Hopefully the first of many - Duguid
COLCHESTER United skipper Karl Duguid greeted the news of Geraint Williams' manager-of-the-month award by saying: “Hopefully, it's the first of many!”U's boss Williams was officially unveiled as the Coca-Cola Championship manager-of-the-month for September at yesterday's presentation ceremony at Layer Road.
By Carl Marston
COLCHESTER United skipper Karl Duguid greeted the news of Geraint Williams' manager-of-the-month award by saying: “Hopefully, it's the first of many!”
U's boss Williams was officially unveiled as the Coca-Cola Championship manager-of-the-month for September at yesterday's presentation ceremony at Layer Road.
It was just reward for a fantastic month, which has seen the U's extend their unbeaten run to six matches. Following on from the 4-3 win over Derby at the end of August, the Essex club went on to record three wins and two draws during September.
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Williams pipped Preston boss Paul Simpson to the trophy. Both men guided their respective clubs to a haul of 11 points from a possible 15, which was one more than achieved by Ipswich's Jim Magilton, Sunderland's Roy Keane and Derby's Billy Davies.
Although Preston have risen to fourth in the table, on the back of their good run, the U's progress has been even more dramatic, when considered that they were in the relegation zone after losing their first four league games of the season.
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Not only is this Williams' first job in management, and only the second month since his appointment, but this is also the U's first ever season of playing in the second tier of the Football League.
Duguid was in no doubt that the Coca-Cola League's selection committee came up with the right name yesterday.
“There could only be one winner really, and that was the gaffer!” enthused Duguid.
“We had the same record as Preston, but the selectors must have taken into account the small size of the club, with our limited budget and small squad, as well as our poor start to the season.
“George (Geraint) fully deserved to win. This is his first job in management. It wasn't looking great early on, with us not getting a point from our first four matches, but he has instilled confidence in ourselves, and in our own ability.
“He has used his management skills to the maximum. This is our first season of playing at this level, and when taking everything into account, George was always going to win,” added Duguid.
After recording away draws at Luton and Leicester, together with wins at Burnley and against QPR, the U's rounded off a memorable September with a 1-0 victory over East Anglian rivals Ipswich Town last Friday night.
Skipper Duguid netted the winner, after nine minutes, to sink Ipswich and so effectively seal the manager-of-the-month award for his boss Williams.
And the U's 28-year-old winger, who has been at Layer Road throughout his career, believes that Williams can go on to emulate the achievements of predecessor Phil Parkinson.
Former boss Parkinson won a hat-trick of manager-of-the-month awards during his three-year stint at Layer Road, which ended with his shock departure to Hull City over the summer.
In addition to lifting the trophy in his first month in management, in March 2003, the former Reading player-coach also won the award in September 2003, and again in January of this year.
Duguid said: “I reckon that George (Geraint) can carry on where Phil left off, and win several awards. I hope and trust that this is the first of many.
“In fact, I recall that George almost won the manager-of-the-month award when he was the caretaker, before Phil was appointed manager.
“We felt that he should have won it that time,” added Duguid, with reference to February, 2003.
Williams had a month as caretaker manager, following the departure of Steve Whitton, during which the U's dragged themselves out of the relegation zone with an away win at Bristol City and a home victory against Mansfield, and two 1-1 draws at Stockport and Cheltenham.
He missed out on that occasion, but was delighted to accept yesterday's award on behalf of the whole club.
“This is a great reward for the whole club, not just me,” explained Williams.
“I am not looking on it as a manager of the month award, but rather a manager of the club of the month award. It is not only about one person.
“The League have to give it to one person, but I've accepted it on behalf of everyone at Colchester United. It's been a terrific all-round effort,” added Williams.