Q&A Special - Bradford City Fan on Phil Parkinson

  • June 10, 2016 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/ab217

Katie Whyatt, co-editor of The Width of a Post, shares the Bradford City view ahead of Phil Parkinson's impending unveiling as Bolton manager.

Parkinson is due to complete a switch to Macron Stadium on Friday, bringing an end to a hugely successful five year spell in charge of the Bantams.

In our latest Q&A, we have got the views of Katie (@BantamsBlogger).

Q: Phil Parkinson will be named manager of Bolton on Friday, bringing an end to a five-year spell at Bradford. What is his style of management and what should Wanderers fans expect to see next season?

A: Parkinson's always really stuck to his tried and tested 4-4-2. He has wingers stretching the play, and relies on a solid back four (26 clean sheets this season) as his foundation.

At times, he's dabbled with a diamond, but it's such a tricky formation to get right - you need to have very particular types of players. He's willing to be flexible and modify his approach, which is key, and I think he doesn't really care about what others expect of him.

If you're good, you're in; if you're bad, you're out, regardless of age, money or reputation. He's willing to be pragmatic - it might seem direct or robust at times, but it will get results. He can make free-flowing teams, but also ones that do the ugly stuff well.

One of the main building blocks behind Parkinson's success was his fitness coach, Nick Allamby, who, along with assistant manager Steve Parkin, is going up to Bolton. We didn't have a sports science set-up before Allamby came in, and you can see the benefit. Under Phil Parkinson, we had some of the fittest and mentally toughest City teams we've ever had, and some very strong second half teams. City would often concede and you'd just expect them to come back straight away - they were that resilient.

Parkinson will recruit a core of strong characters and cultivate a particular work ethic that will influence everything he does. That's been key to all of the cup runs we've enjoyed under him. Mentality has been vital - his players will give you everything they've got and more.

Q: Aside from a disastrous spell at Hull City in 2006, Parkinson's record as a manager is favourable. What were your initial thoughts when it emerged he would be making the switch to Macron Stadium and how has the news gone down amongst Bradford supporters?

A: My initial reaction was just disbelief. We were all in total shock and I would say there is universal dejection across the fanbase.

The progression under Phil Parkinson was staggering - not just the movement up the ladder, but spearheaded a complete overhaul of the club. We went from lacking a concrete strategy to having very clear aims, structures and philosophies - the club was very much a project sculpted to his ideas.

We're surprised, because when you have that atmosphere, you can't really envisage a definite end - and certainly not so suddenly. We're just heartbroken, because we loved what his teams stood for. They were so human, so relatable. There was such a strong connection between the players and the fans. We were so happy. And that's been replaced by uncertainty, just straight out of the blue. It's just hard to take.

Q: Reports of Parkinson's availability emerged recently, following the completion of a takeover at Valley Parade. Had the move to Bolton not materialised, did you sense his future with the Bantams was under any serious doubt?

A: Personally, I didn't. The new owners spoke positively about him and seemed keen to work with him. But they spoke about taking young players from the Manchester clubs and developing them gradually - if there's been a criticism of Parkinson, it's been a reluctance to trust and breed Bradford's own youth scholars, probably because the demand for success is so immediate.

We know so little about the new owners that it's hard to gauge whether there would have been a clash of ideas - we've heard rumours about a Director of Football and varying degrees of control, and maybe that would have been hard for someone like Parkinson, who enjoyed near total autonomy under the previous chairmen, to take.

Q: Managers have a history of returning to former clubs and attempting to sign players. Does Parkinson have any favourites that you'd expect to see linked to us this summer?

A: This is the bit I'm most worried about! He's had three of the same defenders in his back four for three years - captain Stephen Darby, Rory McArdle and James Meredith, who's played for Australia.

I think if he tried to recruit any of his former City players, it would be those three. He also always finds himself coming back to winger Kyel Reid, who's in a bit of limbo at the moment having been released by Preston - he's surely nailed on to sign for you, in my opinion.

Q: Finally, do you think Parkinson is the man to take Bolton back into the Championship or does our struggle continue?

A: I think it depends on how much time he's given. With us, he had a really clear project and ethos, and chairmen who trusted him completely. He didn't get everything right - he made poor signings, went on a 21 game winless run and we started the 2015/16 season terribly - but what the chairmen did was give him the time, money and resources to find solutions, which he did every single time.

If you're willing to allow those errors, he'll get you success in a way you'll be happy with. He can build promotion teams, but it will take time. It might not be instant, overnight success.

Burnden Aces would like to thank Katie for taking the time to answer our questions. You can read more from her on Twitter - @BantamsBlogger@TheWidthofaPost - or by heading over to widthofapost.com.

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