Chesterfield v Bradford City: Phil Parkinson set to last after bringing enjoyment back to City

Bradford City manager Phil Parkinson. Picture: Bruce Rollinson
Bradford City manager Phil Parkinson. Picture: Bruce Rollinson
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JOINT CHAIRMAN Julian Rhodes believes only a rival triggering the release clause in Phil Parkinson’s contract can stop the Bradford City manager becoming the longest-serving in the club’s history.

The 48-year-old will today take charge of his 200th Bantams’ league game.

In total, Parkinson has been at the helm for 244 matches since arriving in August, 2011, and is already the third longest-serving City manager.

Peter Jackson, manager at Valley Parade for six years from 1955, tops the list with 305 games but Rhodes expects Parkinson to comfortably exceed that total.

“Phil lives and breathes the job,” said Rhodes, who along with co-owner Mark Lawn agreed a new three-year deal with Parkinson earlier this season.

“I would certainly anticipate him going on to break all records in terms of how long a manager has been in charge of Bradford City.

“To me, the only reason why that might not happen is if a bigger club comes along in the future and triggers the release clause (in his contract).

“I certainly can’t see us ever getting to the point of wanting to change things because Phil has done - and continues to do – a fine job.

“From my point of view, under Phil supporting Bradford City has become enjoyable again. It hasn’t always been like that during my time, as everyone probably knows. We have had a few problems along the way.

“But now, I look forward to turning up on a Saturday afternoon. He has put a smile back on not just my face but the faces of every Bradford City fan.”

Parkinson is the 10th manager Rhodes has worked with since becoming a director at Valley Parade in the late Nineties.

“I have had a lot of time for most of our managers,” added the lifelong fan turned joint chairman. “There are reasons things didn’t work out, mostly financial.

“Colin Todd, for instance, did a great job under very trying circumstances.

“We were in administration for a second time and yet Colin held things together. Unfortunately, when it gets to the stage where people are staying away in protest and a club is losing custom then you have to act. That is why Colin left (in February, 2007).

“Peter Taylor was another who the fans didn’t take to but he had the lowest budget of any Bradford manager in my time, something that the critics didn’t appreciate. I am still in touch with most of the managers because I like to part on decent terms.

“What I am trying to say is I don’t want to criticise others for not doing what Phil has done. Phil came in at a difficult time but I remember saying, ‘If you can keep us up this year, we can start moving in the right direction next year because circumstances meant budgets would increase’.

“I couldn’t, though, have anticipated just what success Phil would bring to Bradford City. He has done a wonderful job.

“He lives and breathes the club. And he is very, very ambitious. We have had some tricky periods along the way under Phil but he has come through them all.”