Soccer AM/MW - the home of lively and humorous discussion from the Football and Non Leagues

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

End of Season Awards Part III

All this week the lads are casting an eye back over the season as they dish out the Soccer AM/MW awards. Today, attention turns towards the managers.

Championship Manager of the Year

Nominations: Paulo Sousa, Nigel Pearson, Billy Davies, Ian Holloway, Nigel Adkins, Sean O'Driscoll, Brian McDermott

Lakes: Holloway will always win the plaudits for escaping a tough division with a distinctly average-looking team, but I believe we should look elsewhere for the winner of this award.

Turls: It was an impressive season for the Quote-o-matic manager. However, Blackpool will be picking up plaudits left, right, and centre, so I'd like to look at the alternatives.

Nobes: Can't disagree with that. It's always nice to spread the awards around.

Turls: Billy Davies did well with Forest and although a few point will point at the £6 million that he spent in the summer, that was to add to a team that had narrowly avoided relegation the year before.

Lakes: He ultimately failed in the play-offs though, meaning his achievements with Forest amounted to nought, so we can rule him out.

Nobes: It was also probably testament to his managerial abilities that not many people were surprised by Forest's quick success - I certainly wasn't. However, he did have decent money to spend.

I like what O'Driscoll continues to do at Doncaster. I never thought they'd surpass last season's 14th, but to hold down a top half place is amazing.

Turls: He continues to do a superb job. They play exciting football and they do it without throwing a lot of cash at sub-standard players. They haven't really progressed though, and that's what Doncaster need to do for award-winning achievement.

McDermott at Reading also deserves credit for for turning around what appeared to be a terminal case of free fall at Reading.

Turls: Had he got them into the play-offs - which was possible at one point - then he would have definitely won this award.

Nobes: It was a classic case of a new man coming in and just turning things around. It'll be fascinating to see how Reading do next year. They ended like a steam train and if they continue that momentum next term they'll do well.

Turls: Nigel Pearson also did a stellar job at Leicester - taking them to the play-offs after winning League One at a canter.

Nobes: Yep, they exceeded expectations there. I also think Paulo Sousa did very well to get Swansea competing for the top six again.

They lost their manager and two key players in the summer, yet only a late blip cost them a shot in the play-offs.

The winner has to be Nigel Adkins surely? His Scunthorpe side fought valiantly to stay in the division - and won.

Turls: It has got to be Adkins. The man made Scunthorpe look like a Championship team. Fair play to him.

Nobes: Can't disagree at all. I couldn't see how Scunny would survive, but he's been the architect of their success again - particularly with some shrewd moves in the transfer market.

Lakes: Yes, a terrific achievement that went beyond all odds, cementing Scunthorpe in the second tier and giving them a viable platform from which to consolidate next term. Well done, Nigel!

Winner: Nigel Adkins

League One
Manager of the Year

Nominations: Andy Scott, Les Parry, Paul Lambert, Danny Wilson, Paul Tisdale

Turls: Lambert did a good job turning Norwich around after their 7-1 mauling, but it's easy to forget had already had a very good team.

Nobes: Yes, I like to think we can a bit more imaginative than the manager whose side won the title.

Lakes: It's always tempting to, and similarly with Tranmere - they were always going to look better with someone other than John Barnes at the helm!

Nobes: He did have a very tough rescue job on his hands, to be fair, but I'd agree there are probably more worthy winners.

Lakes: Like Danny Wilson. Let's not forget his wonders at pulling something out of the bag at Swindon. For the team from a land of roundabouts to pull off reaching the play-off final was no accident - and Wilson can take the lion's share of the credit.

Turls: He did do an excellent job and has turned them into an impressive unit. He picked up one of the bargains of the season when he signed Charlie Austin, too, but he just misses out in my mind.

Nobes: Controversial. Wilson has to be a very strong contender. I know his play-off record is poor, but he is a very capable manager who likes to play good football. Surely he deserves another chance in the Championship soon?

Turls: Andy Scott gave Brentford fans nothing to worry about with a comfortable finish. Clubs like this often get ignored at the end of the season, but it's easy to forget what a great job he's done in keeping Brentford a stable force.

Nobes: Yes, and he's someone whose reputation continues to grow. The Bees will do well to hold onto him. As will Exeter with Paul Tisdale, who's done an incredible job in his four years at St James Park.

Turls: It's easy to forget, too, what a small club they are. They were always in the nether regions of the league, but he ensured they never looked in real danger of dropping back into League Two.

Lakes: For my money, Tisdale should win this award. Exeter were always likely to go down, but he worked wonders to keep them out of the bottom four and safe. No mean feat.

Winner: Paul Tisdale

League Two Manager of the Year

Eddie Howe, John Still, Keith Hill, John Coleman, Paul Peschilsoldio

Turls: This is a tough one. Every manager here has done a wonderful job and deserves some type of recognition for the season.

I'm a big fan of all of the managers, too, something that's got to make narrowing down these candidates pretty tough.

Nobes: Yes, it's a difficult one. I don't want to give it to Coleman though because, as much as he's done well, he annoys me.

Turls: He got some superb results at a ghastly stadium in front of some ghastly people. Another season of safety hides the fact though that it looked like Coleman could guide his charges to the play-offs.

Lakes: Coleman - the mustard magnate - providers me with the warm, homely taste of condiments on my hot dogs. What about Peschilsolido - who used to have weird hair?

Turls: He came in as a rookie manager and got the club winning again. They were expected to struggle but looking extremely comfortable. At no point in the season did it look like Burton would go down. Well done you crazy Canadian.

Nobes: Haha. First Canadian manager in the Football League ever, too, I believe. He did a fine job, although I think there are other candidates who achieved more. Rochdale finally ending their promotion hoodoo under Keith Hill, for instance.

He finally managed to end the curse hovering over Dale and their reward is League One football. They made it look easy and were able to take their foot off the gas at the end - that's how impressive they were.

Nobes: Surely it's got to be Eddie Howe though? He's done so well for such a young manager under the most testing of conditions. Bournemouth were so consistent and finishing runners-up was an amazing accomplishment.

Turls: He guided them to promotion with a handful of players, a pocket full of pennies, and a barrel full of magic!

Lakes: I think I'd go for Still. Why? Because he got the most bang for buck out of his club than any other manager in the division. For Dagenham to do so well this season has been a triumph - and down to his nous from the touchline.

Turls: Promotion with a club whose average attendance in tiny, whose budget is tiny, and whose playing staff is mediocre. He's got the best out of very limited resources. Although it wasn't pretty football, it was clearly effective.

Nobes: It pains me greatly to admit it, but he does deserve it. Curse him for being so effective, but the old guy's done good.

Winner: John Still

Conference Manager of the Year

Nominations: Martin Foyle, Chris Wilder, Graham Westley, Justin Edinburgh

I think if we to design a Soccer AM/MW sausage which summed up the taste of the perfect Conference manager, you can beat your bottom dollar we'd include bits of all the above.

Wilder's vision to get Oxford promoted means that his eyes should really go into the mix!

Turls: They'd become associated with bottling it and almost looked like they'd fail again - but he got them back on track and saw them get promoted via the play-offs.

Nobes: I always expected Oxford to go up this term - because I rate Wilder that highly. However, I don't think he should be the winner of this award.

Turls: Martin Foyle managed to push York - who were in danger of becoming a forgotten team of the Conference - towards the top of the table.

Nobes: They were a surprise success, and he deserves a lot of credit for that.

Lakes: He's going straight into the sausage - vintage aroma!

Turls: Edinburgh did a similar job to Foyle, at Rushden & Diamonds. Got them playing decent football and they just missed out in the play-offs. He's be looking to build on that next year.

Nobes: Diamonds were the biggest surprise package of the season, for me. It was a real team effort, with no stand out player.

Lakes: Rushden's efforts this season were almost magical. Sadly though, there was no end product, but he still makes it into the sausage.

Nobes: Looks like we're going to agree then that Graham Westley merits the award for taking Stevenage into the Football League for the first time in their history.

I don't particularly like the guy, and he has a shady past, but he's worked wonders at Broadhall Way and probably deserves his chance in the big time.

Turls: He wins simply because Stevenage ended up romping home. They beat Luton and Oxford to the title and, although they've been around the top for a while, he finally pushed them to the top. Bravo, sir.

Lakes: He really stands out, and is being bundled into the sausage. I confirm that the sausage has been tasted and the judges... yes - the judges have gone for it!

Winner: Graham Westley

Special Mention

John Coleman, Paul Peschisolido, Andy Scott, Les Parry.

Nobes: I think there are so many managers who deserve a special mention for their achievements this season and who haven't won another award.

I'd throw Sean O'Driscoll's name into the running too - for continuing to overachieve at Doncaster while playing some really good football.

Lakes: Tough one to call. Pesch has done exceptionally well for a rookie. But O'Driscoll is a quality manager and Les Parry did do a great job at Tranmere. Really hard category to call.

I would go for PP or John Coleman.

Nobes: Coleman has had another great season - Accrington were close to going to the wall, yet he took them to their best ever FA Cup run and they even challenged for the top seven in League Two at one stage.

Lakes: I'd say give it to Pesch in that case. He's young and inexperienced, but showed enough gumption to do a great job at Burton. Impressive stuff, if you ask me.

How many ex-player rookie managers do we see sink without a trace? I think he's got a bright future in the game.

I'm happy to go with Pesch too. By all accounts Burton try and play the game the right way too.

Turls: He took over a side that had had the same manager for a decade and had limped over the finishing line last season. Sure, they're not as small as Accrington or Dagenham, but they'd never been in the Football League.

He'd never had a managerial job and he took to it like a duck to water. Made it look comfortable.

Nobes: Yep, I expected them to have a difficult first season, but he made it look easy and they were never in trouble of going down.

Winner: Paul Peschisoldio

Unluckiest Man In Football

Nominations: John Barnes, Alan Irvine, Ian McParland

Nobes: I presume Barnes is on this list because he keeps winning unwanted awards from us?

Lakes: I fancy Barnes to knock this one in the back of the net. If he didn't have institutional racism to leave him in the lurch, it would almost certainly be described by the England rapper that luck let him down at Tranmere.

After all, conceding 520 goals with an adventurous 1-1-8 system could hardly have been avoided, could it?

Turls: McParland was stuck between a rock and a hard place and was never going to win during his time at Notts County.

Nobes: I wouldn't give the award to him though. While he might have had a difficult job with the things going on there, he still underachieved with that squad - as Cotterill proved.

His previous two seasons also showed that he's a manager who doesn't make the best use of his resources. I doubt they'd have won the league under him.

Surely it has to be Irvine? Never should have been sacked at Preston, and then took over a sinking-ship in Wednesday and, despite a vailant attempt, couldn't quite keep them up.

He'll also probably be sacked next season at the first iffy run Wednesday have. A good guy who doesn't deserve so much bad fortune.

Turls: Yeah, has to be Irvine. Kicked out of a club he was doing a good job at, and send to a team that had suffered a long season under Brian Laws. It was a horrible season for him.

Winner: Alan Irvine

Biggest Toss Pot of the Year

Nominations: Neil Warnock, Yann Kermorgant, Darren Ferguson

Nobes: Fergie Jr. Yeah? All agreed? Move on?

Lakes: Haha. Actually, that's quite a tough category. Warnock's been a massive c*** for years, whereas Ferguson hasn't been on the scene long enough to really make an impact on that scale.

Also, Yann Kermorgant's act of stupidity has made him one of the most players in Leicester, so it's not as cut and shut as you might think.

Nobes: I also think the definition of a toss pot - not literally of course - could play a crucial part. Kermorgant was an idiot for doing what he did, was he a toss pot though? For me, that means someone who's a real annoyance and irritance.

Lakes: True. So we are agreed, it's between Ferguson and Warnock?

Nobes: Yeah. I want to give it to Ferguson purely for him saying, when he got the Preston job, that he had "nothing to prove" at Championship level.

That was despite the fact he had only achieved two promotions from being bankrolled and he left Posh bottom of the table after a disastrous start to the season.

That's the kind of breathtaking arrogance matched only by, well, his dad.

Lakes: They say the apple doesn't fall far from the tree and, with Fergie, they're right.

I suppose Warnock is more of a w*****, while Ferguson is a toss pot. In a disgraceful act, I'm leaning towards Ferguson.

Turls: They are both the epitome of scum and don't deserve to breathe the same air as I do. However, as much as I hate Warnock, I'll agree that he is a w***** rather than a toss pot.

Fergie seems to think he deserves to be higher than where he simply because he achieved promotions with a heavily financed club. F*** him.

Lakes: Ferguson wins it then. May God help my soul.

Nobes: Don't worry, Lakes, when he's fired after a few months of next season you can point to this as why you saw it coming.

Lakes: Haha. Not like me to do that.

Nobes: We still have the evidence of when you slagged off Billy Davies and said Paul Simpson was a better manager.

Lakes: Haha. It's easy to get caught up in the frenzy of optimism when you have a new manager who takes you top of the league. Shame he turned out to be really s***.

Save that comment for when Fergie gets the boot.

Winner: Darren Ferguson

More awards tomorrow.

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