Jon Holmes hands out the award for Football League Manager of the Season on day eight of the 2011-12 TEAMtalk Soccers ceremony.
Of the 72 Football League clubs, over a third had a change of manager over the course of the 2011-12 season.
Dario Gradi finally gave up the Crewe post in November - for good this time - at the grand old age of 70, while MK Dons boss Karl Robinson, 39 years younger, continued to be linked with top jobs despite his youth.
There were ill-fated appointments - Peter Jackson's permanent spell as Bradford boss lasted for just four league games, Steve McClaren's Nottingham Forest tenure quickly turned sour, and Paul Buckle didn't last long at Bristol Rovers.
There were shocks and surprises - big-spending Leicester soon booted out Sven-Goran Eriksson, Huddersfield stunned football by ditching record-breaker Lee Clark, Neil Warnock turned up at Leeds United (who could have foreseen that a year ago?) and Ronnie Moore went back to Tranmere (alright, that one was fairly predictable).
There were inspired selections - Dave Jones had two months to drag Sheffield Wednesday over the promotion line and did just that, Stevenage came close to another play-off victory under the unheralded Gary Smith, Plymouth Argyle looked destined for non-league oblivion until 32-year-old Carl Fletcher turned the good ship Pilgrim around, Aidy Boothroyd saved Northampton from the drop while his Sixfields predecessor Gary Johnson (winner of this award after taking Bristol City up in 2008) returned to Yeovil and did the same, and Steve Davis took Crewe to Wembley play-off final success in some style.
There were impressive achievements - Graham Turner turned Shrewsbury's New Meadow home into a true fortress, Sam Allardyce's West Ham claimed a whopping 45 points on their Championship travels, and Malky Mackay's Cardiff were a penalty shoot-out away from winning a major trophy.
And there were unsung heroes - rookie boss Richie Barker kept Bury well away from danger despite losing star men Ryan Lowe and Mike Jones to Wednesday, Cheltenham was talked about for something other than horse racing as Mark Yates almost completed a League Two promotion charge, while Sean Dyche's Watford defied a comparitively small budget to finish in the Championship's top half with more points than Mackay had managed the previous season.
But, I hear you cry, who were the five best bosses across the Football League? I've collated your votes, here we go...
Football League Manager of the Season - by Jon Holmes
5. Chris Hughton (Birmingham):
You take a team to Championship title glory and then get dumped four months into the Premier League season, despite being 11th in the table. Your next job is with a relegated club in financial turmoil, stripped of a £20million core of talent and with an uncertain future - and you're told to "entertain" the home fans. Oh, and cope with a schedule so demanding it ends up running to 62 fixtures - averaging a game every four-and-a-half days from August to May. OK, so it was a 'nearly' season for Blues, but oh so close - a whisker away from the Europa League knock-out stages, the equal of eventual European champions Chelsea in an FA Cup tie at Stamford Bridge, and only just edged out by Blackpool in the play-offs. But Hughton entertained all right - his side scored 78 league goals, he won two monthly awards, and his superior man-management skills kept St Andrews the happiest of camps.
4. Chris Powell (Charlton):
Addicks fans must have ended the previous campaign wondering if they were set for a seventh season of colossal disappointment. Finishing in the bottom half of League One after an 11-game winless run could hardly have inspired a lot of confidence at The Valley. Then followed a huge squad overhaul - 12 out, 19 in - with the only significant money spent being the £1million fee received for Carl Jenkinson. Was it just shuffling for the sake of it? Powell proved otherwise, with the players he chose hitting the ground running - by the end of August, they were joint top, and by the end of 2011, they were four points clear. Charlton finished with 101 points and the League One title, with Powell claiming three manager-of-the-month gongs along the way. His secret? Reconnecting the club with the community, the players with the fans, and learning to relish the task. When asked by the Mail what he'd do if he a big club come calling, he replied: "They did. I manage them."
3. Paolo Di Canio (Swindon):
Almost 20 years since the only top-flight season in their history, and Swindon found themselves in the fourth tier again. On the previous occasion, 2006-7, they turned to a superstitious Scotsman called Paul Sturrock and bounced straight back. This time, they went for an irascible Italian called Paolo - and were crowned champions. After a month, the Robins were in the bottom four and Di Canio had already had an almighty bust-up with Leon Clarke. Passione o pazzo? Chairman Jeremy Wray was prepared to put up with a little craziness, something to keep the County Ground crowd on edge, to give the players no peace, to make Swindon stand out. Di Canio was never one to duck a battle, especially not with his squad, and not even on the sad occasions when he lost parents Ignazio and Pierina within four months of each other. How much does it all mean to him? Well, he's getting a Town tattoo for a start.
2. Nigel Adkins (Southampton):
Five years ago, Adkins won this award after leading Scunthorpe to the League One title in style, with m'colleague James Marshment noting the comparisons already being made between the Birkenhead native and legendary Liverpool boss Bob Paisley - another physio turned manager. Now Adkins gets his chance in the top-flight after a second straight promotion with Saints. Their speedy ascent - he only took the job in September 2010 with the club in 22nd place in the third tier - under the pressure that comes with an average crowd of around 26,500 deserves praise. Adkins only brought in six new faces all season long (a portion of the £15million fee received for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was spent very wisely) and relied on his coaching acumen and force of personality. He can come across as a Blairite-style politician on occasions, all grins and buzzwords, but you're allowed to be smooth when you back it up with substance.
1. Brian McDermott (Reading):
Jem Karacan's shot coming back off the post at Wembley, over and over again... how many times must McDermott have relived that moment last summer. "Devastated" - he didn't dare tell anyone how he felt to lose that play-off final to Swansea, but inside he'd been hollowed out. Then he had to wave goodbye to 25-goal striker Shane Long and key defender Matt Mills; around £11million rolled in, but McDermott couldn't spend much of it. But the manner in which he responded to these setbacks and more would define him and the Royals in 2011-12. The replacements for Long and Mills were Adam Le Fondre (a £350,000 snip) and "warrior" Kaspars Gorkss (undisclosed, but surely a bargain). Losing 2-0 at home to Watford prompted an inquisition; Reading improved but even by mid-January, they were 11 points adrift of the leaders. But the injustice triggered by a 1-0 home defeat by Hull prompted an incredible run - 15 victories from the next 17 games, during which McDermott rejected the Wolves job. His methods are not at all flashy ("trust" is the most important word at Hogwood Park, and he fails to see any point in confrontation), while his ethos can be summed up by the Eric Cantona quote he has pinned up in the dining room: "I was a small piece of the jigsaw, but I was never more important than the Team". Royals fans think he's a messiah, but there's no god-given talent behind the life of Brian - just true faith.
Jon can be found on Twitter at @jonboy79.