Connect with us


Manager of the Year–Semifinalists

First off, I want to let everyone know that I’m going to make a bit of a change in this Premiership “Manager of the Year” award procedure.

Instead of naming my personal winner on Friday as previously planned, I’m going to wait and do it on the 21st. Two more rounds of games will have been played by that point, and hopefully there will be some more clarity as to where teams will finish up in the table. Right now, things are fairly jumbled up and although they may stay that way, I think we’ll still have a better, more concrete idea in two weeks’ time.

However, I was still able to cut down the original list of five “quarterfinalists”, Wenger, Moyes, Ramos, O’Neill, and Keane, to three. One of them was a pretty obvious choice to drop, and the other went down to the wire with one of the three who I kept in the running. It was like splitting hairs, but I went with my gut.

On Monday, the qualifications for each manager were laid out for everyone to see and there’s no point in repeating them for the three who are still in the running. Instead, I’ll tell you why I dropped the two gentlemen that I did.

So, without further ado, the “semifinalists”. Drumroll please…

David Moyes (Everton)
Roy Keane (Sunderland)
Martin O’Neill (Aston Villa)

As for Monsieur Wenger and Señor Ramos, don’t get me wrong, they’re both very good managers and have done good things with their respective clubs this season.

However, as manager of a “Big Four” side, Wenger has to be held to a higher standard than bosses of the other 16 teams. Arsenal’s elimination from the Champions League yesterday by Liverpool essentially put the final nail in the coffin of another trophyless season for the Gunners. To many fans, that’s unacceptable. When you basically have a 1-in-4 chance of winning English competitions (and there are three of them), you need to get the job done in at least one. Yes, this year, Spurs won the Carling Cup and either Cardiff City or Portsmouth will win the FA Cup, but this isn’t a typical season.

I think Wenger has a fantastic squad of up-and-coming players and the team will contend for big things in the future, but he made a fatal mistake, in my opinion, in not bringing much in the way of reinforcement to the Emirates either last summer or in the January transfer window. Wenger overestimated the ability of his players to slog through a long season; it’s something that they really haven’t done before. Arsenal FC has a ton of money to spend and Wenger basically has a blank check to go out and get whoever he wants, but he opted to stand pat with the team that he had and it’s coming back to bite him.

Injuries have plagued Arsenal this season, and I understand that, but every team has injuries. The Gunners just don’t have enough depth to recover from them and that has to be attributed to the person who brings players in, Wenger.

For Juande Ramos, let’s not forget that Spurs finished 5th last season and were picked by many to break into the top four this year. Spurs were in shambles early in the season under Martin Jol and while Ramos has more than turned that around and won a Carling Cup, he also has an incredible amount of talent on his roster.

I do give him a lot of credit for outcoaching Avram Grant in the Carling Cup final, but one of his goalscorers in that game, Dimitar Berbatov, is good enough to feature for Chelsea and the other, center back Jonathan Woodgate, has played for a world power in Real Madrid, albeit briefly.

Ramos also hasn’t been able to fix the defensive issues that hampered this team under Jol, and if you can’t defend in professional soccer, you won’t get far. It’s just that simple. Ramos has been at Spurs long enough now where one would think the defense would be tougher to break down and the system of play would be geared more towards helping out the back line, but that hasn’t been the case.

As I said, check back on the 21st to see my choice for Manager of the Year.

200+ Channels With Sports & News
  • Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
  • Watch Premier League, World Cup, Euro 2024 & more
  • Includes NBC, USA, FOX, ESPN, CBSSN & more
Live & On Demand TV Streaming
  • Price: $69.99/mo. for Entertainment package
  • Watch World Cup, Euro 2024 & MLS
  • Includes ESPN, ESPN2, FS1 + local channels
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
  • Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
  • Features Bundesliga, LaLiga, Championship, & more
  • Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
2,000+ soccer games per year
  • Price: $4.99/mo
  • Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & NWSL
  • Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
  • Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
  • Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
  • Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more


  1. SFGooner

    April 11, 2008 at 8:38 am

    Roy Keane??? I definitely think Harry Redknapp deserves to be in there.

    And while I’m completely biased on this point, consider the fact that before the season started, most if not all, the pundits had picked Arsenal to drop out of the Top 4 and have a mid-table finish at best.

    Of course, those same tossers had this as the year Spurs would surpass Arsenal in the final standings. As if!

  2. Dave M

    April 10, 2008 at 12:15 pm

    …that’s not to say you can’t post on the topic as “My Manager of the Year is”. …and explain who gets it, and why (and who didn’t and why not).

    But it all comes over as a bit contrived to narrow it down in stages as if the outcome hasn’t been predetermined.

  3. Dave M

    April 10, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    It’s one thing to be 19 years old and contribute to a blog with opinion and reaction to match results and EPL news – it all serves as conversation starters if nothing else. But a contest for Manager of the Year that gets revealed over a course of weeks with you as the sole arbiter? C’mon – who cares?

  4. Simon Burke

    April 10, 2008 at 9:52 am

    Wow a prestigious honour indeed – 19 year old pundits provide the best insight.

    No Grant – joke. Incredible win loss record since coming in and replacing a demiGod. Disliked by the media for being boring and they blame him for tactical errors. His are just highlighted more than others.

    No Ferguson – joke. Has spend gazillions but doesnt matter, he spent them well and they are
    brilliant, I cant believe Chelsea will catch them and it will be a travesty for football if they do as Fergies United right now are great to watch and I am a gooner.

    And Roy Keane who spent Christ knows how many millions (9 million on Craig Gordon alone) to keep a side barely above the relegation zone.
    Hilarious. Yes he makes your top 3. Sorry that kind of money needs to buy you safety before April.

    Someone above mentions Redknapp, not my personal favourite but hard not to put him in a top 5 as he has reached a Cup Final and built a good team though I dislike the way they capitulate when he feels his team doesnt have a prayer. Other than that he’s be a shoe in for the semis above.

    No argument with Moyes – though the Everton fan boards arent so enamoured with him (source, Guardian Podcast).

    O Neill – bleh – decent start, small squad. Faded away.

    Keane – seriously?? Is it April Fools again.

    If Fergie or Grant win the double they win your prestigious honour , delay your decision till then as you are only short changing yourself.

    I await more of your amazing insight – Roy Keane best 3 managers in the Premiership.. ahead of Grant/Redknapp and Fergie. Magic stuff.

  5. James

    April 10, 2008 at 7:11 am

    i reckon it should be kevin keegan.
    also senderos to captain arsenal!

  6. kat kid

    April 10, 2008 at 1:54 am

    Why penalize the Knight just because he has the best team? Is it not the best coaching job to put yourself in great position to win a double?

    Especially in light of Milan, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Inter’s (or Bayern for Christ sakes) collapse I think Fergie should get some credit. Being a big club is not a guarantee to success. The payroll and egos can just as easily explode as perform and these millionaire babies can make you look wise or foolish on a whim.

  7. March

    April 9, 2008 at 7:21 pm

    Harry Redknapp has been way more impressive than all these guys.

  8. BillE Shears

    April 9, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    It is still madness not to have included Alex Ferguson or Avram Grant.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in General

Translate »