Up and coming young manager Phil Parkinson was hired by chairman Adam Pearson in June 2006 to replace the departed Peter Taylor, who had resigned to become manager of Crystal Palace. The Tigers had to shell out £400,000 in compensation to Parkinson’s former employer Colchester United, where he had built his reputation as a manager capable of winning promotion with limited resources. Parkinson inherited a tight-knit and high quality squad from Taylor, to which he added some genuine talent – defenders Michael Turner and Sam Ricketts from Brentford and Swansea City respectively, midfielder Dean Marney from Tottenham and experienced strikers Michael Bridges and Nicky Forster. But the talents of these players were conspicuous by their absence in the opening weeks of the season as City failed to win any of their first six League matches and slumped to the bottom of the Championship table. Two wins in four mid-September days against Leicester City and Sheffield Wednesday lifted the Tigers off the bottom but a further six winless games saw the Tigers again fall back. At the end of November a 1-5 dressing down by Parkinson’s former club Colchester United, followed by a 2-4 thumping from a Southampton side inspired by young Welsh tyro Gareth Bale, made Parkinson’s position untenable and he was sacked after only five months at the helm.
Philip John Parkinson was born in Chorley, a mill town a few miles north of Bolton, but came through the footballing ranks as a teenager at Southampton. He signed his first professional contract for the Saints in December 1985 but by March 1988 he had failed to break into the first team and joined Division Three side Bury, making his League debut against Brentford in March 1988 and scoring the third goal in a 3-0 victory. Phil was almost immediately established as a first team regular for the Shakers as they competed in the upper reaches of the Division Three table, making the 1989/90 end of season play-offs only to lose the semi-final to Tranmere Rovers – Parkinson missed three months of football earlier that season, his first extended absence since joining Bury. He missed only two league games in the 1990/91 season as Bury again reached the play-offs, losing out at the semi-final stage to local rivals Bolton Wanderers. The Shakers’ form collapsed in the 1991/92 season as they were relegated to the fourth tier and in July 1992 Parkinson, a saleable asset for the Gigg Lane side, was sold to League Division 2 side Reading for a £50,000 fee – he scored seven goals in 169 appearances for Bury.
Parkinson spent the next eleven seasons at Reading and was a key part of the Royals squad that bounced between the second and third tiers. In the 1993/94 season Phil started every game as Reading won the League Division 2 title, then lost out on promotion to the Premier League in the 1994/95 seasom play-offs that Parkinson missed due to injury. The Royals dropped back to the third tier at the end of the 1997/98 season, rising back to League Division 1 in the 2001/02 season. This was Parkinson’s final season as a Reading first team regular, he played a handful of games at the start of the 2002/03 season and made his final senior appearance in a September 2002 League Cup tie against Cambridge United – in total he scored 24 goals in 426 appearances for Reading.
In February 2003 Parkinson was appointed manager at League Division 2 side Colchester United. He built a squad at Layer Road that was tight at the back and benefited from the goals of Scott McGleish, Craig Fagan and Chris Iwelumo. After two decent mid-table finishes Colchester were a dominant force in League One during the 2005/06 season, winning 13 of 15 League matches between late October 2005 and early February 2006 to rise from sixteenth to first in the table – the U’s ended the season in second place and won promotion to the Championship, with Parkinson attracting much attention as a promising young manager. In June 2006 he left Colchester United to take the helm at Championship rivals Hull City, he led the U’s for 187 senior matches.
Phil left Hull City in December 2006, in January 2007 he was appointed assistant manager at Premier League strugglers Charlton Athletic. In November 2008 the Addicks’ manager Alan Pardew left the club and Parkinson was made caretaker manager, a role that was made permanent at the end of December 2008. He was unable to arrest the decline that began during Pardew’s tenure and Charlton were relegated to League One in May 2009. Despite this setback the Londoners stuck with Parkinson and he rewarded that loyalty by taking Charlton to the 2009/10 end of season play-offs, only to lose out at the semi-final stage to Swindon Town. Phil stayed at Charlton for the 2010/11 season but poor form led to his dimissal in January 2011 after defeat to Swindon Town – he led the Addicks for 114 matches.
In August 2011 Parkinson returned to management at League Two side Bradford City, an appointment that commenced the rebirth of his managerial career. In the 2012/13 season he finally ended his poor results in play-off football, his Bradford side beating Northampton Town at Wembley and winning promotion to League One. However this achievement paled in comparison to his Cup exploits that same season as the Bantams defeated Premier League sides Wigan Athletic, Arsenal and Aston Villa to reach the League Cup Final – with ex-Tiger Matt Duke sent off early in the Wembley final, Parkinson’s side lost 0-5 to another Premier League side Swansea City. Phil’s Bradford side competed at the upper end of the League One table for the next three seasons, reaching the play-offs in the 2015/16 season only to lose the semi-final to Millwall. His side also reached the FA Cup Quarter Finals in March 2015 only to lose to his former side Reading, having claimed a remarkable 4-2 victory in the Fourth Round against Premier League giants Chelsea. He left Bradford City in June 2016 after 274 matches in charge.
In June 2016 Parkinson was appointed manager at League One rivals Bolton Wanderers and piloted the Trotters to promotion to the Championship in his first season. As financial turmoil swept through the club Parkinson stayed in charge at Bolton for two more seasons, narrowly avoiding relegation in the 2017/18 season then acquiescing and dropping into League One the following term. Parkinson resigned from his post at Bolton Wanderers in August 2019 after 156 matches.
Two months later in October 2019 Phil was appointed manager at League One side Sunderland. He led the Black Cats to an eighth place finish in the 2019/20 season and had lost only two of 13 league matches at the start of the 2020/21 season when he was dismissed at the end of November 2020, after 48 matches in charge. Following a pause Parkinson returned to management in July 2021, taking over the reins at Conference National league giants Wrexham. Combining football management with Netflix stardom thanks to the docu-series featuring Wrexham’s celebrity owners Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, Parkinson led the Red Dragons to the FA Trophy final against Bromley and the play-off final against Grimsby Town at the end of the 2021/22 season, but both ties were lost. In the 2022/23 season Parkinson led Wrexham to the Conference National title and promotion to League Two.
Date/Place of Birth: 1 December 1967, Chorley, England
Appointed by Hull City: 29 June 2006; 38 years, 210 days old
Left Hull City: 4 December 2006; 39 years, 3 days old
Tenure: 158 days
Colchester United (2003-2006), Hull City (2006), Charlton Athletic (2008-2011), Bradford City (2011-2016), Bolton Wanderers (2016-2019), Sunderland (2019-2020), Wrexham (2021-current)
Hull City Record
Playing Record: Played 24, Won 5, Drawn 6, Lost 13, Goals For 21, Goals Against 36