He fulfilled his wish by landing – in his own words – his dream job, but like any dream they come to an end and unfortunately for Peter Jackson, it only lasted seven months after handing in his resignation as Bradford City manager on Thursday afternoon.
News broke late that day after a routine boardroom meeting at Valley Parade. The first I heard was when I received a text saying ‘has Jacko been sacked?’ My immediate reaction was don’t be daft. However after a quick look on the Bradford City website it was clear Peter Jackson had resigned citing a poor start to the season, saying he leaving so early in the campaign would give his replacement the best possible chance of bringing success to Valley Parade.
To say I was shocked would be an understatement and the same applied to the vast amount of Bradford fans. Jacko had taken training as normal on Thursday morning before heading off to the routine boardroom meeting. Whether something was said in the meeting or whether Jackson had decided prior to it he was going to go, I suppose we’ll never know.
When Jackson arrived at the club in February last season his brief was simple – keep Bradford City in the Football League – which he did with relative ease. His appointment was met with a mixed reaction by Bradford fans due to his Huddersfield Town connections; personally I was un-decided when he was brought in as the interim manager to replace Peter Taylor. However during his managerial career at Town he impressed in both spells with the club. His managerial spell at Lincoln unfortunately was hampered due to having a serious health problem at the time.
Despite having a mixed reaction when he was appointed, I was really disappointed to see Jacko walk away from the club last week. To be honest when I heard he had left the club on Thursday I was gutted – I don’t think I’ve been so disappointed to see a manager leave since the Premier League days and Paul Jewell’s departure.
Jackson had an infectious personality and was a very likable person; he brought real passion to the dugout during his reign, something which had been lacking under the previous manager. One moment stands out from last season when Tom Adeyemi scored a last minute winner against Rotherham United and Jackson did a ‘Mourinho’ running down the touchline! It was something his predecessor Taylor would never have done, unfortunately football is all about results and with only four wins in his eighteen games that in itself says a story.
Full credit must go to Jackson for admitting he feels he isn’t the right man for the job. Who knows what would have happened if he’d got a couple of wins in the previous four games, but for now Peter Jackson’s Bradford City managerial career is condemned to the history books.
With Jackson gone, the hunt to replace him started quickly with joint-chairman Mark Lawn admitting to the media the shortlist consisted of three names, two of which were unemployed the other currently in a managerial position. Some exciting names were linked to the post over the weekend such as Phil Parkinson, Mark Robins and Aidy Boothroyd. Colin Cooper, number two to Peter Jackson, was handed the task of picking the team for the visit of Barnet on Saturday.
So onto the game on Saturday a very tricky fixture on paper against a decent Barnet side. With the sudden change in management it was important the team not only put in a good performance for themselves and the club, but also showed any potential manager they are worthy of retaining their shirt. The Bantams certainly produced the goods with a comprehensive 4-2 win; collectively working well with some brilliant individual performances.
Despite Barnet taking the lead through the dangerous Izale McLeod, City hit back inside a minute with man-of-the-match James Hanson claiming the first of his two goals. In the second-half Guy Branston heading home his first goal for the club to put City in front for the first time in a league game this season. Two became three as Hanson side footed home from a superb cross from Chris Mitchell who claimed his third assist of the afternoon. The rout and first win of the season was complete when Nahki Wells scored his first professional goal. Wells hit the post deeper into stoppage time before McLeod claimed his second with near enough the last kick of the game.
As the full time whistle blew at Valley Parade a collective sigh of relief could be felt and with a 4-2 win in his pocket Colin Cooper can be proud of how he pulled together the team following a turbulent few days.
As I write this blog, the news has broken that ex-Charlton manager Phil Parkinson has been appointed the new boss at Valley Parade on a two year deal, becoming the third manager at the club in eighteen months. It’s not yet known whether Colin Cooper will be staying on as his number two, but with Parkinson in the crowd on Saturday to witness the 4-2 win against Barnet I personally think he would be foolish to let someone with Cooper’s experience leave the football club.
Overall, his managerial record is mixed. He did a unbelievable job at Colchester United, taking them into the Championship which gave him is big chance at Hull City where things didn’t work out. He joined Charlton as assistant to Alan Pardew before taking up the managers post following Pardew’s departure from the club.
Time will tell if he is the right man for the job. One thing we can be certain of he has been appointed as manager of a football club that has badly under achieved in recent years. He will be backed by a fantastic set of fans which have been deprived of success for so long. However the big thing now for Bradford City is stability as three managers in eighteen months is a terrible record. Hopefully Phil Parkinson can bring success and stability, meaning it will (hopefully) be a while longer before the club starts a search for yet another manager.
Written by Mark Scully, We Are Going Up’s Bradford City Blogger
Mark tweets at @scully87