Chelsea boss Antonio Conte crowned Eurovision Manager of the Yearby Mike Holden / 13 May 2017, 12:17Tweet
In the fourth and final edition of the Manager of the Year competition in the time-honoured Eurovision format, The Sack Race columnist Mike Holden (@Ratings_Mike) brings you the Premier League!
Mike has enlisted an esteemed panel of journalists, bloggers, broadcasters, betting industry professionals and match-going fans from all 92 English clubs and we asked them all to vote for their top ten managers of the 2016/17 season in their respective divisions.
Each club had one representative and they weren’t allowed to vote for the man in charge of their own team. All 92 made their choices completely independently of everyone else.
The process is both thorough and extensive, making the end result difficult to dispute. But this is Eurovision remember, so don’t be too surprised if you spot the odd historical link between certain clubs and managers, not to mention a bit of geographical bias here and there!
The results of the competition will be published over the next few days with links through to our panelists and how they voted, while our master of ceremonies, Mike Holden, will offer his input on how he would have voted, explaining his choices along the way.
Each edition is formatted as follows:
- League Findings
- Results Table
- Where the votes went
- The Panel
- Mike's Picks
Premier League Findings
The Premier League caused more problems than any other division by virtue of the fact that so few managers have lived up to their billing or relative expectations. Antonio Conte came out on top, predictably enough, and it was no surprise to see Mauricio Pochettino chase him home as a comfortable runner-up.
Beyond that, it really was a mixed bag exemplified by the fact that Marco Silva leads the chasing pack, despite not arriving on these shores until January and even though he remains odds-on to be relegated in the next few weeks with Hull. That's not to downplay the obvious impact of the former Olympiakos boss, merely to demonstrate how little competition seems to be around.
The problem isn't necessarily one of ability. Perhaps it is more indicative of a predictable competition and its crisis culture, whereby most teams are restricted by an obvious ceiling of what they can achieve and the media spotlight only ever falls upon those who come up short. And they nearly all come up short at some point over the course of nine months.
A group of five different managers can be found huddled together outside the top three, separated by just 18 points. Tony Pulis finished a solitary point ahead of Ronald Koeman with Sean Dyche, Eddie Howe and Jurgen Klopp not too far behind. All five managers look set to meet their basic objectives at the start of the campaign and not much more.
It's fair to say the hype surrounding the simultaneous arrival of Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho in Manchester wasn't justified by what ensued. Those two global managerial heavyweights finished 10th and 12th respectively, behind Claude Puel in Guardiola's case and Craig Shakespeare in Mourinho's.
Mourinho did at least win silverware with the Capital One Cup and the Europa League looks likely to follow, which would secure a place in next season's Champions League. Throw in a 25-match unbeaten run and it all represents a fairly acceptable bottom-line return. But the Red Devils have seldom impressed in terms of the football they play.
City, by contrast, do provide great entertainment and regularly set the pulse racing but results, particularly in the games of most importance, have largely been dreadful and a second season without silverware would undoubtedly leave an indelible mark on Guardiola's reputation.
Only Conte and Pochettino have served up the complete package and the fact that the Chelsea boss has achieved what he has in his first season with no prior knowledge of the league only makes it all the more impressive. Just how good he is, we'll find out next season when he combines his title defence with participation in the Champions League.
Where the votes went…
(12 points = Top pick, 10 points = 2nd pick, 8 points = 3rd pick, and so on)
Antonio Conte (218)
- 12 - Arsenal, Bournemouth, Crystal Palace, Everton, Leicester, Liverpool, Man City, Man Utd, Stoke, Swansea, Tottenham, Watford, West Brom, West Ham
- 10 - Burnley, Hull, Middlesbrough, Southampton, Sunderland
Mauricio Pochettino (190)
- 12 - Hull, Middlesbrough, Sunderland
- 10 - Arsenal, Bournemouth, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Everton, Liverpool, Man City, Man Utd, Stoke, Swansea, Watford, West Brom, West Ham
- 8 - Burnley, Leicester, Southampton
Marco Silva (109)
- 12 - Southampton
- 10 - Leicester
- 8 - Crystal Palace, Everton, Sunderland, West Brom
- 7 - Middlesbrough, Watford
- 6 - Chelsea, Man City, Tottenham
- 5 - Bournemouth, Liverpool, West Ham
- 4 - Burnley
- 3 - Arsenal
- 1 - Man Utd
Tony Pulis (99)
- 10 - Tottenham
- 8 - Arsenal, Man Utd, Stoke
- 6 - Bournemouth, Liverpool
- 5 - Crystal Palace, Everton, Southampton
- 4 - Chelsea, Leicester, Man City, Middlesbrough, Swansea, West Ham
- 3 - Sunderland
- 2 - Burnley
- 1 - Watford
Ronald Koeman (98)
- 8 - Watford
- 7 - Burnley, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Leicester, Liverpool, Man City, Man Utd, Swansea, Tottenham, West Ham
- 5 - Middlesbrough
- 4 - Sunderland
- 3 - Southampton, Stoke
- 1 - West Brom
Sean Dyche (90)
- 12 - Chelsea
- 8 - Bournemouth, Liverpool
- 7 - Hull, Sunderland, West Brom
- 6 - Crystal Palace, Leicester, Southampton
- 5 - Arsenal, Tottenham
- 4 - Everton
- 3 - Watford
- 2 - Stoke, Swansea, West Ham
Eddie Howe (84)
- 12 - Burnley
- 8 - Chelsea, Man City, West Ham
- 7 - Arsenal, Southampton
- 6 - Hull
- 5 - West Brom
- 4 - Stoke, Tottenham
- 3 - Crystal Palace, Everton, Middlesbrough, Swansea
- 2 - Man Utd
- 1 - Liverpool
Jurgen Klopp (81)
- 8 - Middlesbrough, Swansea, Tottenham
- 6 - Everton, Man Utd, Stoke, Sunderland, Watford, West Brom, West Ham
- 5 - Burnley
- 3 - Chelsea
- 2 - Hull, Leicester, Man City
1 - Bournemouth
Claude Puel (33)
- 6 - Arsenal
- 5 - Chelsea, Man City
- 4 - Man Utd
- 3 - West Brom, West Ham
- 2 - Bournemouth, Crystal Palace, Middlesbrough
- 1 - Everton
Pep Guardiola (31)
- 6 - Middlesbrough
- 5 - Man Utd, Stoke, Swansea, Watford
- 3 - Burnley
- 1 - Leicester, Tottenham
Craig Shakespeare (30)
- 7 - Bournemouth, Stoke
- 4 - Liverpool
- 3 - Man City
- 2 - Arsenal, Southampton, West Brom
- 1 - Hull, Middlesbrough, West Ham
Jose Mourinho (29)
- 6 - Burnley, Swansea
- 5 - Sunderland
- 4 - Watford
- 3 - Leicester
- 2 - Liverpool, Tottenham
- 1 - Arsenal
Walter Mazzarri (25)
- 4 - Arsenal, Crystal Palace, Southampton
- 3 - Bournemouth, Hull, Man Utd, Tottenham
- 1 - Burnley
Sam Allardyce (24)
- 5 - Leicester
- 4 - Bournemouth, West Brom
- 3 - Liverpool
- 2 - Everton, Sunderland
- 1 - Man City, Southampton, Stoke, Swansea
Paul Clement (11)
- 7 - Everton
- 2 - Chelsea
- 1 - Crystal Palace, Sunderland
A huge thanks to all of our panelists - check out their pages below!
Arsenal: Alan Alger (@Alan_Alger_)
Bournemouth: Jake Whitaker (@Jake_afcb)
Burnley: Dave Shorrock (@DaveShorrock)
Chelsea: David Torrens (@DavidTorrens101)
Crystal Palace: Bruce Millington (@brucemillington)
Everton: Steven Baker (@bakerssssss)
Hull: Andy Dalton (@JWhittlesElbow)
Leicester: Ricky Santini (@RickySantini)
Liverpool: Mark Stinchcombe (@markstinchcombe)
Man City: Simon Curtis (@bifana_bifana)
Man Utd: Anthony Shawcross (@anthonyfdshaw)
Middlesbrough: Dave Symmonds (@DaveSymmonds)
Southampton: Jack Kitson (@jack_kitson)
Stoke: Mike Donovan
Sunderland: Chris Collinson (@cacollinson)
Swansea: Tom Huntley (@tomthetipster)
Tottenham: James Yorke (@jair1970)
Watford: Rookery Mike (@RookeryMike)
West Brom: Steve Freeth (@stevefreeth)
West Ham: Mark Segal (@segalmark)
12 points - Antonio Conte
Such has been Chelsea's consistency since their switch to 3-4-3 in early October, it's almost impossible to recall those first few weeks of the campaign when Conte was just another manager searching for an identity. There's a mysticism to the Italian that goes beyond his tactics. Their relentlessness would suggest his man-management is second to none.
10 points - Mauricio Pochettino
Talk of Tottenham bottling the title is nonsense, we all know that. But you do feel as though Pochettino has to find something extra to shed the nearly-man tag and become a genuine managerial great. Spurs are wonderful to watch but variety might be the only thing that pushes them that extra mile. They can't really get much better at playing the way they do.
8 points - Marco Silva
Results only tell half of the story of Silva’s impact in the space of four months. Hull weren't just marooned in the drop zone when the 39-year-old Portuguese rocked up on Humberside in January, they were a shambles of a club with a beaten dressing room. A record of eight wins and a draw from the next nine home games was simply incredible.
7 points - Tony Pulis
No prizes for guessing which team tops the table for most goals scored from corners and free-kicks. West Brom look set to record their joint-highest league position since 1981 and they’re doing it in true Pulis fashion with a 19-7 record on set plays. It’s one thing knowing what he’s going to do, trying to stop it is another matter entirely.
6 points - Ronald Koeman
From Christmas onwards, Everton were looking like a genuine threat to the top six and a decent outside bet for the Champions League places. Sadly, though, they came up short in the games that really mattered with lacklustre performances on the road at Tottenham and Liverpool. Nonetheless, three successive top-seven finishes is good going from the Dutchman.
5 points - Sean Dyche
A trip to Turf Moor has become one of the toughest assignments on the Premier League calendar with 33 of their 40 points up to this point arriving on home soil. It’s a product of continuity and togetherness. Burnley know their key performance indicators and they improve steadily year upon year. Only the FA Cup home defeat to Lincoln keeps Dyche out of my top five.
4 points - Eddie Howe
Howe was heavily criticised for his persistence with pretty football when Bournemouth’s form took a nosedive in January and February following the departure of Nathan Ake. But he stuck by his principles and defied the prophets of doom to post an improvement on last season. In the last ten matches, only the top two have beaten the Cherries.
3 points - Pep Guardiola
There's a high degree of outcome bias in the general perception of the Catalan's first season on these shores. Results haven't been good enough but some of the football at times has been a joy. Big games at the Etihad against Barcelona, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham, Monaco and Liverpool have been compulsive viewing. Long may it continue.
2 points - Jose Mourinho
With the outcome of United’s season as yet unknown, it’s hard to know where to position Mourinho. If they win the Europa League, then I’d be inclined to switch his placing with Guardiola because that’s arguably the point where substance has triumphed over style. The Red Devils have made progress, undoubtedly. But they should still be doing much better.
1 point - Jurgen Klopp
Liverpool would have a Champions League berth wrapped up by now had Klopp heeded the crucial lesson from his first season about post-Christmas burnout. Take away results in January and February and you’re left with a team that averages 2.2 points per game, around 84 points a season. There’s no excuse for such an obvious mistake.