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Phil Parkinson wins backing from unexpected source for Bradford City promotion push
Guy Branston would love to see Phil Parkinson lead City to promotion this season – even though he bombed him out.
The pair will come face to face for the first time since the outspoken centre half’s exit when the Bantams face Branston’s Aldershot tomorrow.
Branston was one of the casualties of the major revamp that Parkinson has undertaken at Valley Parade. But despite feeling he never got a proper chance, the well-travelled veteran believes the City boss is well on course to get it right.
Branston said: “Hopefully Parky can get the club up and I personally believe he will.
“Phil’s changed the core of the team wholesale and that needed to happen. He has brought in good players but he’s also changed the ethos of the place.
“I’m a big believer in psychology and the mental side of football is massive. It does drag you down if there’s a negative environment.
“You’d hear it every day, people moaning about the training ground being too wet and things like that. That’s what Phil has done well to sort out.
“He has been given a budget and has got to deliver on that. But that’s a good pressure to have – that’s what gets you out of bed in the morning.”
Branston found himself out of favour under Parkinson and was loaned out to former club Rotherham. But he returned from the cold at the end of the season after the Crawley fracas left City short of defenders.
He said: “I couldn’t fulfil what I wanted to do there but I wasn’t given the opportunity. I was a Peter Jackson signing and my face didn’t fit.
“It was unfortunate for me but I think the gaffer made up his mind before he came in. That was annoying but I didn’t sink into that mentality of sulking.
“I dealt with the situation and like to think that I helped to keep his job when I came back in the team because a club like Bradford dropping into non-league would have been a financial nightmare.”
Branston, who played 19 times for City, praised the club for the way they dealt with him at the end of the season - especially director of operations David Baldwin - when they agreed to cancel his contract a year early.
But he still feels frustrated that the vision he was sold to leave Torquay never took off. He blames former head of player development Archie Christie for that, not Jackson.
Branston said: “I was bouncing off the walls when I signed. I’d had a great season the one before and was so excited about joining a club as big as Bradford.
“But from day one, Archie was getting involved with the contracts and signing everybody. We had player after player coming into the dressing room while the lads already there were down in the dumps because they didn’t know if they were staying or going.
“Poor Peter was saying which players he wanted but realistically Archie had already done the budget. Peter wasn’t allowed to do much. That wasn’t down to the chairmen and the board, that was down to Archie Christie.”
Branston is keen to get into management himself and has been involved in the coaching side with Shots chief Dean Holdsworth. But niggly injuries early on have restricted his on-field appearances and he has played only five games.
In the meantime, he is the brains behind an ambitious new website where players can upload video clips and show off their talent to scouts and prospective clubs.
AllAboutBallerz.co.uk, set up with Leeds-based web firm Pixel Vector UK, is open to any footballer – professional, amateur or Sunday league – and aims to give them the chance of being spotted by a wider audience.
Branston explained: “I dropped into non-league two and a half years ago with Kettering and realised there were some really good players in the likes of Conference North. But nobody sees them.
“This is a way players can showcase themselves for coaches and managers to have a look. Clubs don’t have to rely on the old man in his flat cap going to a game to spot someone.
“Now you can watch the clips of these players and then decide whether they are worth following up. It just gives people exposure that they’ve not had before.
“I’m at the beginning of something and really feel it’s going to take off. There are so many directions it can go. I can see it one day being the centralised database for players; all players of all ages at all levels.”