TTU Awards 2010/2011: Manager of the Season
It will come as no surprise that the words ‘simply’ and ‘astonishing’ were used by several different contributors independently of one another in reference to Paul Lambert’s stewardship at Carrow Road.
It’s a kind of rags to riches story that’s been done to death, of course. Indeed, in trying to sum the past two years, which have seen Lambert pick Norwich up by the scruff and build a mentally tough squad capable of going until the end, I’m struggling to come up with new words to describe his success.
But what success. Nobody in Norfolk expected promotion this season; a play-off push, at the very most, represented the upper limit of expectation, so it’s heartening to see that the top of this 72-team tree is no closed shop just yet. Players of apparently modest abilities have stepped up and will now get the chance to perform at the highest level, just as the likes of Charlie Adam and David Vaughan succeeded in doing last season. Whereas Charlton were the blueprint for aspiring clubs around the turn of the millennium, a Norwich City led by Paul Lambert are now one of a small handful that Big League-eyeing chairmen across the land would do well to replicate.
A host of similarly successful managers were also acknowledged by our contributors, Graham Westley the most contentious following his inexcusable behaviour at Farnborough, which is not forgotten. Yet, Stevenage’s achievements were in no small measure down to his motivational skills and detailed preparation, so credit where it’s due. Gus Poyet, who’s looked the part from Day One at Brighton unsurprisingly received a few nominations, and we were also impressed with Brendan Rodgers, John Sheridan, John Coleman, Martin Allen, who arguably kept up two clubs this season, and Keith Hill.
Last year’s winner: Ian Holloway