Forget Kim Jong-Il, the last person you would want with their hand hovering over the nuclear button is a modern-day football chairman. These days all it takes is a slight dip in form and it is panic stations in the boardroom and the finger snaps back onto the trigger. The pre-season favourite for this award would have been Roman Abramovich and indeed he did his best to do the bookies a favour, but he is pipped by Reading owner Anton Zingarevich, for his nonsensical sacking of Brian McDermott and replacement of him with Adkins, a man who has no credentials to mark him out as any better suited to the job than McDermott. In doing so, Zingarevich doomed Reading to relegation.
Has to be tussled out between Luis ‘bites-your-arms-off’ Suarez and Rafael Benitez. Although Suarez is now seen as a racist cannibal, he is still probably most unpopular for unnecessarily throwing himself to the floor and then crying about it. Unfortunately for him however, he missed out on the gong since he still retains some loyal support from the Kop faithful. Rafa takes it because not even his own fans like him. Admirable mention goes to Joey Barton, still doing his utmost to win the award even though he no longer qualifies, by insisting on speaking in that ridiculous scouse-French accent.
Michael Owen retired earlier on this year. Just a reminder. The former Ballon d’Or winner didn’t time the announcement of his retirement to perfection if he was hoping to be eulogised by the press and public in 2013. The retirements of Alex Ferguson and David Beckham have rather overshadowed him, whilst Scholesy was never a man for the limelight. But Paolo di Canio comes home with the spoils for this one for his reluctance to deny that he holds political views associated with the Nazis. Unlikely to go down to well anywhere, let alone a mining heartland.
A runaway winner for this year’s award. After being appointed interim boss of Chelsea in November, Rafael Benitez looked in prime position to infiltrate and undermine the team he’d spent so long at odds with while at Liverpool. Two home games without a goal after he took up office looked to us like the execution of a masterful piece of espionage. But look now – Europa League winners (getting Fernando Torres to SCORE, of all things) and probable third-position results in the Premiership. Not a bad season by anyone’s standards. You’d almost have thought Benitez was on Chelsea’s side.
The indefatigably dull Gareth Southgate was nosing in front in the first half of the season, although the hollow stares of semi murderous intent that Roy Keane insisted in dealing Southgate any time he opened his mouth provided some entertainment. Michael Owen’s stint in the retirement home of the MOTD studio that managed to capture the attention and imagination of absolutely no-one; impressively managing to further prolong the painful anti-climax that is his career. However, it is Mick McCarthy that comes out on top; his gravelly drawl infused with as much charisma as a sachet of brown sauce.
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