If you could name one Person Of The Year award for someone who has achieved so much in the Premier League this calendar year, who would it be and why? It’s an interesting question because rather than just narrowing it to a Footballer Of The Year or Manager Of The Year, the nominations are open to anyone connected with the Premier League. With it being so open, it makes it more challenging to determine who would be the Premier League Person Of The Year for 2010, but we’ll give it a try.
Looking back at the past 12 months, there’s been a lot of change in the world’s most popular sports league. The Big Four monopoly was finally broken, transfer spending took a massive nosedive and, gulp, financial responsibility is beginning to creep back into the league.
In the process of identifying the Premier League’s Person Of The Year, I looked for individuals who made a significant improvement in the past 12 months. With that in mind, my choice for Premier League Person of The Year for 2010 is Owen Coyle.
On January 8, 2010, Bolton Wanderers appointed Owen Coyle as manager of the club after leaving Burnley FC. In his time at Burnley, Coyle got the side promoted to the Premier League and, in their first season, Coyle’s side defeated Manchester United. When Coyle left Burnley, the Lancashire side sat in 14th position in the league. For the remainder of the season, Burnley only won three matches before being relegated in 18th spot. Conversely when Coyle joined Bolton to replace the hapless Gary Megson, Bolton sat in 18th position, but thanks to Coyle’s management experience and encouraging his players to play a more attractive style of football, Bolton ended the season in 14th positon. Essentially what happened is that Burnley and Bolton swapped positions. Burnley went from 14th to 18th while Bolton went from 18th to 14th.
Since this past summer where Coyle took his Bolton side on a low key preseason tour of the Carolinas and Canada, Bolton has catapulted up the Premier League table after radically changing their formation from a 4-5-1 to 4-4-2 which has given Kevin Davies and Johan Elmander the opportunity to do what they do best which is to score goals. The front line has been buoyed by impressive displays this season by American Stu Holden and the re-energized Martin Petrov in midfield. But what has impressed me the most about Bolton this season has been the team spirit shown on the pitch. This is a team that is playing for their manager and, for the first time in ages, are having fun. After all, this is Bolton Wanderers, the stereotypical doom mongers in Premier League football. Yet, thanks to Owen Coyle, that label can now thankfully be removed.
Bolton are currently sit in seventh position in the Premier League.
There were several people who came close to winning the honor. Those were Blackpool manager Ian Holloway, Chelsea left back Ashley Cole (who has regained his top performance), Manchester City’s Carlos Tevez and two men, who if they could have performed as well in the Premier League as they’ve did in the Champions League in 2010, they both had a wonderful opportunity to win the top prize, namely Gareth Bale and Harry Redknapp. But while all of these men performed heroics, it was Owen Coyle who stood out from the rest by making an immediate impact at Bolton and turning the club around to such a point where they are a formidable side in the Premier League who are now very difficult to beat.