Sunderland manager Phil Parkinson chatted with Portsmouth fans in pub ahead of FA Cup win at Harrogate Town

It was an FA Cup tie that was broadcast on BT Sport and across the globe.

Wednesday, 13th November 2019, 5:28 pm
Sunderland manager Phil Parkinson. Picture: Alex Davidson/Getty Images

Undoubtedly, managers from across League One tuned in to run the rule over Pompey during their first-round clash at Harrogate Town on Monday night.

Sunderland’s Phil Parkinson opted to take a closer look, however, and watched the Blues’ 2-1 victory from the Wetherby Road stands.

But with a power cut before kick-off meaning no-one was allowed to enter the stadium, the ex-Bradford and Bolton boss sheltered from the treacherous wind and rain at the nearest pub.

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Of course, the Fratton faithful had the same idea and were in The Woodlands Hotel which Parkinson also took to.

He was swiftly recognised after walking in and was happy to chat with any Pompey fans who went up to him.

Barry Dewing was one of those, discussing the kick-off times for the Blues’ past two trips to Sunderland in the league this season and last campaign's play-off semi-final.

And Parkinson came across as a ‘good bloke.’

Dewing, who is the spokesman for the Pompey Independent Supporters’ Association, said: ‘With the power failure, Harrogate weren't letting people into the ground and it was a horrible night so I assume he wanted to get out of the wind and rain.

‘It was a packed pub full of Pompey fans and it didn't take long to realise the Sunderland manager was in there.

‘He was a good bloke. He was just standing in the pub like everyone else and you'd have thought he was just another fan, to be honest.

‘I think he had a couple of members of staff with him, so it was a good chance for him to have a look at hopefully a promotion rival.

‘He seemed more than happy to have a chat with everyone who went up to him and was a decent bloke.

‘I had a quick chat with him. I've got a bee in my bonnet about the past two games we've played at Sunderland with those awkward kick-off times because they were on Sky Sports.

‘That was in the past six months and then low and behold, you get a trip to Harrogate on a Monday night.

‘I struck a chord with him because he said when he was Bradford manager, they had a league game on a Saturday then play an FA Cup replay on the Monday night, so it resonated with him.’

Parkinson is in a similar position as Pompey boss Kenny Jackett.

Both manage clubs with big fan-bases who expect their team to be in the promotion shake-up this campaign.

Jackett's come under some criticism from sections of supporters this term following an underwhelming start to the campaign.

The Blues sit 13th in the table on 21 points after 15 matches.

Dewing feels a lot of the flak Jackett’s received has been born out of social media – and it’s something Parkinson could agree with.

He added: ‘We touched on social media. I said Kenny Jackett's under pressure from a portion of the fans.

‘In the social media age, clubs like Pompey and Sunderland are going to have some fans who moan no matter what happens.

‘It's all clubs but clubs like Pompey and Sunderland in League One have high expectations and it seems there are some fans who aren’t happy unless they're moaning.

‘He resonating and said it's the modern world we live in.

‘That was the quick chat I had with high but he was happy to chat with everyone else. He seemed a down-to-earth bloke and I’ve met Kenny Jackett a couple of times and he's a gentleman as well.’