Tottenham: Tim Sherwood Could Learn From Tony Pulis Management Plan


If as widely expected, Tim Sherwood leaves Tottenham during the summer, he could do well to take a leaf out of the Tony Pulis management plan.

#461798869 /

Tim Sherwood stepped into the manager’s seat at White Hart Lane following the sacking of Andre Villas-Boas last December. He had overseen the development of the younger players in the Under-21 and Development squads at Spurs for the previous few years and with some success. Recognised for that achievement, with no-one else available in mid-season, Sherwood was parachuted into the top post even though he hadn’t any of the required qualifications.

Now, five months on, he is expected to be replaced with a manager who has greater experience at the top level. Under difficult circumstances Sherwood has acquitted himself reasonably well in terms of results with Spurs likely to finish 6th or 7th. His lack of experience in certain aspects of management has been evident when confidence alone hasn’t been enough against top teams and when handling disenchanted players.

Tony Pulis who has been in football management for 20 years and would be described as ‘old-school’ could give Sherwood some good advice in those areas. While I’ve never been an advocate of Pulis’ style of play, he has again worked a miracle since taking over at Crystal Palace who were 19th in the Premier League with 7 points from 12 games and looking certainties for relegation last November. Now they are comfortable in 11th place with 44 points following their outstanding recovery deflated Liverpool’s title challenge.

Tony Pulis Management Plan

In an article in the Mail on Sunday, Pulis’s plan to avoid relegation was laid out and it provides good advice that would be applicable to any young, aspiring manager. The Pulis Plan covers 5 areas and while focused on the battle to avoid relegation, the aims are relevant for any team.


‘You need to have a clear target……there is no place for people who will give in, so everybody has to keep believing.’

Tim Sherwood [Photo: Logan Holmes]


‘That’s not only about playing the game but buying into the system……you have to have everybody in the group backing what you are trying to do.’

  • At times this season, under both Andre Villas-Boas and Sherwood, the Spurs players gave the impression on the pitch and with off-field remarks that they weren’t fully in agreement with the style of play/system that the team were expected to play or their role within the team.


‘Good habits mean everyone is on time, in the right gear, ready to train or play when they are supposed to. You need the group to ensure everyone follows the rules.’

  • One of Tottenham’s failings this season has been the number of individual mistakes that have proved so costly due to a lack of concentration and self-discipline.


‘People like to know what their jobs are, what they are expected to do. That only comes if you spend time working with them so they understand it.’

  • At times the Spurs players have looked uncertain of what role they have been expected to carry out in the team. This came about through the team changing constantly and players being expected to perform a different role within the team from one week to the next or a role which differed to that which they had played before signing for Spurs.


‘From the boys who aren’t playing – only 11 can be on the field but you must keep them all happy, and that’s the manager’s toughest job. Experience teaches you how to get the best out of those who may have to step in next week.’

  • This has been a difficulty at Spurs this season with such a large squad of internationals players. There have been indications that all has not been well within the camp with comments appearing in the press when players have been out of the team. Paulinho and Sandro made their views known in the press and through social media.


Tony Pulis had 16 years as a player and has had a long career in football management since taking over from Harry Redknapp at Bournemouth in 1992. His experience and advice could be beneficial to an inexperience manager like Tim Sherwood. If, as expected, he leaves White Hart Lane in the next few weeks, he is expected to be offered another managerial post with clubs including Norwich City, West Bromwich, Newcastle United and Swindon Town, reported to be considering an approach.

Tim Sherwood has a wide list of contacts within football with many speaking highly of his potential as a manager at the highest level. He could do worse than seek advice from Tony Pulis or some other experienced managers on man-management skills and other aspects of the role as he looks to take his next step as a football manager.

He probably won’t but good luck to Tim Sherwood, wherever he is.