TTU Awards 2011-12: Manager of the Season

Posted by on Jun 8, 2012 in TTU Awards | 4 Comments
TTU Awards 2011-12: Manager of the Season
Image available under Creative Commons © Jack Tanner

For our penultimate award it’s difficult, as ever, to overlook those managers who have steered their team to either a championship or promotion winning season.

Indeed, despite his irritating histrionics and basic unpleasantness, Paolo di Canio took a previously dismal Swindon back up to League 1 at the first time of asking against a backdrop of tragic personal circumstances and, should he stick it out in Wiltshire, his side should be competitive in 2012-13.

Otherwise, much credit goes to Chris Powell and Nigel Adkins both; the former for getting it spot on and rejuvenating a team close to his heart; the latter for leading Saints to two successive promotions, an achievement which is perhaps underestimated owing to Norwich’s identical feat a year ago.

But, unlike our recipient this year, each of these managers was — to a certain extent — backed in the transfer market. Forced to sell key players Shane Long and Matt Mills for a combined £10m and given less than a tenth of that to spend on replacements, Brian McDermott is a miracle worker, as well as being a master of the tactical substitution and a supreme motivator. Having crucially won the psychological battles with Nigel Adkins and Sam Allardyce in the run-in, McDermott is, we think, a worthy winner of TTU’s Manager of the Season this term.

Honourable, dewy-eyed mentions go to Sean Dyche, who was widely dismissed as a cheap option after taking the Watford reins from Malky Mackay but went on to improve upon his predecessor’s league position; Gus Poyet, whose progress continued steadily over last season; Michael Appleton for showing dignity and honesty in the face of extraordinarily trying circumstances; Gary Smith for Stevenage’s charge to the play-offs, a real achievement for a man working with peanuts and someone else’s squad; Keith Curle, too, for sorting out a swiftly worked out Notts County side; and Mark McGhee for clearing up Paul Buckle’s mess with minimal fuss at Bristol Rovers.

2010-11 winner: Paul Lambert
2009-10 winner: Ian Holloway

The Two Unfortunates
The non-partisan website with an eye on the Football League


  1. Chris H
    June 8, 2012

    Brian McD certainly worthy of a top two slot but top spot????………and I take exception (ligh heartedly) to a few of your comments and reasons for placing him above Paulo or Nigel or Chris.

    Your site claims to be “The non-partisan website for everything to do with the Football League”, and then you brand Paulo with “irritating histrionics and basic unpleasantnes”…some could call him honest and true to his italian roots. I could call Brian smug, conceited and pompous (as valid as your opinion) and a bit of an under achiever because he failed to get the job done last year despite Madjeski’s multi millions spent over the past few years and being an established Championship club.

    Which leads me onto your comments about hard luck Brian “Forced to sell key players Shane Long and Matt Mills for a combined £10m and given less than a tenth of that to spend” whilst comparing that to Chris Powell and Nigel Adkins who were “backed in the transfer market”. Excuse me but 2 players lost (my god the whole team has been ruined) and in Nigels’s case he must have had 10’s of millions to spend by the sound of it. Have you ever met Nicola Cortese or had to deal with the hard nosed Swiss Italian banker (financially prudent are his middle names)

    Hold on….didn’t Saints loose Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (1 player – 12 million to Arsenal), Jaidi to a season long injury (2nd Player) and Dan Seabourne again out all season (3rd player) from their promotion winning league 1 squad (not to mention Lee Barnard with a court case hanging over him all year) and how much did they spend……Steve De Ridder July (undisclosed but 000,000’s not millions), Jack Cork (£3/4M claimed) and Dan Fox (£1+M) both in August; Jos Hooiveld (loan until Dec); Tad Lee (free in Jan), Billy Sharp (£1.8m claimed Jan).. Let’s say £5M tops – (£2.5M in the Summer/£2.5M January promotion push) to get a League 1 team in with a fair crack of staying in the division and then going for promotion! Who did Reading get, Gorkss, A.L.F, Roberts, Connolly, Mullins, Cywka…not £5M I admit but Reading started from a higher base as a championship team and I am sure more than £1M would have been needed to fund those even though some were loans (prem wages etc). So no huge disparity in their situations – except one was newely promoted from league 1, partially untried at Championship level!

    As for the most laughable comment…..”won the psychological battles with Nigel Adkins and Sam Allardyce”, well my cat could win a psychological (football) battle with Big Sam and it died 4 years ago. I take a guess that you mean Reading catching and overtaking the other teams or do you mean Readings win’s at both aforementioned clubs? If its the latter, you should stop writing about football now and go straight to jail without passing “GO” and collecting your £200. Both were lucky smash and grabs of the highest order and almost singlely down to the work of the best keeper in the division and the true star in the Reading team over the whole year – plus woeful officiating and oppositions errors. Psychological battles won – I think not. Luck 2, better team/man management 0.

    Adam Federici. Quality from start to finish. Jason Roberts was with Adam the reason they pipped SFC and WHU in the end (no mistakes at the back/that bit of Prem quality up front). Well done RFC, the table never lies, you were champions…Brain McD, the best manager…case not proven. Evidence circumstantial and shaky opinions at best TTU.

  2. Lanterne Rouge
    June 9, 2012

    Thanks for your sprited response Chris. I must admit that the worst possible opening fixture for Reading next season would be a trip to Saints.Enjoyable observation re. Big Sam although he did show steeliness to take his team through the play offs.

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