Date of birth
Parkinson started off as a trainee with Southampton, making his Football League debut in 1998 with Bury. He made 133 League starts for the Shakers in just over four years, scoring five goals from midfield.
His time at the JD made up a large part of his playing career, but a move to Berkshire was to prove even greater, joining Reading in 1992 for a measly £50,000, player manager Mark McGhee had contracted a bargain.
During his 11 year stay, he chalked up 391 appearances in a Reading shirt, only 77 came at Madejski Stadium, but Phil Parkinson’s blood ran blue and white before the first brick had been laid.
A state of the art stadium deserved state of the art football, but celebrations of the new dawn were tempered by some unconvincing performances on the pitch early in Madejski Stadium’s existence, yet the sight of the skipper out in the middle meant Royals fans never came to the Mad Stad without hope.
Parky had arrived from Bury and formed quite a reputation as a Royal; he was no-nonsense, passionate, totally committed, mentally strong and ruthlessly never-say-die in everything he did out on the pitch.
Tommy Burns strangely wasn’t convinced and left him out of the squad for the stadium’s curtain-raiser, but he was soon won over and attained the supporters’ Player of the Season vote come the end of a tricky campaign.
This man was full of fight and it was his flick that found Jamie Cureton at Griffin Park, a goal that would see Reading earn automatic promotion back to the second tier in 2002.
He became one of only two men to earn a testimonial at Madejski Stadium, and no fewer than 20,000 fans turned out to watch.
In a vote of the clubs best-ever eleven, Parky won the centre midfield position with 60.3% of the vote. Despite leaving the club for Colchester in 2003, he is still beloved by many at the club, his name continuous to ring out at Christmas time in a festive rendition of ‘12 Parkinson’s’.
His leadership qualities have helped him build a career on the touchlines since, first with Colchester United, then Hull, then Charlton and, most recently, he led Bradford to the Capital One Cup Final and to League Two play-off joy.
A hero to many, Parkinson is currently the sixth longest serving manager in English league football having been with Bradford for just over three-and-a-half years.