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Farewell Boleyn: Thank you Scotty Parker

Reader Ben Kelly is the latest CandH reader to give us his favourite Boleyn memory!

Please send yours to claretandhugh@gmail.com

Scott-Parker-006It was in 1997 that I experienced my first Boleyn Ground game at the tender age of seven alongside my aunt and uncle, both of which desperate to secure my allegiances to West Ham United.

A 2-1 victory over Liverpool with goals from John Hartson and Eyal Berkovic certainly helped peak my interest into the football club.

Furthermore, I could have been forgiven for believing that it was a forgone conclusion that West Ham would win any game I attended, as my second game finished in yet another 2-1 victory later that season, against Blackburn Rovers.

Unfortunately, as I wish I had realised at the time, my early encounters with the football club were proven to be a false dawn.

My Aunt and Uncle had need not worry because, as for so many Hammers fans, the club had chosen me long before I was conceived, with a long line of West Ham fans both on my mother and father’s side.

The inherent curse is that, no matter how bad the times have got, and there have been more than enough, my dedication and support for the football club has never dwindled.

However, my sanity has certainly been tested, especially in the immediate aftermath of Icelandic exit and David Sullivan and Gold’s arrival at the club.

With West Ham coming off a strong 2008-09 campaign under Gianfranco Zola, I was full of expectation for the following season, especially with, what I considered, a strong squad of England internationals such as Robert Green, Matthew Upson & Dean Ashton.

Unfortunately, 2009-10 proved to be a very difficult campaign for the Hammers, fighting of relegation and surviving by the skin of our teeth against Burnley, Hull City and the cash-stricken Portsmouth.

However, the one and only reason why we survived in 2009-10 was because of the greatest player I have ever seen play at Upton Park, Scott Parker.

Everyone has their own respective favourite players and perfectly valid reasons behind that, whether it be Paolo Di Canio, Joe Cole, Carlos Tevez or even, dear I say it, Marco Boogers.

For me, Parker emulated everything that I love and what I stood for both on the football pitch and in life itself, 100% effort, never giving up on a lost cause and filing the unforgiving minute with 60 seconds of distant run.

I will never forget the winning goal against Wigan Athletic at the end of the 2009-10 season that effectively secured our Premier League status. Driving towards goal late in the game, Parker struck the ball from outside the box into the bottom corner and sprinted towards Zola to embrace his Italian boss after a whirlwind season.

In my opinion, Parker should have taken both the PFA and FWA player of the year awards that season, an acclaim which was eventually given to Wayne Rooney. What was unfathomable was that, despite a distinctively under par supporting cast, the midfielder had achieved the impossible and saved us from the drop almost single handily.

The following season, with the sacking of Zola and arrival of Avram Grant, the team situation became distinctively worse and we were once again thrown into another relegation dog fight.

In a season which yielded only seven victories, West Ham fans could have been forgiven for giving up on the club and waiting for the inevitable relegation. However, we all kept returning to Upton Park to support the team and to watch Parker play.

Carlton Cole revealed to us all the type of character Parker was for West Ham and how he laid his body on the line for the club when no one else would. Half-time at the Hawthornes and 3-0 down against West Bromwich Albion, the former Chelsea man gave an impassioned speech to his team-mates and got them fired up to fight back and claim an unlikely draw.

More so was Parker’s performance against Liverpool at Upton Park and Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane with the illness and sad passing of his father. Against Liverpool, our no. 8 dominated the midfield against Steven Gerrard and co, scoring a brilliant goal from outside the box passed the diving Pepe Reina.

Against Spurs, just hours after his father’s passing, Parker produced one of his finest West Ham performances, battling with a strong Tottenham team to help earn us a point in a difficult away fixture.

Despite being relegated, Parker won the FWA player of the year and only lost to the emerging Gareth Bale for the PFA award.

Understandably, Tottenham came knocking for our warrior in the midfield once we had become a Championship club. However, this was not to deter Parker from his West Ham duties and he duly made four further appearances for the club, scoring against Watford at Vicarage Road.

Times are changing for the better at West Ham, with the arrival of quality and skilful footballers into the team and much credit has to be given to the owners for picking the club up whilst it was on its knees.

Our bright future awaits us in Stratford come August and I am excited for the adventure that awaits us all ahead once the curtain falls upon the Boleyn Ground.

Bobby Moore, Trevor Brooking, Billy Bonds and Paolo Di Canio should all be considered the kings of Upton Park.

However, the warrior of E13, the man who raged against the dying of the light and filled that unforgiving minute with 60 seconds of distant run was Super Scotty Parker.

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About Hugh5outhon1895

Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!" Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon

4 comments on “Farewell Boleyn: Thank you Scotty Parker

  1. Great read Ben and glad you joined our fan base,you obviously love your football and you now have that at this club,
    Glad Scotty is your hero pity we were relegated as he would have stayed it also killed his Enganl career going to a bum club from us,
    Years of great football to come

  2. Enjoyed reading this – thank you. I also am a great fan of Scotty Parker and loved him in a West Ham shirt. What I did not like was our players would make a run give the ball to Parker and then stop to see what he done with it. He was by far the best player at the club during his time there and you are right saying he saved us that season but could not do so the following season.
    A little story I have about Scotty Parker was when he was with the Spuds, my wife was at the childrens ward with our little boy who was poorly and a few of the surs guys turned up for some photo’s etc, he posed with my wife and child along with Ade (cannot be bothered most of the time) Boye, Gallas and another I cannot remember right now. My wife teased me about getting our sonto support Spuds because they came to visit him but when I explained that Scotty Parker was one of the best players and captains of my beloved West Ham United over recent years (this was a couple of years back) she soon gave in and I am glad to say my son (and now daughter) are proud to sing I’m forever blowing bubbles at any time of the day.

  3. My favourite memory at the Boleyn has to be 2-4 defeat to Reading FC in the 2011/12 season.Cracking game of football!

    Even Mikele ‘Legs of wood’ Leigertwood scored.

  4. In four short years Scott won Hammer of the Year 3 times. He carried on the spirit of never-say-die of Billy Bonds and Co. I remember us losing to Arsenal 3-0 at Upton Park, but still managed a sile,because I had seen the greatest midfielder in the UK (as far as I was concerned) and he was in Claret and Blue! He could have stayed at West Ham had everyone else not let HIS ambitions down by being relegated. We no longer desrved his talents, and I backed him leaving all the way in search of European football and playing alongside his idol, Luka Modrich. If it had to be Spurs, so be it! To me, it was utterly churlish of WHU fans to deny him that in the twilight of his career. Shameful booing on his return. They would be the 1st to grab job opportunities and stuff any misplaced loyalties. Still, I hope that is all passed now….

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