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Looking at Phil Parkinson's two years at Bolton Wanderers' helm

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Sluffy

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IT is difficult to imagine any Bolton Wanderers manager has crammed so much drama into his first two years in charge quite like Phil Parkinson.
A last-day promotion from League One followed by Championship survival secured in the final three minutes would be intense enough – but set all that against the backdrop of boardroom battles, embargos and financial restructuring, and the achievement of sitting as the 29th longest-serving manager in the EFL looks all the more impressive.
His immediate remit was to stabilse a club which had been in freefall. Serious financial mismanagement had left an awkward an unbalanced wage budget – only now being evened out. But while many of the players Parkinson inherited had the CV to be a success in League One, making a winning team out of a group which had been so accustomed to losing was no easy task.

Parkinson would not be drawn into forecasting promotion, stating on his first day: “Every manager wants to be at the top of the league come the end of the season – but I’ll see what squad we’ve got available before I start setting my own targets.”
One wonders what forward projections the manager would have made on the eve of the new campaign when he stared down at two team-sheets – one for if his five new signings were registered with the EFL in time to face Sheffield United the following afternoon, and the other for if they were not.
Parkinson has used 54 different players in his two campaigns, 28 of which he has brought exclusively to the Macron Stadium. Even factoring in Friday’s new arrival, Jason Lowe, the total cost of those players remains absolute zero.
Heading the other way, Rob Holding, Zach Clough and Gary Madine were the headline-makers sold for roughly £11million – funds which have helped bring a modicum of financial stability as the manager enters into a third season in charge.
Remembering that David Wheater was released at the end of the 2015/16 campaign and re-signed by Parkinson, Wanderers were the only club in the Championship last term who had not paid a transfer fee for a single one of their players. And in truth, there has been a lack of substantial investment which stretches back way before Parkinson or Ken Anderson’s arrival

Though those economic factors hinted at a season of struggle, there were times where the manager’s position came under real scrutiny. Anderson’s public backing after a slow start proved a turning point last October. Wanderers, who had been rock bottom with two points from the first 11 games, began a slow ascent to open up a seven point gap on the bottom three at one stage.
Throughout his two years Parkinson has battled to make his side’s direct football universally popular among the club’s fan-base. And when the Whites slipped into reverse post-March, the manager found himself again under intense fire.
Anger boiled over at Burton in April, a defeat which felt at the time like it would have serious ramifications. But the Houdini-like escape on the final weekend against Forest was enough to convince Anderson that Parkinson and his staff deserved another crack – aided perhaps by an improving financial situation.

There has often been an air of ‘last minute’ about Wanderers’ transfer dealings in the last two years. But it is another encouraging sign to see this summer’s recruitment has thus far been more structured and deliberate.
True, the club is yet to break that transfer fee duck. But the players Parkinson has been able to aim for have been at the top end of the freebie market – and Anderson has publically pledged funds regardless of his ongoing talks with investors.

The manager has had to wait patiently to get to this stage. Perhaps only now can he be fairly judged on both the team’s style of play and results?
In terms of win percentage, Parkinson’s record is still solid despite last season’s struggles. Of the 104 games he has presided over, he has won 40 (38.46 per cent).
In fact, only four post-war managers have a better record: Bruce Rioch (48.26), Jimmy Armfield (44.44), Colin Todd (43.17) and Sam Allardyce (41.24).
All four of the men listed above were able to gain promotion within their first two years in charge - Allardyce and Rioch also adding some memorable moments in the cup competitions too.

But whether any of that quartet of modern day managerial legends worked at Bolton during such volatile times is very much up for discussion.

http://www.theboltonnews.co.uk/sport/wanderers/16281040.Two_years_on__Has_any_Wanderers_boss_has_it_tougher_than_Parky_/

luckyPeterpiper

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Frank Worthington
Frank Worthington
No they didn't work under such constraints, not even close. In the modern era only the managers since Megson (ie Owen Coyle, Doug Freedman, Neil Lennon and Phil Parkinson) have worked under such tight financial restraints and I think Phil's had the worst of that since we were in the third tier with the lack of income that brings. I'm not taking anything away from Rioch, Todd, Armfield or Allardyce but no BWFC manager has been so restricted since the times of Phil Neal and John McGovern, ie the horrible eighties days when we were teetering on the brink of extinction and didn't know if the club would even exist next week.

I realise he's not exactly giving us the most entertaining stuff to watch and that there was a sizable element of luck in our survival last season but for now at least I think he's got so little to work with that Championship survival is a genuine acheivement in itself. I'm sure many here will disagree with me and I understand why but in truth I feel he's done quite a decent job of playing an exceptionally poor hand.

T.R.O.Y


Tony Kelly
Tony Kelly
Agree with you on all of that LPP.

Natasha Whittam

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
Just because someone is manager of a club without a pot to piss in doesn't automatically make them a good manager.

He went into the season with a midfield of Cullen, Karacan & Pratley which is about as solid as candy floss. If he hadn't stumbled into the Henry signing we'd have been as good as down by December.

The season was littered with rookie mistakes, ridiculous teams sheets, and negative and often bonkers tactics.


luckyPeterpiper

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Frank Worthington
Frank Worthington
Nat, I'm not saying PP is some kind of genius or even a particularly good manager, only that he's done a competent job of working with one hand tied behind his back. I'm afraid the perfect, make absolutely no mistakes manager doesn't exist and even if he did there'd be someone who disagreed with his team sheets, tactics, substitutions and signings anyway because every fan (myself included) finds something to criticise about any manager no matter how brilliantly he performs.

The sad fact is that we're a second tier, almost third tier club right now with practically non-league resources so expecting us to set the world alight or sign genius players is simply not realistic at the moment. I want more of course, like every BWFC fan I want to see us back in the PL kicking the 'big teams' butts but it's going to be a while, maybe years and years before we're able to do that sustainably.

I hope I'm wrong about that but for all Ken's upbeat talk about new money and investment BWFC simply isn't that great a business proposition right now and investors don't care about a club's history, only its balance sheet and they won't put money in unless they feel they have a guaranteed profit for themselves on the other side. If we do get new investment I expect it to be on a small scale in footballing terms because I can't see anyone wanting to pump multiple millions into us which we'd need if we're to get anywhere near Prem status again and even if they were willing to do it I'm not sure if FFP rules would allow that to happen anyway. We're going to have to inch our way up rather than jump or fly and that's going to take time.

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