October was a really exhilarating month for everybody connected with Brentford FC and their recent run of success and indeed total revitalisation after a humdrum start to the season has been marked with today’s announcement that Lee Carsley has been named as Sky Bet Championship Manager of the Month for October and, just to make things even better, Alan Judge has also become the Sky Bet Championship Player of the Month for October. A double celebration indeed!
If you had dared even suggest the possibility of either or both these awards coming to fruition to the bedraggled and dispirited mob of Bees fans as we wended our way home after the shambolic performance at Derby County five short weeks ago then you would have been laughed out of court.
Yet since that sad day there has been an amazing turnaround at Griffin Park with four consecutive victories followed by what can only be described as a glorious defeat by table toppers Hull City. The defence has more than done its job with three clean sheets in a row and there has been a return to the slick, confident one touch football of the Warburton era.
We are now safely ensconced in mid table after a plunge into the relegation zone looked far more likely and our improvement and recovery were confirmed by last week’s momentous victory over QPR.
Lee Carsley, the reluctant interim Head Coach has stepped up to the plate and after a shaky start when his first two games in charge were lost, he has transformed our fortunes and we now look – and are – a totally different team.
The players look a happier bunch too and are fitter and far more confident in everything they do.
Carsley and his sidekick Paul Williams have totally changed our training regime and we now look far more organised with everyone aware of their role.
We have reverted to last season’s successful 4-2-3-1 formation, flood and dominate the midfield with players switching position at will and we also press far higher up the pitch to win the ball back. We have also stopped taking so many chances through overplaying at the back and get the ball forward a fair bit quicker then we have been accustomed to do.
Carsley appears to be calm and measured and has earned the respect of the squad as he is a talented coach and with forty international caps he also practised what he preaches.
Of course there will be setbacks and blips and even rocky roads ahead, but we are in safe hands at the moment and his success has bought us the time to make the correct management decision without being rushed into another poor appointment. Maybe Carsley might even change his mind and throw his cap into the ring and if he did his claims would have to be taken extremely seriously.
Brentford have become a team worth watching again, with a firm sense of purpose and much of the credit for this should go to Lee Carsley who has settled down so well into his new role.
Four wins and twelve points in October ensured that he received the coveted Manager of the Month Award and his achievement was recognised by George Burley the Chair of the Sky Bet Manager of the Month judging panel who made the following comment:
Lee took on the difficult task of trying to get Brentford back to the form of last season which he has done successfully, winning the last four games.
The win over Queens Park Rangers showed the standard of football he is imposing on the team.
Pundit Don Goodman was also impressed:
The way that Lee has turned Brentford’s fortunes around in such a short space of time is highly commendable.
When Marinus Dijkhuizen departed the role five weeks ago, few would have predicted that Brentford would be sitting comfortably in mid-table, or that his replacement would be picking up the October Manager of the Month award.
Brentford fans will all join me in saluting his achievement today and long may it continue.
If that was not quite enough then there is also the equally amazing achievement of Alan Judge to celebrate. He scored three goals and assisted in four more as Brentford won four of their five Championship matches in October. He dominated almost every game in which he played and looked a class above most of his opponents.
The goals themselves were all brilliantly taken and comprised a controlled volley from outside the area, a darting header and a perfectly placed curler into the far corner. Charlton could not get near him as he laid on two of our three goals and showed an unstoppable combination of pace, energy, vision, passing and dribbling ability as well as the ability to shoot on sight. He missed Tuesday’s defeat with a hamstring injury and is doubtful for tomorrow’s match. He will then go away with the Republic of Ireland squad and that elusive first international cap cannot be far away as he is a class act.
He has regained the goal touch that eluded him last season and has relished the responsibility of being the main man in the absence of the likes of Jota. He is coming into his peak as a player and hopefully he will decide to remain with the club and sign an extension to his contract. It is an interesting conundrum for him particularly as it is rumoured that some Premier League clubs are sniffing around him. Should he stay at Griffin Park or earn more money somewhere else but run the risk of playing less often, and he is a player who just loves to play football.
Lee Carsley spoke for us all when he commented:
I am really pleased for Alan to get this recognition and reward for his hard work. It is something he deserves. He has been the outstanding player in the Sky Bet Championship this month and his focus is now on winning this in November, December and every month.
We have spoken internally that if he wants to be a full international, the consistency he has shown in the last month has to be replicated for ten, eleven, twelve months. That is his target.
Don Goodman also sang his praises:
In the month when Alan welcomed a new addition to the Judge family, he also finishes as the Sky Bet Championship Player of the Month. His displays at the tip of the Brentford midfield diamond have been nothing short of outstanding and he has really come into his own since Lee Carsley took charge at Griffin Park.
Let’s just bask in the glory of these two highly prestigious awards to two such deserving candidates. This is the twenty-third time that a Brentford manager has won this coveted award, and only three of them, Frank Blunstone, Phil Holder and Mark Warburton have lost their next match after the announcement of their award.
Let’s just hope that Lee Carsley leads the Bees to a minimum of one point tomorrow so that we can justifiably claim that as far as Brentford is concerned the so-called curse of the Manager of the Month barely applies.
October was a wonderful month for the Bees, and as for November – who knows, but the auspices are good.