Scott Parker can no longer chalk his boots as a player, but his training from the canoe is just as strong as he prepares for another championship promotion tilt.
Parker led Fulham to the Premier League in last season’s playoffs in his first managerial post, before relegation resulted in a mutual separation this summer.
But he relishes a new challenge at Bournemouth and as he sets out his plans for long-term success on the south coast, his ambition burns more than ever.
“I can’t physically run and cross the line, but what hasn’t changed is the drive to succeed,” he said. Sky Sports’ David Craig in an exclusive interview ahead of his new team’s championship curtain-raiser against West Brom on Friday.
“What I wanted to be as a player was the best I could be physically. He was my driver every day I woke up. I have worked tirelessly since I played, making my coach badges at a young age and learning.
“I came into management because I want to be successful. I came here to be successful. I want to bring this football club back to the Premier League.”
He will face his old side in another run for promotion, but speaks of his pride in managing the club for which he has made more than 100 appearances and believes the change in leadership was good for all parties.
“The promotion to Fulham was a big success for me and my staff, and then last year the disappointment and of course the change. Probably that change was okay for both parties,” he says.
“It felt like it was the right thing, which is why I am here now, looking forward to the next challenge for me at a really good club and looking forward to trying to improve.
“I don’t think anyone can ever question the professionalism and the number of hours we spent trying to do [Fulham] succeed and do the right things, and try to build something that is longer term.
“At the end of the day, I understand that I’m going to be judged by the results – but I always come into the job with a longer-term view and would like to think we did that with Fulham.
“The management is volatile at times, sure – but I’m very proud of the way we left Fulham, I’m grateful for the opportunity and would like to think that both sides were in a place where we thought it was. was the right thing to do. “
Parker signed a three-year contract at Vitality Stadium and he says the form suits him as he seeks a sustainable path of progression.
“It’s all about results, I understand that, but I feel like I’m at a club that understands the dynamics of the game and is used to having someone like Eddie Howe, who has been here for so long. .
“Everything in club soccer gives me a feeling that me and the team can be successful. I would like to think that the club understands the processes, that the things that you put in place are the foundation to be successful and to keep success. I’ve been here for five weeks – and we’ll be tested this season, I’m sure – but I feel like the people at this football club are on the same page.
“Everyone seems to be judging these days [on the surface] – you can take a photo and people judge by your surroundings but sometimes it’s deeper. There is something deeper in success, I know that.
“You watch the Olympics and see people win or lose, but at the end of the day there was so much work – their environment, their training facilities, the processes they went through to get to where they were. have been able to perform like this There is very seldom a silver bullet, you need stability, you need calm.
“The roller coaster of a win or a loss, a promotion or a relegation or a championship … a vision that gives you that durability, then you will always be on the roller coaster.”
The preseason games against Linense, Granada and Chelsea were followed by a landslide 5-0 Carabao Cup victory over MK Dons ahead of the new league campaign and although Parker admits there is a lot to be done, he was impressed with the response from the players. who last season suffered a grief in the play-offs.
“I didn’t find any disappointment and maybe it was because he was a new manager, a different voice, a new stimulus.
“I was very impressed for a short time with the professionalism and behavior of the players. I have seen players wanting to improve and come into this season with doggedness and commitment. We will need them if we want to come out. of the division, it’s a relentless league.
“The work ethic is fundamental and non-negotiable on the part of my teams. Of course there are a lot of details than a simple mentality, but it is one of the foundations – an enthusiasm to work, an enthusiasm to improve; coachable players who listen and want to improve give me and the team the best chance of success.
“I saw pieces [during the Carabao Cup win]; I also saw some tracks that I didn’t like that we had to improve. But it was a 5-0 win, a clean sheet, sometimes we attacked with real pace and sometimes looked like the team I wanted us to be. But we will continue to push. “
He is excited to “watch a roster of talented young players” and although he is philosophical about the interest in David Brooks and Arnaut Danjuma, he hopes to strengthen his squad.
“The hardest thing for me as a player is when this speculation and this hype comes in; staying focused is sometimes hard for someone so young.
“As long as the transfer window is open, you are still vulnerable but again, in him [Brooks] I’ve seen someone who wants to improve and I think it’s a big season for him. “
On Danjuma, he adds: “Arnie is a great player. I understand the position we are in, second season of the championship, a little vulnerable: an offer can come that is acceptable to the football club and Arnie may not be anymore But if he is there we have a player who can really help us in this division.
“We’re definitely going to need more. We all understand the financial pain Covid has brought to football clubs. But I think it’s fair to say the team will need a little more depth for a division. implacable.”
Parker is set for a tough first game against a Baggies team who, like his, fought admirably against the drop last season. But he’s determined that Bournemouth will shuffle him at the top of the board again.
“The Premier League side will bring financial weight; Sheffield United, West Brom and Fulham, I guess, will be up there. But as always, this league can hold some surprises.
“I have no doubt that it will be one of the most exciting divisions in Europe – that’s why we all love it. It will be a tough division this year, but I hope we get in on it.
“I want to get this football club back – and then it’s about staying in the Premier League. I realize it’s a journey. How quickly we can do it, how quickly we can set it up process is vital but it is the goal.
“Me, my staff and the players, we want to do our business in the Premier League.”