Thursday, 20 August 2009

The Parkinson narrative

At the end of last season, the view held by many Addicks about Phil Parkinson ran something like this:
1. He was a stopgap manager because he was the all the club could afford (certainly something in that).
2. He was part of the 'Super Alan Pardew' camp now weaving its magic at Southampton. Hence he was part of the problem rather than part of the solution.
3. He was tactically inept and unable to motivate his players.
4. As long as he was manager season ticket sales and attendances would slump at The Valley.
5. The club was likely to be relegated to League 2.

Over the summer he won a grudging respect from some Addicks for doing his best to fashion a squad in a resource constrained and uncertain situation, including the most protracted takeover bid in history. Proposition (4) was disproved at the Wycombe match.

The Addicks first team have made an excellent start to the season, not flawless, but certainly good enough. A new narrative I have heard is that it is because we have players like Bailey, Shelvey and Racon. Undoubtedly that is the case and we need to retain them. But it would seem that if the team does badly it is the manager's fault. If it does well, none of the credit goes to him.

I don't think Parky is a tactical genius. But I do think he is good enough to get us out of League 1 which is what we want for now. After all, he did it at Colchester.


Anonymous said...

Absolutely spot on.

I would just add that Parkinson's signings have all been very good.

lesberrysdbp said...

Well put Wyn, I think the team he is putting out would be a match for most of league one, I agree with your opinion in an older post where you stated we were top 6 material. I think this is right as we don't have much cover in critical posititons, so far we've been lucky with injuries. PP doesn't seem confident enough in any of his strikers apart from Deon, who could well tire this weekend. PP championship record wasn't good but then he had little to work with. He has conducted himself well and hope he can drive the team on. Perhaps if Curbs is on the board he'll be able to give him some guidance and take some pressure off him. I hope we don't loose any of the midfield before the end of the transfer window

Anonymous said...

Sometimes when predictions take exactly the opposite direction that one had previously forecast. The forecaster will disappear or deny having ever made such predictions. Not I!
1) This is a fact. The board were not really happy with his performance. They had hoped that during his caretaker tenure he would get a couple of wins and they could say 'signs of recovery were showing'
2)A widely held belief and it's a tad early to say this is not so.
3)I don't know about 'tactically inept' But there was undoubtedly a motivation problem.
4)What i said was, If PP remains manager and we start this season as we finished last season, attendences would slump. But if we start well the support would return.
Whilst it was great to see the crowd V Wycombe, it was a glorious summer day and i'm sure many people got up that morning and said 'ah! come on we may as well go along' As witnessed by the queue's outside! Nonetheless for that a great attendance.
5)I believe it was a genuinely held fear we could be relegated again. Let's hope our form continues and we can forget that.
So all that makes me sound like a curmudgeon but i'm not. I'm delighted with the way we have started. It's clear PP is fashioning a good team for Div.3 long may such success continue If his perceived failings didn't really exist.......result.
The biggest challenge to his abiliy his probably yet to come.
The nonsensical palaver known as our 'takeover' could yet destroy all PP's fine work. If we don't get the reinforcements in and the wasters out pretty damn soon.

Kings Hill Addick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kings Hill Addick said...


As you probably know I was rather outspoken about Phil Parkinson during last season. In response to your narrative:

1. He was offered as a stop gap manager by the board. We were told he would only get the job if results improved, that led to calls for a change as results were actually worse.

2. His association with the previous regime was always going to prevent him being able to 'shake things up'. We had an adequate squad last season. What was needed was a run of wins that would have brought confidence to the side and that, with the quality of players available, should have been enough for us to climb out of the bottom three.

3. I don’t think I ever thought of him as tactically inept, although the rumours that he was responsible for preparing the team for set pieces under Pardew was not a good omen. The association with Pardew did make it difficult to believe that he would be able to motivate his players – particularly to instil the confidence that we were desperately lacking by Christmas.

4. The suggestion that season ticket sales would increase with him leaving was not actually put forward by me (at least not a significant number anyway). However, the fact that Steve Waggott publically promised to sack Parkinson if we sold enough season tickets does confirm that this was recognised as a real problem. We will never know how many season tickets would have been sold if a new manager had been appointed in May, but I would guess that some of those that were still queuing for tickets at 3:15 on 8th August would have bought one. Perhaps not that many though.

5. I never believed this, but following the three years that we’d seen at Charlton it was difficult to criticise those that were saying it. I would also suggest that had they had their way the board would have moved on some of the higher value players in our squad. This could well have meant that we wouldn’t have won the first three games.

I agree that we have the strongest midfield in the division, and as such we should win most of the games we play, but credit does have to go to the manager as he has prepared them, and to be fair he has had to sign almost a complete defence from scratch. I am more than happy (at this point) with Parkinson in charge. I think the combination of a few changes in playing personal and dropping a division have made Parkinson ‘the man for the job’.

Overall, however, I think it needs to be recognised that the only thing that Phil Parkinson was asked to do last season was to keep us in the Championship. Many called for a new manager as they believed that he was not up to that task. There is no way of knowing what would have happened if we had brought someone new in. Just like there is no way of knowing what would have happened if Les Reed hadn’t been given seven games the year we were relegated from the Premier League. However, on the basis that there was just one goal when he was appointed, Parkinson had a 100% failure last season.

The enthusiasm for this season was not foreseen by me. I did think we would struggle to sell season, or matchday, tickets. I thought the third division would not appeal to many of our fans. I would venture that a very small percentage of the current fan base were going when we were last in the third division, and since 1980 the media have focussed more and more on the Premier League making our current division less appealing, relatively, than it was 29 years ago.

I must confess though that, as well as many other fans, I am finding this season more exciting than I could have ever imagined. I am looking forward to games more than I have for a very long time. That has probably been helped by the favourable results, but the team is also playing decent football.

So, Parkinson has been accepted by the majority of the fans but one word of caution. I still think that should we fall out of the top six the pressure will, rightly or wrongly, soon be back on him.

Anonymous said...

Grudging is about right Wyn. The fitness of the players being key to our success might be more a facet of Parky's management skills. Hull fans that I know were very damning of his team management ability, but said he was superb at the fitness management side. And a the start of this season we had one "player" in the teratment room - got to be a record for us. I seem to remember one blogger about a year ago starting the debate about managers' ability to maximise players' match availability, with Sam Allardyce in his Bolton heyday coming out on top. May play a part for us this season.

Anonymous said...

Some people are never happy.

And probably never will be.

Anonymous said...

Parky will lead us to successive promotions and the top of the Premier League.

The East stand will be renamed 'The Phil Parkinson Stand'

Friendly Henry said...

Excellent post, Wyn. Even Curbs barely got credit for his incredible achievements. It's hardly surprising that Phil is getting little now. The only manager whose name I have ever heard sung with real enthusiasm at The Valley was 'Super' Alan Pardew! As they say in the US, go figure...