10:40am Tuesday 27th March 2012
BRENDAN Rodgers as the Premier League manager of the year? Close, but no cigar on this one, I am afraid.
There is no disputing that Rodgers has done a wonderful job, getting the Swans playing with panache and style and they have deserved the praise that has been arriving at the Liberty Stadium non-stop all season.
Rodgers took a side who for three seasons had been in and around the Championship playoff spots, kept them there, went one better and took them up and did it all on a shoestring budget. Impressive, even if he did inherit the likes of Joe Allen, Ashley Williams, Angel Rangel, Neil Taylor and Nathan Dyer.
However, despite being the Premier League’s ‘diet Barcelona’, that still doesn’t make him manager of the year.
That honour belongs to Paul Lambert.
Why? Because his achievements are even more stunning than Rodgers’ and are based on where Norwich were when he took over.
Lambert has only had two-and-a-half years at Carrow Road and took the helm of a side bottom of League One having conceded seven at home to Colchester on the opening day.
He took them up that season, won automatic promotion from the Championship at the first attempt and now has the Canaries level on points with Swansea with an identical record of wins, losses and draws. The Swans have a better goal difference, but Norwich have scored more this season.
Add to that the fact that when the pair have faced off, it is Lambert who has been the victor (Norwich beating Swansea home and away this term) and you see why Lambert is being criminally overlooked when it comes to praise.
With comparable amounts spent on players, both clubs have enjoyed a season to remember for years to come.
The pair are the pound-for-pound success stories of the Premier League. But it is Lambert who should be manager of the year.
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