New owners should look to hang on to Parkinson, says Lawn

mark lawn has urged new Bradford City owners Edin Rahic and Stefan Rupp to make keeping hold of manager Phil Parkinson their first priority.

Manager Phil Parkinson held talks yesterday with Bradford Citys new owners Edin Rahic and Stefan Rupp (Picture: Tony Johnson).

City are embarking on a new era following the departure of co-chairmen Lawn and Julian Rhodes, with the German-based investors revealing that “very encouraging” discussions were held with Parkinson yesterday morning ahead of the official confirmation of their takeover last night.

Speculation has linked former Leeds United head coach Uwe Rosler – a friend of Rahic – with a move to Valley Parade to replace Parkinson, who himself is reportedly on the radar of Nottingham Forest and Derby County.

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But, speaking after the club’s elimination from the play-offs at Millwall last Friday. the Bantams’ manager, 48, declared his intent to push for automatic promotion from League One with the club next season.

Lawn said: “I hope they realise what Phil Parkinson and his team have done and don’t be short-termist with him.

“Let him run the football club and the football side. That’s what we have always done. We have drawn him in once or twice when we have had to do. But we have let him have his head.

“Phil has done a sterling job and the best decision we made in nine years was setting on Phil Parkinson.”

In a statement announcing the takeover, the club confirmed that Rahic, who will be chairman/chief executive, will move to England with his family and base himself at Valley Parade, working alongside chief operating officer James Mason.

Rupp will stay in Germany for the immediate future, but will make regular visits and be fully involved in club affairs.

Rahic said: “Both myself and Stefan have a background in business and sport, and after looking at a number of clubs in England, Bradford City had the potential and fan base that interested us most.

“We do not have plans to make big changes, but to work with the existing structure. We have seen the way the club and fans interact and the model of affordable football is very important to us.

“I met with Phil (Parkinson) and we had a very encouraging discussion about the future.”

Outgoing joint chairman Lawn admits he will forever cherish his time at City.

He said: “It’s like losing your soul, certainly after losing my wife in February. But we leave it in the hands of people who are capable and with the financial clout to put the club up there.

“It’s a special club. After the fire in 1985, Bradford City became closer to its fans than any other club in the world and it galvanised the city of Bradford.

“My high points are singing the national anthem in the play-off final against Northampton (in 2012-13), which was immense, and hearing 34,000 fans singing when we were 5-0 down for 20 minutes at Wembley against Swansea (League Cup final).

“For me, they showed they are the best fans in the world.

“But number one has to be beating Chelsea. People still don’t realise that they were the league champions and didn’t lose at home that season and (Jose) Mourinho had never let four goals in or lost from a 2-0 position.

“It was amazing.”