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Phoney War – Missing out on Premier League Manager of the Season

1 month ago

Eddie Howe was one of five nominations for Premier League Manager of the Season.

The Newcastle United boss competing for the 2021/22 award with Thomas Frank, Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp and Patrick Vieira.

The winner decided by a combination of ‘experts’ and a public (fans) vote.

Though from what I have read, the however many thousands of fans who bothered voting, were pretty much wasting their time, as it was the ‘experts’ who overwhelmingly have the votes that count.

Just in case you hadn’t heard, Jurgen Klopp was named the winner of the Premier League Manager of the Season award.

This has provoked much debate…even outage, apparently.

With people pointing out that Pep Guardiola won the Premier League, the award after all is the Premier League Manager of the Season, not FA Cup Manager or the Season or League Cup one (competitions which Klopp won), nor indeed Champions League Manager of the Season – a competition which Klopp and Liverpool are in the final of on Saturday.

As a reminder, this is how the Premier League table finally ended up:

Premier League Table 22 May 2022

Manchester City winning the title by a point on that dramatic final day, only for Jurgen Klopp to end up with the Premier League Manager of the Season award. The reasoning being, as I understand it, that Klopp has worked minor miracles to a backdrop of Liverpool only being able to pay £75m for a central defender, only £56m for a goalkeeper, plus the likes of other signings such as Diaz £42m, Konate £36m, Jota £40m, Keita £54m, Thiago £20m, Fabinho £40m, Salah £38m, Oxlade-Chamberlain £34m, Mane £37m, Firmino £37m.

That little lot only costing somewhere north of half a billion. Jurgen Klopp has done and is doing a brilliant job BUT this story that is pushed by the Liverpool living media of a plucky near penniless underdog punching well above their weight is just a ‘little’ exaggerated.

Anyway, whilst the national media argue it out on whether Pep or Jurgen should have picked up that Premier League Manager of the Season award, in the north east it has seen the local media really go to toon on a phoney war of outrage as to what a disgrace it (supposedly) was, that Eddie Howe didn’t win the award. Plenty of Newcastle United fans also seemingly similarly outraged, especially on social media.

Nobody appreciates more than me just how brilliant Eddie Howe has been for Newcastle United so far BUT you also need to have your real world head on.

These two managers (Klopp and Guardiola) have their teams performing at such an unbelievable standard, they are serious levels above the third club in the table (Chelsea), 18 and 19 points from the top two down to third, never mind the fact that they both near doubled the number of points that the likes of Newcastle, Palace and Brentford picked up this past season – The other three clubs who had their bosses nominated for this 2021/22 Premier League Manager of the Season award.

Yes Eddie Howe hasn’t been here for a full season and his second half of the season was absolutely outstanding, with Newcastle picking up 38 points in their final 19 PL games, only Man City (46) and Liverpool (51) doing better in the second half of the campaign. Yes it was a massive left by Mike Ashley and Steve Bruce but is that enough to then Say Eddie Howe should finish above Guardiola and Klopp? I don’t think so. Plus, there will of course be people who would point out that Eddie Howe had 27 of the 38 Premier League games this season, not just the final 19. Of course, as Newcastle fans we still know it was a top top job, from his starting position to pick up 44 points in Howe’s 27 games in charge.

To be honest, I think that having the five nominations for Premier League Manager of the Season is basically a nice way to be able to name check three other PL bosses who have done great jobs, but who aren’t really serious contenders. Plus of course it generates more debate and attention for the award and the Premier League in general, by having more contenders. Although Graham Potter may well wonder why 51 points and top nine didn’t make him a sixth nomination.

Bottom line is that these awards are basically meaningless and I bet Eddie Howe hasn’t lost a single minute’s sleep after finding out he hadn’t won. In fact, I would guarantee that he’d rather have finished one further place up the table than pick up this Premier League Manager of the Season award.

If you are honest, the Premier League Manager of the Season is ALWAYS the one who wins the competition, nothing else really matters. Anything else is just to fill the column inches and get clicks online. Player of the season fair enough, as you can argue whether this midfielder or that striker or that that goalkeeper performed best.

The kind of managers who are really bothered about these kind of awards, well, you can spot them a mile off. All about themselves…

Speaking of which, Alan Pardew of course won Premier League Manager of the Season in 2011/12 despite Newcastle United only finishing fifth. Pardew inheriting Chris Hughton’s very decent team after Mike Ashley disgracefully sacked him (Hughton) and then Graham Carr making some inspired signings in Ba and Cabaye, then Cisse for the run-in.

Alan Pardew absolutely loving it…BUT then came within a whisker of relegating the same group of players the next season, only getting to safety when winning the final away match of the season at QPR.

Looking into my black and white crystal ball, I foresee Eddie Howe potentially picking up many accolades in the future. However, I can guarantee for sure that it is cup winners, title winners and so on that he dreams about, just like the rest of it, not who ‘experts’ decide has been the best manager of the season…


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