Former Farsley Celtic manager Neil Parsley has hailed his old assistant Mark Jackson who is now in charge of Leeds United’s under 23s.
The pair were at the helm of Farsley – along with joint assistant Simeon Bambrook – for seven years. They oversaw the final 18 months of the old club and the subsequent rebirth of Farsley in 2010 before parting ways in November 2015 when Jackson became Leeds’s under 16s chief.
Parsley remains in touch with his old pal and he has been thrilled to see his rapid rise up the ranks at Elland Road.
“I’ve got a lot of respect for Jacko in the way he conducts himself as a person and the professionalism he brings,” Parsley told Non League Yorkshire.
“Jacko had certain opportunities that were coming along (during our time together) and I remember saying ‘not yet Jacko’.
“When the opportunity for the under 16s at Leeds came, I said ‘Jacko, the time is right, you’re ready’.
“We still speak obviously, but when he went up, after three or four months he said to me ‘you knew it’.
“You see people when they have outgrown things or they are ready for their next step.
“He was very successful with the Leeds under 18s and it is great credit to himself that he has ended up with a title of head coach of the under 23s at a Premier League club.
“It is a fantastic achievement.”
Parsley immediately installed ex-Scunthorpe United centre-half Jackson as his player/assistant after taking charge at Farsley in October 2008. Jackson, who then held the role as head of football at Leeds City College, combined playing duties with his management position for the first five years.
Crucially Parsley effectively gave Jackson carte blanche in the coaching arena to allow him to hone his skills and help him gain his early coaching badges and the experience.
“Seven years – great times,” Parsley said.
“I did a lot of the organising and yeah he did have a free rein with the training sessions.
“Myself and Jacko used to speak to each other about the previous game and talk about what went well and what didn’t go well.
“Jacko would incorporate in a session what we felt we could improve upon. I felt it was important for me as a manager to step back and let Jacko do that.
“There’s nothing worse than a group of players looking at two different people going at it different ways to get to one solution.
“I trusted Jacko 100%, just as trusted Sim 100%.”
Parsley has been out of management since leaving Throstle Nest in May 2017 after leading them to promotion to the NPL Premier Division alongside John Deacey.
Up until the pandemic began he was a scout for ex-West Brom team-mate Micky Mellon at Tranmere Rovers. But, Mellon has since become manager of SPL outfit Dundee United and covid-restrictions have prevented Parsley fulfilling his role.
Although he will have to wait for a calmer world, Parsley sees his future in scouting.
He said: “Do I think I will get back into management?
“No I don’t unless it is something big that excites me.
“I’m happy doing what I’m doing now.
“I’ve done scouting courses and I’m up to Level 2 with them so I can go abroad to watch games if something came along. The next qualification would be to be able watch internationals.
“I’ll watch any type of game whether it be Non League, Sunday League, it doesn’t bother me, but I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve been doing for the last four years.
“I’m starting to build-up a network of knowledge of players in under 23s football as well as professional and people respect my opinion.”
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