Squarefootball’s Manager of the Season: Has Pardew made it a clean sweep?
Newcastle United surpassed everyone’s expectations this season. After losing Barton, Carroll, Nolan and Enrique, the Mags were tipped to be fighting relegation. Instead they spend the campaign fighting with the big boys for a Champions League place.
Alan Pardew has already picked up two Manager of the Season awards, but can he make it a hat-trick by claiming Squarefootball’s Manager of the Season title as well?
I asked a straw poll of football fans who they thought deserved to be crowned the Premier League’s top manager, and there were a number of names to choose from. Swansea’s Brendan Rodgers and Norwich City’s Paul Lambert took the top flight by storm with their promoted sides. Both are now very highly sought after. Everton’s David Moyes also excelled on a shoestring budget at Goodison Park and let’s not forget the latest Premier League winner, Manchester City’s Roberto Mancini, but who did our pundits go for?
Unsurprisingly, Alan Pardew featured very highly in the replies.
Birmingham City fan and Squarefootball writer Steve Coulter gave Pardew the nod for his success in the transfer market.
“Manager of the season for me had to be Alan Pardew. Pards has reigned supreme in the transfer market. The signings of Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse have been inspired. He has fostered a fantastic team spirit on Tyneside and deserves some reward for an amazing season.”
Bolton Wanderers fan Dave Blackburn agrees.
“The easy option would be Roberto Mancini. Even though he has the money you still need to get the right players. Also Lambert and Rodgers have brought a breath of fresh air to the Premier League. But I think for an amazing season it has to be Pardew. After all the turmoil the season before and against all odds with people against him, he has pulled Newcastle around.”
That sentiment is also echoed by Chelsea fan Joe Tyler and Tottenham supporter Mike Richards. Mr Tyler said: “No-one would have put Newcastle in the position they are in at the start of the season.” While Mr Richards hailed Pardew’s nous in the transfer market.
Alan Pardew guided West Ham United to within seconds of the FA Cup in 2006 against Liverpool so it’s no surprise really to see West Ham fan and Squarefootball writer Mitch Waddon award him the prize.
“I always look at this award and think ‘Who’s over achieved this season?’ And no-one has done that more than Pardew. I will shamefully admit that I was one of the pundits that thought we’d see Newcastle lingering at the wrong end of the table this year, but under Alan they’ve worked hard and they thoroughly deserve to be in Europe next year.”
However, football is a game of opinions and not everyone was getting carried away with the Pardew love in, particularly not Sunderland fan Tony Ratton – as you would expect! But, surprisingly, he hasn’t gone for his new gaffer, Martin O’Neill, who inspired a remarkable turnaround in fortunes at the Stadium of Light, but for a Scotsman in Norwich.
“Manager of the Season for me has to be Paul Lambert. He has done a cracking job with limited resources. To guide a team up two divisions and finish in mid-table in the Premier League is an astonishing achievement.”
Wigan Athletic have ended the season on fire, beating the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United and Newcastle in the process to beat relegation yet again. No matter what is thrown at them, the Latics and Roberto Martinez never panic and always get the job done. The Spaniard has impressed Squarefootball editor Antony Melvin so much that he has to give his vote to Martinez.
“The Wigan boss will never pull up trees with his squad, but he has no budget, has to sell his better players, no big lift from a successful Championship campaign and doesn't have a vociferous home support. Yet his team is consistently attractive and competitive; and survival this year is surely his biggest achievement.”
However Leeds United fan Phil Bundy believes the manager of the season should go to another man in blue. Roberto Di Matteo may not have been in the Stamford Bridge hotseat long, and may be given the boot after Saturday’s Champions League final, but Mr Bundy insists that if the Italian lands the Champions League then he is the only man to win the award.
“Since taking over from AVB, whose ambitious plans to overhaul the ageing Chelsea squad was just too ambitious, Di Matteo has put things back to where he found them originally. A squad rejuvenated by having their comfort blankets returned, could they really go on to secure a cup double and the so far elusive Champions League title? If they do then Di Matteo would win this award hands down.”
West Bromwich Albion fan Andy Wakeman though disagrees. He thinks there is only one winner, although he is slightly biased, and that is the new England boss Roy Hodgson.
“My Manager of the Season is Roy Hodgson. He has guided us to a top 10 finish and given the resources available that is like winning the title. I may be being a little mischievous but my other contenders were Mick McCarthy, Alex McLeish and Terry Conner!”
Personally I think it would have to be Alan Pardew although I am surprised that Brendan Rodgers at Swansea didn’t receive any nominations. The work he has put in at Swansea and to get them playing the way they do is phenomenal. However, for Newcastle to be competing for a top four finish all season has been astonishing. If Pardew can keep hold of Krul, Ben Arfa, Demba Ba, Cabaye and Papiss Cisse, and add to the squad, the Toon Army really could be on the verge of something special at St James’ Park.
But that’s what we think. Who gets your vote? Whatever your view, we’d love to hear from you.