Friday 8th October 2021
IT is Stevie Farrell’s name on the trophy.
But it would have to be an award of some size to fit in everybody the Dumbarton manager thinks should share in it.
Only a quarter of the way through his first season as Sons gaffer, he has something to show for his efforts in the form of the manager of the month award.
And not only that – he’s seen an 18-year-old who he signed from development football win the divisional player of the month prize as well.
Callum Wilson’s performances have also been rewarded with a professional contract with the club until the close season of 2023.
Dumbarton may not have a match this week, but the awards and Callum’s new deal, have made it a great week for the club – and arguably erased the disappointment of Saturday.
Stevie was keen to make it clear that his award is for everybody after a first quarter which sees his team three points off the top of League One.
Speaking to www.dumbartonfootballclub.com, Stevie said: “I’ve said previously when I’ve won this award – it’s a team effort. The manager picks it up but it’s for the players, coaching staff, medical team, fans – everybody at the club.
“There’s a good feeling about the club since I’ve come back and it’s resulted in the club winning this.
“There are a million factors going into the club being successful and I’m delighted for everybody at Dumbarton.
“Callum is a brilliant player and his award is thoroughly deserved. He will be one of the youngest, if not the youngest, ever to win it and it’s a fantastic tribute to what he’s shown.
“He was given a warm round of applause from the players at training on Tuesday when they found out he’d won it. He’s fitted into the group really well and he’s really well liked.
“We’ve been trying to get the deal over the line with him for a number of weeks now and I’m glad it’s reached the stage where it is now done.
“Signing for two years gives him security, gives us security, and fulfils the thing I wanted to do when I came back which was to get some consistency to the structure of the squad.
“He is now the eighth player we have signed until the close season of 2023 and that’s very pleasing. That’s what’s built into our plan for the club.”
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Stevie and Callum Wilson with their awards. Copyright Andy Scott Photos 2021.
Having managed Kyle Turner and Ali McCann in the same team at Stranraer in 2019, and now given Callum his break, it could very well be argued that Stevie knows a good midfielder when he sees one.
So at this early stage, where does Sons’ teenage sensation rank behind the ex-Stair Park duo who have gone on to play for Partick Thistle and Preston North End?
He said: “Callum is probably behind them in terms of their development. Kyle had already played a number of first team games when I became Stranraer manager, and when Ali went there he was a bit older than Callum is now.
“Callum came to us from development football and hadn’t played a first team game in his life. For him to do what he has done so early in his career speaks volumes.
“If he gets near those two lads, then he will do very well. I said to his dad and his agent that he’s got a great chance in the game – attitude and ability will be vital.
“Those two lads’ attitudes were first class. I knew they would do well and I think they will continue to progress even further than they already have.
“Callum has certainly started very well and I think he’s got as good a chance of doing what they have.”
Callum’s new deal was made possible by the club’s supporters, who contributed to the manager’s fund.
They were another group of people who Stevie paid tribute to after receiving his manager of the month prize earlier this week.
He continued: “I’ve a lot of time for the fans at the club, and that’s not something I say to curry any favour.
“I enjoyed working for them when I was assistant manager and now they’ve put their own money in to support the playing budget.
“It’s just testament to what the fans are about and they’ve helped us secure a very exciting young talent, so we’re all very grateful for that.”
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Stevie and assistant Frank McKeown watch Saturday’s game. Copyright Andy Scott Photos 2021.
Dumbarton have now played everybody once in League One this season and find themselves in a healthy position in terms of challenging.
Saturday at Peterhead was a tough day, but the bigger picture is far more positive as far as Stevie is concerned.
He said: “It’s lived up to expectations. We’ve set ourselves targets which we keep to ourselves but we feel we are bang on course.
“We’ve got a good return of goals for, and that’s pleased me, because they have come from all over the team. You can’t rely on one or two individuals for goals and that was our aim in how we built the team.
“If you look at our stats, we’ve got an average of six or seven corners per game. If you get that, with the threat we have from set pieces, then we’ve proven what damage we can do.
“People talk about 20-goal strikers but if you can score from set pieces you will be successful at every level.
“We could tighten up a bit in terms of goals against, but we conceded 11 of the 16 goals across three games. I maintain about Saturday that we were not good enough to win the game, but it was a freak game.
“If you take those three games out, the number of goals across the remaining games is where we want to get to.
“However, in terms of points, we feel we are on track. We brought in 21 players, and for our squad to gel as well as it has done is a big testament to the players.
“We’ve also played parts of the first quarter with Joe McKee, Andy Geggan and Paul Paton absent, and while Andy is currently fit, we have Joe and Paul to come back.”
Next up is a home game against leaders Queen’s Park a week on Saturday – a fixture where Sons have an opportunity to make a real statement.
The gaffer added: “We probably owe Queen’s Park one, as the game against them last time was probably one of our poorer performances.
“We know it will be difficult but we had them watched against Montrose on Sunday, and I’ll watch them at Kilmarnock on Friday.
“The players will have a rest over the weekend, which they should enjoy, but we’ve trained this week and will train to the usual schedule next week, and prepare as best we can.”