PHIL PARKINSON has backed Bradford City’s new owners to bring a fresh era of success to Valley Parade after admitting his decision to quit had been a “wrench”.
The 48-year-old yesterday cut short his near five-year reign to take charge of newly-relegated Bolton Wanderers.
Having been granted permission by the Bantams to speak to the Lancashire club on Thursday, Parkinson flew back from a short holiday in Portugal to hold talks with Wanderers chairman Ken Andersen.
Agreement was reached, in principle, that night before the former Hull City chief signed a two-year deal.
He will be joined at the Macron by assistant Steve Parkin, fitness coach Nick Allamby, goalkeeping coach Lee Butler and chief scout Tim Breacker.
“Leaving was absolutely a wrench,” said Parkinson, when asked about calling time on his 1,746 day reign at Bradford. “A very tough call.
“I just felt that I wanted a fresh challenge and this came about, something that really excites me.”
Pressed further on his shock departure less than a month after German investors Edin Rahic and Stefan Rupp had completed their takeover of the Yorkshire club, Parkinson added: “The new owners have been very reasonable with me and haven’t, for one minute, pushed me out the door.
“Everything was done very professionally and I am pleased to be here.
“I wish them all the best in the future and I think they will be very successful.”
Bolton, who sacked Neil Lennon 12 weeks ago, were made to wait for their man yesterday. Parkinson had been due to be unveiled at noon but it was more than two-and-a-half hours later that the 48-year-old finally strode into the Macron Stadium’s media suite.
The delay had given City fans hope, Parkinson having famously performed a U-turn in 2007 when he decided not to take charge of Huddersfield Town despite having earlier accepted the job.
Town, on discovering Parkinson’s dramatic change of heart, went ahead with the planned press conference as the seat between then chairman Ken Davy and chief executive Andrew Watson was pointedly left vacant.
That same image was all the assembled media had to focus on for 153 minutes yesterday as Parkinson’s crowning as Wanderers manager was put on hold.
This prompted several wags on Twitter to post photos, under the tag #chairgate, of empty seats from all manner of locations.
Gardens, living rooms, pubs, even Bramham Horse Trials, the images kept on coming and did, at least, help to pass the time before Parkinson belatedly put in an appearance to dash any hopes Bradford fans harboured that he might yet stay at Valley Parade.
A desire to finalise all aspects of not only his switch across the Pennines but also those of his backroom staff was behind the delay.
Once the press conference got under way, Parkinson’s blueprint for turning around Bolton’s fortunes sounded strikingly similar to the vision he had outlined on succeeding Peter Jackson at Valley Parade in August, 2011.
Talk of restoring a sense of pride and a need to instil not only commitment but also desire could have been taken straight from those first few days as Bradford manager.
Back then, of course, City were deep in trouble near the bottom of the Football League and it took an almighty effort to turn things around.
One promotion, continual year-on-year progress and some stirring Cup triumphs are testament to the fine job done by Parkinson, who added: “I want to thank every one of the Bradford City fans. It is not often a manager stays at a club as long. I had a great journey there, some terrific memories.
“I remember the backing when I first arrived and we were down the bottom of League Two. Things were tough.
“But they stayed right with us and those supporters deserved the good times that followed. I was pleased to be able to deliver them.”