Just days after Bantams manager Phil Parkinson admitted he was under pressure, neighbouring Avenue boss John Deacey has questioned the expectation heaped on his counterpart’s shoulders.
Deacey feels that Parkinson should still have credit in the bank after what he achieved at Valley Parade last season.
The Bradford Park Avenue chief is a firm supporter of his cross-city rival – and has also been impressed with how former Bantams defender Mark Bower has taken to management so quickly.
Deacey said: “How can people be looking at Phil Parkinson and wondering if he’s good enough? Do people really have such short memories?
“Phil is an excellent manager and he will turn things around. There should be no pressure on him at all after last season, when he led the club to Wembley twice and got them promoted.
“Other people had tried and failed to get City out of League Two but he did it the hard way via the play-offs.
“What he achieved in the Capital One Cup, beating three Premier League big boys on the way to the final, was outstanding.
“I can’t remember any club from the bottom division beating clubs like Wigan, Arsenal and Aston Villa in the same season.
“You could also argue that Wigan were the cup team of the season because they got to the FA Cup final and beat huge favourites Manchester City.”
Deacey fears this is the way the modern game is going. Football management has always been a precarious profession but the recent trend of demanding overnight success is costing the game.
Promising young managers, good coaches – and even slowly-developing players – are being discarded far too soon, he feels.
One of Deacey’s closest friends, former Port Vale manger Lee Sinnott, has had to drop four divisions to find work at Avenue’s rivals Altrincham.
And former Premier League boss Phil Brown, currently at Southend, is also working far below the level he is qualified for after being sacked.
Deacey believes the experience of men like this is being wasted and said: “Look at Michael Laudrup. His side beat City at Wembley to give Swansea their first major trophy in a long time and take them into the Europa League.
“They had to beat clubs off during the close season to stop him being head-hunted by one of Europe’s top clubs and then midway through this season, because of a bad run, a couple of poor results, they sack him. It really is unbelievable.
“I hope the board at City have the guts to stick with Phil because he is a very good manager. His record speaks for itself – but in a way he could be penalised for his own success.
“He took City up and they had a great start because of the momentum from the season before. In reality they are a new club in League One and they need to establish themselves, which takes time.
“They are not a massively wealthy club, so they need to build up their budget so that they can compete with the other clubs. When you look at clubs like Wolves and Sheffield United, they are in with some very big clubs.
“Phil will do well, given time – and I’m sure Mark Bower will at Guiseley. I think Mark is another very good manager who loves the game and has the same beliefs. We all like to play good, attacking football.
“Mark knows the game inside out and he is very bright, both with his football knowledge and away from the pitch as well. He is one for the future and I think he will go a long way in the management world.
“They are both such nice guys as well and that really does help. People in the game, other managers and people in positions (of power), will always look after you if you are popular and get on with everyone.”