The Premier League is nearly over and with Liverpool having cruised to a first title in three decades meaning Jurgen Klopp is being tipped to waltz to the manager of the year award.
He’s not the only name in the frame though and here we look at all of those who deserve a mention. Even if they do not win it, their names should still be underlined.
Number 5. Ralph Hasenhuttl, Southampton
Okay, so Hasenhuttl is a long shot to win the award but he certainly deserves some credit. Turn back the calendar a few months and his job was hanging by a thread. His team had been outclassed by Leicester as they served up one of the worst performances in Premier League history and lost the match 9-0.
For that, Hasenhuttl rightly took a large hit of criticism. What has followed though has been a most spectacular transformation as the Saints have eased away from concerns of relegation to sit more than comfortably in mid-table and just four points behind Arsenal who are in 10th place.
Very few would have survived such an embarrassing result – credit to the Southampton board – and even fewer would have used such a mauling to galvanise a squad to produce a very enjoyable season for their fanbase.
Number 4. Steve Bruce, Newcastle United
Yes, some might question his style of play but make no mistake about it, Steve Bruce has exceeded expectations at St James' Park. The vocal Geordie following were outraged when Newcastle supporting but former Sunderland manager Bruce was named as Rafa Benitez's replacement with the club tipped to be relegation candidates.
Throwback to July and there were several voices questioning Steve Bruce’s skills to manage Newcastle United on the top flight. Not only was Bruce stepping into a hostile atmosphere where even his own fans were against him, but he was doing so having lost the two top scorers from the previous campaign in Salomon Rondon and Ayoze Perez.
It didn't matter though. The experienced gaffer quietly went about his business and the players were behind him, even if the supporters continued to be slow to warm to his charm. Wins against Tottenham, Manchester United and Chelsea coupled with a long overdue cup run has seen pundits heap praise on the former centre half.
The club are stable and have never truly been in a fight to survive. Given the tools available to him, that's a huge achievement. If the proposed takeover does happen and Bruce moves on, he'll do so with his head held high.
Number 3. Frank Lampard, Chelsea
Seeing Chelsea in the race – and in the driving seat – for a top four finish isn't particularly unusual. Cast your mind back 12 months though and it was never expected, not this year. Their former hero, Lampard, had just one year of coaching experience under his belt and came into the hot seat to replace Maurizio Sarri with Eden Hazard on his way to Real Madrid and the club unable to replace him due to a transfer embargo.
In August, being in the race for the Europa League places would have been more than enough for most Blues fans. Instead, they look good value to finish in third place and they'll play in the FA Cup final too after their recent 3-0 win over Manchester United. Combine that with the fact that Lampard has blooded youngsters such as Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and FikayoTomori all whilst delivering a decent style of play and it's been a good year all round for the Stamford Bridge club.
Number 2. Chris Wilder, Sheffield United
When the early season betting was released, Sheffield United were one of the common picks to get relegated. Most didn't expect them to have hope of keeping their heads above water but here we are with just one match left to play and the prospect of a European tour has only just faded with defeat to Everton.
The Blades have achieved their position with a slick style too. They were tipped on the bottom of the choices by betting sites, just like the Miami Dolphins in the NFL odds.
The main feature of their play has been the overlapping centre backs, which has surprised more than a few whilst Wilder's man-management and ‘say it how it is approach' to press conferences has earned him a lot of respect.
Next season will be the real challenge for Wilder, but his recruitment has been strong with the likes of Oli McBurnie and Sander Berge proving big hits. Regardless of whether they repeat their success next year, their efforts will live long in the memory and inspire future underdogs.
Number 1. Jürgen Klopp, Liverpool
We mentioned him at the start and here he is at the end. Yes, he’s the obvious choice but what a season his Liverpool team have produced. Last season they produced what would have been a record points haul only to get outdone by Man City, but he buoyed the troops and they went again.
A remarkable show of consistency if nothing else. For a long time it looked like they would rival the Arsenal Invincibles of 2004. It didn’t happen but, even so, they’ll be remembered as one of the best and most devastating sides the Premier League has ever seen. People say that Virgil Van Dijk is the one they cannot afford to lose. I’d, however, suggest it’s their gaffer who will be the toughest to replace though.
There you have it, five managers who deserve recognition for the exemplary manner in which they’ve gone about their jobs during what has been a disturbing season.
This article was most recently revised and updated 1 year ago