TTU Awards 2012-13: Manager of the Season
Of all the categories this year, our opinion formers were most divided on this. Sure, the collection of silverware is all important but it’s as much about the raw materials and how far they are stretched. Hence, a number of bosses deserve credit for exceeding expectations – those gentlemen who chose to forget this when assessing Nigel Adkins and last year’s winner Brian McDermott would do well to take note.
Tiers 2-4 have provided a no more encouraging environment for those playing the long game but with Barnsley written off before the start of every season as relegation fodder, and this time it looking like they would finally succumb, David Flitcoft‘s guiding of the team to survival despite the high points total required was remarkable. Flitcroft is an impressive orator and given the resources available to him, it was an almost unrivalled achievement.
Phil Parkinson naturally deserves a mention for turning round both Bradford City and his own flailing managerial career with two Wemberlee appearances, a rueful Dougie Freedman left an unfancied Crystal Palace primed for the Premier League before catapulting Bolton up the table and Gary Johnson of Yeovil took the Glovers into the Championship for the first time in their history – kudos in spades.
But while others such as prodigal son Eddie Howe, Russell Slade, John Ward, Mick McCarthy, Steve Bruce and Mark Robins can all emerge from 2012-13 quietly or loudly satisfied, this year’s victor is Gary Rowett of Burton Albion.
Really, the Staffordshire outfit had absolutely no right to challenge so vigorously for promotion to League 1, but challenge they did – even if they had the misfortune to come up against a hardened cup team in Bradford at the death. As their manager proclaimed in the aftermath, ‘we are all hurting at the moment but when we look back I think we will be able to stick our chests out and be proud of what we have done.’ Too right.