This is the time of year when we look back at those who shone and dish out awards.
Few agree on who was the best at their job, not just because it’s a game of opinions, Harry, but because there is no set criterion.
If you judge a manager on how he optimises his budget how can you look past Sean Dyche? If it’s about glory and silverware Pep Guardiola is this season’s top man, with Thomas Tuchel making a late run on the rails.
But what about the clubs? If we look back over the most difficult of years for football, when schemes were hatched to fill holes in battered finances, which Premier League club best resisted temptation and did the right thing by its fans?
There is one outstanding candidate.
Obviously we can discount the Greedy Six of Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Spurs, Chelsea and Arsenal, who wanted to fill their boots at the expense of others via the European Super League and Project Big Picture. Which far from making them look super and big left them looking cheap and small.
There was the decision of Premier League clubs, after spending £1.24 billion in the summer transfer window, to charge fans who were already paying hefty subscriptions, £14.95 for the games that Sky and BT didn’t want to show. Well, a decision by 19 clubs. One actually had the decency to go out on a limb and vote against it.
The same club which, unlike Newcastle, Norwich and Brighton (and initially Liverpool Spurs and Bournemouth) refused to grab taxpayer cash to pay workers during the covid pandemic.
A club which, instead of taking advantage of the furlough scheme, paid the wages of its casual staff even though they weren’t needed, and announced a charity initiative, involving every employee, which supported its local NHS hospitals and Age UK. And whose owner launched a programme offering grants to community groups who were working to help those affected by the virus.
That club was Leicester City, described by manager Brendan Rodgers at the time as “a club with a strong set of values that behaves like a family. In times of crisis, your first instinct is to protect your family and that’s the response I’ve seen.”
What they have done since winning promotion back to the top flight in 2014 is remarkable. The fact they sit comfortably in the top four while going into Saturday’s FA Cup final with the size of their squad and the injuries they have had, says much about their spirit and togetherness.
There is a general consensus that Brendan Rodgers’ side denying Chelsea the Cup at Wembley would be a universally welcomed two fingers to the self-styled Big Six. Especially when the Foxes could argue that currently they have as much of a right to be counted in that top six as the two North London clubs.
But I doubt there would have been a neutral to be found who didn’t want them to beat Chelsea and win the cup for the first time in their history, anyway.
Because they have shown themselves in recent years to be as close to a model Premier League club as you can get. From the generosity of their owners, their inclusion of the fans and embracing of the community to their promotion of youth and superb recruitment policy, they are set up to succeed in the best possible way.
Regardless of what happens over the coming weeks Leicester have once again forced clubs who believe elite status is theirs by right to question such arrogant garbage.
Which is why I hope, when Rodgers said he wasn’t interested in the vacant Spurs job because “I’m in a really, really happy place in my life,” that he meant it.
Because English football has never needed its Leicesters so badly.