As the current English football season nears to a close, the end-of-season evaluations will start to be made.
GMF is no different and has decided to draw up a shortlist for their Manager of the Year award.
The candidates will all have done something extraordinary in their own way and their successes will be weighed up with regards to the relative status of the club they are in charge of.
Voting will be conducted once the season has finished but the GMF team is confident that no more can be done to sway the nominations.
So, the shortlist for GMF Manager of the Year is…
Alan Pardew, Newcastle United
Pardew has been cited as an early favourite for the award as he has gone further than the St James’ Park ownership hierarchy could have expected. After last season’s mediocre 12th place finish – though it was an achievement for their first year back in the top flight – many feared they would slip further down the table.
Pardew was brought in as the unpopular replacement for Chris Hughton, who had done a reasonable job up to then, before star players Kevin Nolan and Joey Barton were sold.
However, the Toon took off with the form of Demba Ba up front, Yohan Cabaye in midfield and the return from injury of Hatem Ben Arfa – all of these combined to give them a great start. People feared they had run out of steam and good fortune when a mid-season slump saw them go six games without a win.
They recovered then and, after another slump of four games, went on a winning streak that has seen them challenging for a Champions League place. An outstanding feat of resilience and organisation from Pardew and he deserves all the plaudits he can get.
Brendan Rodgers, Swansea City
The Welsh team came up to the Premier League through the play-offs as a club with one of the lowest budgets to have made the leap. They were not expected to last long and many tipped them to go straight back down.
However, they have been a revelation with their Barcelona-esque commitment to a short passing game and have proved incredibly difficult to beat.
Rodgers has comfortably led his team to safety this year and has been tipped for a role at a bigger club in the near future; to his credit, he has stated he wants to stay and develop the Swans into an established Premier League side.
Highlights of their season have seen them beat Arsenal and Manchester City at the Liberty Stadium and taking a point away at Liverpool. Once again, a manager with limited resources far exceeding expectations by never deviating from his footballing philosophy – success on your own terms always tastes sweeter.
Paul Lambert, Norwich City
The former Celtic midfielder has seen success in a similar vein to Rodgers at Swansea and, although they have not been quite as stylistically satisfying, Lambert has manage to shepherd his team to safety with relative ease.
It is even more astonishing when you consider most of the players at his disposal have never played at such a high level and have come form lower league football.
Playing a brand of fast-paced football with great variety, they have had memorable results, such as a goalless draw at Stamford Bridge and a 2-1 win away to Spurs. Lambert is another Championship manager who has proven that you do not need to spend big money on familiar names to get a team working successfully.
David Moyes, Everton
Moyes is in his tenth year as manager of the Toffees and has once again shown how to maintain Premier League consistency by operating on a shoestring.
The Scot was desperate to win a trophy in what many believe to be his last year in charge on Merseyside, but could not overcome Liverpool in the FA Cup semi-final.
This should not take away from an almost miraculous feat of taking Everton back into the top half of the table after losing his best creative player, Mikel Arteta, at the close of the transfer window and suffering an horrific injury list.
As revenues at the club have fallen steadily over the years he was there, Moyes has managed to keep the club at least challenging for Europe and chasing teams with far larger transfer budgets and wage bills.
He is a testament to talent, organisation, motivation and hard work.
These awards will never please everyone, so GMF thought it only fair to explain why some of the other contenders were not in there.
Sir Alex Ferguson would have been in contention after overhauling Manchester City to go eight points ahead, but they have since contrived to stutter and may have thrown it away when in the driving seat.
Similarly for Mancini, his side were clear at the top and gong well but they managed to throw away the lead when they have a squad full of experienced and expensive players. If they do win the league it will be a special moment for the fans of the club, but losing it would have only been because of their failure to dominate as they should have done.
Arsene Wenger has done brilliantly in the second half of the season but there was no way he could have been considered with the abysmal start Arsenal had.
Harry Redknapp has missed out for the same reason but Spurs’ collapse was in the opposite direction.
There we have it. We want to hear your opinions on this, so leave a comment below to let us know….