, says Arsenal are no good!”

  1. Like me Tony.

    I have opinions relating to Arsenal, but not about matters I have no idea about, team selection, tactics or transfers. I deal in statistics and there interpretation or misinterpretation.

    I, like everyone I would suggest, like/rate certain players above others. Or think this might work or that might work. But honestly I haven’t got a clue.

    When things are not going right I can see that. When a player is not having a good game I can see that, but beyond that ? Nope.

    I could see it wasn’t going well on Saturday but why? What to do about it? Nope, not a clue.

    As such I hesitate to venture an opinion on it and as such you will find very very few comments from me regarding player selection or tactics because I’m not qualified to do so.

    Looking at Sherwoods record as a manager I would suggest neither is he, but hey, he’s knocking Arsenal, which of course makes him an expert.

  2. Nitram – and I suspect by knocking Arsenal it takes him up the ladder in terms of value to the media. If only the salary of pundits was made available we could then do a table of how the fees they command increase with the level of criticism of Arsenal.

  3. Tony

    It sure seems if you want your voice heard or you’re in need of a penny, sticking your boot into Arsenal is the way to go.

  4. Well I look at it like American Football quarter backs – Tony Attwood is still making touchdown passes and Tim Sherwood has been sacked three times and is no longer playing. Tim Sherwood still throws the odd curved ball but its a different sport – baseball – and he’s standing on a mound of chicken shit.

  5. Tim Sherwood was Aston Villa manager when Arsenal beat them 4 nil in the 2015 FA Cup Final

  6. I’ve just scrolled through NewsNow and as I did I found this post, so I clicked on it.

    I never click on the Daily Mirror because it’s toxic, but yes I saw those Sherwood headlines and just passed on by, it’s very easy to do you just have to be more selective, but if you do click on it, well, you get what you deserve.

  7. allezkev

    You really don’t get it at all do you, no matter how many times it gets explained to you.

    So let me put it this way and see if you finally get what we are trying to say:

    Does it make it okay for somebody to call you ‘an empty headed moron with the intellectual capacity of a dead ant’, simply because you can scroll past it and ignore it ?

    Of course it doesn’t.

    And if somebody did call you ‘an empty headed moron with the intellectual capacity of a dead ant’ you would be perfectly within your rights to be upset, call them out, and even ask for an apology wouldn’t you, because you’re neither an ant, or in fact dead.

    Does that help?

  8. My point is that by throwing out this toxic material all the time it reaches a lot of people who believe not only the story but also the fact that this is important news. So it has two effects: it convinces some people the story is true and also hides away other stories which are much more important.

  9. Tony

    I liken it to propaganda.

    I would suggest most people know a piece of propaganda when they read it or hear it, or at least they would like to think they do, but that isn’t the point. It isn’t about the individual story, it’s about creating a long term perception.

    It isn’t about just saying black is white once, because everybody knows that is not true. But if it is said to you day after day after day then you can begin to question yourself. Is Black actually White after all ? Is it me that’s wrong ? After all, more and more people are telling me black is white, and in the end there’s more people that think black is white than think black is black, and so it goes.

    As with Arsenal it is an endless process of repeating the same negative stories, that if taken in isolation could be easily dismissed, or even as allezkev suggests ignored, but when it happens day after day, the story, no matter how extreme, far fetched or simply untrue, seeps into the psyche and becomes fact, especially so if people just ignore it and ‘pass on by’.

    There is a famous quote that says “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

    If you ignore the racial abuse at a football ground, does that mean it did not happen ?

    If you ignore the politicians lie, does that mean it was not said ?

    If you step over the homeless boy in the street, does that mean he was not there ?

    If you are the kind of person that wants to block his ears, close his eyes, turn the page or walk on by without a word that is your prerogative.

    Personally I think that is wrong. All that does is allow the racist to continue to abuse, the politician to continue to lie and the homeless to multiply.

    That is why I believe it is crucial to keep calling the media out at every turn.

    Well done Tony, you keep ‘Banging on about it’ as long as you need to.

  10. @nitram

    “You really don’t get it at all do you, no matter how many times it gets explained to you.”

    I think he DOES get it mate, it’s just that he sees it differently to you. That doesn’t give you the right to make him sound like an idiot.

    I accept that you – and many others here – think this kind of ridiculous carry-on in the press should be called out continuously. To what end I don’t know, because continuously calling it out here is not going to change anything at all, and all you’re doing is shouting into an echo chamber. That’s just my opinion.

    I feel more like allezkev in that it’s really easy to filter out all the rubbish in the press if you don’t want to read/watch it. Some piece in the Mirror trashing Arsenal makes no difference to me, and it really shouldn’t to you either. The fact that it’s Sherwood makes the article all the more ridiculous.

    As for this from Tony:

    “My point is that by throwing out this toxic material all the time it reaches a lot of people who believe not only the story but also the fact that this is important news”

    Anyone who believes that what they read in the Mirror is anything even close to “important news” is a cretin and not worth worrying about.

    Just my 2c.

  11. Every time I hear or see his name I start singing to myself “” He comes from Boreham Wood , He aint no f****** good.

  12. Soop = perhaps I may answer. You state, “to what end I don’t know, because continuously calling it out here is not going to change anything at all,” and later “Anyone who believes that what they read in the Mirror is anything even close to “important news” is a cretin”
    This is where we differ.
    Having studied psychology at university, I’ve spent much of my life in advertising and marketing, and so have come across the practical side of changing people’s behaviour by getting them to buy a product or service or do something they might otherwise not have done.
    Because I worked initially in direct mail (colloquially known a “junk mail”) and then in email advertising (“spam”) I’ve been able to see the exact results of the advertising I’ve written, and know exactly what percentages of people believe what they read when it comes to advertising. The numbers can be far higher than you seem to think.
    Direct mail (“junk mail”) was the biggest form of advertising in the west before email and the internet came along – and each have become the largest in terms of spend, simply because they work so well. You try convincing anyone to advertise in a medium that doesn’t work and see what happens.
    Thus we can prove, people are influenced by what they read, and particularly influenced by the technique of gaslighting. And because I believe gaslighting is pernicious, it needs to be called out. Showing what gaslighting is, invariably gets a few more people to understand how they are being manipulated, and every bit of fighting back is to my mind worth it.
    But I do take note also of comments such as yours and I will write an article on why I keep on pointing out what the media and many blogs are doing in relation to football, and why I think fighting back is worthwhile.

  13. Soop

    You don’t seem to agree with me ? You seem to think I’ve insulted allezkev ? You seem to think that’s unacceptable ? Well you may be right on all those points, but so what ?

    According to him, all he, you, or anyone else who doesn’t agree with me has to do is scroll on past ? All you have to do is ignore me. That’s how it works isn’t it ?

    Well actually no it isn’t is it?​

    Why should what I say be challenged and not something The Daily Mirror says ? Why should I be called out for insulting someone and not The Daily Mirror ? Why would anything I say on a comparatively small platform such as this be worthy of comment, when something The Daily Mirror says shouldn’t be ?

    So WHY did you comment and pick me up on what I said ??

    Was it because you were upset with me for, in your opinion, calling, or at least making allezkev look an idiot ?

    Surely not because you seem quite comfortable calling half a million Daily Mirror readers cretins.

    Was it because you don’t agree with me ?

    Surely not because you obviously don’t agree with what The Daily Mirror says yet you think commenting on that is pointless.

    Was it because you think I’ve been insulting ?

    Surely not because you think The Daily Mirror insulting Arsenal on a daily basis isn’t worthy of comment.

    And that’s where it all gets a bit hypercritical because it seems when YOU read something YOU don’t agree with. When YOU read something YOU think is unacceptable. When YOU read something YOU think is insulting, you are compelled to comment, yet on the other hand when I don’t agree with something and find the day to day lies and abuse aimed at Arsenal unacceptable and insulting, I should just ignore it ?

    Well as you have just shown, it doesn’t work like that.

    Thank you for making my point.

  14. Tim Sherwood nominated for # SAD SACKED ! by Untold Arsenal followers .

    I guess Timmy’s distaste for the Arsenal goes a long way ! Not only was he useless as the Spuds manager , he went on to lose 4-0 to Arsenal in the 2015 FA Cup , while managing Aston Villa .

    The next season he was swiftly ‘relieved ‘ of his duties as the crap kept on repeating. That season a certain Mikel Arteta scored the forth goal against Aston Villa in their respective last games to go above Spurs , who were soundly trashed at Newcastle !

    You don’t tend to forget or forgive such (imagined ) slights !

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