Had enough of the tired old top four race, me too!
There are some idiots out there who believe that the race for the Champions League is the only thing worth bleating on about and that anyone below that perforated line is not worth mentioning in the same breath as the usual suspects sitting pretty in their monopolized seats, well let me remind them that it takes 20 teams to make the Premier League and that there are also a hundred other teams below the domestic top tier that contrary to some people’s very narrow grasp of football, do in fact exist. Anyway rant over, on to more important matters.
Manager of the Year: Roy Hodgson and David Moyes
Now i am not one for patronisingly clapping people on the back in a manner that simply serves to boost my ego, in this instance i honestly do believe that these two managers have as much of a claim to being the managers of the year as the likes of Sir Alex, Rafa, Guus and Arsene.
Their successes are refreshing and hard earned. One club fought it’s way back from almost certain relegation last term to being on the brink of UEFA Cup qualification (Fulham) and one side once again coped manfully with a very tight budget and an injury list that wouldn’t look out of place as a Ben Hur supporting cast.
Roy Hodgson is a manager who has experienced success all over Europe but never quite managed to convince his native country that he had any talent to speak of, well this season his brand of determined defensive football won over many people and did so without being labeled as savages (in contrast to similar attempts to master the art of this brand of football by the likes of Big Sam Allardyce). The fact that the west London club achieved so much given their star signing Andy Johnson having a very average season makes that success all the more worthy of praise. A solid back line with the likes of Mark Schwarzer and Brede Hangeland in awesome form provided the backbone from which the mercurial Danny Murphy could pull the strings and helped make the Cottagers so very hard to beat.
David Moyes is often, and rather insulting so, only ever brought up in conversations that revolve around naming potential Sir Alex Ferguson successors as if to say the Everton’s boss was simply marking time before a more established club came calling. The fiery Scot is set for a fourth straight season of top six finishes and given the financial constraints the club has to work within that is no mean feat. Oddly enough the selling of Andy Johnson to Fulham may well have been a blessing in disguise as it gave the club requisite cash to take a gamble on Marouane Fellaini, a gamble that has well and truly paid off. Now the Toffees have an FA Cup Final to look forward to and an awful lot to be proud of. The one truly awful piece of news of course being that man mountain and last gasp tacker extraordinaire Phil Jagielka will miss the showpiece occasion after a simply amazing season.
It is of course highly unlikely either man will be crowned Premier League manager of the year but that says more about the formulaic nature of the format which matter of factly has simply given the award to the title winner in each of the past seven years but there is hope as way back in 2001 George Burley received the award for taking Ipswich to Europe, so perhaps this season will see a repeat. Surely everyone can see they are as deserving of such plaudits?