McParland: “Exciting” work to do before I leave

Frank McParland's departure from Anfield this summer may not
get too much coverage in the media, but there's little doubt that he'll be

McParland has been Liverpool's chief scout but in July he
departs to take on a new role as General Manager at Bolton, who've just
appointed former Liverpool midfielder and one-time Melwood reserve coach Sammy
Lee as their new boss.

McParland didn't jump at the chance – he really did not know
what to do. In the end the call from his friend Sammy was too great and he
accepted the challenge.

In recent times he's played a big part in some good players
coming into the club, with three notable ones being Peter Crouch, Dirk Kuyt and
the defensive revelation Daniel Agger. He's not quite served his notice at
Anfield yet though, and will continue to help bring targets in, like he did
with the recent move to bring in the Hungarian youngsters Krisztian Nemeth and
Andras Simon.

Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, McParland said: "Sammy Lee
is probably the only person in football who could have convinced me to leave
Liverpool. At first I thought I'd be staying, but Sammy was very persuasive and
after giving it a lot of thought I decided this was a great chance for me."

Sam Allardyce left Bolton in order to take on the Newcastle
job, which gave Sammy Lee the promotion to boss and Bolton fans the hope that
they'll start seeing some good passing football rather than the over-physical
tactics Allardyce used much to the disgust of coaches like Rafa Benítez. With a
ten-year association with LFC McParland should be able to help Sammy move
Bolton to the more attractive kind of football most fans crave. "Liverpool is
and always will be my club, but when you're offered such a fantastic
opportunity to work alongside a great young manager at a developing club such
as Bolton, you have to give it a go."

Scouser McParland was heartened by the way Rafa Benítez reacted
to his decision when told: "I spoke to Rafa about the situation and what was
most important to me was he was supportive of my decision. He knows the
circumstances are right for me to look for a new challenge in a role which
gives me more responsibility. Sammy and I have been great mates since the day I
first joined Liverpool and I know he's going to be a top class manager – that
also influenced my decision. We're on the same wavelength when it comes to

Some of the innovations seen at Bolton include the use of
technology to get more out of players, and McParland hopes this will improve
even more under Sammy: "Bolton are a fantastic, forward thinking club which has
come on leaps and bounds in the last few years, and Sammy has the potential to
take the club even further."

Liverpool fans were sad to see Sammy leave in the summer of
2004, when Rafa Benítez joined, but his move has probably helped him move into
management more quickly than he would have done had he stayed at Melwood: "Anyone
underestimating him is seriously mistaken," says McParland. "This a guy who's
learned his trade working under the best managers in the business such as Bob
Paisley and Joe Fagan, as well as all the modern coaches he's worked for at
Liverpool and with England. He has all the top qualifications and his own ideas
about management. It was only a matter of time before he was handed his
opportunity, and it's an honour for me to be helping him through."

McParland was quick to thank the Spaniard for all he's
taught him in their time working together: "I can't speak highly enough of Rafa
or thank him enough for everything he's done for me – one of the reasons I feel
confident enough to take on a role like this at Bolton is because of what I've
learned working close to Rafa. I've learned more from him in three seasons than
the rest of my career in football."

Rafa is a popular manager with the fans, and rumours that he
was nearly sacked by the US owners following his post-Athens outburst urging
them to get a move on with transfers seem far-fetched. The US owners almost
certainly know that losing Rafa would lose them the support of the fans they so
often gush about. The rumour included the scenario that only Rick Parry's
intervention saved Rafa from being on his way. Perhaps if that were true it
would save Parry's neck, which is stuck on the chopping board right now as far
as many fans are concerned, but it would also cast doubts in the minds of those
fans about whether the new owners have a clue what they've bought into. Maybe
the truth will out one day, but for now it seems best being left in the file
marked "silly season nonsense".

Just in case the owners do need an extra character reference
for Rafa, they ought to listen to McParland. Although he's also full of
gratitude for Rick Parry: "For as long as he's at Liverpool, the club is in
safe hands. I'd also like to thank Rick Parry because it was he who gave me my
start at the club. He interviewed me for a job at The Academy ten years ago and
I've been able to move through the ranks from there. I'll always be grateful
for that."

McParland hints that something big is being worked on during
his last weeks at the club: "I've still work to do for Rafa before I leave and
there are one or two exciting projects to complete for him before I go to

We'd like to wish Frank the best of luck in his new role,
and hope these "exciting projects" work out of course!