Phil Parkes

Phil Parkes

3 stars

  • Former Football Goalkeeper With WHU, QPR & England

Phil Parkes was born on 8 August 1950 in Sedgley, Staffordshire, England and is a former football goalkeeper with WHU, QPR and England.

He was a pupil at Dormston School from 1961 until 1966.

Beginning his football career at Walsall, he made nearly 100 appearances in the Black Country before moving to London, signing for Queens Park Rangers for £15,000 in June 1970. His QPR debut was on Saturday 22 August 1970 in a 3-1 defeat at home to Leicester.

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 in 1976. Many observers consider that side, managed by Dave Sexton, the finest team never to have won the League. His club career at QPR spanned 344 league appearances (406 in all competitions). He gained his only England cap during this period, against Portugal in 1974.

Parkes was sold to West Ham United in 1979 for £800,000– a world record for a goalkeeper at the time. It is reported that Manchester United manager Dave Sexton (who was a former QPR manager) put in 6 bids for the player but saw them all turned down. It was only the half million pound plus bid from West Ham United that QPR chairman Jim Gregory could not resist. Upon John Lyall’s signing of Parkes, it was claimed he was a huge risk due to the severity of the condition of his knees, however Lyall’s signing was to pay off big time as Parkes was to remain No 1 for the next 10 years. Parkes remained as West Ham United’s No 1 goalkeeper into the 1980s. 

Phil then spent the next 11 years at Upton Park but lost his place in the first-team eventually to the clumsy keeper Alan McKnight or McKnightmare as he was known by the Upton Park faithful. But despite his awesome ability he only ever gained one piece of silverware, when West Ham beat Arsenal 1-0 to win the 1980 FA Cup Final. He left to join Ipswich Town Football Club in 1989 before moving into coaching.

In 2003, an official West Ham United members poll for the greatest West Ham XI named him as the team’s goalkeeper, beating Ludek Miklosko to that position. He is considered by QPR supporters to be one of the two best goalkeepers in the club’s history, the other being David Seaman.

Parkes had great ability but was unfortunate to only ever win one England cap. The reason for this is different to what many suspect. Parkes played for England only once because during a game against Wales in 1976 the manager at the time Don Revie said Parkes would play the second-half, but at half-time with the score still at 0-0 Revie decided to keep Ray Clemence on. After the game Parkes went home and said to his wife he would never make himself available for England again.

Phil is currently involved at Upton park providing match day hospitality. Phil is available for after dinner speaking.