John Bowler on his LMA Merit Award
Crewe Alexandra’s long serving chairman John Bowler was quick to praise the club collective after he was awarded a special merit award at the League Managers Association on Monday evening. Bowler was honoured with the merit award for his services to football and was the first non-manager to be recognised by the league managers.
Manager Steve Davis and assistant manager Neil Baker attended the event in London to see the club chairman collect his award, on the same night Sir Alex Ferguson bowed out with the overall Manager of the Year award. After guiding Yeovil Town to promotion via the play-offs, Garry Johnson was named as League One Manager-of-the-Year.
John Bowler told Crewe Alex Player: “It was a great occasion and a great honour to be recognised by the League managers and their association. I think I am right in saying that I’m the first non-manager to receive a special merit award for services to football, so that is very pleasing from a personal point of view.
“The award though is more recognition of the club’s achievements and I was collecting it on everyone’s behalf. It is for all the hard work, the likes of Dario, Steve, Neil and the coaches in the Academy put in. We have a strong group at the Football Club and a strong team both on and off the pitch. This stems from board level down and having everyone buying into what we want to achieve.
“The staff all work tremendously hard to make sure that Steve and Neil and the players have all the support they need and we stand together when things don’t go so well.
“We have had a tremendously successful last 18 months, but the strength of this club is that when things are tough or not going as well we all stand up and fight.
The chairman added: “When all the razzmatazz and commercial side of the game is taken away, it is the managers that make the game. They are the ones developing it and they have the most important role because at the end of the day when you strip away everything that comes with the game and how is marketed, supporters want to see a good game of football on a Saturday afternoon.”