Thursday, December 30, 2010

Scottish Football Blog Awards 2010 - Terry Butcher and Inverness

Football management is a strange beast. A good manager in the wrong job can be left looking foolish. A bad manager in the right job can be left looking like Midas.

Terry Butcher is a decent manager with both successes and failures in his career. At Inverness he has found a well run club that suits his style. The result has been a year of almost constant progress for the Scottish Football Blog's Manager and Team of 2010.

In November 2009 Inverness didn’t look like they had much hope of promotion. Butcher had been unable to prevent their relegation and together they seemed set to follow the established pattern of a relegated club failing to get straight back to the SPL.

Then something clicked. Inverness put together a 19 game unbeaten run that included seven straight wins. Dundee’s implosion helped, but Butcher clinched promotion with two matches to spare thanks to his side’s form as much as failures elsewhere.

And the return to the SPL has seen Inverness breathe fresh air into the top half of the table as well as extending their unbeaten away record to over a year.

That includes draws at Ibrox, Parkhead and Tynecastle, with a two goal deficit being clawed back against Celtic and the 1-1 draw at Ibrox repeated when Rangers headed north.

Snipers might say that many of those draws have been achieved by "parking the bus." But that overlooks the decent footballers Butcher has in the squad and some of the spectacular moments they've given the SPL this term.

Stirring stuff and, if two home defeats haven’t been a fitting end to an impressive year, there is a feeling of a young club coming of age. It's easy to forget that this is a club that has only existed in its current form for 16 years.

A top six finish looks more than achievable in 2011. Off the field the club appear to be in rude health and active at the heart of their Highland community.

The news that David Sutherland, the club’s largest shareholder, is now prepared to relinquish his 25 percent stake to suitable investors should help secure an even brighter future.

A debt free Scottish football club looking around for investment to move forward rather than to save their skins? Truly, Inverness Caledonian Thistle are at the rarest of things: a Scottish football success story.

Others might want to look and learn.

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