Parkinson denied chance to talk to clubs

MUCH-sought-after Phil Parkinson is today looking to get over the disappointment of being refused permission to speak to three big clubs and concentrate on planning Colchester United's forthcoming assault on the Championship.

By Derek Davis

MUCH-sought-after Phil Parkinson is today looking to get over the disappointment of being refused permission to speak to three big clubs and concentrate on planning Colchester United's forthcoming assault on the Championship.

The U's boss was denied the chance to hold talks with Premiership club Charlton Athletic, and established Championship sides Ipswich Town and Derby County, by the U's board that is understandably desperate to keep hold of one of management's rising stars.Parkinson last night told the EADT: “I'm obviously disappointed not to be given permission to hold discussions with Charlton Athletic, among other clubs, by the Colchester United board. I have no burning desire to leave Layer Road and I'm excited at the prospect of Championship football this year.

“However, opportunities to speak to Premiership clubs do not come along very often. I know Colchester United supporters would not have begrudged me this opportunity and if I had been successful, they would have shaken me by the hand and wished me all the best for the future.”


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The EADT first revealed that the Blues had been rejected in their bid to talk to Parkinson and confirmation quickly followed from chairman Peter Heard that the Rams and Addicks were also politely rebuffed.

U's fans will be ecstatic at Heard's brave stance and would have been livid if Parkinson, who still has one year left on his current contract, had followed George Burley up the A12. Even though his status is legendary at Layer Road now, after taking the U's into the highest level the club has ever achieved, that would have been soured just by holding talks with David Sheepshanks.

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The supporters might have been more understanding about him considering joining Derby, even though the club have horrendous debts and have struggled this season. The Rams still have an impressive stadium at Pride Park, a well run and successful Academy and a loyal fanbase of more than 20,000 regulars.

And very few could disagree with an ambitious young manager waiting to hear what an established Premiership club bristling with internationals would have to say. The prospect of moving to what is undeniably a better job, and not just in financial terms, is something virtually everyone would aspire to.

There is no guarantee Parkinson would have said 'yes' to any of them, or would have been offered the job, but the U's run the risk of having a disgruntled employee on their hands by not allowing him the opportunity to make up his own mind.

This was clearly the case at Preston when their chairman Derek Shaw reluctantly allowed Billy Davies to hold talks today with Charlton Athletic.

Shaw said: “The club felt that if permission had not been granted, as is often the case, things could have turned sour, so we felt it was in the best interest of both parties to allow talks to take place.”

With clubs warned off by the U's stance, it is highly unlikely any will try to follow up their initial request and Parkinson will have no choice but to just wonder what might have been.

He could just quit and there is a strong likelihood he considered that, but it is more likely that Parkinson will store the experience in the back of his mind and look forward, with some justification, to the exciting challenge that lies ahead at Layer Road.

While opportunities, like the three that presented themselves so quickly, don't come along all the time Parkinson has clearly been marked out as a hot shot. At 38, and with the undoubted ability he has, Parkinson is still young enough to get more opportunities and any further success with Colchester United, like keeping them in the Championship, will only enhance his stock.

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