DAVENTRY TOWN: Parkinson says there’s life in the old legs yet

HAPPY MAN - Arron Parkinson
HAPPY MAN - Arron Parkinson

Arron Parkinson admits his playing career is on borrowed time but still hopes to enjoy one more full season with Daventry Town before finally hanging up his boots.

Now 36, the lanky central defender almost called it a day when suffering a heart irregularity a couple of years ago. His wife encouraged him to have second thoughts.

Parkinson headed home the first two goals from corners as Daventry beat Chalfont St Peter 3-1 in Tuesday night’s home game, and said: “I feel fine these days and will carry on playing providing my body stands up to the rigours of playing another 14 or 15 matches this season. That will be the acid test.”

Parky is currently enjoying a third spell at Communications Park and was named man-of-the-match at Aylesbury last week. Then the whole defence suffered an off-day in Saturday’s 3-1 home defeat by Aylesbury United.

Back in 2013 a heart flutter was only cured after a procedure which involved stopping, and then restarting, the major organ. “My wife encouraged me to give football another go as she knows how much I love playing the game,” said Parkinson.

UCL leaders AFC Rushden and Diamonds used him mainly as a substitute recently, but a return to Daventry has led to a regular place in the starting line-up.

Parkinson’s trophy cabinet contains UCL championship medals with both Woodford United and Daventry Town as well as Hellenic League gongs and a couple of Daventry Charity Cup plaques.

At Daventry he has played under four managers, starting with two and a half years guided by Craig Robson. Then there were shorter spells under Ady Fuller, Mark Kinsella and now Allan Smart.

Possibly his most important goal came when firing home the winner at Arlesey in 2010 to make Daventry short-lived odds-on favourites to clinch the Southern League title at the first attempt.

Although Town finished only 14th in the table under Kinsella a year later, Parkinson rates the former Aston Villa and Irish international as high up on the list of managers he has played for.

“Pre-season training was a breath of fresh air under Mark but he was undone by a lack of knowledge concerning Midland football at step four level,” said Parkinson.

Among the many players Parkinson has operated alongside, he has the greatest respect for roly-poly Leamington striker Ben Mackey and, perhaps more surprisingly, ex-Daventry midfield maestro Jimmy Simpson.

With an eye to the future, Parkinson does not fancy coaching but is tempted by management after enjoying an eight-week spell as temporary No.2 to Andy Peaks at Rushden.

Despite recent setbacks against both Aylesbury clubs, the experienced centre half is confident that Daventry will climb back into mid-table by the end of a season beset by financial problems.

Only time will tell, but Tuesday’s win over Chalfont was an encouraging sign.