Ex-Iron loan star Jon ‘The Beast’ Parkin talks to Iron Bru about the release of his autobiography Feed the Beast, his time at Scunthorpe under Alan Knill and why he nearly came to blows with Graham Alexander at Fleetwood Town.
You came to Scunthorpe when Alan Knill and Chris Brass were in charge, but had to put your differences with Brass to one side following a disagreement at York eight years before. How did the move come about and why did you fall out with Brassy in the first place?
When he became manager at York he dropped me. I didn’t think I should have been dropped and I told him so in no uncertain terms!
To be fair, I kept in touch with Brassy when I left. We didn’t have a massive fall out so it was fine. He was a team mate previous (to taking over as manager at York) and we got on really well, so we just went back to that relationship. It was actually Brassy who rang to see if I would be interested in coming to Scunthorpe.
You scored a fair few goals and helped secure our League One status that year. Did you enjoy your time at the club and if so, why did you chose to sign for Fleetwood that summer?
Yeah I really enjoyed my time there and we ended up achieving what we set out to do when I came in, which was to stay in League One. In all honestly, the following season I wanted to join a club that had a chance of gaining promotion and following the loan spell, I didn’t think that would be Scunthorpe.
Fleetwood were ambitious and were having a really good go, so I felt that would be the better option footballing wise for me.
Our fans would probably say Alan Knill is right up there with some of our worst ever gaffers. How did you find him to work with and was there a personality behind the cardboard cut out we saw propped up against the dugout on a matchday?
I got on really well with Knilly and liked him a lot. He does come across a little bit like that, but he’s a really good bloke and good company to be in.
He’s obviously not a ranter and raver on the touch line but he let the lads have it in the dressing room if they weren’t doing what they should have. Every manager has their different ways and that was just Alan’s way of doing things.
You say that you didn’t get off to the best start with our ex boss Graham Alexander at Fleetwood and admit in the book there was a time you were close to hitting him. Is it fair to say you didn’t get on?
I got off to a terrible start with him and was fined a week’s wages soon after he arrived for missing a physio session, so it was always gonna be a struggle! The thing with Graham was that he expected everyone to be exactly how he was as a player. That’s not the way to go about things in my opinion.
Every player is different and has different needs, but he was adamant his way was the right way. I was close to hitting him once. That was the first and last time I’ve come close to hitting a manager. He was taking the piss out of me football wise and I’ve never been one for holding my tongue.
There are loads of tales of dressing room banter in the book. What’s the most outrageous thing you’ve done during your time as a footballer?
There’s never been anything too outrageous but there has been stuff that has got me into a little bit of bother! Going on a stag do three days after I had an operation, after been told categorically that I couldn’t, then turning up a day late for treatment wasn’t one of my finest hours.
Your still banging the goals in back where it all started at York, but it must be a shame to have seen the club drop down the Leagues?
Yeah it is. This club shouldn’t be in the league they are but we are and that’s that. We were 60 seconds away from staying up two seasons ago, which was the worst moment in my 20 year career. Hopefully this season we will get promoted, go into the new stadium on a high and the club can start moving in the right direction.
What’s next for Jon Parkin when you finally decide to hang up the boots?
There might still be a few goals left in the old legs just yet, but I’m doing my coaching badges at the minute so will see how that goes. I’m also doing a podcast called undrthecosh which I’m really enjoying. We’ve got a YouTube channel (please subscribe) that we’re making videos for and it’s good crack!