A run-down of the best managers of the calendar year.
First up, is Alan Pardew who gets an honorable mention for his performance last season, which saw Newcastle United place in 5th position in the Premier League, qualifying them for the Europa League this season.
When Pardew took over from Chris Hughton, Newcastle had just been promoted back to the top tier from the Championship and were on the day he took charge in December 2010, Newcastle were 12th in the league.
They finished in that very position in May 2011 but Hughton surpassed all expectations, marching the club back up the table. However, Newcastle have struggled so far this season and look unlikely to replicate their achievements this term. They currently sit uncomfortably close to the relegation zone in 15th place.
Similarly Brendan Rodgers gets a nod for his work with Swansea last season. The newly promoted side not only avoided relegation but achieved their aims in impeccable style.
Even Cesc Fabregas noticed the comparison between the Swans free-flowing total football and compared them to his own side Barcelona. They placed 11th last season and their success in staying up earned Rodgers a scintillating opportunity – to take over the reigns from Kenny Dalglish at Liverpool.
Unfortunately, Rodgers has yet to enjoy the success he would have hope for when agreeing the deal. Liverpool are now languishing just inside the top half of the table in 9th and have a lot of problems to solve in January.
He must move on a number of Dalglish’s expensive acquisitions in the New Year as well as re-investing back in the Reds’ squad. But no one can argue he has tried his best to get Liverpool playing with the style and verve that he’d created at Swansea.
Unlucky to miss out of the top spot is David Moyes who has been a loyal and industrious servant of Everton Football Club for a decade now. Everton were unlucky to miss out on a European place last season – they finished 7th and this season they look to be giving the ‘top four’ clubs a good run for their money.
They beat Manchester United on the opening day of this season and they’ve continued with the same resolve, commitment, and audacity in every game since. And, what’s more, Moyes does it on a shoestring budget.
He builds teams that are brave and diligent and this season Everton have exhibited a remarkable degree of pizzazz and quality added in their attacking play. They play with the energy of David up against Goliath week in, week out.
Many would probably pick Roberto Mancini as the standout candidate – he has been undoubtedly under more pressure than any of his Premier League counterparts this year.
With great amounts of money spent at Eastlands, great pressure to succeed was mounted on the slender shoulders of the Italian coach who, after crashing out of the Champion’s League at group stage had an almighty mounting to climb if Manchester City were to lift the Premier League trophy in may.
Of course he has Sergio Aguero to thank, along with the very deep pockets of Sheikh Mansour but, nonetheless, he did it. Manchester City nicked the title of the old enemy in the dying seconds of the final game of the season. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Finally, another historic victory is that of Chelsea’s in Munich. Roberto Di Matteo took over from the outgoing Andre Villas-Boas to achieve the unbelievable – that the Blues could undo Bayern Munich in their own backyard and emerge as Champion of Europe was an immense achievement, especially for the understudy manager.
He also brought back the FA Cup to Stamford Bridge and with it brought in a new generation of talent that, unfortunately, he will be unable to guide to further glories. The silver lining for the Italian may be that he will likely be considered for a number of exciting projects and opportunities in the coming year. Well-done Robbie.
image: © illarterate