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Parkinson research tied up Knott deal for Bradford City
6:18am Tuesday 8th July 2014 in Sport
PHIL Parkinson's encyclopaedic football knowledge convinced Billy Knott that Bradford City was his best destination.
Parkinson revealed he had been impressed with Knott's performance in Wimbledon colours against the Bantams in 2012 and had kept tabs on his progress since.
But there was also another display from the youngster even earlier that had stuck in the manager's mind.
The depth of Parkinson's background research showed Knott and his dad Steve that City's interest was for real.
Knott said: "When we came up for talks, he mentioned that game for Wimbledon as well as another for England under-17s.
"Driving back home, my dad and I were just thinking 'how does he remember that?' That really made me want to come here.
"I'm looking at the next two years of my career, hopefully longer, working every day with a manager like that who takes it so seriously. I'm sure I can learn so much.
"He definitely sold the club to me. You didn't really have to with the big crowds and the stadium but the manager was spot on with everything he said.
"My dad and I came away really impressed and I couldn't wait to sign."
City's gain meant Port Vale's loss, with Micky Adams admitting he was gutted to miss out on the England under-20 international after a fruitful loan spell there last season.
Knott said: "They did put in an offer – but what's going forward at Bradford and what the gaffer is planning really appealed to me.
"But I have to thank Micky for taking me there and giving me an opportunity. It took him time to play me and I had to earn the chance but then I stayed in the team.
"I don't think Bradford would have come around if I hadn't had a good end to last season.
"I really liked the fans and the players at Port Vale but when you're planning for the next few years and have a manager talking so seriously about his plans, then joining Bradford was a no brainer."
Knott hopes that his move to Valley Parade will put his nomadic days behind him.
After coming through the youth ranks at West Ham and Chelsea, the bulk of his time with Sunderland was spent on the road at Wimbledon, Wycombe, Port Vale – and even a drop into the Conference with Woking.
House hunting has already begun as the midfielder aims to put down West Yorkshire roots.
Knott said: "Even if Sunderland had offered me a contract, I think it was time to leave there and start off somewhere new. But I wanted to be at a club longer than six months or a year on loan.
"It's hard when you go to clubs on loan and you're either in a hotel or trying to live at home. That's why it's good to get a contract and I'm already looking at places up here to settle in."
Knott's travels ensure he does not lack experience, despite making only one bench appearance for the Black Cats. He has started 67 games for four different clubs in the past two-and-a-half seasons.
His contribution with Wimbledon at the end of the 2012 campaign earned him their young player of the year accolade – but surprisingly no request for a further spell the following term.
At that stage, Knott decided to drop into non-league to get playing again and credits Woking chief Garry Hill for reviving his fortunes.
He said: "It was difficult but I just love a game of football. I know it's a cliche but I just wanted to play.
"Nobody was coming in for me and you get frustrated in the reserves. Woking were brilliant with me and their gaffer let me enjoy my football again because I was going off it.
"The crowd there loved me and I was scoring goals as well, so it really helped me work my way back up.
"Wycombe last season wasn't the best because they wanted to play a certain way and I didn't really fit into that. But then I got the chance with Port Vale and really did enjoy that."
Now Knott is part of the new City era as Parkinson's dressing room moves on from the History Makers of 2013.
The new recruit said: "It will take time because we've got a whole new half of the team. But you can see the class in the players he's signed and the ones already here.
"We're a bit light at the moment, so there's probably going to be more coming in, but if everyone sticks with us, then I'm sure it will come good."