Bradford hero Phil Parkinson's paltry pay packet
Bantams manager is in demand but on meagre wages compared with peers in higher divisions
The Bradford City manager, Phil Parkinson, who has overseen his League Two club's extraordinary progress to the Capital One Cup final, is understood to earn just £1,000 a week and will keep his options open by delaying the signing of a new contract until the end of the season at the earliest.
The 45-year-old, whose team eliminated Aston Villa on Tuesday night, their third Premier League scalp in their run to the final, is understood to be on a current deal where he is paid £52,000 a year and an extra £1,000 for every point Bradford earn above 52 points. They are currently 10th in League Two on 40 points.
Parkinson's representatives have put a new contract proposal to the club's co-chairman, Mark Lawn, at the request of the club. The club's exploits in eliminating Wigan Athletic and Arsenal as well as Villa mean Parkinson's stock has risen considerably.
His aim remains promotion from League Two, as well as putting up a good fight at Wembley on 24 February, but he is also likely to be the subject of offers from Championship clubs - who may be prepared to double his earnings - when changes are made in the summer. He does not want the build-up to the final or, indeed, the end of the league season to be overshadowed by questions over his future but his progress will inevitably make him a candidate for jobs higher up the leagues.
When Michael Appleton left Blackpool to take the Blackburn Rovers job earlier this month, Blackpool asked Bradford for permission to speak to Parkinson. He took a day to consider the proposal and decided that he did not want to join the Championship club. In spite of their problems, a switch to Blackpool would have taken Parkinson 43 places up the Football League.
He has overseen the rebuilding of the side, including the signing of Matt Duke, whom he managed at Hull, on a free transfer. Parkinson picked up former West Ham academy boy Zavon Hines, a key player on Tuesday night, after he was released by Burnley at the end of last season. Carl McHugh, the impressive 19-year-old Irish centre-half and a Reading academy scholar, was another free signing.
The only fee that Bradford is understood to have paid was the £7,500 for striker James Hanson, who was at the club's academy as a teenager, from the Blue Square Bet North side Guiseley. Hanson, who scored Bradford's goal at Villa Park, played with a broken toe that needed a painkilling injection.
On Tuesday night, Parkinson said: "It [Hanson's goal] shows what can be done and it is an inspiration for all those players who drop out of the game. James was at a club and then dropped out into non-League so it is a great inspiration for all those players playing in non-League. If you get your opportunity it is there for you.
"James epitomises what the team is all about," he added. "We have players who are working each week to stay in the team, working for the next contract, running themselves into the ground. Add that to a bit of quality we have got and those are the ingredients that got us where we are."
Richard Bevan, the chief executive of the League Managers' Association, described the achievement of Parkinson and his assistant Steve Parkin as "remarkable". Parkinson has not had an easy route to success after his playing career, the bulk of which was spent as a popular midfielder at Bury and Reading. His first job was at Colchester United, where he steered the club away from relegation in the second half of the 2002-03 season and eventually got them promoted to the Championship in 2006.
He was appointed at Hull City in the summer of 2006. Having inherited a strong dressing room including the likes of Nick Barmby and Danny Mills, the team was one place off the bottom in December when he was sacked.
Having turned down the Huddersfield Town job, Parkinson went on to work with Alan Pardew, one of his best friends in football, as assistant at Charlton Athletic. He was given the job on a part-time basis in November 2008 after Pardew's departure, then full-time in December. In the 2009-10 season he got Charlton to the League One play-offs, where they were eliminated by Swindon in the semi-finals.
Even without much investment and the team in fifth place, he was sacked after a bad run. He arrived at Bradford in summer 2011 and finished 18th in League Two last season. They have not won in four league games and get back to business on Saturday with a home game against Wycombe Wanderers.
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