Editor Simon Wilkes knows what it takes to manage a team of high-skilled individuals - so steps up to present the Manager of the Season award.
It has been a tough and trophyless season for managerial stalwarts Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger- and now they've suffered another setback by not even making the top five contenders for our gaffer accolade.
Wigan boss Roberto Martinez received a fair few votes from our TEAMtalk readers - but he doesn't make the grade having had a wretched time at the Latics helm for two thirds of the campaign, having lost eight on the trot at one point.
Roy Hodgson deserves a pat on the back for steering West Brom to a top-10 finish before heading off for a bright future with England.
And both Martin Jol and David Moyes did solid, unspectacular jobs at Craven Cottage and Goodison Park respectively - but not enough to make it into our final five.
Manager of the Season - by Simon Wilkes
5. Paul Lambert - Norwich City:
The Scot has quite rightly attracted envious glances after guiding the Canaries, who were widely tipped as top-flight cannon fodder before a ball was kicked in anger, to a 12th-placed finish.
September wins over Bolton and Sunderland gave them a platform to ensure they were never in a basement battle - and Lambert displayed a shrewd tactical brain as well as an eye for a player, snapping up Anthony Pilkington from Huddersfield and seeing him take to England's toughest division like a duck to water.
Lambert didn't receive as many plaudits as Swansea boss Brendan Rodgers due to Norwich's more direct, robust approach to the beautiful game - but his team produced winning football, only looking out of their depth against eventual champions Manchester City, who hit them for five and then six.
4. Brendan Rodgers - Swansea City:
The Swans were in most pundits' picks for an immediate return to the Championship, and many were smugly nodding away after they opened with a 4-0 drubbing by Man City, two goalless draws and a defeat by Arsenal.
But Rodgers stuck to his footballing principles and was rewarded with a 3-0 battering of the Baggies, which got their season up and running and gave his players the belief that they could mix it on England's top table.
Putting emphasis on passing triangles, intricate one-touch moves and pace, Rodgers' team played with a panache normally witnessed at the Nou Camp, and a 3-2 win over Arsenal in January was fully deserved.
Rodgers went on to get the better of Roberto Mancini and Kenny Dalglish as Swansea grabbed the scalps of City and Liverpool, who eventually chose the Northern Irishman to become the new manager at Anfield.
3. Roberto Di Matteo - Chelsea:
Former West Brom boss Di Matteo got his hands on the FA Cup and Champions League trophy this season - but narrowly misses out on the TEAMtalk Soccers gong.
The Italian was already held in high esteem by Chelsea fans following his heroics as a player for them - but now he has achieved legendary status after finally delivering the 'Holy Grail' of European glory for Roman Abramovich.
Di Matteo was only handed the manager's reins in early March, when Andre Villas-Boas was sacked following a 1-0 defeat by the Italian's former employers at The Hawthorns - and he inherited a squad that was disjointed, disheartened and on its knees.
His first game in charge was a tough FA Cup trip to Birmingham - but he gracefully skipped over that banana skin before seeing off Stoke in his first Premier League assignment.
Then came a bigger test of his managerial skills - overcoming a dangerous Napoli outfit, who arrived at Stamford Bridge with a 3-1 first-leg lead. The Italians were sent packing on a famous night in the capital, where Di Matteo's Blues smashed home four goals to set the wheels in motion on their unbelievable journey towards conquering Europe.
The caretaker boss got the 'Old Guard' firing on all cylinders, made sure every defence had to beware the Drog - and more importantly got Fernando Torres scoring goals again, with the Spaniard bagging league a hat-trick against QPR before his last-gasp Nou Camp strike sealed a superb semi-final win.
Whether he gets the nod on a permanent basis remains to be seen - but a record of 13 wins, five draws and just three defeats in 21 games suggests Abramovich would be mad not to give him a chance.
2. Roberto Mancini - Manchester City:
The Italian tactician may have got the better of Sir Alex to ensure City became kings of England for the first time in 44 years - but he has to settle for second place in our Manager of the Season category, despite receiving a large number of votes from our readers.
Mancini will have learnt a lot from this season's endeavours, which included having to manage the fallout from Carlos Tevez's despicable refusal to come off the bench when City needed him in Munich - and maverick frontman Mario Balotelli's on and off-field antics.
But there are many highs for him to reflect on, such as a 6-1 win over United at Old Trafford, another derby win at The Etihad, a five-star toppling of Tottenham at the Lane, and a stunning home record, which saw them win 18 of 19 games, scoring 55 goals and conceding only 12 in the process.
There were also a few lows, such as early exits from the Champions League and Europa League, an FA Cup humbling by United and a Carling Cup defeat by eventual winners Liverpool.
But the residing memory of City's 2011-12 campaign will always be that win over QPR on an unforgettable final day.
Mancini is normally the picture of Italian chic on the touchline while watching his millionaires stroke the ball around - but he was up and down more often than a prostitute's knickers in the dying minutes at The Etihad, where Edin Dzeko and then Sergio Aguero completed the most stirring and staggering comeback to ensure the noisy neighbours will be making a racket for many years to come.
1. Alan Pardew - Newcastle United:
Pardew was the Barclays Manager of the Year - and he scoops the TEAMtalk Soccers gong too after a landslide result which saw him garner over 60% of readers' votes.
The Magpies got off to a flying start with early wins over Sunderland, Fulham, Blackburn and Wolves - but everyone, myself included, was waiting for the bubble to burst, insisting they'd never last the pace over the season.
Newcastle scout Graham Carr has been lauded for encouraging the recruitment of Yohan Cabaye, Cheickh Tiote and David Santon - but it's Pardew who deserves the plaudits for blending them with the likes of Danny Simpson, Danny Guthrie and Ryan Taylor to create a team that was both hard to break down, dangerous on the ball and pleasing on the eye.
The former West Ham chief was hailed as the master of motivation when I interviewed sports language specialist Mark Sheasby earlier this season.
And the proof was in the pudding when he picked his troops up from a 5-0 drubbing by Spurs, the start of a four-match winless run, to steer them to six wins on the spin, with that run only halted by a walloping at Wigan.
Even that shock didn't derail Pardew, who unleashed some capital punishment on Chelsea in the next game, which saw Papiss Demba Cisse - a £10million January signing who netted 13 goals in 14 games - score one of our Goal of the Season contenders.
And although the Toon were out of tune in the last two games, losing to City and Everton, their fifth-placed finish was an outstanding achievement considering many pundits tipped them for a relegation - not a top-four - battle before the season had begun.