Why did Parker swap Fulham for Bournemouth?

Louis Wishlade 29th June 2021

Louis analyses some of the possible reasons why Scott was tempted to coach on the south coast.

News broke of Scott Parker’s temptation to leave the banks of the River Thames for the sandy shores of the South East more than a month ago, after a flirtation with the Tottenham vacancy. Now, with the move for the young English manager finalised at the expense of Jonathan Woodgate, we’ve got to ask: why would you swap one for the other?

Why did Bournemouth want Parker?

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The Cherries are looking for a young manager who they can build another long-term project around, much as they did previously with Eddie Howe. However, following their play-off final defeat last season, they are looking at those who have experience with promotion. This narrows down the list somewhat, with few names offering the media-based clout of Scott Parker.

Fulham’s 2020/21 season was tumultuous, with many fans desperately unhappy after having watched what they deemed to be tediously slow and overly safe football all season – especially considering the perceived lack of interest from the club’s hierarchy to stop the rot and avoid becoming a yo-yo team.

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However, Parker finished the season with praise streaming out from pundits and opposition fans alike, with many impressed with his ability to even remotely bring Fulham into the scrap for survival given the stigma that his side was not up to that standard.

Whites fans did not hold Scott’s managerial ability on the same pedestal, although it’s easy to see how a little luck or the provision of an in-form striker, such as Ivan Toney, at the start of the season could have changed the perception of him given football fans’ fickle nature.

And why does Scott want Bournemouth?

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Initially, the reasons why Scott would want to manage Bournemouth over Fulham are hard to understand. The Cherries are often deemed a “smaller” club by football fans, with a stadium that will be nearly one third of the size of Craven Cottage following the completion of the Riverside Stand. The seaside club also holds only a Category 3 academy and have also recently halted work on a new £35 million training complex, with no date for resuming construction currently in sight.

The Cherries also don’t host the financial clout of the Khans, with their Russian oligarch owner, Maxim Demin, still reportedly worth an impressive $900 million. However, the red and black side does hold a few advantages over Fulham.

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For starters, the Cherries are focused on becoming a Premier League side, accepting that lessons needed to be learnt following the end of their previous spell in the top flight and with no ambition to simply bounce between the leagues.

Bournemouth’s ambitious plans are reflected in their squad, although this is likely to be torn apart this summer, as well as by their Technical Director Richard Hughes, who has recently been linked to the Director of Football post at Celtic. Their FFP balance also will likely look much better than Fulham’s, which looks tight following relegation, giving Parker more freedom to work with their philosophy or purchasing young talent from the lower leagues.

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Therefore, Parker will be able to mould the side to his liking, alongside Hughes, with little pressure to conform to the playing styles of previous managers. This is a big attraction for a young manager, such as Scott, who wishes to prove themselves and their managerial philosophy on the World’s biggest stage. Bournemouth may offer him this freedom and opportunity, while Fulham, ultimately, may not.

Parker’s followed in in his brother-in-law’s footsteps, with Harry Arter enjoying three years on the coast before leaving for Nottingham Forest. The seaside town is just two hours away from London, whether driving or going by train, meaning that Parker’s family can remain in the capital if they prefer.

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However, the beautiful beaches would provide a much quieter life away from the hustle and bustle of London and would also open up the opportunity for his children to join some of England’s best schools, such as Cranford.

Finally, while the seaside is famous for fish and chips, Bournemouth hosts one of the country’s best Asian restaurants in Dorshi, which could surely satisfy Scott’s Chinese takeaway cravings following any south coast successes.