Scott Parker’s stint at Club Brugge alongside Gary Neville at Valencia for British coaches abroad
At one end is Gary Neville. At the other is Sir Bobby Robson. Sadly for Scott Parker, we now know where he sits on the scale of British coaches who tried their luck in a foreign land.
Parker was sacked by Club Brugge on Wednesday after just 67 days and 12 games in charge.
He was only the third Englishman to manage a club abroad in the Champions League in the past 25 years, after Neville at Valencia in 2015 and Robson at PSV Eindhoven in 1998.
Yet a 5-1 loss to Benfica in that competition – 7-1 on aggregate – was the last straw.
Brugge’s statement was brutal. There was no ‘we thank Scott for his efforts’ or ‘we wish him all the best’ or any of those old cliches we tend to see in these announcements.
Scott Parker was fired as Club Brugge coach this week after only 12 games in charge
A 7-1 aggregate thrashing by Benfica in the Champions League ended Parker’s tenure early
Gary Neville is constantly reminded of his disastrous stint as coach of Valencia in Spain
Instead they simply confirmed his sacking and wrote: ‘In 12 games, the Briton could only win two times.’
His time in Belgium will go down as an abject failure.
Alongside Neville at Valencia – 10 wins in 28 games. Alongside David Moyes at Real Sociedad – 12 wins in 42 games. Alongside Tony Adams at Granada – zero wins in seven games and some dodgy dancing in training.
These bruising experiences can go down as a stain against your name.
Rarely can Neville offer his opinion on another manager’s shortcomings on Sky Sports without someone, somewhere, on social media furiously bashing their keyboard to remind him of how he fared.
But if nothing else, Parker deserves credit for giving it a go. It isn’t easy to take this plunge. It takes them out of their comfort zone. It tests them in an alien environment.
It removes them from the cushty English merry-go-round that never stops spinning back home.
Sometimes, it works. Like Robson at PSV and Porto and Barcelona. The great Sir Bobby won trophies wherever he went, albeit not a second season in charge of Barca.
Gary and Phil Neville took over at the Mestalla in 2015 but lasted only 28 games in the hotseat
David Moyes had a similarly forgettable stint in charge of Real Sociedad in 2014-2015
Like Graham Potter at Ostersunds, which turned into his pathway to the Premier League, first with Brighton and now Chelsea.
Like Steve McClaren at FC Twente, where he won their first and only Eredivisie championship in 2010.
Like Terry Venables, who led Barcelona to their first LaLiga title in 11 years.
Like Roy Hodgson, who never shied from an opportunity to prove his expertise in Europe.
It’s working for Will Still at Reims as we speak.
Parker had hoped to join that list of winners but instead Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson made more of a mark in Brugge than he ever did.
During his short spell in Belgium, Parker conducted an interview with The Daily Telegraph in which he talked about his vision.
‘I really hate saying the word ‘process’ because when you say it people are like, “Yeah, OK, all right mate”,’ he told the newspaper.
Sir Bobby Robson proved British coaches can be successful abroad – he is pictured during his time as boss of PSV Eindhoven in Holland
Terry Venables (right) and his No 2 Allan Harris (left) welcome Steve Archibald to Barcelona
A delighted Steve McClaren lifts the Dutch league championship trophy with FC Twente
Graham Potter’s success with Ostersunds in Sweden opened chances in the Premier League
‘I don’t think they listen when a manager says, “I need time to put things in place”.
‘Tell me another organisation where you go into a company that is failing and losing money on a daily basis and you change the CEO and you change the management team. Would you expect them to be making money within two weeks? You don’t.’
Parker got longer than two weeks. He had three months to have an impact, of which he had little.
Now, it is more likely than not that the 42-year-old will return to England in a bid to rebuild his coaching career.