By Gareth Walker
The happiness and unbridled joy that had most City fans shouting from the roof tops after Tuesday night’s victory over Aston Villa was sent into overdrive on Friday evening, when news emerged that Phil Parkinson had declined the opportunity to speak to Championship side Blackpool about their new managerial vacancy.
It sent the feel good factor around BD8 to a level that we have not seen in well over ten years. And reading messages from some supporters online, I was surprised that Look North didn’t cut to a segment of people doing cartwheels outside Valley Parade.
Now then, let me first say this. I am glad that Parkinson is staying, not least because of the consistency that retaining his services will bring to the club. Not many clubs achieve much success in the game by swapping and changing managers.
I also look around the squad and think to myself how great it would be if we could keep the majority of this team together over the summer, whether we are in League One or still in League Two. Of course, the money received from the cup run will help us with this – but with quite a few players are out of contract in the summer, surely seeing their boss pledge his commitment to the club can only encourage others to do the same.
Finally, I can see the progress that we have made since Parkinson took over. We are a million times better than the team that he inherited, and I would hope that this positive progress will continue to be made the longer that he stays with us.
However, having taken all this into account, I also think there is a warning that we need to give ourselves in order to not get too carried away.
It was during a good run of form as Stuart McCall’s contract was running down that we committed him to a longer stay with us. Only a few months later, people were worrying that he wasn’t the right man for the job and he was eventually replaced. We were fortunate that time that Stuart decided not to take as much money from the club in his settlement as he would have been entitled to.
Our priority this season from the outset was to get promoted out of this division. That is the reason that the budget was pushed out in the first place, and some of us have not lost sight of that. I was pleased to hear both Mark Lawn and David Baldwin on local radio after the Villa win both stressing how our main objective for the season had not changed.
This was refreshing. Because many supporters seem to be getting so carried away in proclaiming Parkinson as the next Messiah due to the cup run, they seem to have completely forgotten the fact that we are now NINTH in League Two, two places outside the play offs and what is supposed to be our minimum target for this season.
Our current form in the league reads just two wins in our last eight games. This is hardly promotion form.
Now I do not doubt that our cup run has affected our league form, and I also acknowledge that most clubs have a sticky patch at some point during the season. Furthermore, I hold on to the hope that we will come out of the other side and hit form at the business end of the season.
It does, however, surprise me somewhat that Parkinson is a sought after manager and people claim that we would be in pieces if he were to leave. The reality is that our cups run is masking our league performance at the moment. And if we weren’t in the semi finals of said cup, it is not unthinkable that Parkinson might be under pressure just to keep his job. Certainly, questions would be asked.
PP impresses me as a person when he speaks. He seems very professional, and I believe that he knows what he is doing. I like the way that he continues to talk about the huge potential that he sees at Bradford City, and I think that he believes that he can take us places.
You have to ask the question, therefore, why were we worried that that he would leave? Surely we shouldn’t have been too disappointed if he had walked away when the first Championship club came calling, as this would have made a mockery of everything that he has said whilst managing us to date – all those things that have endeared him to us would have been hot air, as he clearly would not have been very committed to the cause and, arguably, therefore wouldn’t have been that greater loss.
Some sections of City supporters never fail to amaze me and I am sure that people will totally disagree with parts if not all of this article (I am putting my tin hat on as we speak). However, this was never more evident than after the last three results.
Firstly, after the Barnet defeat, it wasn’t difficult to find people having a go at Parkinson for his choice of tactics amongst other things. Were these the same people that were singing his praises after the victory against Villa? Furthermore, during Saturday’s game against Oxford, when we were comprehensively outplayed, friends and I had to endure a so called ‘expert’ sitting behind us who continued to aim vitriol at PP and, in particular, his decision to sign and then play Andy Gray.
Apparently, Gray was “sh*t” when he played for us last time and is still “sh*t” now. He should “f*ck off back to L**ds”. Not only this, but the same ‘supporter’ gave Zavon Hines a barrel load of abuse when he made one mistake in the second half. “Useless” was the term I think that he used. I actually thought that Hines had a good game. He worked really hard in tracking back to help out Stephen Darby, and I also thought that his performance on Tuesday was tremendous.
I like Parkinson and I hope that we manage to get him tied down to a new contract, in order to prevent continued speculation over the future of him and his staff every time a team higher up the league ladder is on the lookout for a new manager (Bristol City sacked Derek McInnes after their defeat on Saturday, by the way). However, I suppose that the upshot of what I am saying is that surely we need to be a little calmer in defeat, but also a little less boisterous in victory.