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Sunday, April 09, 2006

QPR's Phil Parkes on the Brilliant 1975-76 Team (also on West Ham and England)

Parkes on the mark
By Tony Incenzo. Wednesday, 05 April 2006.
The FA.Com 28 March 2006

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Phil Parkes was nominated by Queens Park Rangers. Parkes was part of the QPR team that reached the last eight of the FA Cup in 1974 and were League runners-up to Liverpool two years later. He won an FA Cup winner’s medal with West Ham when they beat Arsenal 1-0 in the 1980 Final.
Phil, you have been nominated by QPR and your time there dates back to the mid-1970's. That was a real glory period for the R’s wasn't it?

It was yes. It was the best team that I ever played in and one of the best sides I have ever seen play as well. People go on about the Liverpool team of the 80's and Manchester United of the 90's. But for pure football, I have not seen a side that could come close to QPR in the 70's. Maybe the closest is Arsenal at the moment when they are at their best and free-flowing. They are exciting to watch and the QPR side was the same.
You just lost out on the championship by a point to Liverpool in 1975/6 didn't you?
That was an injustice. If you had spoken to any observer who didn't have a connection with QPR or Liverpool, they would have said straight away that we were by far the better side and we deserved to win the league. But it was just one of those things that wasn't to be. It was a huge disappointment but it is still a great comfort to know that you played in one of the greatest sides of all time.
On the subject of the FA Cup, you appeared in the 1980 Final for West Ham against Arsenal. What are your memories of that day?
It was a wonderful occasion. We were in the Second Division then and we were definitely the underdogs against First Division Arsenal. So we knew we were up against it and Arsenal were the biggest odds-on favourites for years. But we had a great team spirit and a belief in the side. Manager John Lyall set out a plan that really worked by playing David Cross up front on his own with Stuart Pearson behind him and four in midfield. Arsenal failed to work the system out and that led to us winning the Cup.
You were a goalkeeper at the same time as Peter Shilton and Ray Clemence. That restricted you international appearances to one cap didn’t it?
Well I might have had more opportunities but I fell out with England manager Don Revie big time. Even so, the one cap that I got is something that people can’t take away from me. There have been great players that I played with - such as Billy Bonds - who never got a cap, which is a big disappointment in their careers. But at least I managed to get that one.
What are you up to nowadays?
I have a building business and I am back at West Ham doing corporate hospitality. I host two of the big lounges at Upton Park on matchdays and it is fun.
How does it feel to be nominated for the FA Cup Team of Heroes?
Wonderful! It really is. And totally out of the blue. It was nice of QPR to nominate me as I had nine wonderful years at Loftus Road and the fans always give me a great reception when I go back there.

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