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Monday, 14 May, 2001, 15:04 GMT 16:04 UK
Top bosses made to wait
Who will be voted Carling Manger of the Year?
While Britain's politicians are busy canvassing support ahead of June's General Election, Premiership managers have already completed their campaigns for the Carling Manager of the Year award.

The votes of the 16-man judging panel were cast in the week leading up to the FA Cup final, but the winner will not be announced until the week commencing 21 May (Thursday 24 May is the most likely).

It begs the question how long does it take to count 16 votes?

BBC Sport Online has learnt that, not surprisingly, there are four outstanding candidates battling it out for the honour.

  Previous winners of Manager of the Year
1999/00: Sir Alex Ferguson
1998/99: Sir Alex Ferguson
1997/98: Arsene Wenger (Arsenal)
1996/97: Sir Alex Ferguson
1995/96: Sir Alex Ferguson
1994/95: Kenny Dalglish (Blackburn)
1993/94: Sir Alex Ferguson (Man Utd)
Sir Alex Ferguson is in the running for winning the award for a sixth time, having landed his seventh Premiership title in nine years.

But while that is a fine achievement, and United did have the league wrapped up by mid-April, Fergie had his heart set on other pots for the Old Trafford trophy cabinet.

The Worthington Cup was never high on United's priorities, but West Ham and Bayern Munich ensured that the FA Cup and Champions League exploits of Ferguson's men never came to fruition.

Leeds' David O'Leary is another name likely to feature highly in the voting.

He has guided a squad, beset by terrible injury problems in the opening half of the season, through to the Champions League semi-finals.

And he has also led them up the league to keep them in with a shout of gaining another shot at Europe's premier competition next year.

Silverware winner

But if the award goes to the most successful manager then we need look no further than Liverpool's Gerard Houllier.

The Frenchman has a remarkable cup treble very much within his grasp as he aims to add the Uefa Cup to his Worthington and FA Cup successes.

However, with the votes being cast prior to the FA Cup final, it remains to be seen what effect the closing date will have had on Houllier's chances.

And the fourth contender is Ipswich boss George Burley. His side have had a dramatic impact on the top flight this season.

Defying all those who had them down as relegation certainties at the start of the season, Ipswich are still in with a chance of securing Champions League football.

And all this has been done on far more limited resources than the other sides at the top end of the Premiership, gaining even greater plaudits because of the attractive attacking style of the Tractor Boys.

But as to who wins, well they will just have to wait like the rest of us.

The Carling voting panel in full is:

  • Adam Crozier, Football Association chief executive;
  • Richard Scudamore, Premier League chief executive;
  • Gordon Taylor, Professional Footballers Association chief executive;
  • John Barnwell, League Managers' Association chief executive;
  • Niall Sloane, BBC Sport;
  • Paul McNamara, BBC Sport;
  • Brian Barwick, ITV Sport;
  • Vic Wakeling, Sky Sports;
  • Alan Green, BBC Radio Sport;
  • Jonathan Pearce, Capital Radio;
  • Jo Melling, Football Writers Association;
  • Alex Montgomerie, Football Writers Association;
  • Neil Midgley, Referee's Association;
  • Ian Todd MBE, National Federation of Supporters Clubs;
  • Mark Hunter, marketing manager Bass Breweries;
  • Stuart Cain, head of sponsorship Bass Breweries.

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See also:

08 May 01 |  Football
Football's not so dirty dozen
17 Apr 01 |  Football
Stubbs talks top managers
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