The 2022-23 season hasn’t gone according to plan for Scott Parker. The former Premier League midfielder is on the brink of his second managerial sacking of the campaign with Club Brugge, having been dismissed by AFC Bournemouth after a 9-0 thrashing by Liverpool in August.
The cardigan-loving coach has not been having a great time of it in his new post in Belgium. Parker has overseen 11 matches with Club Brugge, 10 in the Pro League and one in the Champions League, winning just twice since his appointment in January. He has drawn the majority of his games in charge (six), but last year’s Pro League runners-up are currently 13 points adrift of second place this time around. Their chances of qualifying for next season’s Champions League are slim but not impossible and as such Parker’s position is under serious threat.
His appointment came out of the blue in the New Year and people were left wondering why the Belgian outfit had opted for a manager whose only coaching success had been gained in England’s second tier, the Championship. Those people have been proven right with how his spell with Club Brugge has gone thus far and it isn’t surprising to see the Englishman fighting for his job.
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The pressure has intensified in recent weeks with a 2-0 loss at home to Benfica in the Champions League round of 16 first leg and a 3-0 defeat to relegation-threatened Oostende last weekend in the league. On Tuesday evening Parker and his team travel to Portugal for their second leg with Benfica and many are expecting that if he cannot turn the tie around he is likely to be given his marching orders in the coming days.
It is quite hard to imagine Parker’s coaching career already experiencing a decline given he has two Championship promotions on his CV with Fulham and Bournemouth. On the face of it, you’d think with that glistening CV from just a few short years in the dugout that it won’t be long before he finds himself with another job when he inevitably gets sacked by Club Brugge.
However, cast your mind back to the comments he made after his Bournemouth team lost 9-0 to Liverpool, when he called out the club for not spending enough money in the transfer window. Bournemouth owner at the time Maxim Denim made the decision to remove Parker from his position citing that the whole club must be "aligned with our strategy".
Parker had been questioning the recruitment side of the business throughout pre-season and the comments post-Liverpool were the final straw for the board, which led to Parker spending four months out of work until he was graced with the chance to manage Club Brugge.
And as we know, things haven’t exactly picked up for him in Belgium so you have to question now where could he possibly go for his next role. As much as his two promotions are enticing to teams stuck in the Championship, the comments he made that subsequently led to his Bournemouth exit will not be helpful to him should he seek a return to the UK. Most owners want a manager that they can trust and work alongside to help lead their club to a brighter future.
Parker has demonstrated that he is more than willing to call out his superiors when things aren’t going his way, and these tensions can have a detrimental effect on the whole club if not dealt with. So they would see his potential availability come with huge risk and currently more negatives than positives. Then when you consider how he isn’t getting positive results with a team that usually thrives in the Pro League, his stock plummets further.
While there is still a chance that he can prolong his fate for a bit longer with a miracle in Portugal this evening, it feels like it is already the beginning of the end of his adventure in Belgium. The 42-year-old should start updating his CV in search of a potential third job of the season, only this time he won’t be able to command the most glamorous posts that become available after a nightmare 2022-23.
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