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Who is Steve Parkin? Deep dive insight on the man who will be Sunderland’s new assistant manager

Sunderland’s incoming management duo of Phil Parkinson and Steve Parkin will take training for the first time today. We know all about the new gaffer, but who is his assistant?

Ipswich Town v Bolton Wanderers - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Andrew Kearns - CameraSport via Getty Images

So... who is he?

Steve Parkin is the trusted assistant to Phil Parkinson and, according to Ian Dennis of the BBC, he will join the incoming Sunderland manager as his assistant, replacing James Fowler.

Parkin is 53 years old and was born and raised in Mansfield, working pretty much non-stop in football since he emerged as a first teamer at Stoke City in 1983.


How did he fare as a player?

Parkin was a hot prospect as a youngster - he made his first team debut at the age of 18 for Stoke, captained the Potters to the final of the FA Youth Cup in 1984 and by 1986 was a first team regular, going on to play well in excess of 100 games.

During his breakthrough at Stoke he was also capped six times by the England U21s side, and after suffering a groin injury he was sold to West Brom in 1989, spending three years there before eventually moving on to Mansfield Town.

Unfortunately, Parkin never got over his injury problems and he was virtually retired by 1996, moving on to become Mansfield manager at the age of 30.

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Stoke City v Hull City - Britannia Stadium Photo by Neal Simpson - PA Images via Getty Images

Where has he worked as a manager?

Parkin had a series of spells as manager of several different lower league clubs during his formative years in the non-playing side of the game.

After three years of punching above his weight with plucky Mansfield, Parkin was forced to leave the club after his position became untenable due to a transfer embargo, instead electing to move on to Rochdale. He turned the north west club around and they were challenging towards the top end of the table, something which got him noticed by Barnsley. His spell with Barnsley was not a successful one, however, and he lasted less than a year as the club plunged into serious financial issues which ultimately led to him losing his job.

He had a brief spell as assistant manager at Notts County before moving back to his old club, Rochdale, where he again enjoyed some sustained success. He was in charge at Spotland for just under three years and played his part in developing young players such as Grant Holt and Rickie Lambert, both of whom went on to bigger and better things.

After being relieved of his duties by Rochdale just before Christmas, Parkin joined the coaching staff of Phil Brown at Hull City just a few weeks later, enjoying success with the Humberside club as they gained promotion to the Premier League and were able to stay in the division during their first ever season in the top flight.

The good times didn’t last, however, and Phil Brown was sacked - Parkin and Brian Horton were placed in caretaker charge of Hull until the end of the season as the Tigers were unfortunately relegated from the top flight.

After leaving Hull, Parkin joined the coaching staff at Scunthorpe United where he spent almost a year, remaining in his post before eventually heading to Bradford to form a partnership with Phil Parkinson.

Soccer - Coca-Cola Football League Two - Rochdale v Hereford United - Spotland Photo by Barrington Coombs - PA Images via Getty Images

When did he start working with Phil Parkinson?

Phil Parkinson was appointed as manager of Bradford at the end of August in 2011, and four weeks later he was joined by Parkin as the pair attempted to pull the former Premier League side away from the foot of the League Two table.

Together, Parkinson and Parkin were able to really turn things around with the Bantams - they stayed up comfortably in their first season in charge, before going on the next season to achieve amazing things.

Bradford - a League Two side, remember - defeated Arsenal and Aston Villa on their route to the League Cup final in 2013, eventually succumbing in the final to Swansea City. Bradford produced a real fairytale for their supporters that season with Parkinson and Parkin in charge, not only reaching the final of a major competition but also gaining promotion to League One via the Play-Offs.

Over time the pair established Bradford as a fearsome cup side, even defeating eventual Premier League champions Chelsea, led by José Mourinho, on their own turf in the fourth round of the FA Cup in what Robbie Fowler called ‘the greatest FA Cup upset of all time’. Bradford are still the only team, at any level, to have ever overcome a 2–0 deficit at Stamford Bridge and win during the reign of ‘the special one’. They followed that victory up with a win over Gus Poyet’s Sunderland at Valley Parade in what many view as one of the defining moments in the downfall of Uruguayan as our gaffer.

Parkinson and Parkin then led Bradford to the League One play-offs in the following season but never made it beyond the semi-final stage, leaving the club later that year to become the manager of recently-relegated Bolton Wanderers.

The pair got Bolton promoted automatically back to the Championship at the first attempt without spending a penny on transfers, following that success up by staving off relegation whilst operating under a transfer embargo. The following Championship campaign wasn’t as successful, however, as the club were relegated from the second tier as off-field uncertainty plagued anything that happened on it.

Parkin and Parkinson remained at the helm in the summer, however, but after being forced to field teams made up of players from the club’s U18s and U23s, the duo walked away from the Lancashire club at the end of August.