Altrincham Football Club have appointed Phil Parkinson as the man to turn the club’s footballing fortunes around following successive relegations that have seen the club fall from the Vanarama National League to the Evo-Stik League Premier Division.
His appointment follows the club’s decision not to retain the services of current boss Matt Doughty beyond the end of this season, despite what it called a “marked improvement” in performances since Doughty and assistant Robbie Lawton took over in December.
Sports science lecturer Parkinson, 36, has been in charge at Nantwich for just over two years, achieving a consistent track record of improvement throughout his tenure. The Dabbers were in the relegation zone of the Evo-Stik League Premier Division when he took over in February 2015, but went on to finish 15th, with a 50% win ratio in the remaining two and a half months of that season.
In Parkinson’s first full campaign in charge, Nantwich finished in eighth position, whilst grabbing national attention with an FA Trophy run to the semi-finals.
The campaign that has just ended saw Nantwich qualify for the play-offs, where they were beaten 2-0 in the semi-finals by Spennymoor Town on Tuesday.
Parkinson’s playing career started as a junior at Crewe Alexandra, followed by a spell as a YTS at Reading, before spending a year at Port Vale. He went on to make 200 appearances for Nantwich as a player, where he captained the team that won the FA Vase in 2006, as well as leading the Dabbers to promotion from the North West Counties League and UniBond League First Division.
Parkinson brings the Nantwich coach and former Macclesfield Town and Crewe Alexandra midfielder, Neil Sorvel, with him to the J Davidson Stadium. Sorvel is also a work colleague of Parkinson.
In a statement, the Robins board said it was “very pleased with both the number and calibre of applicants for the job and from a shortlist of five interviewees, we were unanimous in coming to the conclusion that Phil Parkinson is the right man to turn things around at Altrincham, following the massive blow of relegation in each of the last two seasons”.
It added: “This has been one of the most important decisions we have ever had to make and our supporters should know we have not taken it lightly. We feel that we are appointing a manager with a proven track record of improvement over a statistically significant period, both in terms of results and player development.”
The Robins new supremo is likely to take a watching brief as his new team play their final game of the season at Tamworth on Saturday and he will then set his sights on putting together a squad capable of gaining promotion from the Evo-Stik League Premier Division back to the Vanarama National League North at the first attempt.