Poll: Vote for your London-based manager of the Year
12:58 18 May 2012
PA Wire/Press Association Images
With the London clubs' seasons coming to an end tomorrow it’s time to look back and see which manager has done the best job at his respective club.
There have been many outstanding candidates from the Premier Leagueto non league but which man deserves the accolade?
After a terrible start to the season which at one point saw them languishing in 17th place, Gunners boss ARSENE WENGER has led the north Londoners to a Champions League place for the 15th season in a row.Losing Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri at the start of the season, Wenger had to rebuild bringing in the likes of Mikel Arteta and Yossi Benayoun.Without star man Jack Wilshere, who missed the entire campaign with an ankle injury, the Gunners began to rise up the table and by the time they beat Everton in mid-March, Arsenal were third.They would not relinquish the position for the remainder of the campaign.
ROBERTO DI MATTEO has revitalised Chelsea during his spell as interim head coach. After former manager Andre Villas-Boas was sacked on March 5, the Italian has come in and not only steadied the ship but led his side to an FA Cup triumph against Liverpool. The best may be yet to come if he can mastermind victory in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich tomorrow. The fact that the Blues are in the final is a remarkable achievement, given that they were 3-1 down against Napoli after the first leg in the last 16 and overcame Barcelona over two legs after a heroic performance at the Nou Camp. Their league form tailed off towards the end of the season as the amount of games played, took their toll on the side.
Tottenham manager HARRY REDKNAPP has guided the club to their second fourth placed finish in three years. Spurs entertained with goals and style. Indeed, if the season finished in February they would have finished agonisingly close to Manchester City and Manchester United but their form tailed off in March and April to leave them a point behind fierce rivals, Arsenal. However, the fact that they finished above Chelsea for the first time since 1996 is cause for celebration in north London, although the Blues could deny Spurs Champions League football if they triumph against Bayern Munich tomorrow.
Like Di Matteo, the best may be yet to come for SAM ALLARDYCE as West Ham take on Blackpool for a place in the Premier League tomorrow afternoon. The Hammers were agonisingly close to an automatic return to the top flight but missed out on the last day to Southampton. Allardyce has not always been popular with the West Ham fans for his style of play but all will be forgiven if they are making trips to Old Trafford and the Emirates next season, instead of Oakwell and London Road.
Crystal Palace had a wonderful Carling Cup campaign missing out on a place in the final after losing on penalties against Cardiff. The most memorable moment of the season will be the heroic 2-1 victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford. Manager DOUGIE FREEDMAN deserves a lot of credit for his efforts with a young side but there will be disappointment in south London as they finished behind rivals Millwall, who had spent most of the season battling relegation.
Charlton manager CHRIS POWELL has enjoyed a wonderful season with the Addicks, winning the League One manager of the season award after leading his side to the title. The south Londoners registered 101 points, holding off the challenges of Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United. The Addicks only lost five games over the course of the season and will be looking forward to renewing rivalries with Crystal Palace and Millwall and will be hopeful of following the lead of Southampton and Norwich, in securing back-to-back promotions to the Premier League.
AFC Wimbledon marked their first season in the league by comfortably avoiding relegation. While Crawley, with their large budget, secured back-to-back promotions TERRY BROWN was more content in keeping his side in the Football League. The Dons finished 10 points clear of relegation and fans will be satisfied with their efforts as they finished above the likes of Bradford and Northampton.
Wingate & Finchley manager DAVID NORMAN has led the club to their highest ever league finish, with the Blues coming 13th in their first ever season in the Ryman Premier Division. Norman recently became the second manager in the Blues history to receive the Asher Rebak award an accolade which recognises exceptional achievement, following Wingates historic treble the previous year.In 2010/11, W&F won the Ryman League Cup, the London Senior Cup and the Division One North play-offs - winning promotion to the Premier Division for the first time.And, having briefly flirted with relegation this season, Wingate won six of their last nine games to finish an impressive 18 points clear of the drop zone.
Haringey Borough boss TOM LOIZOU has guided his outfit to their most successful season ever. Borough recorded their highest ever finish in the Spartan South Midlands Premier Divison and won the League Challenge Trophy. Loizou inherited a yoyo club who were battling relegation in the Premier Division in 2009. However, he has turned them into a force to be reckoned with since then, and Haringey finished fifth this season, scoring 103 league goals in the process. That was combined with a notable cup triumph as Borough were crowned the kings of the entire Spartan League. All 60 teams from the three divisions are required to enter the League Challenge Trophy, the most prestigious international cup competition and it was Borough who lifted the trophy after a 1-0 win over Hillingdon Borough.
GORDON BARTLETT led Wealdstone to their best league finish (fourth in the Ryman Prem) since they were relegated from the Conference back in the late 80s and they were unlucky to lose 2-1 at Lowestoft in the play-offs. They also reached the FA Trophy semi-finals for the first time since they won the competition in 1985, knocking out Conference Premier clubs Barrow and Cambridge United before losing 3-1 on aggregate to Newport.
JIMMY McFARLANE led Hornchurch to promotion after they finished second in the Ryman Premier, just three points behind Billericay. The team won more games than any other in the division, including 15 away wins. The Urchins beat Bury (3-1) and Lowestoft (2-1, aet) in play-offs to gain promotion to Conference South. They also beat Conference South clubs Thurrock and Farnborough to reach second round of FA Trophy.